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Complainant Name:
Anthony Whitston, Chair of the Asbestos Victims Support Groupsí Forum UK

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Telegraph & Argus


Anthony Whitston, Chair of the Asbestos Victims Support Groups' Forum UK, complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the newspaper had published inaccurate, misleading and distorted information about the dangers posed by chrysotile (white asbestos). The complainant was concerned that the article made no reference to the view of the international scientific community that white asbestos is a carcinogen and that it can cause asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma.


The complaint was resolved when the PCC helped the parties negotiate the publication of a follow-up article, headlined "Experts warn of fatal exposure", which was accompanied by the following apology:

In our article of November 5 we stated: "Mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining around the lungs and stomach, is not associated with white asbestos products". It is our understanding that the British Lung Foundation states that "all types of asbestos can cause mesothelioma if you breathe in or swallow the fibres", while the Health and Safety Executive states that "white asbestos is implicated as a cause of both lung cancer and mesothelioma." We apologise for any confusion our original statement caused.

The newspaper also subsequently published a letter from the complainant correcting the title of his organisation and directing readers to more information about the issue on the website of the Health and Safety Executive.

Date Published: 18/01/2011

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