Though asbestos companies like to argue that exposure to asbestos has to be over a very long period of time and at a heavy concentration to cause malignant mesothelioma, both scientists and real life situations have proven otherwise. Even a slight exposure to asbestos puts people at risk if its fibers are inhaled or ingested, and the results can be tragic, and heartbreaking. One such situation was recently revealed in the United Kingdom, where the wife of a bargeman who worked on the London Docks recently died of the rare and fatal form of cancer. It’s been determined that the asbestos exposure that caused her illness came from having laundered her husband’s work uniform after he came home each day: he had spent years transporting raw asbestos from ships to a nearby asbestos processing factory.
The woman who died was Annette Faram. She was married to Leonard, who traveled the Thames frequently on his barge, dating back to the 1960s. One of his regular trips was from the London Docks to the Cape Asbestos factory. Annette was first diagnosed with mesothelioma at the age of 79, and died three years later after an extended course of treatment. She left behind adult children and her 81-year old husband, who speaks poignantly of her loss and the role he unconsciously played.
“It feels like I’ve become the murderer. It’s so hard. I feel like a very guilty person.” At the time that he was transporting the asbestos that caused his wife’s mesothelioma, very few workers were aware of the risk that they were exposed to, let alone the fact that it extended to those with whom they came into close contact. It wasn’t until the mid-1970s that it became widely known that the mineral was carcinogenic, and years after that doctors started connecting even second-hand exposure to the hazardous material to asbestos-related disease deaths. Workers who came home from asbestos factories and other contaminated environments had asbestos on their skin, in their hair, and on their clothing. When they hugged their children or their wives shook dust off of their work clothes before cleaning them, they were all breathing in the toxic dust.
Today Leonard says of mesothelioma, “I’ve been witness to so many people that died because of it, and then it eventually caught up with my wife.” If you or someone you love has been affected by this disease, we can help. Contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.