UK Asbestos Activist Succumbs to Mesothelioma

A British man who campaigned for justice for those suffering from asbestos-related diseases passed away last week after living with mesothelioma for nearly a year and a half, reports Dan Warburton for the Newcastle Evening Chronicle.  According to the article, the 64-year-old Geoffrey Bradshaw worked as a bookseller in County Durham in the north of England for many years before being diagnosed with the deadly cancer in September of 2009. Bradshaw worked for Murray Book Distributors, the story explains, a small, now-defunct publisher of car manuals.  According to the coroner at Wansbeck General Hospital, “the cause of his illness and ultimately his death was due to exposure to asbestos dust.”  The source of the dust is not made clear in the article, but many insulation and packing materials manufactured in the 20th century contained asbestos as a fireproofing substance.  As these materials become torn or damaged, they release asbestos fibers into the air, which can become lodged in the lining of the lungs. While companies in England have been required to provide health insurance to their employees since 1972, Murray Book Distributors no longer exists and authorities have not been able to determine the insurer, the story explains.  According to Bradshaw’s lawyer, Roger Maddocks, “Mr. Bradshaw fought hard for two years to get justice for his condition and the blame for this lies at the feet of the system that is currently failing to help workers in those cases, such as this, where no insurer can be traced.” According to Maddocks, “Mr Bradshaw’s case was an example of why the Government must continue with its plans to set up an Employer’s Liability Insurance Bureau. If it becomes law, compensation for industrial diseases could be made easier,” the Evening Chronicle reports. Bradshaw leaves behind a wife and two grown daughters, the Chronicle reports.  The article goes on to explain that his wife, Gladys, will continue his fight for justice in the hope that it will become easier for others who have developed occupational diseases to receive compensation.  “I feel angry that I’ve been robbed of my husband,” she said.  “I don’t think my husband’s cancer is any worse that [sic] other people’s illnesses, but he was diagnosed with cancer because of other people.” The Chronicle continues, quoting Gladys Bradshaw as she explains that “We would have had many years together.  His grandchildren should have been [sic] played with him on the beach but now they will have to visit his grave.” References: Warburton, Dan. (January 13, 2011) “Campaigner loses fight against mesothelioma.” Retrieved January 21, 2011 from the Evening Chronicle. Previous: After Judge’s Death, Broward Courthouse Tested for Toxins Next: W.R. Grace & Co. Profitable Despite Asbestos Liability