Home News Asbestos Deaths per Year in the UK: Understanding the Impact of Asbestos-Related Diseases

Asbestos Deaths per Year in the UK: Understanding the Impact of Asbestos-Related Diseases

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Last Updated on 2 August 2023

For many decades, asbestos has been extensively utilised in the construction and manufacturing industries because of its exceptional fire-resistant and insulating characteristics. However, It has become clear that being exposed to asbestos fibres can have serious health effects, including potentially life-threatening diseases. As a result, the number of deaths related to asbestos in the UK continues to be a major concern.

In this article, we will explore in some detail the statistics, causes, and preventive measures associated with the number of deaths caused by asbestos each year in the UK.

An Alarming Overview: Asbestos Deaths per year in the UK

The issue of asbestos-related deaths in the UK has been a matter of concern for a significant period of time. Even though asbestos was banned in the late 1990s, the negative health effects from previous exposure are still being observed.  So In the upcoming sections, we will explore the alarming statistics and trends surrounding asbestos-related deaths in the UK.

The Deadly Connection: Exploring the Relationship Between Asbestos and Mesothelioma

In the UK, mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that is unfortunately the leading cause of asbestos-related deaths. Infact, it’s recognised as the only form of cancer that is directly related to past exposure to asbestos.  The main areas that it affects are the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. Its connection to asbestos exposure is widely recognised.

Revealing the Facts: Annual Asbestos-Related Deaths in the UK

The statistics on asbestos-related deaths in the UK and Globally are quite alarming and worrisome. Globally, a study from 2018 has put the total number of deaths annually at around 255,000. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have estimated that currently, in the UK, asbestos deaths are still in excess of 5000 every year.

Mesothelioma accounts for a large majority of these deaths with an estimated total of 2268 in 2021.  In addition, approximately 2500 deaths were from asbestos related lung cancer, and 490 were from Asbestosis.

As these are only estimates and because Covid-19 has impacted the collection of accurate statistics, the numbers are potentially much higher. The UK also has one of the highest per capita rates of Mesothelioma on earth. This is partly due to the UK being one of the largest manufacturers of asbestos products through the twentieth century.

Despite numerous efforts to increase awareness and implement safety measures, the number of deaths continues to remain alarmingly high. The HSE reduced the frequency of asbestos awareness training in the UK from annually to ‘regular’ which is likely to have a negative effect on awareness. All the figures quoted should also be seen within the wider context of occupational lung disease.


asbestos related deaths per year uk

Estimated statistics for asbestos-related deaths per year – Image courtesy of HSE website

The Hidden Danger: Asbestosis and Lung Cancer Asbestos

In addition to mesothelioma, asbestos exposure has been found to be associated with other significant health conditions, including asbestosis and lung cancer. Asbestosis is a condition that affects the lungs and develops over time due to long-term exposure to asbestos. It can cause breathing difficulties due to scarring of the lungs and a decrease in lung function. Exposure to asbestos increases the risk of developing lung cancer, making it an even more pressing health issue.

The Dangers of Asbestos in the Workplace: A Closer Look at Occupational Hazards

In the past, workers in industries such as construction, shipbuilding, and manufacturing faced a greater risk of being exposed to asbestos. This was because asbestos was commonly used in these sectors. To fully grasp the magnitude of the issue, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the history of asbestos use in workplaces.

Second-hand exposure: A Hazardous Risk

Not only do asbestos-related diseases impact individuals who work directly with asbestos, but they also affect people who come into contact with asbestos fibres indirectly. The family members of workers who unknowingly bring home asbestos fibres on their clothing are also at risk, which further extends the impact of asbestos.

The Latency Period: Exploring the Delayed Onset of Symptoms

One of the difficult things about asbestos-related diseases is that they take a long time to develop. Symptoms may not become apparent until several decades after exposure, which can make it challenging to diagnose and intervene early.  At RB Asbestos, we often describe this as a landmine with a delayed fuse.


Mesothelioma cells

Mesothelioma cells


The Silent Threat of Asbestos in Homes

Although the use of asbestos was prohibited in November 1999, it is important to note that there is still a possibility of finding asbestos materials in homes constructed prior to this date. This can potentially pose a risk to homeowners when they undertake renovations or repairs. Therefore, having knowledge about the presence of materials that may contain asbestos can assist in reducing potential risks.

The Legal Landscape: Understanding Asbestos Claims and Compensation

Individuals who have been affected by asbestos exposure, as well as their families, have the option to pursue compensation for the illnesses that have resulted from this exposure. Therefore, It is crucial to have a clear understanding of the legal options that are available to individuals who have been affected, as this will enable them to seek justice and obtain the necessary financial support. There are many specialist lawyers in the UK who can assist victims of asbestos with a diagnosed disease.

The Importance of Proper Asbestos Removal

Asbestos removal requires specialised procedures in order to minimise fibre release. Therefore, hiring licensed professionals to conduct asbestos removal ensures safety and compliance with UK regulations.

Raising Awareness: Initiatives in Asbestos Education

There are several organisations and initiatives that have the goal of increasing awareness about diseases caused by asbestos and promoting safety measures to prevent any more exposure.

In the UK these can be charities, pressure groups, the HSE or Training organisations such as the IATP of which we are a member and our MD is a board Director www.iatp.org.uk

Frequently Asked Questions about the Number of Asbestos-Related Deaths in the UK

Q. What are the leading causes of asbestos-related deaths in the UK?

The primary causes are mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, and asbestosis. These diseases have been found to be directly related to exposure to asbestos.

Q. Has the UK completely banned the use of asbestos?

While the use of asbestos was banned in the UK in November 1999, it is important to note that older buildings might still have materials that contain asbestos.

Q. Are there any signs that can indicate the presence of asbestos-related diseases at an early stage?

Asbestos-related diseases typically take a long time to develop, and symptoms may not become apparent until many years after being exposed to asbestos.

Q. Is second-hand exposure to asbestos just as dangerous?

Yes, it is possible for family members of workers who have been exposed to asbestos to also develop diseases related to asbestos exposure.

Q. Is mesothelioma the most common disease related to asbestos in the UK?

Yes, mesothelioma is the primary cause of asbestos-related deaths in the UK.

Q. Are there any support groups available for individuals and their families affected by asbestos exposure?

Yes, there are several support groups available that offer help and resources for individuals and their loved ones who have been affected by asbestos.

Conclusion – Asbestos death per year in the UK

The number of deaths caused by asbestos each year in the UK continues to be a significant public health issue, despite ongoing efforts to manage exposure and raise awareness about safety precautions.  Another interesting statistic is that In the UK, it is estimated that around 13 individuals lose their lives each day due to health conditions resulting from past exposure to asbestos. This number is more than twice the number of fatalities caused by road accidents.

Therefore, as the number of deaths in the UK continue to rise, It is extremely important to fully grasp the seriousness of diseases caused by asbestos and to use that understanding to increase awareness and promote preventative measures.

While the use of asbestos has significantly reduced, old buildings and structures still pose risks. Continued vigilance and safe asbestos management are vital for a healthier future.

In addition, by consistently conducting research, promoting education, and advocating for change, we can strive towards a future where deaths caused by asbestos are eradicated.

Here at RB Asbestos we give free advice, support asbestos charities, work with solicitors assisting asbestos victims and speak regularly at events.

Need asbestos advice?

We hope you found our article on asbestos deaths per year in the UK both useful and informative.  If you need any help or advice at all with any aspect of asbestos then we’ll be very happy to assist you.  Give us a call and our experts will give you some advice and guidance on whatever if is you’re concerned about.

Please contact us on 0800 141 2676, email us at info@rbasbestos.co.uk or fill in the form below.

Our professional asbestos surveyors conduct asbestos inspections and asbestos surveys every day across the UK on all types of properties, both residential and commercial, for private home owners and commercial property Managers and owners.  So when it comes to managing asbestos in your property, you’re in very safe hands with RB Asbestos Consultants.

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