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Mesothelioma

Asbestos Danger; LETTERS

The Daily Mail (London, England), November 21, 2006

FURTHER to Michelle Campbell dying of mesothelioma (Mail), my mum sadly died of this disease in August 2001. Her only contact with asbestos was washing my dad's overalls.

He worked in the boat-building industry for a company called JS Whites of Cowes, Isle of Wight, in the Sixties. They worked with asbestos and had snowball fights with the dust. He would come home with his overalls covered in dust and Mum used to wash them. This was how she contracted the deadly disease.

It is possible that I, too, might develop the disease - as a young child, I would have been in contact with the dust as well. My dad died last year with pleural plaques on his lungs caused by asbestos, and he suffered from breathing problems. My mum launched a claim for compensation on the advice of her doctors, but unfortunately she died before knowing the outcome.

Her solicitors decided, after a lengthy process, that as other similar claims had failed, there was no point in continuing.

In my opinion, her solicitors did not act well. She would have been so disappointed as the compensation was to have been her only legacy to us.

Mrs LESLEY WESTMORE, Freshwater, Isle of Wight.

THE asbestos danger was well documented in the early Thirties (Letters). My wartime editions of Jane's Fighting Ships describe how all new Royal Navy destroyers were fully lagged internally with sprayed on liquid asbestos to retain warmth in Arctic latitudes and keep out the heat in the Tropics.

When major units were in action, up to 1,500 men could be showered in microscopic asbestos particles. In those times, the average chargehand was still going around saying that you can't learn anything from books and a little bit of dirt inside of you won't hurt.

That's how the Admiralty and U.S.

Navy could get away with it. To its credit, the U.S. is paying out millions to former navy and shipyard personnel and families for World War II asbestos contamination. American shipbuilding and naval magazines are full of such stories.

Some 61 years ago, poorly-educated chargehands and foremen debated whether to sack me because I persisted in wearing eye and ear protection, upsetting other employees.

When the factory inspector phoned to say he was coming next day, everyone would be made to wear them.

The 9/11 buildings were loaded with asbestos and it is said that the whole of New York has been exposed.

I believe male workers today don't realise how lucky they are because more and more educated, intelligent, enlightened women are moving into all spheres of work. Workplaces can only get safer and healthier.

FRANK MANTLE, Halesworth, Suffolk.