Revealed: Suffolk's asbestos death toll

SUFFOLK: More than 300 people in Suffolk have died as a result of coming into contact with asbestos, shocking figures revealed today.

SUFFOLK: More than 300 people in Suffolk have died as a result of coming into contact with asbestos, shocking figures revealed today.

In all, 336 people died from Mesothelioma ? a cancer caused by breathing in the deadly fibres ? between 1981 and 2005 according the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

There were 704 deaths in Essex and 396 in Norfolk.

A warning of the dangers of asbestos was today issued to tradesmen as part of a new campaign.

The HSE claims that around 20 people across the UK die from asbestos-related diseases every week and that the numbers are increasing.

Workers most at risk of exposure to asbestos are those most likely to disturb or damage the substance such as plumbers, joiners and electricians.

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This week the HSE launched a new campaign titled 'Asbestos: The Hidden Killer' to protect people from harm.

It aims to raise awareness of the risks posed by asbestos and highlight how workers can best protect themselves.

Anyone working on a building that was built or refurbished before the year 2000 could be exposed to asbestos without even knowing it. In the UK, around 500,000 non-domestic buildings contain asbestos.

Heather Bryant, HSE regional director for the East of England, said: “Asbestos is Britain's biggest industrial killer.

“Contrary to what many people believe, the risks are not a thing of the past. Asbestos-related illnesses claim the lives of 4,000 people every year ? more than die in road accidents.

“The most simple, but important advice is, if you are not 100 per cent certain that there is no asbestos where you are working, then don't start work. It is not worth the risk.”

The campaign is being supported by unions, employers representatives, health charities, sufferers and victims groups.

For more information on the campaign visit www.hse.gov.uk/hiddenkiller

Has your family been affected by Mesothelioma? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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