Monday, December 10, 2012

Asbestos: DIY Reno Kills Man Decades Later

(Webwire) Geoffrey Newton, a top orthopaedic surgeon, died from mesothelioma, a cancer affecting the lining of the lungs, after being a keen DIYer for many years. Speaking to the Daily Mail his wife Pat, 82, said that Mr Newton worked on projects including building a boat and converting an old school house into a home – and that at 81 he was working on fitting a new kitchen and bathroom in their property.

It is believed that Mr Newton was exposed to asbestos while removing an old boiler from the couple’s property in Burton-on-Trent and while the incident took place 37 years ago, it was still enough to trigger the fatal respiratory condition.

His wife explained: “It was 37 years ago, but I still remember all the white dust that came out with it. At the time, it was known that brown and blue asbestos were dangerous, but not white, so we assumed the dust was harmless.”

According to figures in the Daily Mail the number of people who die each year from mesothelioma has almost quadrupled in the past three decades.

Speaking to the newspaper, medical adviser to the British Lung Foundation Dr John Moore-Gillon said that many people mistakenly believe asbestos is no longer a danger as it was banned from use so long ago – but asbestos can still exist in older buildings, and be disturbed during renovations.

“What is worrying is that we barely have the resources to treat the condition, so if numbers continue to rise then there could be a huge strain in terms of treating everyone,” he warned.

While asbestos is a natural fibre it can be extremely harmful to people if inhaled and mesothelioma is almost always fatal. Those exposed to asbestos, which can be present in ceiling tiles, old boilers and insulation, are also vulnerable to certain cancers.

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