AN EX-DOXEY factory worker’s death from a lung disease was caused by a natural condition, not asbestos exposure, a coroner has said.
Robin Tooth, of Fernleigh Gardens, had worked at Universal Grinding Wheels
for more than 30 years and during this time asbestos had been removed from a roof in the area he was based, Cannock Coroner’s Court was told.
The inquest heard on Thursday that Mr Tooth had raised concern at the time that no face mask was provided for him.
He had worked in the No 3 factory, where his job involved grinding wheels down to a specific size, and in 1999 he was made redundant.
He went on to work at Sandmaster in Hixon, making sand pads, and left in 2007.
The same year he developed “an incessant cough” and underwent lung func- tion tests at Stafford Hospital. He was initially diagnosed with industrial lung disease.
His health deteriorated and at the end of 2011 he was diagnosed with pul- monary fibrosis, a scarring of the lungs.
After two weeks in Stafford Hospital he was transferred to Katharine House Hos- pice, where he died on January 16 aged 69.
Pathologist Dr Paul Hiley told the inquest that Mr Tooth had not suffered pleural plaques an indicator of asbestos exposure. The scarring on his lungs was of a different type to that seen in cases of asbestosis, Dr Hiley said, and Mr Tooth’s condition had most likely been caused by an autoimmune condition, meaning his body had been attacked by its own immune system.
The inquest heard that Mr Tooth had smoked for just 18 months during his teenage years, and he was “always a hard-working man”.
His death was caused by usual-interstitial pneumonitis, Dr Hiley said.
South Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh recorded a verdict of death by nat- ural causes.