Asbestos dangers

Inhaling asbestos fibres can lead to various lung conditions including cancer.

Our most common type of asbestos here around Scarborough and in North Yorkshire, chrysotile asbestos, causes asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma.


Asbestosis mainly affects people who have had a long-term and significant exposure to asbestos. The fibres cause inflammation and scarring of the lungs leading to shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing and chest tightness. There’s no cure and it carries an increased risk of mesothelioma.


Mesothelioma from asbestos is a cancer of the lining of the lungs and chest wall. 80% of mesothelioma cases are caused by exposure to asbestos, with a separation between exposure and cancer of up to 40 years. The 5-year survival rate in the US is 8%. The greater the exposure, the greater the risk but simply working in a building containing asbestos can be enough. In 2015 60,800 people had mesothelioma, with rates higher than average here in the UK and rising, and it’s more common in men.

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