Information Sought On ICI Chemical Plant In Billingham
The wife of a former ICI worker is appealing for help amid concerns washing her husband’s work clothes may have caused her terminal asbestos cancer.
Joan Marie Smith has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung associated with exposure to asbestos, often decades previously.
Lawyers investigate asbestos-cancer diagnosis
The 81-year-old of Stockton-On-Tees has instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how the illness emerged. While the mum-of-two and grandmother-of-six does not believe she was exposed to asbestos during her career as a shop assistant and packer, attention has now turned to the work of her late husband Ron, who died aged 66, in 2000.
Ron worked at ICI Billingham for most of his career, from 1948 to 1991.
Appeal for information about ICI Billingham
Now, Joan and the experts at Irwin Mitchell are seeking information on the conditions he would have faced and whether it may have been possible that she encountered asbestos when washing his work clothes.
Expert Opinion“Contact with asbestos is commonly linked to industrial environments, but we’ve seen many cases through the years where individuals have been exposed to the material by washing work clothes. This is something we believe may have happened here.
“While sadly medical professionals can’t do much for Joan with regards to curing her cancer, we’re determined to provide her with the answers she deserves. Understandably Joan is desperate to find out what caused her cancer so any information from those who worked at the ICI plant could prove vital.
“Joan’s case is yet another stark reminder of the dangers of asbestos.” Emma Bell - Associate Solicitor
Mesothelioma: Joan Marie Smith's story
After instructing Irwin Mitchell following her diagnosis in September, Joan detailed how Ron started work for ICI straight from school. He was predominantly based in the oil works at the site but also spent time at the chemical works.
She said: “Ron talked about how he started as a messenger boy and then did an apprenticeship. He was classed as an instrument artificer and would design, build, install, maintain and repair instruments. At one point, he also moved into a more office-based role but still had to go into the manufacturing plant on a daily basis.
“I met Ron in 1959 and we moved in together in 1962 after we got married. At that point, he went to work in his own clothes and would come home filthy with dust. I was responsible for the laundry so handled everything and sometimes I would shake or wipe clothes to get rid of excess dust and dirt.
“I never visited ICI Billingham, but I am aware of people who have developed asbestos-related diseases from working there.”
Wife asks for help over whether asbestos cancer caused by washing husband's work clothes
She added: “Nothing prepares you for the news you have cancer. It was hard enough trying to get my head around the news but the more I looked into mesothelioma the more shocked I was to find that in most cases it’s linked to industrial settings.
“Before my diagnosis I’d never even heard of mesothelioma but I now know how bad it is. I try and remain positive but I’m finding I’m becoming less and less independent and more reliable on others.
“Nothing can make up for what’s happened. However, if anyone who worked with Ron or at the plant around the same time could come forward with information, I would be so grateful. I deserve answers regarding this illness.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Stephanie Wilson at Irwin Mitchell on 0191 434 0731 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about our expertise in supporting people and their families affected by mesothelioma at our dedicated asbestos-related disease section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.