A man who was showered with asbestos while fitting shops in Swindon died from inhaling the dust. Terence Parsons, of Damson Trees, Shrivenham, wrote a statement giving the details of his exposure to asbestos during the 1950s and 1960s. 

Wiltshire coroner David Masters read Mr. Parsons' statement at an inquest into his death at the Civic Offices yesterday.

Mr. Parsons described fitting asbestos tiles and cutting asbestos sheets while fitting ceiling tiles at the Swindon and District Co-operative, BHS store and offices in Shrivenham Road and Percy Street.

The statement read: "There was a lot of work putting up asbestos ceiling tiles and refitting them. It was dusty work.

"You used to get showered with dust and looked like a ghost.

"I remember very specifically the dust contained asbestos. I remember reading it on the boxes that the tiles came in and they said handle with care'.

"I cut the asbestos with a handsaw. It generated a lot of dust."

Mr. Parsons gave up his shop-fitting job in the early 1970s and started his own business so he could travel less and see his family more. Despite never working with asbestos again, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in February 2005.

In June last year the retired carpenter collapsed suddenly at his home and was rushed to the Great Western Hospital.

He died at the hospital less than a month later, aged 68.

Pathologist Dr. Jeanette Armstrong told the inquest that tumours found in Mr. Parsons' lung and colon were both mesothelioma, known as the Swindon disease because of the number of railway workers who developed the asbestos-related cancer.

Giving a ruling of death by the industrial disease mesothelioma, Mr. Masters said: "It is evident from his own statement that he was exposed to asbestos and/or asbestos dust."

Solicitor Graeme Chisolm, representing Mr. Parsons' wife Daphne and her family, said the coroner's verdict confirmed what they already knew.

"We are pursuing ongoing legal action against one or more of the previous employers," he said.

A great number of people worked in the building industry whose work often involved exposure to asbestos, without ever being made aware of the dangers or told how to deal with it.

Today has backed up the fact that Mr. Parsons' death was entirely work-related.


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