HC Deb 25 June 1998 vol 314 cc562-3W
Mr. Hoyle

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many deaths have been caused through white asbestos in each of the last five years. [47410]

Angela Eagle

The number of cases specifically caused by white asbestos cannot be determined from available statistics which do not distinguish between types of asbestos. However, there is good evidence that blue and brown asbestos is significantly more hazardous than white.

Asbestos causes three fatal diseases: mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. The number of deaths from all types of asbestos exposure for mesothelioma and asbestosis in the last five years for which complete data are available are as follows:

Year Mesothelioma Asbestosis
1991 1,011 163
1992 1,082 150
1993 1,140 172
1994 1,241 174
1995 1,317 164

The number of lung cancers cannot be accurately determined, but indirect evidence suggests that there are at least as many cases as for mesothelioma.

These figures represent deaths from exposure probably between 15 and 45 years ago when the use of asbestos was more widespread and when legislative controls were less stringent than now.

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