Sunday, August 4, 2013
A MAN died after being exposed to lethal asbestos dust for just “two to three days” 46 years ago, an inquest heard.
• Asbestos mining began more than 4,000 years ago, but did not start large-scale until the end of the 19th century. For a long time, the world’s largest asbestos mine was the Jeffrey mine in the town of Asbestos, Quebec.
• Asbestos became increasingly popular among manufacturers and builders in the late 19th century because of its sound absorption, average tensile strength, its resistance to fire, heat, electrical and chemical damage, and cheapness.
• In the UK, blue and brown asbestos materials were banned outright in 1985 while the import, sale and second hand reuse of white asbestos was outlawed in 1999.
• The 2012 Control of Asbestos Regulations state that owners of non-domestic buildings, like factories and offices have a “duty to manage” asbestos on the premises.
Coroner Edward Thomas recorded a verdict of industrial disease as the cause of death of Welwyn resident Roger Beale.
The inquest, at the Old Courthouse, in Hatfield, on Wednesday, heard Mr Beale, of Ayot St Peter, began complaining of breathlessness while climbing up the stairs and a chest X-ray was taken.
Initially his condition was put down to a chest infection.
In January 2010, Mr Beale again sought medical attention as symptoms persisted and he was referred to the chest clinic at the QE2 Hospital, in Welwyn Garden City.
It was there that the link between his condition and asbestos dust was established, and he was diagnosed with mesothelioma – a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
By November 2010 Mr Beale suffered increasing bouts of breathlessness and he was being “regularly monitored”.
Mr Thomas told how the deceased 67-year-old worked with asbestos, very briefly, in 1967.
He said: “For a short period of time, about two to three days, he was working in a factory in 1967 and was required to cut asbestos with a circular saw, and it was no doubt from that that would have involved inhaling asbestos dust.
“He had no mask, and no protection, it was on his clothes when he went home. I am satisfied that he had a quite substantial exposure to asbestos.”
He added: “The onset of symptoms is entirely compatible with what we know about the disease.”