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Thursday, 21 August 2014

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Asbestos cancer figures shock

BARROW has the highest death rate in England and Wales forterminal asbestos cancer.

Figures obtained by not-for-profit campaign group the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) show from 2006 to the end of 2010, the death rate for mesothelioma – a terminal cancer of the lung wall, was more than three times the national average in Barrow.

The disease, which almost exclusively affects workers who have come into contact with asbestos, was recorded as the cause of 45 deaths in the area – the equivalent to 8.4 deaths in 100,000 people. The national average during the same period was 2.5.

Asbestos-related cancer is prevalent across Furness because of historical exposure while working in the engineering and shipyard industries.

APIL president David Bott said: “More people die of mesothelioma in Barrow per head of the population than in any other part of the country.

“This is bad enough, but the number of men dying from this disease is expected to peak during the next five years and what many people don’t realise is that hundreds of sufferers across the UK cannot get the compensation they need to help them through the last days of their life.

“What is needed is for the government to bring forward proposals for a fund of last resort which would act as a safety net for injured workers who are otherwise unable to pursue the justice they deserve.”

APIL said many workers are often unable to pursue a claim for damages because they are unable to trace their former employers.

The group has called on the government to provide support for retired workers to bring damages claims against their former employers.


Bob Pointer is one of the founders of BARDS – the Barrow Asbestos Related Diseases Support Group. Mr Pointer worked in the shipyard and steelworks for 19 years and has seen many of his former colleagues succumb to asbestos-related cancers.

He said: “Barrow has been one of the worst areas in terms of the number of asbestos-related deaths for a number of years, because of the town’s industrial heritage with the shipyard, steelworks and railways. Despite this, there is still disrespect for asbestos; it is still in many schools and other buildings and is often dumped with little regard for the consequences. You would think people here would know the dangers but some still continue to ignore it.”

The next meeting of BARDS takes place at St Mark’s Church in Rawlinson Street, Barrow, at 2pm on Monday.

Have your say

i worked in barrow shipyard for anumber of years around asbestos although inever used it myself ,after 50years ihave been diagnosed with asbestosis, but i haveno chance of compensation ,so i can only hope that other people do not finish life likeme.

Posted by allen flynn on 20 February 2012 at 14:05

I lost my father to this horrible disease last year. He fought it like a warrior and like so many others do and are trying to do. There is no cure and very little in the way of support from Furness General Hospital whose attitude seem to simply write people off after 2 chemotherapy treatments. What people don't realize that you can get Asbestos cancer from giving your father a hug, from washing your husbands clothes so on and so forth. There is an epidemic of cases such as this world wide. Last week two rich Italian business men were convicted in Italy for 16 years from profertering from Asbestos production. In 2005 it was outlawed in Europe and I with many others are shouting for a world wide ban of it use on our planet.It is a crime against humanity. My father contracted this from working at Vickers now BAE - Barrow -in-Furness needs to wake up and give proper medical support to it's citizens, give good information regards this cancer and acknowledge global research, medical trials that are available.
It is shattering to see a loved one being taken because of this cancer, it is soul destroying to see those left behind to try and find a way forward and find answers to questions. It is heartbreaking when you know that loved one had another 15 years life expectancy left only for it to be stolen. I hate asbestos and I hate that Barrow with all of it's science and technology at BAE cannot provide better medical facilities or truthful information to its former/retired employee's. Citizens of Barrow need to begin to understand that this is real. That your father or grandfather or mother may well have this through no fault of their own. People cannot continue to bury their heads in the sand and I will not rest until a world wide ban is in place. I am glad the evening mail has written about this and is by chance I looked at this article. I hope you continue to highlight the awfulness of this cancer. When a person dies from this cancer there is an autopsy, I attended the inquest and the corner stated after the inquest that he had seen many cases of this in 2011.
BARDS is a good organization as it tell it as it is - I wish you luck in exposing the dangers of asbestos - everyone should be aware of the dangers and you do not have to have worked with it for years, even a month or two will be enough for the cancer to take a hold and do damage. My fathers doctor described it as a sleeping terrorist and it was as he died all of a sudden and I did not get to say goodbye.

Posted by jbeth on 20 February 2012 at 13:03

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