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Exeter man dies years after being exposed to asbestos at his family's garage

Exeter man dies years after being exposed to asbestos at his family's garage

2 April 2017 Email this article

Martin Coffin was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that affects the thin lining of the body's internal organs, in January 2016. He passed away nine months later on September 25.

The inquest at Exeter's County Hall heard in a statement from his doctor Lisa Gibbons, a GP at St Thomas Medical Group, how he received six courses of chemotherapy after being diagnosed but it only resulted in a low response in terms of shrinking the tumours so he was discharged to receive palliative care. The coroner Luisa Nicholson recorded a conclusion of industrial disease.

Mr Coffin, a salesman, told his GP how he used to help out his father in the family garage between 1977 to 1986. He recalled stripping down brake pads which had "a lot of asbestos" in them, and how they were "extremely dusty", and described it as something he habitually did.

In the past, asbestos was routinely used in motor vehicles as the friction material in clutches, automatic transmission and brake linings, and in gaskets. The use of asbestos in these components was banned in1999, with the exception that pre-1973 vehicles could continue to be fitted with asbestos containing brake shoes until 2004. The supply, possession for supply and fitting of asbestos products to motor vehicle, trailers etc. is now banned.

However, asbestos is still the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK, with around 20 people succumbing to asbestos-related diseases each week.

Find out how you and your team can stay safe, Asbestos Safety Training