Men’s Health Month – it’s time to talk openly about asbestos

This Men's Health Month is time to talk about absestos

NOVEMBER marks Men’s Health Month – a time for shining the spotlight on the conditions and issues which affect men from all walks of life.

While the focus quite rightly turns to serious health issues including Prostate Cancer, Testicular Cancer and mental health, at Acorn Analytical Services we want people to start talking about asbestos.

Each year in the UK 2,700 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of cancer which is caused by exposure to asbestos.

Of those, the vast majority will be men – sons, brothers, uncles, dads, grandads – all with stories cut tragically short because of an illness which is almost entirely preventable.

This Men’s Health Month it’s time to talk about asbestos.

Throughout the 1800s, asbestos was used extensively in the UK in shipbuilding, steam engines and power plants, establishing the UK as one of the powerhouses of engineering and manufacturing.

But over time it became very clear that this hero product was far more sinister than it had first seemed.

By 1899 the first report of fibrosis of the lungs had been attributed to asbestos but it was the case of Nellie Kershaw, who died aged 1924 aged just 33 which really aroused the public’s interest. Having found samples of asbestos fibres in her lungs, pathologist William Cooke gave her cause of death as asbestosis leading to the first report to be commissioned into the links between asbestos and cancer in the workplace.

Unbelievably, in spite of the mounting evidence and regulations put in place to minimise exposure, it was more than a century later that the use of asbestos was finally banned in new buildings in the UK.

Why does mesothelioma affect more men than women?

Historically, men have been at greater risk of developing mesothelioma simply because of the work they traditionally do.

According to statistics from UKATA, mesothelioma remains the UK’s biggest workplace killer, claiming the lives of 1,867 men and 401 women in 2021 alone, which is why it’s an important topic to cover during Men’s Health Month.

Research conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also concludes that occupation plays a significant role in determining the individual risk of developing mesothelioma.

Looking at data spanning 20 years from 1980 to 2000, the research shows that men aged between 16-74 who had previously worked in roles including plumbers and gas fitters, carpenters, electricians, engineers, and builders were at a much greater risk of developing mesothelioma than the rest of the population.

Why is raising awareness of asbestos so important?  

We believe that knowledge is power and that certainly applies when it comes to asbestos.

While many people know the use of asbestos in new buildings has been banned, few realise that asbestos still remains in many commonly-used buildings including factories, schools, hospitals and even our homes.

It has never been more important for us to talk about asbestos and make sure that as many people as possible are aware of the dangers – and Acorn Analytical Services educating the public is a key part of our mission.

If you want to learn more you’ll find a wealth of information on our website including books, a podcast and news and articles.

And if you need our advice on a project you are working on don’t hesitate to get in touch, our friendly team is ready and waiting to help you.

This Men’s Health Month let’s talk about asbestos.

Acorn is a professional asbestos consultancy helping organisations deal with asbestos compliance using asbestos surveysasbestos air testing, and asbestos removal management. 

Please call one of the team, or use the online form to obtain your free quotation. If you would like further information or advice on asbestos and asbestos training, contact the team on 0844 818 0895 or Contact Us

Neil Munro

I work in a dual role at Acorn Analytical Services focused primarily on growing and leading the business from our Northampton office base. My focus is on overseeing all sales, marketing and financial activities from Northampton. I assist clients with high-level asbestos management strategies and training. Together with Ian Stone I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I'm Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

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