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Asbestos Time Bomb May Kill 120,000

London - Cancer Research UK has released a major warning that up to 120,000 people may die from asbestos exposure that occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. The study also reports that men in their 60s are at the greatest risk for developing asbestos related conditions.

The statement was authored by the organization's chairman professor Julian Peto and warns that Britain will face an epidemic likely to peak at around 2,500 annual deaths between 2011 and 2015.

Men who worked in construction especially carpenters and electricians as well as dockyard workers are most at risk of contracting mesothelioma and other asbestos linked conditions. Their families are also at risk from second hand exposure from asbestos brought home on their clothing.

The second hand threat is just now coming into the spotlight after 50 year old Debra Brewer won compensation from the government after contracting mesothelioma from hugging her father. Her only exposure to asbestos was her father.

Professor Peto noted that Britain has the highest rate mesothelioma in the world and estimates that 60,000 people will die from mesothelioma in the coming years in addition to the 30,000 who have already lost their lives.

With other asbestos-related lung conditions likely to kill similar numbers, up to 120,000 are expected to lose their lives in the coming years.

"Mesothelioma has already killed twice as many people as cervical cancer. Instead of young women, those affected are elderly working class men," said Peto.

The British Lung Foundation stated that more than 2,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year in the UK. Asbestos was effectively banned in the 1980s but the lag time of the disease will see cases diagnosed for decades afterwards.

The dangers of exposure to asbestos have been known since the 1930s, yet few safeguards were enacted until the 1970s.

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