UK union GMB to campaign on work-related bladder cancer

The UK union GMB is to launch an awareness campaign on the link between work in certain industries and bladder cancer.

The decision at the union’s annual Congress commits it to target a problem it says particularly affects workers in the male-dominated chemical dye and rubber industries. However, the union said the chemicals linked to bladder cancer also occur “in hair dyes, paints, fungicides, cigarette smoke, plastics, pollutant emissions from industrial installations, and metal and motor vehicle exhausts, which can affect both male and females.”

GMB says there are an estimated 100,000 men and women living with bladder cancer in the UK and approximately 15,000 new cases are diagnosed annually, making it the fifth most common cancer overall.

GMB London’s regional secretary, Warren Kenny, said: “Occupational bladder claims thousands of lives per year, and it is likely that official statistics are underestimated as there are many causes of the cancer, meaning the link to work is often not made. Due to the long latency before symptoms manifest, it is often perceived to be an older person’s condition. As such there has been little campaigning for preventative approaches and such an approach is long overdue.”

Kenny said the union would work with both the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Fight Bladder Cancer campaign to “provide a much needed focus on this overlooked cancer and help to provide access to decision-makers in industry and government who can help address the shortage of research funding and poor prioritisation of bladder cancer.”

2 thoughts on “UK union GMB to campaign on work-related bladder cancer”

  1. I saw an article about bladder cancer that the GMB Union is concerned about. I have been a welder in British Columbia Pulp and Paper industry for 40 years since I was 18 and I ended up having lung cancer and an upper right lobectomy. I put in a workers compensation claim that the cancer was caused by welding fumes. It was denied by my employer and WorkSafeBC (WCB) and it went to appeal through WCAT tribunal panel and after 2 1/2 years I was awarded the claim that the cancer was caused by welding fumes. Welding fumes can also cause kidney and bladder cancer as well as lung cancer and COPD in welders and all those around the welder who breath in the fumes such as pipefitters, millwrights and others. My worksafebc claim number is 29082609 if any one needs some information or they can email me at I also now have COPD which is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and I have been awarded A Worksafebc claim for that as well, that worksafebc claim number is 20893674.
    Welders and those around the welder who get these cancers lung, kidney, and bladder and also COPD can be awarded workers compensation claims. I was awarded it and had to go it alone without union support as they didn’t step up and or lawyers as I couldn’t afford them. All the best with the GMB Union and their support for their workers. From Jerome Desilets 9-4651 Harvie Ave, Powell River, BC Canada V8A2P4
    Cellphone 1-604-414-9958
    In April 2017 the International Research Agency on Cancer placed welding fumes in the Group 1 category- which means – known to cause cancer in human beings.
    Sent from my iPhone

    1. Thanks Jerome – extremely useful and inspiring. We have publicised the welding fumes cancer risks a lot, and include it in our materials . We were also heavily involved in the UK in getting Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in UK welders recognised for compensation. We certainly thought need to keep repeating the message…. Thanks, Rory

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