Wetherby, UK—The family of a man whose mesothelioma death was caused by exposure to asbestos at work, is suing his employer.
Brian Harrison, 71, was diagnosed with the asbestos cancer in December 2008, and passed away just a few months later, in April 2009. The lawsuit is being brought against Moores Furniture Group, for which Harrison was a store manager. It alleges that he was exposed to the deadly asbestos dust during renovations at a Moores location, when workers were converting a Second World War munitions factory. The workers were removing lagging from pipes, which may have released millions of microscopic fibers into the air, where Harrison and other workers could have inhaled them.
Asbestos was widely used in the twentieth century as a constituent of the insulation on pipes, boilers, furnaces, and steam systems. Additionally, it had many other commercial and industrial uses, due to its fireproof, heatproof, strong and flexible nature. Unfortunately, asbestos has become recognized as a carcinogen, because when the microscopic fibers are inhaled or ingested, they can remain in the lungs and other soft tissues, where they promote the growth of abnormal cells and, eventually, tumors.
Harrison, who worked for the Moores firm from 1967 to 1996, was never given a respirator or protective clothing during the removal of the asbestos-laden lagging. Nor was he ever warned about the hazards of asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer which is almost always traced back to asbestos exposure, usually at the workplace. It may remain latent within the body for decades before it causes sufficient symptoms to alert the patient of its existence. Unfortunately, by this time the mesothelioma is usually advanced to such a degree that it cannot be successfully removed. Most patients die within two years of diagnosis.
Asbestos-containing products have largely been phased out in developed nations, but many of them still remain in use, and the material itself continues to be popular in some underdeveloped nations, mostly because it is inexpensive and extremely useful.