Quoted from //www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/our-family-lives-in-fear-of-asbestos-poisoning-all-because-of-dadrsquos-job-14890207.html
Our family lives in fear of asbestos poisoning… all because of dad’s job
Did lethal dust brought home on work clothes |condemn son to death?
By Lisa Smyth
Monday, 26 July 2010
A northern Ireland man has told how he and seven of his |siblings are being treated for asbestos-related lung damage possibly passed on by their father who worked in a Belfast shipyard.
Sean Rickard has told how out of nine brothers and sisters, seven have been diagnosed with lung damage linked to the lethal fibres.
Another sibling has recently finished treatment for mesothelioma — a rare form of lung cancer attributed to exposure to asbestos during his childhood.
Their father Patrick Rickard, who died in 1974 from a lung condition linked to asbestos, worked as a pipe coverer spraying the substance in Harland and Wolff shipyard from 1949 to 1969. Like all the men who worked there during the era, he was completely oblivious to the poison he was bringing home to his family on a daily basis.
Nobody knew that every time he returned to the small two-bedroom house he lived in with his wife Annie and their nine children he was potentially condemning the people he loved most to death.
At the very least, they all now live in the knowledge that at any time they could be diagnosed with a terminal illness because of their contact with asbestos.
Sean, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in January and has undergone surgery and chemotherapy to control his tumour, explained: “My father stopped working in 1969 because of ill health and eventually died as a result of his exposure to asbestos during work. My mother had pleural plaques and died from lung cancer which we believe was almost certainly caused by asbestos.
“We used to play with my father when he came home, my brother and I would play with the protective mask he was supposed to wear. My sisters would comb his hair which was full of asbestos dust.
“We would all help my mother shake the dust off his clothes before they were washed. We only had two bedrooms in the house and when we were babies we would sleep in our parents’ room where my father’s work clothes were. We didn’t have a washing machine so the clothes couldn’t be washed every time they were worn.”