Recent rulings in asbestos suits in England have revealed disturbing conditions where a village full of children were exposed to asbestos. Four decades later, a number of these youngsters are now in their 40s and 50s and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma.
One of those victims, Caroline Wilcock, got the ball rolling with the first of what will likely be many asbestos suits against Cape Asbestos Company.
A Legacy of Toxic Exposure
From the 1960s until it was shut down in the mid-1980s, the asbestos company operated in Wilcock’s hometown of Bowburn. The factory expelled fluffy dust that the townspeople breathed in and the local children played in because it seemed harmless and fun.
She reported that the children would use the asbestos clumps in lieu of sidewalk chalk and for “snowball” fights.
Wilcock told the BBC, “I am angry that I and other children came into contact with asbestos whilst playing in our village and around our homes and feel certain that my case will not be in isolation.” Beginning from age seven, Wilcock was exposed to the deadly substance until she left for university in her late teens in the 1980s. That was just the start of her story.
Extreme Asbestos Exposure Levels
It was not until over 20 years later that Wilcock fell sick while living abroad – an illness she initially blamed on pollution. Later she learned asbestos had made her ill and it was easy for her to trace it back to its source. Given the length and severity of exposure, it’s not surprising that Wilcock developed mesothelioma. The question remains, how many others may have been sickened by the prevalence of the toxic substance?
The exposure levels Wilcock describes are terrifying. Asbestos dust and fluff were so thick they coated cars and windowsills and prevented people from hanging clothes out on their lines to dry. Wilcock told The Northern Echo newspaper that she knows other villagers have developed asbestos illness and she encourages them to file asbestos suits of their own.
Corporate Irresponsibility and Mesothelioma
In this particular case, it was Cape Asbestos Company that poisoned the residents of Bowburn and possibly other villages as well. Because the ills of asbestos have been known long prior to the exposure of this town, it seems likely that the actions of the corporation were deliberate and done with knowledge of the risk. Wilcock’s settlement amount was not made public, but will likely be the first of many lawsuits to come.
While this particular case took place in the UK, the abuses of asbestos were similar around the world. Asbestos plants, mines, manufacturing facilities and a litany of other corporations that relied on asbestos did so knowing the health hazards it posed. Tens of thousands of people in the US alone have lost their lives to asbestos illnesses and it has not yet taken its full toll. Holding these corporations accountable for their actions is critical.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, Bergman Draper Oslund can help. We have won more than $700 million in settlements for asbestos victims just like you. Contact us now for a free consultation about your rights to compensation for your damages from asbestos exposure.