The four main diseases

The four main diseases
caused by asbestos

are mesothelioma, lung cancer,
asbestosis and pleural plaque.

Mesothelioma is a cancer

which is pretty much uniquely caused
by asbestos.

Lung cancer can also be caused
by exposure to asbestos fibres.

If you don't smoke you've got a chance
of getting it from asbestos fibres.

If you do smoke,
then your chances are greatly increased

by as much as a factor of 50,

your chances of getting lung cancer.

What has happened
over the last 30 years,

it's people in the trades,

the people
that will be doing building work,

people in IT who will be chasing
communications cables through,

people who are in the sign-writing
industry putting signs up,

anybody that's going into a building

and is likely to go into material
and break it up

by screwing, drilling
or smashing into it.

These people should be aware
of what it looks like

and where it's likely to be.

The precautions they should take are

when entering a non-domestic
or commercial building

they should ask to see
an asbestos register.

Every building should have one.

It is possible for asbestos
to be present in a building

that's not on the register.

It shouldn't be but it is possible.

So proceeding with caution,
knowing what asbestos looks like

is now part of the asbestos regulation

in as much as people who are likely
to come up against asbestos

must now be trained
for asbestos awareness.

It's generally accepted that even
one fibre can cause one of the diseases

and this is why we have to
take the precautions that we do.

Generally speaking
it's recurring exposure to asbestos

that is the far greater danger.

If you are going to get
an asbestos disease

you probably won't get any symptoms
for ten years.

Typically it would be 30 years
and in some cases it's 60 years.

There is this long gestation period

between the exposure
and the disease setting on.

At the moment the deaths
from asbestos diseases are rising,

they're on an upward slope
and they're going to continue.

Because of this gestation period
they're going to continue.

It's the most serious disease the Health
and Safety Executive has to deal with,

the most prevalent,

and the number of deaths from asbestos

has now exceeded the number of people
who are dying on the roads every year,

so it is a very, very large problem.