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Production of beta-naphthylamine ceased in the UK in 1952 and in 1953 bladder cancer became, and still is, a prescribed industrial disease.
It has been estimated that, in the UK, around 7% of bladder cancer cases in men and 2% in women are linked to occupational exposure, working in occupations as diverse as a painter and decorator to a hairdresser. On top of that, around 4% of bladder cancer cases in European men are due to exposure to PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon) which is a potent pollutant and carcinogen.
Dangerous chemicals have been used in the rubber industry. Beta-naphthylamine (in the form of a chemical called Nonox S) was used in rubber compounding until 1949 when it was withdrawn. Unfortunately workers in the rubber industry now also have to contend with an increased risk of developing lung cancers and stomach cancers as a result of fumes and dust created in the working environment.
The risk of stomach cancer appears to be related to rubber dust exposure and the lung cancers a result of exposure to vulcanising fumes.
If I can make a claim about bladder cancer compensation
Despite what seems to be slight improvements in cancer rates in industries that no longer use these carcinogenic aromatic amines, if you believe that your working conditions have caused you to develop cancer, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. That is especially true if it can be shown that your employer did not take all the steps they should have done to protect you from that risk.
My employer no longer exists. What can I do?
If your employer is no longer in existence don't let this put you off seeking advice. Employers have been required to have insurance for the last 40 or so years and provided we are able to trace the insurer at the time when you were exposed to the agent thought to be responsible for causing the disease, you may still be able to claim compensation.
It is vital in these cases that you consult a specialist solicitor who has all the tools available to search for insurers so you have the best chance of being able to identify the insurer and make a claim.
My employer's duty to protect employees
There are regulations in place to control the levels of exposure to rubber process dust and rubber fumes and it is important that employers abide by these regulations. The air within the working environment for rubber industries should be monitored regularly and levels of dust and fumes should be kept as low as reasonably practical. Cleanliness and a good level of ventilation are important as well as providing employees with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as breathing apparatus and protective gloves.
I joined Access Legal in 2008 as head of the Personal Injury Team in Birmingham and was made a Partner in 2011. I have been undertaking personal injury work for over 20 years, specialising in industrial disease claims. I only act for the victims of industrial diseases and accidents.View full profile
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