Father-Of-Three Exposed To Material After Cleaning And Repairing Hairdryers
A former hairdresser from Bradford who developed asbestos-related cancer following years of working in salons has spoken out about how the condition has affected him, after lawyers secured funds to support him through his illness.
Calogero La Bella, 80, who is from Sicily but moved to the UK when he was just 20, developed symptoms including fatigue and diarrhoea last summer. He underwent scans and was diagnosed with mesothelioma – a cancer of the lining of the lungs which is most commonly associated with exposure to asbestos decades ago.
Following the news, the father-of-three instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how he came to develop the illness and the legal experts concluded that it may be linked to his work in a number of salons through the years.
Mesothelioma takes several decades to develop following exposure to asbestos, making it difficult in some cases to determine where exposure took place.
While the legal experts have been unable to take legal action against any specific employer, they have now been able to secure Calogero a payment from the Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme – a specialist fund created to compensate those unable to bring a claim against either an employer or a company’s liability insurer.
Expert Opinion“While this is yet another case which highlights the devastating impact that asbestos exposure can have, it is also one which is notable for two reasons.
So many of our cases relate to asbestos exposure in industrial environments, so this one is undoubtedly unique because of the fact that contact with the material is likely to have occurred in salons.
Secondly, while we have been unable to pursue a claim against a specific employer, we have still managed to secure funds for our client through this special scheme.
It is a case which truly highlights how any form of asbestos exposure can have significant consequences, as well as that there are multiple ways that we can work to ensure that our clients gain the justice that they ultimately deserve.”
Lucy Andrews - Associate Solicitor
Calogero has been involved in hairdressing since the age of just 10, when he started both shaving men and cutting their hair. While he originally lived in Bristol when he arrived in the UK, he moved to Bradford in 1959 and has been in the city ever since.
He has worked at a range of salons in Bradford and Leeds through the decades. His role always involved cleaning and maintaining both hood and handheld hairdryers, with it known that some models used asbestos for its heat resistant purposes.
Calogero recalled: “Cleaning the dryers was always a very dusty job and you would have to get rid of the dust and hair that had collected in them. I might have also had to replace the element or other aspects like wiring too.
“It is only in more recent years that I’ve come to learn that some devices made use of asbestos to prevent the dryers from catching fire.
“Developing mesothelioma has been a huge shock and it has had a massive impact on my life. However, it is particularly distressing to think that the job I loved so much essentially caused it.
“Sadly nothing will change what has happened but this payment is undoubtedly very welcome and it will ensure that I can access the care and support I will need going forward.”
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