Dusty boiler suit hid deadly killer

A MUM of four, whose husband worked at Beckton Gas Station, died from asbestos exposure after washing his dusty overalls, an inquest heard. Irene Gray, of Farm Close, Dagenham, contracted Mesothelioma decades after she first came into contact with asbest

A MUM of four, whose husband worked at Beckton Gas Station, died from asbestos exposure after washing his dusty overalls, an inquest heard.

Irene Gray, of Farm Close, Dagenham, contracted Mesothelioma decades after she first came into contact with asbestos through her husband, Stanley's, job as a boiler maker.

Despite her light exposure to the substance, Irene developed the cancer in her lungs and died at home on August 2 this year, she was 83.

Her daughter, Patricia Fowler, told Walthamstow Coroner's Court on Wednesday November 11 that her mum worked at an ammunition factory in Woolwich as a teenager and may have been exposed to asbestos there.

She also said Barking and Dagenham council removed an asbestos roof from her parent's home 30 years ago.

But Coroner Dr Elizabeth Stearns felt the most likely cause of Irene's malignant Mesothelioma was washing her husband's dusty boiler suit.

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"Your mother always washed your father's overalls," she said. "And in those days the boiler pipe lagging that used to be used was asbestos based."

Patricia recalled that her father would come home from work covered in dust, although he did not contract an asbestos related illness later in life.

"He worked at Beckton for a good 30 years," she said. "But as far as we know he died 10 years before mum of bronchial pneumonia."

In May this year Irene became very ill with pains in her chest, she was admitted to Queen's Hospital, Romford, where doctors diagnosed the Mesothelioma.

Patricia added: "I knew something wasn't right before mum went into hospital.

"We were walking along Clacton seafront and she had to stop and sit down constantly.

"When she gave up her knitting I knew it was really serious."

Irene was released from hospital in July and went home where she was nursed by her children, staff from St Francis Hospice and district nurses.

She died after a visit from her son who had to travel from Bristol. Patricia said she had been "hanging on to say goodbye to us all".

A post-mortem by Dr Peter Tanner at King George Hospital, Goodmayes, concluded Irene died from a malignant Mesothelioma tumour on her right lung.

Recording her verdict, Coroner Dr Stearns, said Irene died from malignant Mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure, most likely washing her husband's overalls.

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