Retired Researcher Looking For Help From Former Colleagues After Asbestos-Related Disease Diagnosis

Specialist Industrial Disease Lawyers Investigating Asbestos Exposure Decades Ago


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463

A retired laboratory technician is appealing to his former colleagues for help after he was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma – an incurable cancer caused by exposure to asbestos decades ago that affects the lining of the stomach.

Alan Cook, 68, from Dudley, Cramlington was diagnosed with the disease in March 2015 after suffering indigestion and stomach pain and he has now instructed expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how and where he was exposed to asbestos dust and fibres that caused his illness.

He believes he came into contact with the substance decades ago while working as a technical assistant in laboratories while working for Tioxide, in Billingham, between 1965 and 1970.

His role included conducting test and experiments on titanium pigment, which was used in toothpaste, white bread and plastics. Alan recalls that he and his colleagues would use two types of asbestos rope during the experiments, which they would touch with their bare hands and cut with knives.

Alan told his legal team at Irwin Mitchell that the ropes would release dust and fibres into the atmosphere and that his work clothes were often covered in asbestos dust by the end of the day.

He also recalls the pipework at the facility being lagged with asbestos and repair work taking place while he was present, which led to further dust and fibres being released into the working atmosphere.

Alan, backed by asbestos-related disease experts at Irwin Mitchell, is now appealing for his former colleagues from Tioxide to come forward with crucial information on the presence of asbestos as Tioxide and the safety measures, if any, implemented to protect workers from the dangers of asbestos.

Roger Maddocks, a Partner and expert asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Alan, said:

Expert Opinion
“Asbestos dust and fibres can be extremely dangerous when inhaled or ingested and can cause a number of serious and sometimes fatal diseases, but all too often we see instances where employees were not given the correct information or protective equipment to prevent their exposure to the deadly material.

“Alan’s diagnosis has had a huge impact on his life and he understandably wants answers about why he was exposed to asbestos dust and fibres without any warnings about the risks the material posed.

“We would like to hear from anyone who worked at Tioxide in the 1960s and 70s as they may have crucial information that will help Alan and his family get the answers they deserve.”
Roger Maddocks, Partner

Since Alan’s diagnosis he has lost more than three stone in weight and has struggled to leave the house due to the severe pain caused by the disease.

Alan said: “My mesothelioma diagnosis was a terrible shock to me and my wife and we are still struggling to come to terms with it and what it means for our future.

“I can’t help but feel angry and frustrated that the disease was caused by asbestos dust and fibres, which I remember coming into contact with during my working life. I was never warned of the dangers of asbestos while working for Tioxide or provided with a face mask and I want answers about why this was allowed to take place.

“I hope that my former colleagues will come forward with the crucial information my legal team needs to ensure those responsible for my exposure will be held to account for failing to protect me and other workers.”

Anyone with information about working conditions at Tioxide in the 1960s and 70s should contact Emma Crowther on 0191 279 0094 or email

If you or a loved one has been affected by an asbestos related illness, our solicitors can help you to claim compensation. See our Asbestos Claims page for more information.