Shoosmiths' asbestos team has appealed on behalf of Myrtle Verstraeten (77) from Wellingborough for information about work practices in general and a particular glue which may have contained asbestos used at the Regent Belt Company Limited which was based at Old Road, Wargrave, Northamptonshire NN6 9QW at the time.
The company, which later moved to Weedon Road Industrial Estate, Northampton NN5 5AX, made luxury leather goods. Mrs Verstraeten (known as Myrtle Filer when she started her employment) worked as a sprayer from approximately 1987 to 1992. Her task was to spray the leather goods with the glue in spray bays without any form of respiratory protection.
In addition to the possibility of being exposed to asbestos through spraying Mrs Verstraeten may also have been further exposed when she cleaned extractor fans situated in the eaves of the building, next to where her booth was located.
These fans were removed by a work colleague and she would then use a scraper to hack away the congealed dust that had collected on the blades. This generated further dust which she breathed in.
As a result Mrs Verstraeten has gone on to develop pleural plaques and asbestosis. Both debilitating industrial diseases are caused by inhaling asbestos fibres which scar and irreparably damage the lung tissue.
The symptoms of asbestosis can take some time to become apparent and anyone who is exposed to asbestos may also be at risk of developing some serious medical conditions including the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma.
About five years after she started the spraying job, Mrs Verstraeten recalls seeing a safety data product sheet giving what she believes was an indication that the glue may have contained asbestos or was harmful.
It is understood that the glue used was made by Caswell Adhesives, also located in Northamptonshire, however that company no longer has the relevant safety data sheets for that particular product which they claim were all lost in a fire.
‘We hope that anyone who may remember working with Myrtle or worked at the Regent Belt Company Limited or has any knowledge about the composition and safety of the glue used or even has a copy of the safety data sheet gets in touch as they may have the answers that she desperately needs. Any information from her former colleagues will help us achieve some sort of justice for Mrs Verstraeten that recognises her wholly undeserved suffering’.
Anyone who thinks they might have relevant information about the company or the glue used, or indeed may face similar health issues, should call Shoosmiths on 03700 86 8686.