July 1st is Action Mesothelioma Day, an annual event in which awareness is raised about the continuing suffering caused by asbestos-related cancer. Here a member of Manchester Solidarity Federation and the Greater Manchester Asbestos Victim Support Group talks about the destructive effect asbestos has had on the lives of thousands of workers.
Though asbestos in now banned in Britain, many buildings we live and work in today predate the ban. For example, about 90% of schools still contain asbestos. As a result, thousands of people are dying, and will continue to die, from asbestos related diseases which very often are not manifest until many years, even decades, after exposure.
Asbestos is a fibrous substance found in seams between layers of rock. The fibres are strong, flexible, and will not burn below 1000 ºC. There are different types but these days 95% of all asbestos mined is white asbestos, or Chrysotile.