Windsor, England – An open verdict was reached in the preliminary investigation into the death of 70-year-old Reginald Tinmouth, who passed away in July from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma. Tinmouth’s death is being investigated, as the coroner could not find any visible signs of asbestos exposure, typically the leading cause of this deadly cancer.
At the age of 15, Tinmouth left school and worked on a farm for three years. Following his time on the farm, Tinmouth began a career as a sheet metal worker with various companies for 17 years. A violent motorcycle accident in 1974 left him unable to work again.
Despite Tinmouth’s career in the metalworking industry, he had told his family before his death that he had no recollection of ever working directly with or being exposed to asbestos. Nevertheless, the sheet metal industry is well-known for using high levels of asbestos and exposing employees without notice. The harmful material was added to many of the tools and machines sheet metal workers used on a daily basis, and was even put into workers’ uniforms to act as a fire-retardant.
Asbestos, a rock-like mineral, can be broken down and added to metal, cement, and insulation to make the products stronger and more durable. It was often used in industries where high levels of heat were present, such as metalworking. While its use was widespread until the late 1970s, its harmful effects eluded many of its most frequent users; many workers did not know the mineral was in place, and were not required to wear safety gear to protect themselves from being exposed.
Mesothelioma, a deadly cancer, claims more than 3,000 lives each year. Small asbestos fibers are embedded in the lining of the organs and lungs, a sensitive membrane known as the the mesothelium, leading to mesothelioma tumor years – even decades – following exposure.
A pathologist confirmed the diagnosis of mesothelioma, concluding that Tinmouth’s left lung was engulfed by a large tumor.