Podcast: Why is asbestos still killing people?

In a recent interview for The Guardian's Science Weekly Podcast, Dr Tom Douglas disccuses why asbestos is still killing people.

Every year, more people die from asbestos exposure than road traffic accidents in Great Britain. Many countries still continue to build with this lethal substance – but why? Hannah Devlin investigates

The health effects of asbestos have been well documented for decades. Inhaling these fibres can cause mesothelioma, a very aggressive form of cancer with a poor prognosis. In Great Britain, more people die from this disease every year than road traffic accidents. And yet this material is still found in at least 12,600 schools in England.

Asbestos was banned in 1999 in the UK, and we are still living with its legacy. But beyond Britain, the asbestos industry is still booming. In 2015, Russia mined 1m metric tonnes of it. And countries like India, Thailand and Indonesia are importing it to use in construction. Even the US allows for some use of asbestos, for instance, in floor tiles and car brake pads. But knowing the ill-effects asbestos can have on our health, can we justify its use?

Hannah Devlin discusses the issue with Dr Jessica Van Horssen, an asbestos historian from Leeds Beckett University; Dr Johanna Feary, a senior clinical research fellow in occupational lung disease at the Royal Brompton Hospital; and Dr Tom Douglas, a philosopher from the University of Oxford.

Listen to the podcast here: https://www.theguardian.com/science/audio/2018/may/18/why-is-asbestos-still-killing-people-science-weekly-podcast