Today is Action Mesothelioma Day - for many people mesothelioma will simply be a difficult to pronounce word, however, for those individuals whose lives’ have been devastated by this hideous disease mesothelioma is not just a word but a sentence.
What is mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a disease caused almost exclusively as a consequence of some unprotected exposure to asbestos. It's estimated that in the UK there are 2,700 new cases of mesothelioma each year, the highest incidence rate in the world.
Evidence suggests that in the UK 94 per cent of cases are as a consequence of occupational exposure which, in most cases, was entirely preventable. Manifestation of the disease often occurs decades after the instance of exposure.
Although banned asbestos is still a problem
Dawn McKinley, chair of the UK Mesothelioma Alliance, said: “Because the use and import of asbestos was banned in the UK in 1999, many people assume it’s no longer a problem, but they couldn’t be more wrong. If you’re in a school, hospital or other building built before 1999 then there’s a good chance your less than 10 metres away from asbestos”.
Day of raising awareness and support
Action Mesothelioma Day aims to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos. It's also a day of support for those living and caring for those with the condition and, poignantly, a day of remembrance of those who have succumbed to this dreadful disease.
This year, events will be held across the UK in support of the day and around 100 landmarks and buildings across the country will be lit up blue this evening. The location of those participating can be found on the Action Meso campaign website.
There are an incredible range of venues participating in this event these include town halls, university campus buildings, churches and some notable modern and historic landmarks.
Some of the landmarks connect to our industrial heritage, such as the Grade II listed Lifting Tower from the former Leeds Central Railway, dating back to around 1850. The building used steam power and chains to hoist railway wagons from the higher passenger line down to the Great Northern Goods yard.
Wentworth Woodhouse supporting Action Mesothelioma Day
Another historic building to go blue for the event is Wentworth Woodhouse which is to be found in the small village of Wentworth just outside Rotherham. Built circa 1734, this was the former home of the 1st Marquis of Rockingham boasting the longest and most spectacular façades of any country house in Europe.
The house had a purpose built boiler house in which a Victorian coal fired heating system produced steam to supply heating for the house. Originally, asbestos was found within the boiler house and associated pipework which has since been removed.
The house is now owned by Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust; CEO of the Trust Sarah McLeod, said: “We are pleased to be supporting Action Mesothelioma Day, by lighting the house blue, to help raise awareness of mesothelioma and the challenges people with asbestos-related illnesses face each day.”
Public awareness key to reducing risks connected to asbestos
Although there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, the fibres being so small that thousands of them would fit onto a pin head, increased public awareness of the dangers posed by such exposure and knowledge of where asbestos can be found is a significant part of reducing this risk.
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell’s expertise in supporting people and their families diagnosed with mesothelioma and other diseases at our dedicated asbestos-related disease section.
"We are pleased to be supporting Action Mesothelioma Day, by lighting the House blue, to help raise awareness of mesothelioma and the challenges people with asbestos-related illnesses face each day." Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust CEO, Sarah McLeod