Action Mesothelioma Day 2014 – this year’s annual event to commemorate and raise asbestos awareness in vital support of the many ordinary men and women whose lives continue to be fatally affected by exposure to asbestos-containing materials – is to be held on Friday 7th July.

Every year since 2006, on the first Friday of July, mesothlioma patient support groups, national organisations and charity trusts stage a number of different events around the country in many of the former asbestos industry ‘blackspots’, notably Merseyside, Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and in London.

The Merseyside Asbestos Support Group once again teams up with the Cheshire Asbestos Victims support group at Liverpool Town Hall at 11.00am, and doves are to be released at midday. Click here for more information.

The need to maintain research funding into finding a cure

A key aim of Action Mesothelioma Day is to bring public attention to the continuing deadly dangers of mesothelioma and asbestosis disease, and the need to maintain research funding into finding a cure for the fatal, incurable cancer.

The legacy of Britain’s widespread use of asbestos as an insulation material in its manufacturing, construction, shipbuilding and transport industries is still felt today. The mesothelioma gestation period of up to 50 years or more from initial exposure to first appearance of asbestosis symptoms has produced more than 22,470 reported UK deaths from mesothelioma in the first ten years of the 21st century.

Even after the first ban in 1985 on the most toxic blue and brown asbestos fibre types was introduced, the incidence rate of mesothelioma in the UK has been steadily rising in the UK with a four-fold increase over the same thirty year period (Office of National Statistics).

Mesothelioma Charter of basic rights

Another key aim of the day is to promote the Mesothelioma Charter, which sets out a list of basic rights for mesothelioma patients and their families. The Charter calls on employers and Government to implement urgent, preventative and remedial actions, and legislation to properly address the issues that are faced by the continued existence of asbestos materials, including:

“We, the undersigned, believe that mesothelioma patients and their families have a right to:

• Have up-to-date advice on benefits and help in applying for them, and receive prompt payment of Benefits.
• Have legal advice and guidance from a firm of solicitors experienced in mesothelioma claims.
• Provision of a consistent nationwide service from coroners using a clear and open process with a maximum case length of three months.”

In addition, the Charter calls for employers to :

• Prevent future exposure to asbestos by providing a safe working environment with all necessary equipment to protect employees.
• Work with unions and individuals to ensure enforcement of current regulations to safeguard all employees.
• Identify all asbestos in their properties and organise its safe removal where practical or necessary when work is being carried out.

The work of charitable organisations, such as Mesothelioma UK – including its annual Action Mesothelioma Day- continues to play a crucial role in highlighting asbestos-related issues some thirty tears after the first ban was introduced in the UK.

The Health and Safety Executive say that there are at least 4,700 asbestos disease related deaths still recorded every year, and around 28,500 deaths are expected over the next ten years at least.

Click here to see if an Action Mesothelioma Day is being held in your local area / region.