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Case study – exposure from washing clothes

Turner Freeman has acted for numerous women who have contracted an asbestos disease as a result of washing and handling their son’s, brother’s, father’s or husband’s asbestos laden clothes.

These women often describe shaking the clothes or beating them with a stick to get rid of dust and dirt, before putting the clothes in the wash. Many describe dust being released from the clothes and into the air of the laundry or back yard.

Mrs H

Mrs. H’s father worked on the waterfront and regularly unloaded bags of asbestos between 1954 and 1969. Mrs H lived at home with her parents until just before her 21st birthday. From about age 5 or 6 up until she left home she would help her mother with the household chores including washing her father’s work clothes.

Mrs H’s father died of an asbestos related lung cancer in August 2005. Mrs H was diagnosed with mesothelioma in October 2007. She brought proceedings against Comcare, who were the responsible entity, and she was successful in her claim which was settled for a confidential sum.

Mrs O

Mrs O’s husband worked at the James Hardie asbestos factory for 25 years and her son also worked at the factory for 5 years. Her husband was initially employed in the mixing department where bags of raw asbestos were poured into the mixing machines. He also regularly assisted in the unloading of the bags of raw asbestos which was a very dusty job as the bags were often ripped and dust escaping. Mrs O’s son was employed as an apprentice electrical fitting mechanic and also had daily contact with asbestos during the course of his duties.

Mrs. O washed her husband’s and son’s work clothes which were covered in dust. She recalls that she would first shake the clothes out before scraping the dry asbestos off and then washing them. She would also brush the dried asbestos off their work boots.

Mrs. O was diagnosed with asbestosis and asbestos related pleural plaques causing disabling chest pain. She commenced proceedings against James Hardie and her claim was successfully settled out of court for a confidential amount.

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