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Playing w/ Asbestos

Courtesy of a facebook share by asbestos victim advocate Mavis Nye, UK

Written by Francesca Williams BBC News:

BBC NEWS: The Children Who Played With Asbestos

t is the late 1960s and a little girl is playing hopscotch on a grid she has marked out – not with chalk, but a lump of asbestos.

Forty-five years later she will be contemplating the cancerous mesothelioma in her lungs which is “growing out like a fungus”.

“I was doomed from then,” Caroline Wilcock says. “There was nothing I could have done between then and now to make a difference. I’m pleased I didn’t know it.”

She was one of many children in Bowburn who, between 1967 and 1983, played with asbestos from the factory opposite her house.

Continue reading the main story“It was coming down like little dust particles, like tiny little aniseed balls”Ann Sproat

Its parent company, Cape Intermediate Holdings, is paying her a “substantial” out-of-court settlement, although it has denied liability for her illness.

Caroline describes a white, chalky film of asbestos dust on “the grass, the flowers and the bushes”. It also settled on window ledges.

The mothers were less impressed. Ann Sproat, a friend of Caroline’s sister, remembers them constantly cleaning.

“If cleaning wasn’t done we couldn’t see out the windows,” she says. “It was coming down like little dust particles, like tiny little aniseed balls.”

The children would share the pieces of asbestos they found, marking out cricket stumps and anything else their imagination conjured up.

The thought of her brother creating a zebra crossing on the main road through the village makes Caroline laugh. It is striking how much she laughs considering the grim nature of the conversation.

She jokes about trying to get on to drugs trials, about the “awful” operation to test a sample of lung and about whether “incapacitated” is the right word for what will eventually happen to her.

Laughing makes her cough. She is also often tired and short of breath. Her treatment is palliative – there is no cure for mesothelioma.

Her doctor, Jeremy Steele, says there must be a factor that makes some people susceptible, but they do not know what it is.


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