Asbestos fight: Sunderland electrician launches legal action over mesothelioma

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A RETIRED electrician diagnosed with an asbestos-related cancer has launched a legal fight to investigate how he was exposed to the deadly dust.

John Teasdale, from Sunderland, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in September after suffering from back pain and breathlessness.

Doctors told the 66-year-old it was most likely caused by exposure to asbestos during his career as an electrician.

He instructed law firm Irwin Mitchell to investigate where and when he was exposed to the material so he can get what he believes is justice for himself and his family.

John began his career as an apprentice at G.V. Cummins Ltd in 1962 and until 1970 carried out work at boiler houses in pubs and clubs across Sunderland.

He later worked for firms Sunderland Forge and Campbell & Isherwood where he worked on projects such as shipyards, hospitals and schools between 1970 and 1972 and 1979 around Sunderland, Newcastle and Darlington. Father-of-two John, who is undergoing chemotherapy treatment, said: “I spent a lot of my professional career putting cabling in service ducts and ceiling spaces where the pipework or boilers were lagged with asbestos which I had no choice but to breathe in on a daily basis as I had no protective clothing.

“It was a big shock to me when I was diagnosed with mesothelioma and it has left myself and my family devastated as to what the future holds for me.

“As a tradesman, I was never warned about asbestos and the potential health risk it causes, so it never crossed my mind that it would be a problem all these years later.

“I was looking forward to a long and happy retirement after working hard all of my life.”

Roger Maddocks, partner and an expert asbestos lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “While the dangers of asbestos have been well known for decades, many companies and employers failed to take the necessary action to protect both their workers and the local community from the material.

“John worked as an electrician for many years and it is known that during the 1970s many workers in the ‘trades’ worked closely together so it is likely he was exposed to asbestos while plumbers lagged pipes close by.

“Unfortunately many employers failed to give their workers the necessary protective clothing such as face masks to stop them breathing in the dangerous dust.”

Any of John’s former colleagues can contact the solicitors on 279 0091 or emailed via

A Government compensation scheme for those exposed to asbestos began in 1979 and most claims are on policies dating back to the 1960s and 1970s.