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Monday, 2 August, 1999, 18:37 GMT 19:37 UK
Asbestosis claims rise among women
The Clyde shipyards at work
Shipworkers took asbestos home on their clothes
The number of women in Scotland seeking legal advice over illness caused by asbestos brought home in their work clothes has risen sharply, according to lawyers

A Glasgow firm of solicitors has reported a doubling in the number of women coming forward in the past three years.

The men are covered for compensation through employers' insurance but the women face a tough legal battle.

Asbestos was a common insulation material and was used for decades in Clydeside shipyards.

The risk posed to human health from working with it were accepted in the 1930s.

Margaret Lilly
Margaret Lilly hopes for compensation
If workers fell ill with asbestosis or related symptoms they were able to claim compensation through their employer's liability insurance or through a number of government schemes.

But their wives, who came into contact with their overalls in the home, were also exposed to the asbestos dust and some are now beginning to show the signs of asbestos-related illnesses.

They are not covered by insurance and are fighting to have their case heard by a Scottish court.

Margaret Lilly, a shipworker's wife, who is pursuing a claim, said: "They make excuses with other people, they say 'Oh, he was a heavy smoker, he smoked a lot and this or that'.

"They can't use that as an excuse in my case because my lungs don't show anything like that except asbestos.

"But even with that it's a long, long haul. It's a long fight."

The plight of women sufferers has been recognised by the English courts but so far there has been no Scottish legal precedent.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Scotland Health Correspondent Abeer Parkes.
The BBC's Abeer Parkes reports on the womens' fight for compensation.
BBC Scotland Health Correspondent Abeer Parkes.
The BBC's Abeer Parkes reports on the womens' fight for compensation.
See also:

31 Aug 98 | UK
04 Nov 98 | Health
31 Aug 98 | A-B
18 Jan 99 | Health
01 Jul 99 | Health
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