Asbestos Health Statistics

The UK's Biggest Workplace Killer

Over 5,000 asbestos-related disease deaths per year

Updated 08/07/2021

Inhalation of asbestos fibres can cause cancers such as mesothelioma and lung cancer, and other serious lung diseases such as asbestosis and pleural thickening.

There were 2,369 mesothelioma deaths in 2019 and is estimated that there were, in addition, a similar number of deaths due to asbestos-related lung cancer.

Also, 490 Asbestosis deaths in 2019 due to past exposures to asbestos.

  • All asbestos-related diseases typically take many years to develop so current statistics reflect the legacy of past working conditions.
  • Widespread use of asbestos containing products in the past, particularly in the post-WWII building industry, led to a large increase in asbestos-related disease in Great Britain over the last few decades.
  • The cancer, mesothelioma, has such a strong relationship with asbestos that annual deaths give a particularly clear view of the effect of past exposures.
  • Annual deaths increased steeply over the last 50 years, largely as a result of asbestos exposure prior to 1980, and are now expected to continue at current levels for the rest of the decade.

Further Information

For more information on the latest health statistics visit the HSE Website