Workers who died after being exposed to asbestos on the Coverit industrial site in Harmignies (Hainaut) and the Eternit industrial site in Kapelle-op-den-Bos and Tisselt (Flemish Brabant) had their lives shortened by on average 20 years. This is according to a report unveiled by the Belgian association of asbestos victims (ABEVA) on Saturday.
To get these results, demographists from the Association for the Development of Applied Social Science (Adrass) studied 100 deaths caused by asbestos in Harmignies and 137 in Kapelle-op-den- Bos.
While the victim’s average life-span in Harmignies was 61.93 years, it was 82.70 years for others of the same generation. Similar were results were also found in Kappell-op-den-Bos. “We can say working with asbestos has shortened the life of those who suffer from diseases caused by this material by an average of 20 years”, the report says.
These conclusions are “extremely worrying, and reinforce our belief that the victims must be compensated and measures must be put in place to stop such a tragedy happening again in the future”, says the ABEVA.
The association added that “while this study looked at workers, we can suppose the results will not be different for other categories of victims, such as residents living near industrial sites”.
A compensation fund for asbestos victims was set up in 2007, but the ABEVA says it is not enough, and should be adapted.