Shocking new statistics unveiled by the Health and Safety Executive show an increase in the number of people who have died from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma.

The figures released this week show more than 2,000 North East people died from the disease from 1985 to 2004.

The figure is increased from 1701 deaths from 1981 to 2000.

Additionally the statistics from the Mesothelioma Register show more women than ever are affected by the disease with 251 deaths during the period compared to 216.

Head of Asbestos Policy

Ian McFall, Head of asbestos policy at Thompsons Solicitors, said: "These figures once again highlight the devastation asbestos has inflicted on people in the North East. Many of those affected worked in shipyards, factories or building sites and were given no protection or warning about the risks of asbestos exposure despite their employers being fully aware of the dangers.

"Although shocking, these figures come as no surprise given the widespread use of asbestos in the past. Sadly, the number of people who will die from this disease will continue to rise until 2020."


Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos dust and symptoms can first appear decades after the asbestos dust was inhaled. Many who are diagnosed with the disease die within months.

The figures show 1086 people in Tyne & Wear died from mesothelioma during 1985 to 2004, up from 932 during 1981 to 2000.

The number of deaths in Teesside rose from 320 to 424 during the same time period.