The Daily Mail on Asbestos

Richard Wilson has an excellent guest post on the Guardian website today on how Daily Mail published an article by Christopher Booker that claimed white Asbestos was ‘relatively harmless’ and that the threat from such products was ‘vanishingly small’. Wilson calmly highlights what the Daily Mail reader probably does not know:

What many reading the Daily Mail article won’t have known is that the author, Christopher Booker, has a long track record of downplaying the health risks of white asbestos. Though not a scientist himself, Booker has written at least 42 newspaper articles on this subject since 2002, making claims that run counter to the views of most experts, but are remarkably similar to those of the asbestos industry.

Several of the claims in the Daily Mail article – including that an HSE study once concluded the health risks of white asbestos cement were “insignificant” – have previously appeared in Booker’s Sunday Telegraph column, prompting a series of direct rebuttals from the HSE. The available evidence, as assessed by – among others – the World Health Organisation, the UK and US governments, and the European Union, is that white asbestos poses a serious risk to human health that needs to be carefully managed.

It is highly recommended that you read the rest of the article about why correcting such disinformation matters and why it takes 7 months to the Daily Mail to print a correction.


  • Le Salaud says:

    I went to the same school as Booker, albeit about fifty years later. Ah well.

  • Mike Nimmo says:

    As someone who works in the dreaded health & safety industry – where our job is to save lives – and someone who’s father-in-law died from asbestos related cancer. I find the DM personally disgusting – and they should be happy to know that the Mail & Express are regularly passed round professionals so we can slate them.

  • The whole thing is bizarre when you consider that the Mail will find any excuse to link a seemingly innocuous activity to cancer. Yet when a link is beyond doubt – as opposed to, say, being made up – they are quick denounce it.

    I really can’t understand why people continue to buy such an obvious waste of paper.

  • Should Mr Booker wish to prove the claim that white asbestos (Chrysotile) is safe, I would be happy to discuss it with him, but in a situation where he would be exposed to asbestos.

    Lets see how long he is willing tto sit amoung something that presents an “insignificant” risk

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