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I was instructed by Iris shortly after her diagnosis of mesothelioma. I visited Iris at her daughter’s home to discuss where she had encountered exposure to asbestos dust.

Iris’s claim was quite unusual in that she was not exposed to asbestos dust during her employment. Iris predominantly worked in retail and had no known exposure to asbestos dust during her employment.

I also discussed Iris’s family history and her schooling and we were able to rule out any secondary exposure from family members working with asbestos dust or any exposure to asbestos dust whilst she was at school. The only exposure to asbestos dust which Iris could recall happened whilst she was living in a Council property owned by Watford Borough Council.

Exposure to asbestos dust

Iris began living in the property in Thorpe Crescent, Watford, in approximately 1962. Whilst living in the property, major renovation work was undertaken by the Council. This involved removing the kitchen and bathroom and putting a boiler in.

Iris gave a detailed description of the work undertaken by the workmen employed by Watford Borough Council. Iris was very meticulous and tidy and therefore could recall how distressed she was at the mess which was left by the Council’s builders. She described dust and dirt on every surface and how she had to clean the surfaces and dust down the furniture every day before she was able to prepare the evening meal. After clearing up after the workmen, Iris’s clothes had to be washed as a result of how dusty and dirty the house was.

Iris described asbestos tiles, a coal boiler with a large asbestos pipe and a step created using cement and asbestos which the boiler was placed on and which was used to seal the pipework. As well as describing the work in the 1960s, Iris went on to describe work undertaken in the early 1980s when the Council’s workmen came back to put in central heating. The asbestos step was smashed out and the boiler removed as central heating was put into the house.

Iris was again able to describe how dirty and dusty the property was at the end of every day after the Council’s workmen had been in. Iris cleared up all of the dirt and dust created by Watford Borough Council’s workmen and this was the only exposure to asbestos dust which Iris recalled encountering.

Making a mesothelioma claim

I submitted a claim on behalf of Iris to Watford Borough Council. The Council admitted that they negligently exposed Iris to asbestos dust and agreed to settle her claim. Sadly, Iris passed away shortly before settlement could be reached. I was, however, able to agree a settlement with Watford Borough Council on behalf of Iris’s family of £80,000.

Iris’s exposure to asbestos in her own property is a clear indicator of the fact that asbestos exposure is now less typically found in traditional employments such as asbestos laggers, plumbers, heating and ventilation engineers and carpenters. We are frequently encountering more unusual circumstances of asbestos exposure such as Iris’. Iris’ mesothelioma claim gives hope to many others with mesothelioma that no matter the circumstances of your exposure to asbestos dust, a claim for compensation may still be able to be pursued.