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Steve McQueen: Mesothelioma and the Effects of Asbestos Exposure

You may think that asbestos is something that mostly impacts the lives of former workers in carpentry, insulation and docks, but asbestos affects all walks of life – something that’s clear from the discovery asbestos in Buckingham Palace.

Many famous people, from athletes to musicians, have suffered Mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos. November marked the anniversary of when legendary film icon, Steve McQueen, tragically passed away from Mesothelioma in 1980.
Steve Mcqueen
Steve McQueen is remembered for his roles in box office hit films of the 1960s and ‘70s, including The Great Escape, Towering Inferno, The Magnificent Seven, Bullit, The Thomas Crown Affair, and many more. A little-known fact is that McQueen was given his start by Old Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra at the age of 29.

Less known is, prior to fame, McQueen served in the United States Marine Corps from 1947. It is believed that during those years, he was first exposed to asbestos. Also a motorcycle and racing enthusiast, asbestos was used in the flame-retardant helmets and driver suits he and many others had worn.

Many navy servicemen and dock workers were exposed to asbestos on a daily basis. Asbestos was used for its natural properties of heat-resistance and strong fibres in the building of ships. Once aware of the carcinogenic effects, the UK Government wrote to major ship repair companies advising of the dangers of asbestos exposure. With the employers’ knowledge of the extreme detrimental effects to health, shipwrights and dock workers laboured in constant exposure to asbestos without the necessary protective equipment to prevent inhalation of the asbestos dust.

The diagnosis of asbestos-related diseases and lung cancer, like Mesothelioma, come decades after victims’ initial exposure. This is due to the fact that the symptoms do not become apparent until then.

Many people diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases therefore learn of their illness many years after their initial exposure, at which time it may be a distant memory. Steve McQueen tragically died at just 50-years-old following surgery.

Slater and Gordon principal lawyer, Helen Wilson, commented: “Often when sufferers are diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition such as mesothelioma it comes as a complete shock to them. Even when they can remember they were exposed to asbestos, which sometimes they cannot it is usually decades ago and they had no idea that there exposure to asbestos years ago would potentially make them gravely ill years later. Now in the 21st century people are also being diagnosed with these conditions, who did not directly work with asbestos but it was disturbed in the buildings in which they worked or brought home on the overalls of loved ones.”

Register Exposure to Asbestos Today

In the unfortunate event that you are exposed to asbestos it is essential that you register this exposure as soon as possible.

If you or a family has suffered from an asbestos-related cancer or disease, call the expert personal injury solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers on 0800 844 0275 on contact us online.

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