What is Action Mesothelioma Day and why is it so important?
Action Mesothelioma Day was inaugurated in 2006 following a summit in March 2005 when various groups who were working and campaigning to raise awareness of the condition, laid down the Mesothelioma Charter. This listed the priorities of sufferers and their families in terms of the availability of expert healthcare and legal advice, a call upon the Government to make mesothelioma research and treatment a priority and ensure the HSE enforce existing asbestos regulations to prevent future exposure and a request to employers to provide safe working environments.
Sadly, illness caused by asbestos exposure is not something of the past. The UK has one of the highest incidents of mesothelioma with approximately 2500 new cases diagnosed each year and the number is increasing. HSE figure released only this week show that whilst the use of asbestos was banned in the UK in 1999 those being diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases is not reducing. This is because the effect of asbestos exposure is not seen until decades after the exposure occurred. It is not unusual for there to be a lag time between exposure and onset of symptoms of between 10 and 50+ years. It is estimated that in the next 30 years 60,000 people in this country will develop mesothelioma.
Whilst mesothelioma was once a disease which mainly affected people using or being exposed to asbestos during the course of their employment, increasingly we are also seeing people being diagnosed with mesothelioma that have never worked with or used asbestos in their occupations. Wives who washed their husband’s asbestos contaminated work overalls, children who hugged their fathers when they returned home from work in asbestos laden clothes, teachers and pupils exposed to asbestos in schools, doctors and nurses exposed from damage or disturbance of asbestos materials in hospital and emergency services personnel who attended the aftermath of terrorist attacks where buildings containing asbestos were destroyed have all fallen victim to the effects of asbestos exposure. More recently it has become apparent that talc has been contaminated with asbestos during mining and some consumer products including talcum powders and make up may have been contaminated with asbestos.
This year on Friday 3 July 2020, the UK Mesothelioma Alliance and asbestos support groups and organisations throughout the country will mark the day once more. Given the pandemic many ceremonies will be virtual. Whilst it is sad that people cannot join together in person to mark this day, it is hoped that virtual ceremonies and meetings will enable more people to take part and help to spread the word to many others who would not usually have attended a ceremony, about mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos.
The UK Mesothelioma Alliance Action Mesothelioma Day ceremony can be viewed from 10.45am on Friday 3 July 2020 on:
If you use Twitter, please share the links and use the hashag #AMD2020.
There will be a 1 minute silence at 11am.
Here at Royds Withy King, we set up and sponsor the Swindon and Wiltshire Asbestos Support Group and for several years now we have held a ceremony on Action Mesothelioma Day at the Mesothelioma Memorial Garden in Queen’s Park to commemorate those who have lost their lives to this dreadful disease and to support current sufferers, their families and carers. Sadly, Swindon has been disproportionately affected by mesothelioma due to its industrial heritage, in particular the railway works which has left a legacy of asbestos disease.
It is with sadness that, given the uncertainties of the time and social distancing measures in place, we cannot hold a ceremony this year but we have produced a short video with memories of past ceremonies which will be available to view on YouTube from 3.30pm on Friday 3 July 2020 by using this link: https://youtu.be/TcHAljPnwoM
It is vital that Action Mesothelioma Day continues to be recognised and attended. It is a very special day and the events held to commemorate it are always extremely moving and poignant. Whilst this year’s events will predominately be virtual please do take part, share on social media and show your support for those whose lives have been effected by mesothelioma.