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Study: 5% of UK cancer deaths due to occupational illnesses

Study: 5% of UK cancer deaths due to occupational illnesses
Around five per cent of all cancer deaths in the UK every year are due to work-related diseases, a new study has established.

Research funded by the Health and Safety Executive and published in the British Journal of Cancer today (June 20th) has revealed that approximately 8,000 people pass away in Britain annually because of illnesses linked to their occupation.

Some 50 per cent of these deaths were found to be among male professionals in the construction industry, who are the most likely group of workers to come into contact with asbestos, as well as other toxic materials such as diesel engine exhaust fumes.

The total number of 8,000 work-related deaths is thought by researchers to be a conservative estimate, meaning the actual figure could be significantly higher.

Lead author of the study Dr Lesley Rushton, an occupational epidemiologist at Imperial College London, commented: "We hope these findings will help develop ways of reducing health risks caused by exposure to carcinogens in the workplace."

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Posted by Francesca Witney