Asbestos-related cancer deaths in the East Riding of Yorkshire are at their highest level since records began, figures reveal.
Charity Mesothelioma UK has warned that the danger posed by asbestos is often underestimated, and called for actions to rid buildings of the deadly substance.
Inhaling asbestos fibres can lead to mesothelioma, a lethal cancer affecting the lining of the lungs, which can take decades to develop.
Data from the Health and Safety Executive reveals that the disease caused the deaths of 118 people in the East Riding of Yorkshire between 2013 and 2017.
The number of people dying of the cancer is at the highest level since records began in the 1980s .From 1983-87, just nine deaths were reported.
Nationwide, deaths caused by the cancer have almost quadrupled over 35 years, reaching nearly 13,000 at the latest count.
The material was banned in 1999, but damage to older buildings can release fibres into the air.
Liz Darlison, from Mesothelioma UK, said: “There is no safe level of asbestos exposure, and we should be doing much more to protect people, particularly children.
“The time from exposure to developing the disease can take several decades, which is why the level of concern is perhaps not fully appreciated.
“As a nation, we must take responsibility and rid our buildings of this cancer-causing substance, for the sake of our children, their children, and every generation in the future.”
The Health and Safety Executive said that it expects mortality rates from mesothelioma to decline after 2020.
A spokesperson said: “Since the dangers of asbestos became clear, successive governments have, over many years, made a concerted and sustained effort to address the issue.”