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(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Looking Back: Nellie Kershaw-The First Reported Asbestos Victim


Nellie Kershaw.jpg
Nellie Kershaw (c. 1891 – 14 March 1924) 
Today's post is shared from wikipedia.org/
Nellie Kershaw  was an English textile worker from Rochdale, Greater Manchester. Her death due to pulmonary asbestosis was the first such case to be described in medical literature, and the first published account of disease attributed to occupational asbestos exposure.[1][2] Before his publication of the case in the British Medical Journal, Dr William Edmund Cooke had already testified at Kershaw's inquest that "mineral particles in the lungs originated from asbestos and were, beyond reasonable doubt, the primary cause of the fibrosis of the lungs and therefore of death".[3] Her employers, Turner Brothers Asbestos, accepted no liability for her injuries, paid no compensation to her bereaved family and refused to contribute towards funeral expenses as it "would create a precedent and admit responsibility".[4] She was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave.[5] The subsequent inquiries into her death led to the publication of the first Asbestos Industry Regulations in 1931.
Nellie Kershaw was born to Elizabeth and Arthur Kershaw in Rochdale in 1891. In 1903 she left school, aged 12, to take up employment in a cotton mill and 5 months later began working at Garsides asbestos mill.[1][2] She transferred to Turner Brothers Asbestos on 31 December 1917, where she was employed as a rover, spinning raw asbestos fibre into yarn.[2][6] She was married to Frank Kershaw, a...
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