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Widow Appeals For Vital Clues To Aid Investigation Into Husband’s Death

Former Colleagues Urged To Come Forward


A Rotherham woman is appealing for her late husband’s former work colleagues to come forward and help with an investigation after he died of a rare cancer linked to exposure to chemicals used when making PVC. 

Geoffrey Osborne died on 1 August 2010 after a battle with angiosarcoma of the liver, a rare form of cancer, aged 58. Although angiosarcoma is an uncommon disease, it is seen in people who work with PVC plastic – especially if they have been exposed to Vinyl Chloride Monomer (VCM), the basic raw material for the manufacture of PVC.

Industrial illness experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell believe it is possible that Mr Osborne was exposed to VCM while working at Rotherham company William Heaton & Co Ltd.  Mr Osborne worked at the company for two years as a labourer from 1967-1968.

The firm is conducting an investigation into conditions at William Heaton & Co Ltd on behalf of Mrs Janet Osborne, and are looking for former employees to help provide potentially vital information.

Mrs Osborne, who lived with her husband in the village of Rawmarsh just outside the town, said: “We are absolutely devastated at Geoff’s death and we miss him terribly. It’s devastating to think his death may have been caused by nothing more than carrying out his daily duties at work.

“During his time at the company Geoff worked as a labourer on the construction of baths, and this included filling bath moulds and clearing up.  It is likely that the baths were made from PVC, and it is possible that he was exposed to VCM.

“Nothing can be done to bring Geoff back to us, but we hope that by looking into the work conditions at William Heaton & Co Ltd we might be able to prevent others from suffering in the future. We want answers as to how and why he died.”

Denis O’Gorman, an industrial illness expert at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Angiosarcoma of the liver is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer.

“PVC is a widely produced plastic which is used extensively to manufacture household goods, and it is concerning to think how many other people may suffer as a result of exposure to VMC.

“At Irwin Mitchell we care passionately about our clients and want to help them achieve justice. If anybody thinks they may be able to help I would urge them to contact me as soon as possible.”
Anyone who is able to help should contact Denis O’Gorman at denis.o’gorman@irwinmitchell.com or on 0870 1500 300.