Medway asbestos deaths 2nd highest in UK

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Deaths from mesothelioma in the Medway towns in Kent are more than twice the national urban average, according to newly-released statistics.

From 2006 to the end of 2010, 104 deaths were recorded in the region: equivalent to a mortality rate of 6.5 in 100,000 people. During the same period the national average was 2.5 deaths.

Asbestos at work

The highest mesothelioma death rate in the same period was found in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, with 8.4 deaths in 100,000 people.

The figures for England and Wales were released by the Office of National Statistics after requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

Some workers cannot claim for damages due to inability to trace the companies they worked for when they were exposed to asbestos – a principal cause of mesothelioma, which attacks the lining of the lungs.

Mesothelioma symptoms sometimes only show themselves many years after inhalation of the asbestos fibres: a delay which can see businesses fold or insurance documents destroyed.

Legal experts have observed that more die of mesothelioma in Medway per head of the population than most other parts of the country; a statistic compounded by the fact that the number of men dying from mesothelioma is likely to peak during the next 5 years.

With hundreds of UK sufferers unable to claim compensation, the government has been urged to bring forward proposals for a 'fund of last resort' which would work as a safety net for injured individuals who cannot otherwise obtain justice.


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