A British organization established to support victims of mesothelioma is joining the call for a total ban on the substance that causes it.
The National Asbestos Helpline is a national clearing house set up to support patients with mesothelioma and other asbestos-linked diseases and their families. Because so many British homes and buildings were constructed when asbestos use was at its peak in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s, Great Britain has one of the highest per capita rates of mesothelioma in the world. Mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer, is caused by inhalation or ingestion of airborne asbestos fibers.
In spite of the risk, asbestos is still used as an inexpensive building product and insulator around the world. Now, as part of its support of the UK’s Action Mesothelioma Day on July 6, the National Asbestos Helpline (NAH) is calling for a worldwide ban on the material. Joining the NAH in the call is the British Lung Foundation (BLF) and the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization in America (ADAO). The NAH has also launched an online petition to allow mesothelioma victims and others affected by asbestos to add their own support to the initiative.
“We are looking to reach over 1,000 signatures, with photographs, of those who have used our services and who have obviously had their lives changes as a result of coming into contact with asbestos,” NAH General Manager Richard Clarke said in press release this week. Clarke says the signatures will then be transferred to a book that will be presented to Dr. Penny Woods, CEO of the BLF and to Linda Reinstein from the ADAO. The book will be used to present the “face” of the disease to companies and governments who still support the use of deadly asbestos.
Mesothelioma kills about 2,500 people in the UK each year – about the same number as die of mesothelioma in the U.S. annually. Worldwide, hundreds of thousands of people have died of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Although some asbestos use is regulated in the U.S., it has not been banned.
“Ban Asbestos Globally” calls the National Asbestos Helpline on Action Mesothelioma Day – 6th July 2012”, Press Release, June 7, 2012, Journalism.co.uk.
National Asbestos Helpline website.