Make India Asbestos Free

Make India Asbestos Free
For Asbestos Free India

Journal of Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI). Asbestos Free India campaign of BANI is inspired by trade union movement and right to health campaign. BANI has been working since 2000. It works with peoples movements, doctors, researchers and activists besides trade unions, human rights, environmental, consumer and public health groups. BANI demands criminal liability for companies and medico-legal remedy for victims.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Victory for Victims of Secondary Asbestos Exposure

Note: Asbestos exposure is the greatest single cause of work related deaths. Asbestos can be found in asbestos cement products, textured coatings, floor tiles, textiles and composites, sprayed coatings on ceilings, walls and beams / columns,
asbestos insulating board and loose asbestos in ceiling or floor cavity.

Following a ruling by a Washington State Court of Appeals, victims of secondary asbestos exposure have enjoyed a hard earned victory - The ruling will make it easier for those exposed to asbestos as the result of the work of family members living in the same home to make a claim for their asbestos related diseases such as asbestos cancer, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

The new ruling overturns a previous ruling made by a lower court, and sets a set a precedent that could allow hundreds of family members and others living in the same home to file their own claims. This means that those suffering from asbestos related illnesses due to exposure from the clothes or body of a loved one that worked with asbestos, commonly known as ’secondary exposure’, can now successfully sue the employer for compensation. Until this ruling, is has proven very difficult such cases to proceed.

“For decades, people working with or around asbestos products brought deadly fibers home on their clothing, thereby exposing their families to cancerous materials,” explains Seattle attorney Matthew Bergman. “Until now it has been very difficult for individuals who develop asbestos-related diseases as a result of household exposures to pursue a claim against the employer, even though the hazards of asbestos were well documented by the early 1950s. This ruling gives new hope to family members suffering from diseases caused by asbestos exposure.”

One man spoke of how he felt when his wife passed away from the asbestos related disease mesothelioma as a result of being exposed to asbestos through him. Every night he came home, changed out of his work clothes and his wife Adeline, a mother of seven married to Lawrence Rochon for over 49 years, washed them regularly. That simple task may have caused the mesothelioma that eventually took her life. He stated: “There is not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I could go back and change things. My wife was a wonderful woman who took pride in caring for her family. She didn’t deserve to die in such a horrible way.”

Asbestos exposure has been linked to several deadly diseases, including lung cancer and mesothelioma, a cancer of chest lining that may take as long as 15-40 years to manifest. Once diagnosed, mesothelioma patients often have only months to live.

Deon Scott

Asbestos is a white collar killer

Leigh Day & Co has successfully recovered over £170,000 in damages for a former hospital manager who developed mesothelioma, an asbestos-related lung cancer, following his exposure at a hospital during the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Luc Nadal worked as a charge nurse at Woodhurst Hospital near Crawley in Sussex. This meant he had to go into the basement area which contained a boiler and extensive pipework which was lagged with suspected asbestos insulation. He and his workmates described how the insulation broke down over time and may have been damaged by work processes there. Through documents obtained during the course of Mr Nadal’s claim, it became apparent that extensive asbestos removal works took place at the hospital, but not until the mid-1990’s.

Mr Nadal’s former employers refused to accept that he had been exposed to dangerous quantities of asbestos, or even that asbestos was present at the hospital. Despite this Mr Nadal successfully achieved a significant global settlement to his claim, which he intends to use to pay for his medical treatment and care at home.

Mr Nadal was represented by Leigh Day & Co's Daniel Easton, who specialises in asbestos disease cases. The case was pursued through the High Court's fast track mesothelioma system to enable a resolution of the claim within just a few months of Mr Nadal instructing Leigh Day & Co.

Daniel comments:

"This was a very hard fought case despite the fact that asbestos was extensively used in public buildings such as hospitals during the 1960's and 1970's. Mr Nadal was fully cross-examined by the Defendant under oath and remained clear on the evidence he gave about his former working life. It is a credit to Mr Nadal that we were able to achieve a good settlement for him. I am very pleased to have been able to act for him in this matter and to see a successful conclusion that will benefit both he and his family".

March 10th, 2008

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