New statistics unveiled by the Health and Safety Executive show an increase in the number of people who have died from mesothelioma.
The figures released this week show more than 2,000 North East people died from the disease from 1985 to 2004. The figure is increased from 1701 deaths from 1981 to 2000.
Additionally the statistics from the Mesothelioma Register show more women than ever are affected by the disease, with 251 deaths during the period compared to 216.
Ian McFall, head of asbestos policy at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “These figures once again highlight the devastation asbestos has inflicted on people in the North East. Many of those affected worked in shipyards, factories or building sites and were given no protection or warning about the risks of asbestos exposure despite their employers being fully aware of the dangers.
“Although shocking, these figures come as no surprise given the widespread use of asbestos in the past. Sadly, the number of people who will die from this disease will continue to rise until 2020.”