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23 March 2024

By James

Category: Industry

Leeds Resident with Terminal Cancer Advocates for Asbestos Removal

Following her diagnosis with terminal cancer linked to asbestos exposure, a Leeds woman is urging the removal of asbestos from all public structures.

At 64, Rose Hall learned she had mesothelioma in 2019, a condition she contracted after inhaling asbestos fibres as a schoolgirl in Leeds, unknowingly at the time.

She supports union demands for the eradication of asbestos within four decades.

Asbestos remains the leading cause of work-related fatalities in the UK, as reported by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Annually, around 5,000 deaths are attributed to diseases related to asbestos exposure, HSE notes.

Each year, over 2,700 individuals are diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Ms. Hall shared that her 2019 cancer diagnosis has caused her feelings of fear and isolation.

'National Disgrace' Over Asbestos Use

Before its ban in 1999 due to health risks, asbestos was commonly used for insulation in buildings.

Research conducted by the legal firm Irwin Mitchell, known for representing victims in related lawsuits, suggests that approximately 87,000 public buildings still harbour this dangerous substance.

This month, a coalition of 27 trade unions urged all major political parties to pledge to eliminate asbestos within a 40-year timeframe.

Their joint letter highlighted: "Asbestos is one of the great workplace tragedies of modern times and it is a national disgrace that Britain has one of the highest mesothelioma mortality rates in the world."

The Department for Education (DfE) has found that nearly 81% of state schools in England are still plagued by asbestos.

Wayne Bates, a national negotiating official with the NASUWT teaching union, pointed out that at the current rate of the government's building programme, it would require 400 years to reconstruct every school in the nation.

The school Ms. Hall attended has since been torn down and reconstructed. However, records indicate that the original structure was contaminated with asbestos.

Leeds City Council awarded her compensation, yet her condition has necessitated her retirement from her career as an estate agent.

Last year, the Work and Pensions Committee MPs advocated for a 40-year timeline to eliminate all asbestos from public and commercial structures. However, the government declined to adhere to this timeline, citing a lack of definitive proof that it would enhance health outcomes.

The Green Party has expressed support for the removal of all asbestos from public buildings within the proposed 40-year period, deeming it a perfectly feasible goal.

Labour, on the other hand, did not reply to the BBC's inquiry for a comment.

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