Wife died after washing asbestos covered overallsBy Paul Cassell
September 10, 2012
A wife died from asbestos poisoning after washing her builder husband’s work clothes, an inquest heard.
Adrienne Martin, from Victoria Road, Wargrave, died at the Royal Berkshire Hospital on March 27 this year after contracting cancer having been exposed to the substance for several years.
At an inquest at Reading Civic Centre on Tuesday, August 21, Berkshire coroner Peter Bedford read a statement from her son Christopher, who was present at the hearing, explaining how his mother may have caught the disease.
In it he told how his father was a builder by profession who had worked with asbestos.
It was a product he was familiar with and the family home also had an outbuilding with an asbestos roof.
He added that Mrs Martin, 66, worked in a number of sales administration jobs and therefore did not come into contact with asbestos through her employment, but agreed that she did his dad’s washing.
Mr Martin told how his father died from an unrelated illness to mesothelioma, the cancer brought on by exposure to asbestos, which Mr Bedford said was not uncommon and a mystery to the medical profession.
The inquest heard how Mrs Martin began to suffer with chest pains in February last year, causing her breathing difficulty, and underwent treatment before later developing a cough.
She had a biopsy the following November during which she was diagnosed with mesothelioma.
At that time she revealed how she may have been exposed through washing her husband’s overalls.
A post-mortem showed that her left lung was severely affected by the cancer and the tumour had spread to her right lung and to her heart with mesothelioma being confirmed as her cause of death.
Mr Bedford said: “I tragically see a lot of these cases and it is normally the person coming into contact with asbestos in certain industries, with the building industry being notorious.
“Sometimes, very cruelly, it is not the person with the primary exposure but it is those around them.
“It is well recognised that in duly washing or shaking the dust out they become exposed and sadly succumb when their husbands do not.”
Mr Bedford concluded on the balance of probability that Mrs Martin died from mesothelioma most likely through indirect exposure to asbestos from her husband’s clothing acquired from his occupation.