UKATA is becoming a source of advice for countries worldwide as a global asbestos disease epidemic looms. During and since its presence at last year’s Safety and Health Expo in London, UKATA has found itself assisting with worldwide requests for advice.
UKATA will be using its second presence at the Safety and Health Expo at Excel London from 16-18 June to launch its latest campaign – Train Safe, Work Safe, Keep Safe and furthering its partnership with the British Lung Foundation. A BLF team will be at UKATA’s stand for the first two days of the show to raise awareness of mesothelioma and carry out lung function tests.
“The popularity of asbestos in the developing world is actually accelerating, fuelled by demand for cheap, mass-produced building materials,” said Craig Evans, General Manager of The UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA). “China alone consumed an astonishing 626,000 metric tons of asbestos in 2007 alone. But at our first presence at Expo last year, we were heartened by the amount of interest from visitors from all corners of the globe. People from Sweden, Asia, Australia, America, Russia and China came to us for advice and that interest has continued.”
Death rates around the world are set to soar within the next five years as mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibres as long as 50 years ago, takes its toll.
Mesothelioma is thought to be silently afflicting one in every 100 men born in the 1940s in the UK alone as a consequence of the unrestricted use of asbestos from the 1950s. The global forecast is much worse, as much of the world continues to use asbestos at an alarming rate without following the safety guidelines imposed in the UK in 1983.
“The fact that UKATA is being approached for international guidance is a great accolade and further evidence that we are respected throughout the industry,” added Craig.
“Millions of people worldwide are highly likely to be suffering from the illness without even knowing it, as mesothelioma has a long incubation period and is usually only diagnosed at an advanced stage.”
In the UK, the legacy of more than half a century of exposure to asbestos at work is about to be seen in thousands of former ship-builders, boilermakers, builders, plumbers, teachers, nurses and their families. Guy’s Hospital in London has predicted that, in the developing world alone, 100,000 people who are alive now will die from mesothelioma.