Action Mesothelioma Day 2012, which is to be held on Friday 6th July, will this year focus its attention on calling for a Global Ban on Asbestos and has adopted the Forget-Me-Not as a poignant symbol.

Around the country, many local groups, national organisations and charity trusts will stage events, from Tayside in Scotland to Southsea in Hampshire, as well as in former asbestos industry ‘blackspots’ of the North East of England and the Midlands.

First held in 2006, Action Mesothelioma Day aims to not only help support and remember those whose lives were fatally affected by working with or exposed to the deadly material but also to raise asbestos awareness to the continued risk of mesothelioma and asbestosis disease.

Asbestos fibres were commonly used in manufacturing insulation and fire retardant products for many industrial, commercial and domestic products and applications throughout the UK’s peak use years until the first ban on the most dangerous asbestos types was introduced in 1985. Importing white chrysotile asbestos for use in building materials was finally banned in 1999.

While all forms of asbestos are now banned in 52 countries around the world, Canada, Russia and China are known for continuing to mine and export white chrysotile asbestos to a number of developing nations, including India, and worldwide production had actually risen by over 2.1 million tons to meet commercial demand.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), mesothelioma caused 6,000 deaths each year between 1994 and 2008 worldwide, a total of over 92,000 with two-thirds occurring after the year 2000. It is forecast that mesothelioma mortality rates could reach as high as 10 million or more within the next 20 years.

As part of their support of Action Mesothelioma Day 2012, the National Asbestos Helpline (NAH), the British Lung Foundation (BLF) and the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization in America (ADAO) are calling for a worldwide ban. The NAH has also launched an online petition which they hope will gather over 1.000 signatures from mesothelioma victims and others affected by exposure to asbestos. The signatures are to be transferred to a book that the BLF and ADAO will present to companies and governments who still support the use of asbestos.

Events for Action Mesothelioma Day 2012 are currently scheduled to be held at Tayside, Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester, Leicester and Southsea.