Mother exposed to asbestos at school wins settlement

5th September 2014

A woman diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer and told she had less than twelve months to live has been awarded a cash settlement from Brent Council.

Sarah Bowman, a 46 year old mother from Wembley, was exposed to asbestos from 1979 to 1984 during her time at William Gladstone High School – which has since been demolished. Although now in remission, Mrs Bowman is “petrified” her cancer will return and says her life was “turned upside down” when she was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2011, getwestlondon.co.uk reports.

“To be told that I had a terminal illness and had less than a year to live was simply too much to comprehend and my family and I have struggled to overcome this,” Mrs Bowman said.

Symptoms of asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma are often not detected for decades after the exposure, cancer.gov notes. Brent Council initially denied claims that it was to blame for Mrs Bowman’s illness in 2011, but now Irwin Mitchell – a law firm specialising in asbestos – have secured her a settlement.

Joanne Jefferies, Mrs Bowman’s representative, said: “Through no fault of her own, Sarah was exposed to this hazardous dust as a pupil at a school she attended and this is a stark reminder of the dangers of exposure to asbestos and the devastating affect it can have on people’s lives.

“We have repeatedly called for a dedicated programme to identify public buildings across the country containing asbestos,” she added. “Given the vulnerability of children to the potential dangers of asbestos, we could suggest schools are given the highest priority in any action that may be taken.”