Brits Prepare for Mesothelioma Action Day
In Great Britain, the rate of mesothelioma is one of the highest in the world, second only to Australia, which has the worst record of asbestos diseases on the planet.
To call attention to the plight of sufferers in that country, a Mesothelioma Action Day is held each year with the intent of letting everyone know that people are still dealing with the effects of an abundant use of asbestos during much of the 20th century and into the 21st century in Great Britain.
In Swindon, locals honored a recently-passed man who developed mesothelioma due to his years of work for the Great Western Railway Works, where he toiled in the stamping shop as a fitter.
Not unlike those who worked for railroads in the United States in days gone by, this gentleman – Peter Heavens – was exposed to asbestos each day.
He was often made to remove asbestos-containing lagging from pipes and was never given protective clothing to help him avoid inhalation of toxic fibers.
After Heavens left the railroad, he worked as a Merchant Navy Officer – where he may have encountered asbestos once again, and as a quality assurance employee for London Transport.
Doctors were pretty certain, however, that his asbestos exposure was as a result of his railroad work.
Jennifer Seavour, senior associate at the law firm of Royds Withy King, said: “It was awful to hear about the working environment at the Swindon Railway Works from Peter. Whilst I have represented many men over the years that have been exposed to asbestos at the works, it never fails to shock me to hear about the working environment and how so many men were exposed to asbestos and their lives put in danger.”
Though Heavens made it to age 89, diagnosed with mesothelioma long after his work with the Great Western Railway, it was difficult for his family to see him suffer so in his last year of life.
What began as simply breathing difficulties quickly escalated, his family told a crowd gathered to hear about Peter and other victims, and he was gone within a year of diagnosis.
“Peter told me that he knew many other men who had worked with him and died from asbestos-related diseases. He thought he had been one of the lucky ones but was also sadly diagnosed with the disease late in life,” Seavour added.
Mesothelioma Action Day is being held on Friday, June 6th throughout the country. Myriad commemorations are being offered throughout many towns in Great Britain, especially those that were highly industrial, with locals involved not only in railroads but also shipbuilding, steel works, textile making, and more.