Howard Bonnett, a specialist lawyer dealing with asbestos claims at Corries Solicitors, said the figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that 14 people in York had died of the condition.
Many scores of former York Carriageworks employees have died from mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos dust at the Holgate Road factory over several decades before its closure in the 1990s.
Mr Bonnett said there were two mesothelioma deaths last year in the Harrogate area, seven in Scarborough, four in Selby and three in Hambleton.
He warned that the true number of asbestos-related fatalities might be much higher, claiming:
“A large number of deaths due to asbestos disease such as lung cancer are not recorded because the coroners and medical staff are not aware of the diseases or always make a connection between the two.”
He said it had been hoped that the number of deaths would start to reduce.
“Unfortunately the date at which the number of deaths is expected to peak is still a little time away. The increase largely comes from victims in the age group 70-75 and above. With a healthier older generation, it allows the asbestos disease that incubates to manifest into cancer.”
Mr Bonnett added that York suffered a higher level of exposure of asbestos disease and death than the national average, and age was no guarantee that people would not be affected.
“In the past year alone, I have dealt with and settled cases for a 90 and a 93-year-old man. The statistics do not show that mesothelioma is the most terrible of diseases. I hope that whilst we can do nothing to stop or cut down the number of people that will go on to develop this condition, we can at least hope that they and their families will be properly compensated should they ever be diagnosed.”
If you require further information regarding a potential case of asbestos-related disease, you can contact Corries here.