Council care worker killed by asbestos in dusty church

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Council care worker killed by asbestos in dusty church Council care worker killed by asbestos in dusty church

Attending meetings in a dusty room at a Bradford church caused the death of a Council care worker, an inquest heard yesterday.

Michelle Salaya Hague was only 50 when she died from malignant mesothelioma in November last year.

Deputy Bradford Coroner Oliver Longstaff told the hearing the cancer was likely linked to exposure to asbestos during meetings she attended for work at a church in Greenhill Lane, Laisterdyke.

At the time she was working for home care services with Bradford Council and an upstairs room was rented at the church.

A statement written by Miss Hague in 2010 said the room would get so dusty that cups of tea would have a covering of it after an hour or so.

“The room was always dusty and there was always a thin layer of dust covering everything on the floor,” her statement said.

Heaters in the room were difficult to use and covered in an insulation material and the curtains were heavy with a “waxy feel to them”.

On one occasion Miss Hague arrived to find part of the roof had collapsed into the room and she helped to clear the debris. Several years later she realised what had fallen in the church looked similar to asbestos.

She would spend time at the church two or three times a week, for up to two hours at a time.

Miss Hague started experiencing difficulty breathing in 2005 and was twice prescribed antibiotics by her GP. When she did not improve she was given an inhaler.

In 2008 she dislocated her shoulder and a CT scan showed she had a partially collapsed left lung, along with fluid on it. She was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in 2009.

“I’m hoping to return to work at some point as I love my job,” her statement said.

Miss Hague, of Hill Top Road, Thornton, Bradford, died at home in her bed, with family by her side, on November 6 last year.

A post-mortem examination found the cancer was the cause of death, due to exposure to asbestos.

Closing the inquest at Bradford Coroner’s Court yesterday, Mr Longstaff concluded Miss Hague’s death was due to industrial disease caused by malignant mesothelioma and said asbestos fibres were found in all samples taken from her lung.

“It means something of an unusual case in that the history of exposure to asbestos is very often much stronger than it is in this case, but one of the dreadful things about mesothelioma is that it’s a very arbitrary disease.

“Cases come before courts up and down the country where there’s been the most minimal exposure.”

Mr Longstaff said other people would work with the material for many years and not become ill because of it.

“During the time she was working at the methodist church there was some exposure to asbestos,” he said.

After the hearing, a Bradford Council spokesman said: “We are sorry to hear about this sad case.”

The Telegraph & Argus was not able to speak to anyone at the church for comment.

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