Think tank lambasts UK asbestos regulation

The UK “remains a storehouse of asbestos”, with nurses and teachers particularly vulnerable due to its widespread prevalence in hospitals and schools, according to a think tank.

According to a report from Res Publica, published this week to correspond with the twentieth anniversary of the national ban on the use of asbestos, around six million tonnes of the hazardous mineral is distributed in 1.5m British buildings. Widely used in insulating and fire-retardant products, exposure its fibres can induce cancer, particularly mesothelioma.

More than 5,500 deaths were attributed to it last year, the largest cause of occupation-related mortality. The true figure is likely to be double, as deaths beyond the age of 75 are not recorded, says the report.

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