Wife and mother Valeria Ward was diagnosed with mesothelioma 10 weeks before her death and the causes have been confirmed as asbestos inhalation from washing her husband and son’s work clothes for 20 years.
The 78-year-old, as reported by the Daily Mail, was devoted to her family and was unaware of the dangers of washing the overalls when her husband and son when they returned from work at Aberthaw Power Station near Cardiff.
The family have been awarded compensation to the sum of £8,775 and have donated the sum to the hospice in which their wife and mother spent her last days.
Daughter Avril Ward said: “Mum always washed his overalls after work. She wasn’t aware of the dangers of the dust and fibres on them.
“[Dad] lost a lot of colleagues and friends to mesothelioma. Not a lot was known of it then and very little protection was offered at that time.”
Eric Ward, 85, was also diagnosed at the same time as his wife, and is currently being treated for asbestos plaques in his lungs.
Avril said of the donation to the hospice: “Mum went to Holm Towers and we were very grateful she was able to go to the hospice as she had multiple cancers.
“We want people to be made aware of asbestos as it doesn’t come out until later in life long after you’ve been exposed to it. It’s a shock to lose a parent and as quickly as we did.
“Whatever we were going to get was always going to go to Holm Towers. It’s nice to be able to give something back [as] they were amazing.”
Mesothelioma is a cancer that mainly affects the lining of the lungs. An estimated 2,347 people have died due to past exposure to asbestos resulting in mesothelioma cancer years later, while a total of 6,745 people are estimated to have died from asbestos-related illnesses.
The Health and Safety Executive has predicted deaths from mesothelioma will continue to rise in the United Kingdom, with 80% of those deaths among men who had worked whilst exposed to asbestos in the workplace.
The predictions from the HSE suggest that as many as 2,100 men may die per year from the disease by 2016. Disability due to asbestos exposure is also on the rise, from approximately 20 people suffering in 1981, to almost 2,000 in 2011.
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