North East England records particularly high rate of asbestos-related deaths

As reported by the ChronicleLive website, figures have now been released detailing the number of deaths from asbestos-related disease across the UK over the last few decades, making for particularly grim reading for the North East of England.

North Tyneside and South Tyneside ranked third and fourth respectively on the death register, a sad reflection of the formerly thriving shipyard and building industry in this part of the country.

Thousands in the region recorded to have died due to asbestos

 The high occurrence of asbestos-related deaths in the North East is a subject that is especially close to our hearts here at Trident Asbestos Solutions, given the two offices that we maintain in the region, in Sunderland and Durham.

Nonetheless, given the history of the area, it sadly does not shock us that almost 6,300 deaths were recorded across the region from 1981 to 2015 due to exposure to the deadly fibres.

When the death numbers are compared to how many would normally be expected to die in the area – the standard mortality ratio – North Tyneside is placed third in the UK for the highest rate of male mesothelioma deaths, with 491. This compares to the 364 recorded for fourth-ranked South Tyneside, with only Barrow-in-Furness and West Dunbartonshire placing higher across the entire country.

As for female mesothelioma deaths, Sunderland came in second with 144, only beaten by Barking and Dagenham.

A truly bleak set of figures for the area

 The numbers from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) showed that between 1981 and 2015, 2,319 people – 1,969 male and 350 female – died of mesothelioma in the Tyne and Wear area alone. The rest of the North East saw 3,979 mesothelioma deaths – 3,415 male and 564 female – in the same timeframe.

It is all a very depressing reminder of the continued paramount importance of the work of asbestos removal contractors in ridding sites across the region and beyond of this potentially extremely dangerous material.

We can help to protect against the perils of asbestos

 Please contact the Trident Asbestos Solutions team today, on 03333 441555 or by completing and submitting our straightforward quote request form, to find out more about the work that our own professionals can do to make your premises safer.

We have offices in Edinburgh, Leeds, Birmingham and London as well as the North East of England, which enables us to provide a genuinely nationwide service.

Public ‘not at risk’ from asbestos after Glasgow nightclub fire

One of the sternest recent tests for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service occurred on the morning of Thursday 22nd March, when a fire took hold in the roof of a building on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street that it was initially feared could spread to nearby structures such as the historic Pavilion Theatre.

Thankfully, that dreaded scenario did not come to pass, although the decision was made by Glasgow City Council not to allow staff access to the theatre for about two months amid concerns about smoke damage and damage caused to some of the venue’s doors by fire-fighters.

Nonetheless, one positive development is the fire service’s statement that there is “no risk” to the public of being exposed to asbestos as a result of the sad blaze.

Vital atmospheric testing undertaken

 According to a fire service spokesperson on 23rd March, atmospheric testing had been carried out and “concluded that there is no risk to the public from asbestos.”

However, the council deemed buildings at 92-96 and 98-106 – the latter including Victoria’s nightclub – to be unsafe, adding that they would have to be demolished.

The fire broke out at about 8:20am on the Thursday, and at its height, more than 120 fire-fighters and 20 fire engines were mobilised to the city centre.

What dangers can asbestos pose in fires like this?

 While worries about the asbestos risk from this particular high-profile fire have thankfully been quelled, that does not mean your own buildings could not pose such a danger in the event of a devastating conflagration like this.

The use of asbestos in buildings in the UK was completely banned before the end of the 20th century, but the harmful material may still be present in properties built or revamped before then.

Asbestos was once widely used in such areas of buildings as under the floorboards, boilers, pipework, insulation, calorifiers and heat exchangers. If a person inhales asbestos fibres, some may become trapped in the organs and cause deadly diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis or malignant mesothelioma. Thousands of deaths each year are linked to asbestos-related diseases.

Don’t leave asbestos removals to chance

 If you are unsure whether the users or occupants of your buildings or members of the public could be exposed to asbestos on your premises, it’s essential to avoid any unnecessary risks.

Instead, get on the phone to our experts in asbestos removals here at Trident Asbestos Solutions today, calling 03333 441555 for your competitive quotation.  

Harlow man’s family seek answers after his asbestos-related death

sheet metal worker

 

In an all too familiar story that further highlights the needs for services such as the management and safe removal of asbestos, the family of a former sheet metal worker are appealing to his former colleagues for information after he unfortunately succumbed to mesothelioma last year.

John Bright was only 68 years old when he died in November – just 15 months after receiving his initial diagnosis.

 What is mesothelioma?

 Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects the lining of the body’s major organs, mainly the lungs and stomach.

What makes mesothelioma so deadly is the way it can lay undetected for years and even decades, meaning that by the time a diagnosis is received, the cancer is already in an advanced and practically untreatable stage. Only 50% of sufferers survive a year after diagnosis, dropping to a survival rate of 10% after five years.

Mesothelioma is nearly always caused by one thing – the inhalation or ingestion of asbestos fibres.

John earned a living fitting air conditioning and air vent ducting for over 30 years, which is where he believed he came into contact with the deadly building material.

John’s widower, Joyce, stated: “He remembered feeding ducting through holes he had cut in corrugated factory roofing which he believed was manufactured with asbestos, he also recalled working on old buildings with asbestos cladding. The nature of his work meant there was also a lot of dust around him.”

A search for answers

 The family worked closely with lawyers at Irwin Mitchell even before John’s death to investigate how his illness developed, and to see whether anything else could have been done to protect him from asbestos exposure at his job, urging anyone with any information to come forward.

“We miss him every day and while nothing will bring him back, we just want to know whether more should have been done to protect him from the risks of asbestos exposure and gain justice on his behalf.”

With so many cases of mesothelioma coming to light in recent years, organisations and individuals alike need to do as much as possible to prevent even more people from suffering from the debilitating and devastating disease – which means ridding the world of as much asbestos as possible.

Enquire to Trident Asbestos Solutions today about our any of our asbestos services that have already proved invaluable for all manner of businesses across the UK.

Asbestos released from 1983 warehouse fire claims second victim

COD Donnington

 

The aftermath of a fire at the largest army storage warehouse in Europe has claimed its second victim, more than 30 years after the event itself.

Paula Ann Nunn died aged 68 from mesothelioma in September. The lung disease, a form of cancer, is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos, and her death has been directly linked to the fire that took place at COD Donnington in 1983.

The fire sent an excessive amount of smoke, dust and debris high into the air, with it later raining down over a 15 square mile area. Particularly affected were the gardens of the people living nearby.

The extent of the debris was so great that the first victim of mesothelioma linked to the fire, Ellen Paddock, described “seeing snowflakes falling, and playing in them”. Tragically, these “snowflakes” were deposits of asbestos released by the fire. Mrs Paddock died in 2008, aged only 31.

Before her death, Mrs Nunn contacted Asbestos Support, telling them of the ash from the fire that had collected in her garden at the time of the fire. A local coroner stated: “For two days there were no warnings that the dust was dangerous and by this time a lot had accumulated over the local area, in particular in Mrs Nunn’s back garden.” Initially, it was denied that the ash contained asbestos, and it remained in the street for almost a week before a clean-up operation began.

Although Mrs Nunn’s death was recorded as accidental by her coroner, he pledged to keep the file on COD Donnington open, as it is sadly expected that further similar cases will open in the future.

Such incidents like these are far from isolated, however. Indeed, there have been dozens of cases worldwide in which mesothelioma has been linked to asbestos, specifically in ash following fires.

Such a high incidence of the disease should simply motivate your organisation all the more to invest in asbestos air testing if asbestos has been disturbed or exposure through damaged asbestos is presumed, of the kind that we can offer here at Trident Surveying.

Asbestos Action charity holds 13th annual conference

JUAC

The team at charity Asbestos Action recently held their 13th annual conference in Dundee, Scotland, leading with a theme of “Asbestos is still with us”. The charity, which supports sufferers of asbestos-related disease as well as their families and carers, aimed with the conference to quash perceptions that asbestos was a remnant of the past affecting only former heavy industry workers.

Many UK people remain at risk of being exposed to asbestos. Despite the deadly substance being banned from use as a building material in the 1990s, it can still be found in buildings across the country, including many schools.

Keynote speaker Sarah Lyons is a senior officer at the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and a member of the Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC), which has been working hard to spread awareness about school-based asbestos.

JUAC campaigns for the safe removal of asbestos from buildings used for educational purposes, with Ms Lyons revealing at the event that 44% of schools were unaware whether asbestos was present in their own buildings. The conference was sponsored by Digby Brown Solicitors, and the firm’s Nina Maxwell and Fraser Simpson talked about the latest challenges concerning the pursuit of civil claims related to asbestos.

Mr Simpson said there needed “to be recognition of the risks that asbestos poses, not just to those employed previously in heavy industry and construction, but also to those exposed to asbestos in our schools, hospitals and elsewhere, and a commitment to doing everything possible to eliminate those risks.”

If you are concerned that your school, college or business premises might contain asbestos, please get in touch with Trident Surveying today. We are a UKAS accredited asbestos testing service that can confirm whether asbestos is present in your building via asbestos air testing and other procedures.

The laboratory that we use to test materials found during the surveying process is a state-of-the-art facility, where we conduct detailed examinations by stereo microscope. Trident Surveying has an Edinburgh office, which better enables us to cater for all manner of Scottish businesses and organisations seeking to protect the health of employees or students and prevent future asbestos-related tragedies. Call our friendly and professional team today to find out more.

Compensation payout for former marine engineer

Asbetsos Awareness Training

Compensation payout for former marine engineer exposed to asbestos

As easy as it can be to imagine that the need for asbestos awareness training is a thing of the past, new stories are continually emerging that demonstrate its contemporary importance to be greater than ever. One such case is that of a former marine engineer from Wardley, Gateshead, who has won a legal bid for compensation after being diagnosed with the aggressive asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma.

The dad-of-three, Colin Thorn’s diagnosis with the incurable cancer of the lung lining came in December 2013, and follows a long career at the Ministry of Defence, which has admitted responsibility for the 59-year old being exposed to asbestos while he worked. He was subjected to the fibres as he repaired pipework on various vessels and during cleaning procedures on board nuclear submarines during his 1971-1995 spell with the MoD.

Thorn described himself and his wife, Deborah, as having been “knocked for six” by the diagnosis, particularly as it had resulted from him simply going to work and doing his job. He said that the breathlessness that he now experienced rendered him unable to work and prevented him from going out as much as he used to. He admitted to being “extremely concerned” about what the future held for him and his wife as his condition worsened.

He also expressed extreme anger at not having been given the equipment that would prevented his inhalation of asbestos during his work onboard Royal Navy vessels. He also signified his delight at receiving the settlement from the MoD, stating that he would use it to fund the care that he will require with the deterioration of his condition, and to improve the financial security of his wife.

Not only was Thorn not offered any form of breathing mask or respiratory equipment for his work, he told his lawyers, but there were also no measures in place to prevent asbestos dust spreading. Such words will certainly strike a chord with those who might not have previously realised the continued vital role played by asbestos awareness training in today’s organisations.

The news of Thorn’s compensation award comes as a nurse has been appointed in the North East to deal specifically with mesothelioma victims. People who have received a diagnosis for the life-threatening respiratory disease in Northumberland and North Tyneside will be able to receive support from Leah Taylor, who will also work with other regional teams to ensure better access to support groups, information and treatments.

Hazardous World War II History Lesson!

World War 2, Asbestos Exposure, Chrysotile, CrocidoliteWe all know the benefits that a prop may bring to a teacher in a history lesson to aid students with the learning process as they get to physically see and feel the item themselves to get a better understanding of what the teacher is explaining. But when the subject is WWII this could be a potentially hazardous subject to both students and teachers, especially if the item of that period is a WWII Mask. Why would a WWII Gas Mask be dangerous?WWII gas masks are potentially dangerous as they can contain and release asbestos fibres. They can also be contaminated with harmful chemicals from previous use in gas drills. In addition some post war gas masks can release asbestos fibres and can be contaminated.Tests have shown that asbestos fibres can be inhaled by wearing the masks. Asbestos fibres can also be released from handling the masks, filters or carrying bag. So why use asbestos in gas masks?After the widespread use of poison gas in the Great War it was expected that gas would also be a major factor in WWII so civilians as well as military personnel were provided with gas masks. How many gas masks were produced and what types of asbestos were used?It is difficult to put an exact number on how many of these asbestos containing gas masks were manufactured but to put it in perspective one company in Blackburn, Lancashire had a contract from the government in 1936 to make 70 million and production continued throughout the war.There were two main types of asbestos used during the manufacture of these gas masks: Chrysotile (white asbestos) for civilian respirators and Crocidolite (blue asbestos) for those equipping the armed forces. The health risks associated with these masks only came to light post-war when factory workers making the masks started showing abnormally high numbers of deaths from cancer. Why is asbestos dangerous?The Health & Safety Executive website warns: “Breathing in air containing asbestos fibres can lead to asbestos-related diseases, mainly cancers of the lungs and chest lining. Asbestos is only a risk to health if asbestos fibres are released into the air and breathed in. Past exposure to asbestos currently kills around 4,000 people a year in Great Britain. This number is expected to go on rising at least until 2016.There is no cure for asbestos-related diseases. There is usually a long delay between first exposure to asbestos and the onset of disease. This can vary from 15 to 60 years.” What should a school or a collector do if they own one of these Asbestos containing Gas Masks?The local authority should be contacted for advice on how to safely dispose of the masks, filters and the canvas bags. In 2004 the Imperial War Museum had issued the following guidance to their staff:“Most British gas masks of WW2 vintage have asbestos (blue and/or white) as a component in their filters …Where unsure, it should be assumed that the filters do contain asbestos until proven otherwise. The filters may, in any case, contain other respiratory irritants. Thus no gas mask of WW2 vintage should ever be worn.…Note:There is a further health and safety issue with gas masks that have been exposed to chemicals eg used in ‘live’ gas tests and drills. Such gas masks should not be handled and should not go on display. They should be sealed in polyethylene bags (at least two layers) or an airtight inert container. This should be carried out in a fume cupboard, whilst wearing latex or nitrile gloves and a lab coat. The gloves should be disposed of and the lab coat disposed of/laundered after use. The enclosures should be labelled to indicate that they contain materials that are potentially hazardous and should not be opened. Any further enclosures that they are placed into, eg boxes, should be appropriate labelled as described above.

Lung cancer no longer just a ‘smokers’ disease’

Lung cancer should no longer be seen as a “smokers’ disease” because one in five new cases has nothing to do with the habit, the chief executive of Cancer Research UK has said.A drop in the number of smokers means that fewer are developing lung cancer, but the number of people who contract the disease from other causes, such as asbestos, remains steady at about 6,000 per year in the UK.It means that while smoking is still the leading cause of lung cancer, the proportion of non-smoking related cases is growing larger over time.Speaking at the launch of a major genetic study of the disease on Wednesday Dr HarpalKumar said: “It is not so long ago that we used to say more than nine in ten lung cancers were smoking-related, and now we say eight in ten.”People tend to think it is just a smokers’ disease, but it isn’t,” he added. “It is a significant problem, and one that is growing globally.”While scientists have made major improvements in diagnosis and treatment for breast and other cancers in recent years, there has been virtually no improvement in lung cancer survival rates since 1970.Along with problems like the typically late diagnosis of lung cancer, which makes it harder for researchers to obtain biopsies for studies and recruit patients to trials, the perception of the condition as a problem for smokers could be one reason why progress has been so slow, Dr Kumar said.The new £14 million study launched on Wednesday is aimed at tracking the genetic changes which trigger the growth of tumours and help them develop resistance to drugs.Genetic mutations are known to drive the development of cancer, but are also the target of drugs aimed at stopping tumours in their tracks.The project, one of the largest ever studies of lung cancer patients, will focus on how tumours continue to develop new mutations as they grow, making them genetically complex.Their continued evolution means all cells in a tumour do not share the same characteristics and are often quite different – a major problem which has hindered progress in developing new drugs for the disease.Over the course of nine years scientists will analyse thousands of tumour biopsies from 850 patients across the UK, examining the genetic differences within individual tumours and between different patients.Identifying which mutations occur first, and are therefore shared by the largest proportion of cells in a tumour, could allow doctors to select the drug with the biggest potential impact for each individual patient.Prof Charlie Swanton of Cancer Research UK’s London Research Institute and University College London, who is leading the study, said: “Success in treating lung cancer has been difficult to achieve but we’re hoping to change that.”The first step to improving cancer diagnosis and treatment is to understand more about the disease and how it changes over time.”Source – The Telegraphhttp://bit.ly/15YUf96

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