Published: 22/02/2013 16:34 - Updated: 22/02/2013 16:35

Asbestos is a killer dust whatever its colour

Written bySTEVE LOWE

AN advertisement appeared in some of our papers last week from a UKIP MEP. Nothing wrong with that, we’ll take most people’s money.

However, the MEP, Stuart Agnew, as well as writing about the Common Fisheries Policy, mentioned asbestos. He said the group to which he belongs in Europe is fighting potential legislation that, quote: ‘vilifies harmless white asbestos’, while recognising the dangers of blue and brown asbestos.

He also said: ‘non-existent individuals with bogus addresses have been trying to change my view on this.’

Well I exist, my email address is out there and real, and I am here to tell you, Mr Agnew, and your mates, that you are talking 
rubbish and dangerous rubbish at that.

All asbestos is potentially deadly. There is no distinction between white, blue or brown asbestos in the lethal effect it can have.

Roughly 4,000 people in the UK die every year from asbestos related diseases, which make it a bigger killer than road deaths.

So we don’t need people in authority playing down its danger.

I fail to see why you would do that and believe you all ought to be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves.

Before the death rate declines, due to the substance being banned, it will have killed up to a quarter of a million people in this country.

Asbestos is made up of thin fibres, which can break down into thinner fibres.

These cannot be seen by the naked eye but can be breathed in.

These fibres are only dangerous if they are made airborne and breathed in but all types of asbestos fibres are potentially fatal if breathed in.

They are not themselves poisonous or carcinogenic but when asbestos fibres are breathed in they can become stuck in the lungs.

The lungs try to remove them which causes scarring that eventually leads to either asbestosis or a type of lung cancer known as mesothelioma.

The disease is very unpleasant and almost always fatal.

So, let’s get rid of asbestos, get rid of it safely and get rid of all of it.

Properly compensate victims and their families.

And make sure all types of asbestos are banned from ever being used again.

ONE trick governments often when making cuts pass the job down the line.

As the one-time fixer for Florence, Machiavelli, once said, take the tributes for the good news but let someone else deal with the bad news. This seems to be happening in the NHS.

In fact I heard on the TV only this week that it should be up to local people to decide what their hospital spends its money on. All very well, but how do we do that then? Are local hospitals going to send out referendums so we can vote on whether we would rather have an A&E or maternity wing? And what if we want both?

Of course one solution would be to have elected representatives on hospital boards and maybe even elect the chief executive.

If we can choose our Police and Crime Commissioner, why not the boss of our hospitals?

I would lay a small wager that if that option was taken up it would get a higher electoral turnout than the PCCs managed.

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