Identification, Control and Prevention of Mesothelioma Disease in the UK


Following industrialization, the production of materials that would be used in development increased. Production increased development as the companies developed economically. Production involved making of chemical substances. Little information was known about the harmful effects of the substances hence, production continued. Company owners failed to take any precautions to enact safety measures. A large number of workers were exposed to harmful substances whose effects later manifested. Consequently, the number of ailing workers from exposure has increased. As a result, the governments have introduced safety and health measures. UK companies that produced asbestos have been implicated. Some companies failed to take precaution and many years later those exposed have suffered or might suffer from Mesothelium. The government has considered introducing safety measures. This essay will critically evaluate the current strategies within the UK for identification, control and prevention of Mesothelium.

Mesothelioma Disease and Asbestos

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that affects Mesothelium. Mesothelium is a layer which protects internal body organs. People who have been exposed to asbestos are at risk of contracting Mesothelioma. It is contracted when inhaled, exposed to dust and coming into contact with the fibers. Smoking is not a cause but it increases the chances of getting Mesothelioma. Symptoms appear after two to three decades after exposure to asbestos. Breathe shortness; chest pain and a dry cough are the common symptoms. Weight loss, swelling, anemia, bowel obstruction, fever and sometimes difficulty in swallowing are other symptoms depending on the area that is affected. Mesothelioma can spread to other parts of the body and form malignant tumors. For diagnosis, a CT scan, Chest X-ray, microscopic examination and biopsy can be done. Treatment includes radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery for certain cases. Most cases are realized when the cancer is advanced.

Asbestos which causes Mesothelioma has been used widely in 19 and 20th century. The effects of exposure were hardly known during the period. Later, workers in asbestos mines and people working close were found to have the rare type of cancer. Awareness was raised and governments have been required to take responsibility by enacting safety measures. The latency period for Mesothelioma disease is long and once a person is exposed, very little can be done to prevent development; hence identification, control and prevention should occur early enough to prevent fatalities. Moreover, the prognosis of the disease is poor, making prevention of the disease important. Mesothelioma causes death by causing disability to the internal organs.

Asbestos is widely known as building material. It has been praised for its durability, ability to withstand weather and resistance to fire. It was a means of making strong houses and creating wealth in industrialized states in the past century. Health concerns began to radiate from areas with high activity of asbestos mining and industries. The initial regulations in UK required the industries to increase ventilation in the working areas. Little was done to protect the employees physically, hence, many became exposed. Immediate impacts could not be realized since asbestos takes a long period of time to cause Mesothelioma disease. Currently, the use of asbestos has reduced in the last two decades. Those who got exposed have shown symptoms twenty to forty years after exposure. The law provides for the compensation of employees who were exposed in their previous employment. Companies have been held responsible for providing protection to employees against the harmful substance.


According to HSC (2007, p. 1), the reports of illnesses that are related to work indicate that 2. 2 million members of the public could relate their illness being caused or made worse by their working in the recent or previous past. Close to 646, 000 cases of work related diseases have been reported in the previous year. 2037 of the cases were people who had succumbed after suffering from Mesothelioma. There were numerous cases of cancerous diseases that had been reported in the same year. Consequently, up to 36 million days were lost from the preventable illnesses related to health and safety at work.

Doctors and physicians have contributed in providing new case of work related diseases. They have reported an increasing number of diseases that is close to 22, 000 annually. Exposure to substances such as asbestos has significantly caused people to suffer from respiratory illnesses.

The number of fatalities related to work has increased and many cases end up unreported. Many are in the form of cancer and are traced back to many years of exposure in the past. 4000 lose their lives after suffering from cancer that was caused by exposure to asbestos in their past. The people might have been exposed to dust, chemicals or fumes.

In 1968, Mesothelioma patients who died were 153, while in 2005, 2037 Mesothelioma patients died. The age of the patients provide information that the people had been exposed to asbestos. Those aged 55 and above indicate fatality while those bellow 55 show better management of the condition lately. The number of Mesothelioma disease has continually increased indicating exposure in the last twenty to thirty years. The production of Asbestos has decreased in the last twenty five years. It is expected the number of Mesothelioma patients will decrease after two to three decades. Repairing and demolishing a building with asbestos can pose a risk of exposure.

A large number of publics in UK have reported working or being close to a working environment where they were exposed to dangerous substances. The risk controls in 2005 were increased with an aim of enhancing safety. Majority of Mesothelioma patients are men working in asbestos mining companies. A low percentage of Mesothelioma patients were exposed for being in close environment and dust from the cloths.

Identification, Control and Prevention of Mesothelioma

The symptoms of Mesothelioma disease appear after a long period, when the cancer has advanced and is often in the terminal stage. Immediately after contact, effects are absent and when the cancer begins to show, the physicians may treat the symptoms before they know it is cancer. The disease advances and patients become very weak. Early identification of the disease is important.

To identify the risks of exposure to substances can be achieved by engaging in laboratory processes to identify if the amounts can cause effects to people’s health. Employers are required to ensure that the substances employees are exposed to do not pose a threat to their health by adopting preventive measures. They can engage in laboratory test to identify what substances pose a risk. After identifying, the employer is advised on the best ways of control to ensure there is safety. An assessment of risks is a requirement for companies that deal with harmful substance like asbestos. The level of concentration is also tested. Employers should also be aware of the consequence of exposure. Employers are notified of precaution and how to handle emergencies when they occur. The challenge with Mesothelioma is that the exposure with asbestos takes a long time before the effects start showing. The effects may not be felt immediately hence, the person can continue being exposed for a long period. There is a maximum limit of exposure and the government has set standards on the limit (HSE, 2000, p. 1).

Correct management of harmful substances such as asbestos has been implemented. The UK government amended the constitution to include correct management of commercial property dealing with asbestos. The management ensures that the regulations are followed. Identifying areas that need control is necessary to prevent the exposure to asbestos.

Regulations have been effective in establishing control in the working environment. Law enforcers can enforce regulations that encourage safety. Employees open to the elements of asbestos can put others on the risk. The dust from their cloths can be inhaled and those washing their cloths can be exposed after the substance comes into contact with their skin. There should be protection for employees and those living with them to avoid inhaling the dust and protect their skin.

Houses that were built several decades ago may have been built using asbestos. The electricians and plumbers need to be made aware of risks involved in asbestos. When conducting repairs, they need to protect themselves. They could also invite the inspection of asbestos before making any attempts to repair to get information on the safety. Those conducting the assessment for asbestos should also be professionals and certified by the government.

UK government provides a list of exposure limits that all employees should observe. Dust levels that might not harm the employees are the main concern of the control efforts. The government recognizes that employees output and lifespan can be cut short by the exposure.

Exposure should be controlled or prevented. Employers should evaluate risks associated with harmful substances produced in the work place. They should take precautions before any work is done and comply with the requirements of the regulatory bodies. In the case of difficulty to prevent exposure, the exposure should be controlled to certain levels. Control measures should be followed as given by the authorities and monitoring be done regularly. Surveillance for those who are exposed to asbestos and making plans of dealing with emergencies, are some of the measures. Employees should be aware of the exposure and adequate information as well as training should be provided to facilitate their safety. The employer should obtain permission for exposure and instructions on the limits before commencing commercial activities (HSE National Statistics 2007, p. 1).

Researchers have continually engaged in research to gain more knowledge on the nature of Mesothelioma. The aim of research is to obtain information that will assist in preventing and curing the disease. Other researchers aim at reducing the asbestos in the atmosphere and neutralize the fiber. Prevention entails implementing regulations that will protect future generations from the exposure of harmful substances.

Protective clothing and safety measures have been adopted to prevent the exposure to asbestos. The development of Mesothelioma continues even after the person was exposed many years ago. Although the production and industries dealing with asbestos have reduces in the past 25 years, many people have been exposed. The remaining workers need to be protected from the harmful substance. Reversing the exposure is impossible hence; measures to prevent should be followed strictly.

Measures that can be taken to prevent exposure to asbestos include increasing ventilation at the industries. The mouth and nose should be protected when the employee is at work. Communicating the dangers of exposure to employees is necessary. What is more is that one should involve professionals when demolishing or renovating a house that was built with asbestos. Examination and sampling of asbestos will welcome professional advice so that appropriate measures are taken. Smoking should be discouraged. Smoking is believed to increase the chances of developing cancer up to four times. The working procedure should provide protection for the employees.

Prevention involves making changes in lifestyle and behavior. Reduction cigarette smoking and change of lifestyle to a healthy one are some of the long-term prevention measures. Individual responsibility to observe safety measures can be an effective prevention measure. Awareness and early detection can be of benefit to the patient. Medical intervention is also a preventive measure. The treatment given can reduce the rate of complication and advancement of the disease. Since the prognosis is poor, research is necessary to generate information that will lead to a cure.

Safety and health

The UK government is keen to observe safety and environmental measures that will maintain the health of the citizens. Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (2000, p. 8) points out that the government overall aim is to reduce work related illnesses and diseases by ensuring that the environment is safe. The initiative objective is slowing down the diseases that have affected employees of large and small enterprises. The approach is to use relevant technique to protect the environment and health of the workforce in the next 25 years and more. The government is recognized as a powerful avenue of implementing changes that uphold health and safety.

The government has been used to formulate and implement laws concerning safety. The government mentions the acceptable practices within the state that will be safe for the workforce. They come up with standards that protect everyone from danger.

There is the initiative to raise awareness among the employees, employers and the general public about safety and health measures. Regular and random inspections are carried out to ensure that large and small enterprises follow the given standards concerning safety and health. Harsh penalties are given to offenders and adequate funding is given to law enforcers. Reporting of cases is encouraged. Companies are therefore required to surrender safety reports annually.

Stranks (1995, p. 1) reveals that health and safety regulations related to work should facilitate mental and physical health of every human being. To achieve good health, it is necessary to minimize risks to enable human beings live their full lives healthily.

Organizations should address human, work and organizational factors that may contribute to risks and exposure to unsafe environment. Human beings should acquire necessary knowledge of health to complement their working skills. They should make note of any change in health status and obtain medical attention. At the working environment, people should be encouraged to wear protective garments when in the environment. Instructions must be clear and availed to everyone and ensure the working conditions are conducive for the workforce. Organizations should ensure that there is a working plan and safety systems. Any incidents should be addressed adequately and reported. People should continually maintain a healthy lifestyle.

According to Net Lawman Limited (2011, p. 1), the law in UK encourages people to report any unusual cases and diseases. The regulation makes it possible for the government to investigate and obtain information that is helpful in the treatment and prevention of a disease. Health providers who recognize certain diseases should report within ten days. Those who are self employed can also send a report to the regulation body. One can call or send an email or report to health offices within one district. The report should contain the date, particulars of involved persons, and a description of the disease and keep a copy.

Organizations such as Mesothelioma UK were established to deal with the rare type of cancer. The long period of incubation makes the disease a silent killer. The number of people diagnosed with Mesothelioma is increasing. Diagnosis takes a long process while very little information about the disease exists. People who are exposed can contract it. Smokers are susceptible and sometimes those diagnosed are thought to be smokers even when they have never smoked. Cases of misdiagnosis cause the patient’s health to deteriorate. The government and other agencies have raised awareness of the disease. The government provides funds for generation of knowledge and treatment of Mesothelioma. Treatment and medical intervention that prolong life are the guiding principles of current research. Mesothelioma UK provides information to patients and people who have enquiries on Mesothelioma. It also provides professional training and seminars to encourage sharing of information.

People exposed to asbestos need to be given care and support. Medical care and compensation are given to Mesothelioma patients. The dilemma is that the patients vary in their ability to access medical care and compensations. Those affected need to obtain information on their social welfare. Chemotherapy, radio therapy and surgery can be made available to elongate the lives of Mesothelioma patients. Medical care should be consistent.

More research is required to identify curative measures. Furthermore, the field requires more information of identification of the onset of the problem as well as effective ways prolonging life. More funding is required for the research, identification, control and prevention of the disease. Support networks for Mesothelioma patients are necessary. Majority of the sufferers are men working in the mines and a small percentage of those who were exposed for being close to the environment and were exposed from dust in their cloths. All who are exposed are entitled to medical care.

Research will assist in generating useful information. For appropriate measures to be incorporated in the treatment of Mesothelioma, researchers will study the health of the public and identify health problems and interventions. Applying public health measures has increased the chances of obtaining medical intervention in other fields in medicine; hence the same principles will improve the lives of those at risk. Epistemological studies can be introduced in the research. Epistemology involves studying a particular health problem to a given population with an aim of preventing along with controlling the health problem. Epistemological studies have been successful in the past and can be used to develop treatment and preventive measures for Mesothelioma disease.


Mesothelioma is a cancerous disease that affects people who have been exposed to asbestos. Asbestos, commonly used as a building material, has affected many people working in mines and neighboring environment. After exposure, the latency period is long before the onset of Mesothelioma disease. When it is detected, the cancer is advanced and prognosis is poor. Statistics show that the number of Mesothelioma cases is on the increase. Consequently, identification, control and prevention are emphasized. Laboratory test can provide the substance and the level of concentration in the environment. The UK government has amended the law to include safety and health regulations to be observed. Employees are required to enact control measures of the level of asbestos in the company. They are required to provide physical protection like gloves and masks to avoid exposure. Exposure, when demolishing and repairing house built with asbestos, can be prevented by involving certified professionals to asses and offer advice. All companies are required to introduce safety measures in the workplace and ensure that they are followed. The measures should be in line with the government standards. Educating employees and creating awareness about the effects of asbestos is important. The government usually conducts regular and random inspection to ensure compliance with public safety and health requirements. Research is required to increase knowledge and establish a cure for Mesothelioma.

Reference List

Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions., 2000. Revitalizing health and safety strategy statement. Web.

HSE., 2000. Methods for the Determination of Hazardous Substance. Web.

HSE National Statistics. National Health and Safety Statistics 2006/07. HSE Books. Web.

Net Lawman Limited., 2011. Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations. 1995 (RIDDOR). Web.

Stranks, J., 1995. Occupational Health and Hygiene: Health & Safety in Practice Guide. Prentice Hall. Web.

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