1 April 2014

The third Global Asbestos Awareness Week (GAAW) will take place this year from Tuesday 1 to Monday 7 April, with the intention of raising awareness of the dangers of asbestos and preventing asbestos-related disease.

Organised by the US-based Asbestos Disease Awareness Organisation (ADAO), the week will involve collaboration amongst organisations and leading experts all over the world.

In the UK, the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) is marking GAAW with an offer of free access to around 40 influential asbestos-focused research papers from the journal The Annals of Occupational Hygiene.

The purpose of the open access will be to promote the sharing of information, but also to acknowledge numerous historical academic research papers on asbestos published in the journal, which now underpin UK and international asbestos standards, policy and guidance.

During the week, the Society is also highlighting the importance of standards and competency in controlling exposure to asbestos. The first asbestos exposure standard in the UK, for chrysotile asbestos, was produced in 1968 by BOHS. The Society is also known for having developed the first asbestos competency qualifications, for asbestos analysts and surveyors.

According to a source at the Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection, “Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK and more than 4,000 people each year die as a result of an asbestos related disease in the UK. Worldwide, it is predicted that it will claim the lives of 2 million people by 2030.”

The asbestos-related research papers can be accessed at www.oxfordjournals.org.