ASBESTOS-laced beer from the 1970s is being blamed for a quadrupling of gullet cancer cases.
Scientists fear poisoned pints may be behind the rise in tumours over the last five decades – 90 per cent in men.
Deadly asbestos was widely used to filter out impurities from beer and other alcoholic drinks until the 1980s.
Some pubs used to add handfuls of the lethal substance to the “slops” that were left at the end of the night.
It cleaned the beer before it was served to unsuspecting customers the next day.
Experts at Cambridge and Liverpool universities suspect exposure to asbestos in pints is likely to have sparked the fourfold rise in cancer of the gullet, the tube carrying food from the throat to the stomach.
Liverpool researcher Dr Jonathan Rhodes said: “Asbestos from beer consumed before around 1980 seems a plausible factor.”
Gullet, also known as oesophageal cancer, now kills nearly 8,000 Brits a year.
Andy Tighe, of the British Beer and Pub Association, said asbestos was used in food manufacturing too, adding: “It’s difficult to associate health impacts from any one potential source.”