• Kyodo

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Hazardous substances cause an estimated 440,000 worker deaths each year, with asbestos alone killing some 100,000 worldwide, the International Labor Organization said in a report Sunday.

In Japan, hundreds of asbestos-linked deaths were revealed in early summer and were widely reported by the media.

The number of people killed by asbestos in Britain is some 3,500 every year, more than 10 times the number of workers killed in accidents there, the ILO said, citing Britain’s own estimates.

The ILO report puts the number of deaths caused by hazardous substances at 102,606 in China each year, 64,894 in India and 10,278 in Japan. Meanwhile, deaths from mesothelioma and lung cancer worldwide total approximately 166,050, it said.

The ILO report will be issued at the 17th World Congress on Safety and Health at Work to be held Monday in Orlando, Fla.

Some 2.2 million people die of work-related accidents and diseases each year, it says, noting the number may be vastly underestimated due to poor reporting and coverage systems in many countries.

While the number of work-related illnesses and deaths has fallen somewhat in the industrialized world, the ILO report says the number of accidents — in particular fatal accidents — appears to be increasing, particularly in parts of Asia, due to poor reporting, rapid development and strong competitive pressures of globalization.

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