Asbestos related cancer death rate “well above” national average in Tower Hamlets

Asbestos death rates in Tower Hamlets highlight the need for government to set up a compensation “safety net”, say injury lawyers.

The borough’s death rate for asbestos related cancer is “well above” the national average, according to the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.

The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that mesothelioma, a terminal cancer of the lung wall, was recorded as the underlying cause of 33 deaths in the area between 2006 to 2010. That is equivalent to 4.2 deaths in 100,000 people. The average for England and Wales during the same period was 2.5.

President of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, David Bott, said: “More people die of mesothelioma in Tower Hamlets per head of the population than in most other parts of the country.

“The onset of symptoms often comes decades after a worker has inhaled asbestos fibres making it hard for people to trace their employer and claim damages.

“This unacceptable situation simply cannot go on. Something must be done before more dying victims of mesothelioma go uncompensated.

“The Government needs to bring forward proposals for a fund of last resort, which would act as a safety net for injured workers, otherwise unable to pursue the justice they deserve.”

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The area with the highest mesothelioma death rate between 2006 to 2010 was Barrow-in-Furness, with 8.4 deaths in 100,000 people.