Man died 50 years after working with asbestos
A STONEHOUSE man's work at a notorious asbestos ‘hot spot’ caused his death 50 years later, an inquest heard yesterday, Thursday.
Gordon Bennett worked at Fibrecrete in Chalford Hill from 1958 to 1962.
Almost half a century after he finished that employment Mr Bennett, of Woodcock Lane, Stonehouse, was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, a fatal cancer that’s invariably caused by asbestos exposure.
The Gloucester inquest was told that in April 2013, Mr Bennett was diagnosed with prostate cancer for which he underwent treatment.
Later in the year he became breathless and, after tests, was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. He died at home on October 18 last year.
Dr Henry Steer, consultant in thoracic and cardiac medicine, said Mr Bennett’s prostate cancer was treated with hormone injections and radiotherapy. After he complained of breathlessness, he was diagnosed with a malignant lung tumour. This was not due to the spread of his prostate cancer, Dr Steer said.
In a statement made in pursuit of a civil claim before he died, Mr Bennett said he had served in the Merchant Navy for four years after leaving school in 1950 and did two years’ National Service in the Army.
He then worked as a labourer at Fibrecrete, which produced asbsestos gutters, drainpipes, sheeting and other products.
He unloaded asbestos sheets, which were still warm, from the machines and there were clouds of white asbestos dust in the air in the factory. He said he often ate his lunch while sitting on a pile of asbestos sheets and swept up left-over asbestos at the end of each working day. He wore no protection, he said, and his overalls were covered in white dust.
A post mortem examination was carried out by pathologist Dr John McCarthy, who said Mr Bennett died from bronchopneumonia caused by malignant mesothelioma.
Samples were analysed be specialists at the Northern General Hospital and were found to contain 8,571 mineral fibres per gram of dry lung tissue - a low level but not inconsistent with asbestos exposure.
Gloucestershire acting coroner David Dooley said there was a clear work history at Fibrecrete, a known ‘hot spot’ for asbestos exposure and other lung problems.
On the balance of probabilities, he said, Mr Bennett’s malignant mesothelioma was caused by occupational asbestos exposure and the appropriate conclusion was that he died due to an industrial disease, the coroner ruled.