Asbestos related disease statistics & trends

Read about the four main diseases related to Asbestos exposure

There are four main diseases related to exposure to asbestos. These are asbestosis, mesothelioma, asbestos related lung cancer and diffuse pleural thickening. Statistics and trends for each of these diseases are reported and discussed below:


The number of cases of asbestosis rose from around 350 cases in the early
1990s to 445 by 2000. Between 2000-2005 the number of cases almost
doubled reaching a highpoint of 830 in 2005.

Source: HSE, Table ASIS01: Death certificates mentioning asbestosis,


The annual number of deaths from mesothelioma has risen fairly consistently
since 1968 (when accurate records began). It should be noted that most
people dying as a result of mesothelioma each year are male. In 2006 there
were 1740 male deaths out of a total of 2056, 85% of the total number. This
can be attributed to the occupations that could have resulted in exposure to asbestos being traditionally male roles.

Source: HSE, Table MES001: Death certificates mentioning mesothelioma, 1968-2007

Asbestos-related lung cancer

A link between exposure to asbestos and lung cancer has been identified for
many years. Although records of the frequency of lung cancer cases for the UK have been kept, it is hard to determine how many of these are directly attributable to asbestos exposure. This is because the disease can have a variety of causes, including smoking.

Source: HSE, Table IIDB05: Prescribed industrial diseases of the lungs and new cases of assessed disablement by disease, 1991-2008

Diffuse pleural thickening

Until 2005 there was a general upward trend in the annual number of cases of diffuse pleural thickening, although the sharp rise in 2002 may have been attributable to changes in the methods used to collect statistical information on cases, to make the data more accurate.

Source: HSE, Table IIDB05: Prescribed industrial diseases of the lungs and new cases of assessed disablement by disease, 1991-2008

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