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24Feb94 UK: ASBESTOS EXPERT DEMANDS STUDY.

Worries about the numbers of younger construction workers who contract asbestos-related disease could lead to a new study.Leading asbestos expert, epidemiologist Professor Julian Peto, wants the study to look at the work history of sufferers.And employment minister Ann Widdecombe told the Commons this week: 'Such people could have had significant exposure to asbestos because of its widespread use in construction in the 1960s and 1970s.'Much of that asbestos is still in place, and Prof Peto is rightly concerned that building workers might still be at risk today.'She said the Government and the Health and Safety Executive 'fully share' Prof Peto's concern.A preliminary HSE analysis of deaths from mesothelioma in the 1980s showed a relatively high incidence among occupations such as electricians, heating and ventilation installers, and carpenters, Miss Widdecombe said.The HSE was now discussing with Prof Peto - who works at the Oxford-based Institute of Cancer Research - the scope of a possible study 'which could reveal a fuller analysis of the occupational history of younger people who are now developing mesothelioma'.Ms Widdecombe said: 'The purpose of that study would be to identify whether any further specific action needs to be taken.' CONSTRUCTION NEWS