29 January 2023  |  Admin

Inhalation of asbestos fibres can cause cancers such as mesothelioma and lung cancer, and other serious lung diseases such as asbestosis and pleural thickening. 2,544 mesothelioma deaths in 2020, with a similar number of lung cancer deaths linked to past exposures to asbestos. 530 deaths in 2020 mentioning asbestosis on the death certificate (excluding deaths that also mention mesothelioma).
There were 2,544 mesothelioma deaths in Great Britain in 2020, a rise of 6% compared with 2019, but similar to the average of 2523 deaths per year over the previous 8 years. There were 2,085 male deaths in 2020. Although this is a rise of 6% compared with 2019, it is consistent with projections that annual male deaths will reduce beyond year 2020. There were 459 female deaths in 2020, a rise of 7% compared with 2019 and higher than the average of 416 deaths per year over the previous 8 years. This is consistent with predictions that there will continue be 400-500 female deaths per year during the 2020s.

Figures for 2020 may have been affected to some extent by the coronavirus pandemic. A small number of individuals with mesothelioma and who developed COVID-19 may not have died in 2020 had pandemic not occurred. Conversely, delays in the death certification system could mean that a small number of additional 2020 deaths will be identified in the future. Around two thirds of annual deaths for both males and females now occur in those aged over 75 years. Annual deaths in this age group continue to increase while deaths below age 65 are decreasing. There were 1,910 new cases of mesothelioma assessed for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) in 2020 of which 280 were female. This compares with 2,025 new cases in 2019, of which 240 were female. Men who worked in the building industry when asbestos was used extensively in the past continue to be most at risk of mesothelioma.