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Widow Speaks Of Shock At Finding Out Husband's Fatal Cancer Was Linked To Career in Tyre Industry

Valerie Spruce’s Husband Fred Died Of ‘Industrial Disease’, Coroner Ruled


The heartbroken widow of a man who died from bladder cancer after four decades in the tyre industry has spoken of her shock at learning the link between rubber and the fatal disease.

Valerie Spruce, lost husband Fred in November 2015, just weeks after he was diagnosed with bladder cancer.

The 71-year-old widow instructed expert industrial disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how Fred became the victim of industrial disease, after a coroner concluded Fred’s working environment was the cause.

Valerie is now appealing to her late husband’s former workmates to come forward to establish the circumstances of Fred’s exposure to carcinogenic chemicals during the tyre building process.

Fred joined Goodyear Tyres in September 1961 and worked at its Stafford Road branch in Wolverhampton before retiring in December 2003.

The father-of-one was diagnosed with metastatic carcinoma of the bladder in October after he suffered dramatic weight loss and went to his GP. He died on November 14, 2015, aged 72.

Due to the methods used to process and manufacture vehicle tyres, the work environment may be contaminated with dusts, gases, vapors, fumes, and chemical byproducts to which workers can be exposed through inhalation and skin absorption.

At the inquest into his death, held in December last year, South Staffordshire Senior Coroner Andrew Haigh concluded that Fred’s death came after 42 years of exposure to carcinogenic chemicals.

Expert Opinion
“The findings at the inquest came as a shock to Valerie and understandably, she’s now keen to find answers surrounding Fred’s exposure to the deadly by-products which caused the metastatic carcinoma.

“Due to the nature of industrial disease, many people are not diagnosed until decades after they were exposed.

“The inquest raised a lot of questions about Fred’s work as well as the cause of his illness. I would therefore ask anyone with information about the working practices at Goodyear Tyres to come forward to speak to us.”
Alex Shorey, Associate Solicitor

Valerie, who was married to Fred for over 50 years, said: “Fred spent 42 years working for Goodyear Tyres, had a wonderful career and made many life-long friends, so when I found out after he died that his bladder cancer was caused by his exposure to the tyre rubber, I was shocked and heartbroken.

 “I’d really like to hear from anyone who worked with Fred – of which there will be many – whom I hope can help me find answers.”

 Anyone with information about the working environment at Goodyear Dunlop in Wolverhampton between 1961 and 2003 should contact Alex Shorey at Irwin Mitchell on 0121 214 5493 or by email to Alex.Shorey@Irwin.Mitchell.co.uk


Read more about Irwin Mitchell's work with industrial disease and other work-related illness claims, here.