Asbestos exposure led to disease

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A SCARBOROUGH coroner has ruled that working in a factory which was “thick with asbestos” ultimately led to the death of an 84-year-old woman.

Michael Oakley, the coroner for the Scarborough area, this week reopened the inquest into the death of Joyce Palmer of Seafield Avenue – who died in February in St Catherine’s Hospice.

According to a family statement Mrs Palmer, who was born in Lancashire, had worked in the weaving department of the factory, between the 1940s and 1960s, since she was 14-years-old but was not provided with protective masks until the end of her time there.

She retired in 1970 but did not become ill until Christmas 2010 and started complaining of difficulty in breathing.

According to the statement, which was read out by Mr Oakley, Mrs Palmer had described children playing with the asbestos in the factory because there was that much of it.

Consultant pathologist Dr Afaf El-Hag conducted a post mortem examination in February and she said the most important finding was that she found a large amount of fluid which was blood-stained

She added that Mrs Palmer was jaundiced because of tumours in her liver, lymph nodes and thyroid.

And, according to findings by the Environmental Lung Disease Research Group, some asbestos fibres were found in Mrs Palmer’s lungs – where there was also a large tumour – but this could not be definitely identified as the cause of the carcinoma.

But Dr El-Hag agreed that lung cancer was one of the cancers that was linked to asbestos. She said: “When tissue becomes malignant there are a number of factors.”

Mr Oakley said: “The evidence is clear in one respect – she was a person that was exposed to asbestos during her working life for quite a considerable time.”

He gave a verdict that she had died from an industrial disease.