Media statement in response to the launch of the Sunday Times Campaign, Act Now on Asbestos:
Ian Stone, Director of Acorn Analytical Services, said:
“For ten years Acorn Analytical Services has been on the front line of the UK’s battle with asbestos, banging the drum for change and fighting to raise awareness of the sheer scale of the health emergency which threatens every single person in our country.
“It has felt as though we were a lone voice and that many thousands more would be condemned to a death sentence as a consequence of the use of asbestos in construction in the past. People of every age, sex and class are blindly walking into schools, workplaces and hospitals every day not knowing that they are potentially being exposed to asbestos and risk developing related cancers and fatal diseases that exposure to asbestos can cause.
“But today, thanks to the launch of The Sunday Times’ campaign Act Now on Asbestos, we finally have hope – hope that those in authority will take notice, take action and save lives.
“Our current laws and regulations stipulate that if asbestos is found, there is a duty for it to be managed and not disturbed, but in reality that just doesn’t work. It is managed until it is inevitably disturbed and then risks lives. Surely, prevention is better than a cure and we should be calling for removal of asbestos as soon as it is detected to save lives?
“Asbestos was banned in construction in 1999 and the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002 came into force in 2004. Despite these measures, death rates are not coming down and everyone is at risk who enters a building constructed before 1999. More needs to be done.
“Still too many people are unaware of the dangers of asbestos and the fact that it is all around us in factories, offices and shops and even the places where we should feel safest of all – in our hospitals, homes and even our schools.
“Without even realising it, we’re sleepwalking into a health and safety emergency.
“More than 100 years after the first asbestos-related death was recorded and 25 years after the use of asbestos was finally banned in new buildings in the UK this is simply unacceptable, and we wholeheartedly support The Sunday Times’ campaign.
“It’s time for a frank and open discussion about the threat of asbestos in the UK before it’s too late.”
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