Exposed to asbestos at United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, Harwell
The Berkshire Asbestos Support Group has been pleased to be able to assist three families whose lives were affected by mesothelioma, contracted by their loved ones whilst working for the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) at Harwell.
Getting a mesothelioma diagnosis
Jack was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2014, following chest pain and a cough. He never really retired. At the time of his diagnosis he was a self-employed picture framer and also ran an eBay shop for iron goods.
Ray was 66 years old when he first started suffering symptoms of mesothelioma. He had lower back pain and swiftly developed fluid on the lungs which needed draining. Following his diagnosis of mesothelioma he had five cycles of chemotherapy.
Bob first began to notice symptoms in spring 2012 at the age of 77. He experienced breathlessness and generally did not feel like his usual self. He attended his GP but mesothelioma was not diagnosed until January 2013, following a CT scan and biopsy.
Employees of UKAEA, Harwell
What all these men have in common is not just a diagnosis of mesothelioma. All three men were employed at UKAEA in Harwell and all of them reported asbestos exposure there.
Exposed to asbestos
Jack, as an apprentice and then fully qualified welder, used an asbestos powder which he mixed with water to form a paste. He then used it as a barrier to prevent heat escaping from machine parts. He also worked alongside laggers who insulated pipes with asbestos. He was employed at UKAEA in Harwell between 1958 and 1966.
Ray was actually at Harwell for over forty years, from 1963 until his retirement in 2003. He had a variety of jobs over the years, but again recalled asbestos exposure in the early years (in his case in the 1960s and 1970s). He remembered pipes that were lagged with asbestos and that cleaners used a machine with brushes which disturbed the asbestos and released dust into his breathing zone. He was also required to open and close doors to industrial ovens in the 1960s and 1970s. He believes that this process disturbed the asbestos seals on the doors.
Bob began working for the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) at Harwell in 1958 as a research and experimental mechanic and stayed in this role until 1961. He worked in the metal workshop, producing experimental test pieces for scientists in connection with atomic energy research. In the process of doing so he used a material called Sindanyo which was a type of board which contained asbestos. He regularly had to cut the Sindanyo board and file it to the requisite shape. Doing so released asbestos fibres into the atmosphere which Bob inhaled. He was not provided with any breathing protection.
BASG were able to help Bob, Jack and Ray with benefits applications and by providing details of Mesothelioma UK approved solicitors who handle asbestos disease cases.