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January 17, 2018

‘Asbestos in our schools is a local and national scandal’

‘Asbestos in our schools is a local and national scandal’

Asbestoes warning sign

Asbestoes warning sign

  • At least 570 schools in central Lancashire contain asbestos

  • The National Union of Teachers has been running a major campaign to tackle the problem

  • Preston and Lancaster have the highest number of schools known to contain asbestos

At least 570 of the county’s 617 schools contain asbestos, the bulk of them in Preston, Chorley and South Ribble, according to data released following a Freedom of Information request.

The National Union of Teachers has been running a major campaign for more than a year to try to tackle the problem in the county and today national and county health and safety officer Ian Watkinson branded the figures “a scandal on a local and national scale”.

Asbestos sign
Asbestos sign

He said: “We have been campaigning about this on both national and local level.

“It is so important. Parents don’t know, nor do teachers, and most of it is much of it is not being managed properly.”

“Children, teachers and other school workers are being needlessly exposed to deadly asbestos fibres on a daily basis.”

Information held by the county council shows the highest number of schools known to contain asbestos are in Preston and Lancaster, which each have 66.

Children, teachers and other school workers are being needlessly exposed to deadly asbestos fibres on a daily basis.

Ian Watkinson

There are 50 in Chorley, 40 in South Ribble, 52 in West Lancs and 22 in the Ribble Valley.

The county abides by national policy which means leaving asbestos in situ unless it becomes a problem.

Between September 2010 and February 2011 the county council paid out £421,322 in compensation and £63,500 in legal costs.

Latest available figures, up to November 2013, show that five other claims are still outgoing.

Ian Watkinson
Ian Watkinson

The NUT said lives are being put at risk and Ian Watkinson said the teaching unions were working together and calling for urgent action by the government.

The county said it was unable to specify how many incidents there had been involving the repair or removal of asbestos in recent years but said:

However, when asbestos is disturbed or deteriorates it becomes extremely unsafe and inhaling the dust and fibres can lead to serious illness decades later.

County Coun Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “As in all other councils around the country, most of Lancashire’s older schools contain some asbestos.

“Where it occurs, it is inspected regularly and does not represent any threat to staff, children or young people.

“As long as it is in good condition, well-sealed and not disturbed then it is far safer to leave it well alone.

“Our qualified asbestos surveyors inspect asbestos-containing materials at least once a year and sometimes more often depending on risk.

“We deal with any concerns immediately, although between inspections we do rely on schools telling us if they have noticed anything amiss, or if they have brought in their own workmen.

“If schools are undergoing building work or renovation, then an additional survey is carried out to identify the presence of any asbestos. If necessary, removal is carried out by a specialist firm.”

Following a national campaign by teaching unions the Government last week published the findings of its review of asbestos policy in schools,calling for better training and guidance.

It was described as “a step in the right direction, but no more.”




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‘Asbestos in our schools is a local and national scandal’

City of Chicago accused of hiding asbestos

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) –

It was an underground surprise they hadn’t bargained for.

A southwest suburban contractor is suing the city claiming it hid dangerous asbestos buried under a construction site.

The site is now a police station on the near South Side at 14th and Blue Island.

The 12th District Chicago police station has been open for two years. However, the battle over what was discovered underground will rage on.

Fox 32: you call this an act of fraud?

“I did. And we do. We believe they fraudulently induced Harbour contractors to enter into the contract,” said attorney Charles Lewis.

Lewis represents Harbour contractors of southwest suburban Plainfield, which has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the Public Building Commission of Chicago. That agency, which is headed by the mayor and made up of political appointees, is in charge of building and financing new construction for the city of Chicago and Cook County.

In 2010 the Public Building Commission, or “PBC,” awarded Harbour a 20-million dollar contract to build the new police station at 14th and Blue Island, on the site of the old ABLA public housing project.

The PBC said that the site had been inspected by an environmental company and nothing dangerous was found. But soon after construction began, a subcontractor employed by Harbour discovered underground heating pipes wrapped in cancer-causing asbestos running throughout the property.

Those pipes were installed in the 1930s and 40s to provide heat to the public housing buildings.

“You’ve got asbestos that has been dug up that is friable. It’s in the air,” Lewis said. “It creates safety hazards for Harbour’s people and the subcontractor’s people on the job site.”

The asbestos discovery also put the project on hold, which Harbour said cost them millions of dollars. As part of the lawsuit, Harbour filed to recover the funds. The company said it has uncovered evidence that the PBC knew about the asbestos, but ignored it.

Harbour alleges the agency instructed the environmental company inspecting the site to not dig test pits in areas where it knew there was asbestos.

In an email from 2011 included in the lawsuit, a PBC official refers to a drawing used “…to avoid the steam lines during test pitting activities.”

“Absolutely they were trying to hide this,” Lewis said. “Because it would cause tremendous delay to the project and additional cost.”

A PBC spokesperson said the agency categorically denies there was any attempt to hide the asbestos, saying it was a surprise to them, too, noting that a judge has dropped two of the fraud counts from the lawsuit.

The PBC said Harbour needs to file a claim under the contract to get any money it’s entitled to, and not file suit.

Harbour has helped build dozens of projects for the Public Building Commission, including the international terminal at O’Hare. But the company’s attorney says after this experience, no more.

“My client will never work for the Public Building Commission again. I’m sure there are a number of general contractors out there who won’t work for the public building commission again,” Lewis said.

The Public Building Commission paid for the asbestos removal at the site, but Harbour contends the delays cost it millions. The PBC concedes some of that, but said there were other cost overruns by Harbour that had nothing to do with the hazardous materials.

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City of Chicago accused of hiding asbestos

Taxpayers to cover James Hardie asbestos shortfall

Taxpayers to cover James Hardie asbestos shortfall

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Date

Tim Binsted

The NSW government will extend funding to asbestos victims in case of a shortfall in funds from James Hardie

The NSW government will extend funding to asbestos victims in case of a shortfall in funds from James Hardie Photo: Bloomberg

The New South Wales government will extend further credit to the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund to prevent victims being paid in instalments in the event payments from James Hardie Industries are insufficient to cover claims.

On Friday the NSW government said it has agreed to amend the terms of its loan facility with the AICF. The changes extend the term of the loan and allow the fund to draw down the full $320 million of the facility rather than $214 million previously stipulated.

The AICF warned last year that a spike in mesothelioma claims, the most expensive asbestos victims claims category, could force it to enter an “approved payment scheme” as of July 1.

The scheme, which would have allowed compensation to be paid to some victims in instalments rather than upfront due to a lack of funds, sparked outrage among victims groups.

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Taxpayers to cover James Hardie asbestos shortfall

Mesothelioma sufferers to receive higher compensation after Government backs down

Victims of a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos are to receive higher compensation following a campaign by MPs

Asbestos-related cancer suffers are to receive up to £54,000 extra in compensation under new rules announced by Ministers.

The change was welcomed by MPs, who said it was overdue – but would make a difference to people in need.

Under new rules for the government’s Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme, compensation will rise to match 100 per cent of average civil claims, up from the current 80 per cent, which could mean an increase of up to £54,000 a person, according to Ministers.

Those diagnosed with asbestos-related mesothelioma from now will benefit from the payment increases.

Mesothelioma is a cancer affecting the lining of internal organs such as the lungs, which is usually connected to exposure to asbestos.

The North East is a blackspot for the disease, because asbestos was used in shipbuilding, construction and the automotive industry.

Ministers introduced legislation in 2013 to provide payments to those who cannot trace their former employer’s insurer.

But the compensation on offer was lower than the average compensation people would expect to receive by going through the courts – and MPs have been campaigning for the payments to be increased.

The Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme has already paid out over £19 million in its first 10 months of operation.

Work and Pensions Minister, Lord Freud said: “For years, many victims of this truly terrible disease have been failed by successive governments and the insurance industry. With this scheme we are continuing to help the many victims and families that mesothelioma has left without financial support.

“From today we are raising compensation payments to 100% of average civil claims. It is partly thanks to the success of the insurance industry in tracing liable insurers and employers that we are able to make these changes as part of our on-going commitment to support mesothelioma sufferers.

“Though the majority of suffers are able to claim compensation through the liability insurance held by their employer, a significant minority cannot.

“Due to the length of time between asbestos exposure and cancer diagnosis, many employers and their insurers no longer exist and so the liable successor organisations are often untraceable.”

MP Dave Anderson
MP Dave Anderson

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said: “I’m delighted to hear this news, this is what campaigners have asked for for many years.

“At last people who were denied justice by dilatory ex-employers and their friends in the insurance industry will be properly compensated, it’s long overdue but welcome.”

Ronnie Campbell, Labour MP for Blyth Valley, added: “It is great to see that the tariff has increased to 100% however, it has come too late for some sufferers who have since passed away with Mesothelioma.

“I only hopes that the families of the deceased can benefit from it.”

Around 2,100 people in the UK are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. It is almost always fatal with most of those affected usually dying within twelve months of diagnosis.

A ‘standardised mortality ratio’ (SMR) is used to identify blackspots, where a figure of 100 would be the expected number of deaths, given the age of the population.

But in North Tyneside the figure is much higher, at 309, and in South Tyneside it is 303, reflecting the high incidence of mesothelioma in those local authority areas.

Across the Tyne and Wear Metropolitan County the figure is 235 and in the North East it is 170.

Ministers said the number of people claiming compensation under the scheme had been higher than expected.

Mesothelioma is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos, a soft material that used to be widely used in building construction as a form of insulation and to protect against fire.

Continued here: 

Mesothelioma sufferers to receive higher compensation after Government backs down

Compensation claims for asbestos in Lancashire hit £687k

Lancashire County Council has paid out almost £700,000 to people with conditions linked to asbestos in the past four years.

County Hall shelled out £672,094 in compensation and costs to victims in the past five years – and the authority has six ongoing claims. besides

Preston City Council also paid out £14,246.59, statistics revealed to the Evening Post.

Figures obtained under Freedom of Information requests reveal 17 people have contacted Lancashire County Council regarding asbestos claims since 2010.

Of those there were three pay outs, five cases where there was no payout and six ongoing claims – with one of those receiving a £50,000 interim damages payment.

The compensation claims came from victims who breathed in asbestos fibres.

It can cause mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, which attacks the lining of organs and is fatal.

All but one of the claimants were employed by the county council and all the claims related to time frames from the 1950s and onwards.

Twelve of the cases related to mesothelioma, one to asbestos -related cancer, one to asbestosis and one is listed as industrial disease.

Their jobs at the council included roadsman, plasterer, cook, heating engineer, a factory worker and teachers.

Meanwhile of the two cases Preston Council dealt with they only paid out compensation in one of them.

The authority was unable to provide information on where in the council the two claimants had worked.

The claimants had mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Campaigners believe payments are likely to soar over the coming decade as more people fall ill and die after being exposed to the material, often decades ago.

Geraldine Coombs, a partner and expert asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Asbestos exposure is often regarded as something that only impacts those working within heavy industry, but the presence of the material in so many public buildings such as schools and hospitals, means that more and more people who are not working in traditional construction trades are being affected through no fault of their own.

“We have repeatedly called for a dedicated programme to identify any public buildings around the UK that contain asbestos and continue to pose a danger to those working in them, as well as calling for a schedule to systematically remove asbestos from these premises on a priority basis depending on the state of disrepair in each situation.

Given the vulnerability of children to the potential dangers of asbestos – we would suggest schools are given the highest priority in any action that may be taken.”

Bev Cullen, assistant county solicitor for Lancashire County Council, said: “Each claim is considered on its own facts and will be investigated in accordance with the county council’s insurance arrangements.

“Claims payments are made either from the council’s own reserves set aside for this purpose, our insurers, or a combination of the two. It depends on the date of the exposure, and the insurance arrangements that the county council had in place at the time.

“Claims will be investigated when they’re received. Generally the exposure date goes back many decades, so it is difficult to assess future numbers.”

No-one from Preston Council was available for comment. South Ribble, Chorley, West Lancashire, Fylde and Lancaster councils said they had received no claims for compensation.

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Compensation claims for asbestos in Lancashire hit £687k

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) Honored to Present at 12th International Mesothelioma Interest Group …

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), the largest independent non-profit organization in the U.S. which combines education, advocacy, and community to help ensure justice for asbestos victims; is honored to be chosen to present at the 2014 International Mesothelioma Interest Group (iMig) Conference Oct. 21-24 in Cape Town, South Africa. At the event, ADAO President, Linda Reinstein, will discuss the importance of supportive resources for mesothelioma patients and their families. As a conference exhibitor, ADAO will also highlight the important role social advocacy plays in uniting mesothelioma patients and their families, and serving as an international forum to help prevent exposure and efforts to fund a cure.

Ms. Reinstein will share results of the ADAO survey on “Supportive Resources in the Mesothelioma Community” at the 2014 iMig Conference, hosted by the South African Mesothelioma Interest Group (SAMIG), and held at the Cape Town International Conference Centre (CTICC), featuring experts from across the globe dedicated to improving treatment and research. Considered as a world’s premier medical congress on mesothelioma, iMig’s theme this year is “the ongoing quest for cure.”

Ms. Reinstein will share important facts from the survey that underscore the need for patient focused resources. The online qualitative survey was administered to mesothelioma patients and caregivers through Facebook, Twitter, ADAO eNewsletters, and direct emails. Unfortunately, as Ms. Reinstein will explain, the majority (84%) were not given educational resources from their medical team nor advised to join a support group (92%) upon diagnosis. The majority found online mesothelioma resources improved their lives greatly (60%) or slightly (32%). The important results of the survey underscore that patients and their families rely on online supportive resources to obtain medical information, share personal experiences, build peer-to-peer networks, and improve quality of life.

“Patients want educational resources at the time of diagnosis, but only 16% received such referrals, leaving thousands without this crucial element of palliative care,” stated Ms. Reinstein. “The survey addresses responses to psychosocial burdens faced by mesothelioma patents and caregivers including a steep learning curve, anticipatory grief, social isolation, and ability to endure daily struggles. I look forward to the opportunity to share this critical information with iMig’s conference’s global base.”

ADAO will also share key information about the power of social media through materials that highlight: “Social Advocacy: Where Knowledge and Community Unite.” When her husband was diagnosed with mesothelioma 10 years ago, Ms. Reinstein recognized the need for increased medical resources, greater access to support, and legislative advocacy. ADAO’s social advocacy programs have built a global community spanning nearly 20 countries and more than 40,000 people, earning a ranking of #2 in a Twitter study of 500 health and safety organizations.

“ADAO’s digital storytelling and social advocacy efforts have led to three statements on the dangers of asbestos from Acting U.S. Surgeons General, Senate Resolutions, and Global Asbestos Awareness Week,” explained Ms. Reinstein. “ADAO’s results confirm the positive benefits of social advocacy to support patients and families, influence lawmakers, shape policy, and increase funding for research.”

Despite its known dangers, there is still no global ban on asbestos, and it continues to claim lives. Exposure to asbestos, a human carcinogen, can cause mesothelioma, lung, gastrointestinal, laryngeal, and ovarian cancers; as well as non-malignant lung and pleural disorders. The World Health Organization estimates that 107,000 workers around the world will die every year of an asbestos-related disease, equaling 300 deaths per day.

About the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) was founded by asbestos victims and their families in 2004. ADAO is the largest non-profit in the U.S. dedicated to providing asbestos victims and concerned citizens with a united voice through our education, advocacy, and community initiatives. ADAO seeks to raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure, advocate for an asbestos ban, and protect asbestos victims’ civil rights. For more information, visit www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org.

Contact:

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO)

Kim Cecchini, Media Relations

202-391-5205


Kim@asbestosdiseaseawareness.org

Link: 

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) Honored to Present at 12th International Mesothelioma Interest Group …

Asbestos found in Waukesha renovation project

WAUKESHA- A viewer contacted CBS 58 recently, concerned about whether she and her fellow tenants were being exposed to deadly Asbestos, we looked into it.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said on Wednesday that at least four workers at a renovation project at 260 South Street in Waukesha were exposed to Asbestos.

The DNR also did more tests at the site on Wednesday.

Mark Davis with the DNR said when the building owner, Berg Management, recently began renovating the garage portion of the building into downtown apartments, they violated NR-447, meaning an Asbestos inspection was not done prior to tearing out some ceilings and building materials.

He also added that materials were put in a dumpster and not properly disposed of.

Initial DNR samples showed Asbestos levels ranging from 19 to 24 percent, anything over one percent is regulated.

Berg Management explained that this may have been an oversight in their planning.

They currently have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Berg said that when they started construction they had all the valid permits from the city.

Construction is currently at a standstill as the investigation continues.

The company insists they will do the proper remediation and hope that construction will kick back up in one or two weeks.

Citations can be given in situations and, if it is serious enough, the Wisconsin Department of Justice can get involved.

The DNR thinks that a furnace may be spreading the asbestos to other tenants, but that isn’t conclusive at this point.

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Asbestos found in Waukesha renovation project

Ohio company faces actions on asbestos, taxes

Ohio company faces actions on asbestos, taxes

Jan. 09, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

SOUTH POINT, Ohio — The Portsmouth Local Air Agency has issued a notice of violation concerning the handling of asbestos at the South Point Biomass Generation property in the South Point area.

Meanwhile, the office of Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson is preparing to file a foreclosure action against the 88-acre Biomass property, saying the company has not paid county taxes for the past three years. The property is not in the village of South Point, but is surrounded by The Point, a 500-acre industrial park which is in the village limits.

“They owe $27,000 in back taxes,” Anderson said. “We’ll be filing the foreclosure action this month.”

More than a dozen years ago, Biomass officials proposed building a multimillion-dollar generating plant to produce electricity at the site. The plant was to burn wood waste. No such plant has ever been built, and on several occasions county officials have filed suit seeking back taxes on the property.

The Portsmouth Local Air Agency, which handles air quality issues for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, received a complaint last fall about how Biomass employees were handling asbestos fibers during a demolition metal scrapping work being done on the third floor of the power house building.

Samples of suspect regulated asbestos-containing materials were observed at several locations in the building on Oct. 22, and analysis confirmed that friable regulated asbestos-containing materials were found at the site, according to the notice of violation. Two partial adjacent buildings to the power house building also had been demolished and removed, according to the notice.

“A notice of violation was issued,” said Cindy Charles, director of the Portsmouth Local Air Agency which covers Lawrence, Scioto, Brown and Adams counties. “It’s an ongoing investigation, and I can’t comment further.”

Mark Harris, Biomass owner, couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.

“This was reported by a private citizen,” said South Point Mayor Ron West. “The property isn’t located in the village, but it does concern us. Apparently they have stopped doing it.”

Biomass failed to notify the proper agency before the demolition work in a building containing asbestos, according to the notice of violation. State regulations require the asbestos to be removed from a building prior to demolition, and that wasn’t done at the power plant building, according to the notice of violation.

“It was observed that the contractor was not using water to control dust from the mechanical demolition activities,” according to the notice of violation. “The contractor was observed demolishing/scrapping in the power house building at the South Point Generation Biomass facility without using water spray to control visible emissions being created by the demolition activities.”

The materials were being placed in an open and unlined roll-off box, another violation, according to the notice.

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Asbestos school open after 14 months

BBC News – Cwmcarn High School reopens 14 months after asbestos found

The school was closed in October 2012 after a structural survey found asbestos


Related Stories

A south Wales school which closed 14 months ago after asbestos was discovered has reopened.

Staff and pupils attended a celebratory assembly to mark their return to Cwmcarn High School in Caerphilly county.

They were due to return in September but the death of a contractor delayed the move.

The school has been working from a former college campus 12 miles (19km) away in Ebbw Vale since November 2012.

Teachers spent the weeks before Christmas preparing for the move back to Cwmcarn, before Caerphilly council handed the keys back to head teacher Jacqui Peplinski on 16 December.

An assembly to celebrate the move on Monday will be followed by an official reopening attended by senior council members.


Start Quote

We’re back on the green, green grass of home”

End QuoteGary ThomasChairman of governers

Work complete

Chair of governors Gary Thomas helped staff put the finishing touches to preparations at the school on Sunday.

Mr Thomas, who celebrates his birthday on the same day as the reopening, said it was the perfect gift.

“It’s a wonderful birthday present for me, it’s marvellous. Everyone is up for coming back home and we are all delighted,” he said.

“We are open for business to start teaching our children again – we’re back on the green, green grass of home.”

Mr Thomas added that it had been a “difficult” 14 months for the pupils but they had been “outstanding”.

But said despite the disruption of having to travel 12 miles to school, the pupils had coped well.

“They certainly haven’t suffered as far as the academic achievements of the school are concerned. They’ve been better this year,” he said.

The school was closed in October 2012 over concerns its 900 pupils could be at risk after asbestos was revealed in a structural report.

Parents and pupils protested against the closure and there were rows with Caerphilly council over what work needed to be carried out and how it would be paid for.

Contractors were eventually brought in to remove the asbestos in June.

In July, James Paul, 26, from Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent, was working in a suspended ceiling space when he died.

It is thought he may have been electrocuted.

The Health and Safety Executive is investigating his death.

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Asbestos school open after 14 months

Former East Lancs teacher in absestos cancer claim

Former East Lancs teacher in absestos cancer claim

A FORMER teacher believes the life-threatening cancer she is suffering from may have been caused by exposure to asbestos during a 22-year career at schools in East Lancashire.

Janet Gent, a victim of the lung condition mesothelioma, is now appealing to her former colleagues to come forward as her lawyers prepare a claim for compensation.

Mrs Gent worked for eight years until as a home economics teacher at Walton High in Nelson and is convinced she was exposed to asbestos fibres or dust at the former Oxford Road school.

Her legal representatives, Thompsons Solicitors, understand that neither her, nor her colleagues, were made aware of the potential dangers in their working environment.

Four years ago the Lancashire Telegraph reported that 213 schools in Burnley, Pendle, Hyndburn, Rossendale and Ribble Valley were found to have asbestos in their structures.

But education officials then insisted that the material, which comes in a variety of forms, was not dangerous unless it was disturbed.

Refurbishment programmes at a number of local schools have included work to remove asbestos from walls or other partitions.

Mrs Gent, who still lives in the Nelson area, also worked as a supply teacher at 15 high schools or special schools in East Lancashire, and one in South Yorkshire, from 1983 to 1995.

These include the former Barden, Ivy Bank, Habergham, Gawthorpe and St Theodore’s high schools and a special school in Burnley, Walshaw and Mansfield high schools, and Town House and Hendon Brook special schools in Nelson, Park and Primet High, along with Gibfield special school, all in Colne, Tullyann School in Darwen, and Valley special school in Rossendale.

Joanne Candlish, Thompsons’ asbestos team head, said: “It is vital that we trace Janet Gent’s co-workers to enable a full investigation to be carried out into her history of asbestos exposure “Mrs Gent needs and deserves to see justice done and we are committed to helping her achieve this.”

Potential witnesses are being asked to call Mrs Candlish on 0151 224 1644.

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Former East Lancs teacher in absestos cancer claim