City asbestos deaths are among the highest

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PORTSMOUTH has one of the highest asbestos-related death counts nationally, according to a campaign group.

Statistics from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) show that the deaths of 11 people in every 200,000 who die in the city are due to asbestos.

This compares to a national average of five out of 200,000.

The figures relate to 2006 to 2010, which showed 67 deaths in the area were because of mesothelioma – a terminal cancer of the lung wall caused by asbestos exposure.

Asbestos was often used in the city’s dockyard.

Campaigners warn the figure is likely to increase in the next five years and want the government to create a pot of money for those effected.

APIL president David Bott said: ‘More people die of mesothelioma in Portsmouth per head of the population than most other parts of the country. This is bad enough, but the number of men dying from this disease is expected to peak in the next five years.

‘And what many people don’t realise is hundreds of sufferers across the UK cannot get the compensation they need to help them through the last days of their life.

‘What is needed is for the government to bring forward proposals for a fund of last resort, which would act as a safety net for injured workers.’

Workers who have developed mesothelioma are sometimes unable to pursue a claim for damages because they can no longer trace the employer who exposed them to asbestos.

This is because symptoms often come decades after a worker has inhaled asbestos fibres.