Three more lives claimed by asbestos

ASBESTOS, the silent killer, has claimed three more lives in Suffolk, it emerged today.Anthony Smith, 66, Michael Page, 63, and Gerald Bullard, 81, all died as a result of exposure to the deadly substance after years of working in the building and engineering trades.

ASBESTOS, the silent killer, has claimed three more lives in Suffolk, it emerged today.

Anthony Smith, 66, Michael Page, 63, and Gerald Bullard, 81, all died as a result of exposure to the deadly substance after years of working in the building and engineering trades.

Painter and decorator Mr Smith, of Churchman Close, Melton, had worked in the trade since becoming an apprentice in the 1950s and regularly came into contact with asbestos until he left to work as a security guard when he was in his 30s.

Greater Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean said at the inquest into his death, which was held at Suffolk County Council's Endeavour House on Tuesday : “This type of exposure would have happened on a daily basis, never being warned of exposure to asbestos and never using protection.”

Dr Dean noted that one of Mr Smith's former colleagues had also died as a result of exposure to asbestos and recorded industrial disease as the cause of death of Mr Smith, who had developed mesothelioma and died at his home on September 29.

He recorded the same verdict at the inquest into the death of Michael Page who developed a tumour which appeared to be linked to asbestos towards the end of his life and then died at Ipswich's St Elizabeth Hospice on August 3.

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Mr Page, of Woodlands, Chelmondiston, worked as a floor and carpet fitter and travelled a lot for his job, so Dr Dean said it would be difficult to be certain where he came into contact with asbestos.

Dr Dean added: “It was felt that he probably had asbestos exposure in the past as a result of breaking up old flooring tiles.”

Gerald Bullard, of Ling's Lane in Chelmondiston, was found to have died in Ipswich Hospital on November 12 as a result of an industrial disease after developing mesothelioma.

During his career in the engineering field Mr Bullard had worked at the Cliff Quay Power Station in Ipswich, a power station which has seen several of its former employees die from asbestos-related diseases.

Dr Dean said Mr Bullard had “reported indirect exposure to asbestos” during his working life, which also included time at station's in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

n Would you like to pay a tribute to any of the three men? Have you been affected by asbestos? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.>

Asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally-occurring fibre that was widely used for various industrial purposes, such as insulation and ship-building until the mid 1980s.

Since the health effects of asbestos started to become clear, the supply and use of asbestos and asbestos products has been banned for all but a few exceptions.

People working in industries where asbestos was used extensively, such as demolition work, plumbing, and at power stations, were likely to have been exposed to breathing in fibres of asbestos often over a period of years.

Changes in the lung occur slowly and diseases can take 20 years or more to develop.

Conditions that develop as a result of exposure to asbestos include mesothelioma (a malignant tumour in the lung), asbestosis (a long-term lung disease) and benign pleural thickening (the lining of the lung is thickened and hardened).

At least 3,500 people die in Great Britain each year from mesothelioma and asbestos related lung cancer.