Asbestos Exposure: A Global Problem

world with toy trucks

Many individuals fall into a common trap of believing that a problem only exists in a small, defined corner of the world. Whether this is due to hearing items on the local news or learning about tragic events anecdotally, it leads to a dramatically limited perspective. A recent report released in the UK shines a shocking light on the worldwide impact of asbestos exposure.

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) estimates that more than 100,000 people die from asbestos-related diseases around the world every year. They go on to state that about 20 people die in the United Kingdom each week from work-related asbestos exposure. This is far more people than who die from accidents at work over the same period.

The IOSH cautions that asbestos-related diseases could cause 10 million deaths before the situation is fully controlled.

“Latest estimates suggest as many as a quarter of a million lives may be lost every year to the work-related effects of exposure to asbestos,” said Dr. Jukka Takala, from the Workplace Safety and Health Institute in Singapore and President of the International Commission on Occupational Health.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral lauded for being resistant to heat transfer. Countless industries from building construction to water-pipe insulation to floor tile manufacturing use asbestos. Over a century ago, however, the material was found to cause asbestosis and various cancers such as mesothelioma. Individuals across the world from auto mechanics to school children are exposed to this danger on a daily basis.