A ban has been placed on a radio advertisement in the UK that was designed to warn tradesmen and people in other high risk jobs about the dangers of the potentially deadly carcinogenic, asbestos. The ads had been launched by the UK’s Health and Safety Executive, but were banned due to disputes over the alleged death toll from asbestos related disease.
The advertisements claimed: “Every year there are more people killed by asbestos than in road accidents.” However, this claim resulted in a number of complaints being received. The Asbestos Watchdog claimed that the advertisements were misleading and that the reference to asbestos related death numbers was exaggerated by the Health and Safety Executive.
The HSE has said that its claim was based on the number of deaths that were attributed to mesothelioma, as well as on estimates of asbestos related lung cancer. Other diseases relating to asbestos were also taken into account such as asbestosis. The advertisements were banned by the Advertising Standards Authority, and one official from the HSE said: “We are obviously very disappointed with the decision by the ASA to uphold this sole complaint made against our award-winning campaign, but we do consider it to be only on a technicality. This campaign is clearly in the public interest and we are now looking to seek an independent review of the adjudication.”