Nic Fleming’s career on what used to be called Fleet Street began 18 years ago on the Daily Express. Through a bizarre series of confusing twists and turns, he progressed from being a hopeless showbusiness reporter and following Princess Diana around to a job as science and medical correspondent at the Daily Telegraph. He is now a freelance writer and editor, working for outlets including New Scientist, the Guardian, the Economist, Nature, BBC Future and Mosaic.
What is your feature about?
It’s about why over twice as many people are dying today from exposure to asbestos than on our roads. This despite health concerns around asbestos first raised at the end of the 19th century and demonstrated by scientists as long ago as the 1930s. I went to see someone who has worked in the building trade for his whole life and now has mesothelioma because of exposure to asbestos. I also went to watch contractors removing asbestos from heating pipes in a London hospital.
What did you learn that you didn’t expect?
I was amazed to find out that asbestos was being mined as recently as 2012 in Canada, and that it can still be imported and used in the US. It’s fair to say that the next time I buy a house I’ll be asking some detailed questions about any hint of asbestos in the building.
Read Killer Dust by Nic Fleming on Mosaic, publishing 18 March 2014.