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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 December, 2004, 06:17 GMT
Call for asbestos benefits change
Maureen Percy
Maureen Percy is unable to claim special benefits
A woman claims she has developed a deadly asbestos-related cancer from washing her husband's clothes.

Colin Percy, 75, from Kirby Muxloe, Leics, worked at a tube plant in the county for nearly 27 years.

Maureen Percy, 72, says doctors told her she has contracted mesothelioma from her contact with his work clothes, but cannot claim related-benefits.

Mr Perry said: "It's time the government did something to address this problem for relatives."

The whole disease is an injustice
Liz Darliston, Macmillan Mesothelioma Centre

He worked at TI Desford tube plant firm, now Timken, in the county for nearly 37 years.

Mr Percy said: "Maureen, through no fault of her own, has got it from my clothes."

He called on the government to do more to help people like his wife who had been affected.

Mrs Percy said she would wash her husband's clothes in a separate washing tub every weekend because they were so covered in dust from the factory.

She is now taking legal action to try to win compensation for contracting the deadly disease.

Liz Darliston, from the Macmillan Mesothelioma Resource Centre at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, said: "The whole disease is an injustice, irrespective of how you have been exposed to asbestos.

"But if you add to that that you can't claim the same benefits as another sufferer just because you were exposed to asbestos washing your husband's clothes, that adds to the injustice of the disease."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Work and Pensions said: "There are no current plans to extend the scope of the Industrial Injuries Scheme to the family members of asbestosis sufferers, or to people who have been exposed to asbestos outside of their work."

Asbestos claims 'could top 1bn'
06 Dec 04 |  Manchester
Woman killed by washing clothes
08 Mar 04 |  Wiltshire

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