Emmerdale’s latest storyline featuring a young girl diagnosed with mesothelioma is welcome, as it helps organisations like the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) challenge the commonly held view that asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma are a thing of the past – when, thanks to asbestos, nothing could be further from the truth.
While thankfully it is rare for one as young as the Donna Windsor character to develop an asbestos-related illness, as mesothelioma usually takes decades to develop, it does happen and with no known cure, the illness is terminal.
Mesothelioma does not always come from exposure to asbestos, but with estimates suggesting over 1.5M buildings in the UK still contain asbestos, the Emmerdale storyline is relevant.
UKATA also recognises the importance of the detection of asbestos in soils and is encouraged by the work CIRIA has undertaken in publication the C733 guidance on asbestos in soil in March as this addresses another area of risk.
Our hope is the Emmerdale storyline brings more awareness of the risks associated with asbestos and its related diseases.
Eddie Strong, chairman, UKATA