A Letter to the Liverpool Echo

To the Editor, (Liverpool Echo)


I write to draw your readers attention to the 20th Anniversary of the Banning of Asbestos on 24th November 2019. The registered charity; Merseyside Asbestos Victims Support Group (MAVSG),  held two events to commemorate this mile stone in social history with a gathering on 19th November with speakers detailing not only the history of asbestos exposure on Merseyside and its sinister and devastating affect on workers,  including mesothelioma; a cancer of the lining of the lung almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos.

On 24th November MAVSG had a plaque unveiled at the Unite Union Office, Birkenhead   in memory of all those who had lost their lives due to asbestos. The Mayor of Wirral, Councillor Tony Smith unveiled the plaque together with widows who had lost their husbands due to mesothelioma. The Mayor said, “When we look back in history at the asbestos tragedy and it’s horrendous legacy, people often believe that asbestos is no longer a problem in society.  Well it is.  It is still causing over 5,000 people a year to be diagnosed with asbestos related diseases and the sad and tragic prospect is that that number is likely to increase but we don’t know for how long.”

Latest HSE figures show 2,526 deaths due to this insidious disease in 2017 with an equal number of asbestos related lung cancers totalling over 5,000 deaths per year plus those suffering with asbestosis and asbestos related pleural thickening.

Some people may believe that the asbestos epidemic is in decline however the continuing annual death rate around 2,500 for mesothelioma has been tragically repeated for the last 5 years. A press release was sent to all media outlets without it being reported in the local press.

Both events also reported on Steve Rotheram, the Metro Mayor of Liverpool
City Region and the Honorary President of MAVSG; correspondence with the government asking for a guarantee that any post Brexit trade deals, particularly with the US who still use asbestos, will not breach the UK ‘s ban on asbestos. The government have indicated that “there will not be a race to the bottom on standards” and we are hoping that this means no breach of the asbestos ban.

We have held several events over the past years with detailed press releases with very little publicity in the local press. We look forward to similar events; International Workers Memorial Day on 28 April 2020 and Action Mesothelioma Day 3rd July 2020 to inform the people of Merseyside of this vital issue. Our group can be contacted on 0151 236 1895 or via email info@mavsg.org Deatails of all our events appear on our website at www.mavsg.org

John Flanagan

Support Officer



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