When I Started Working On The QE2 Asbestos Was One Of The Main Materials We Worked With

To the world the ocean-going liner the QE2 is a symbol of the heyday of shipbuilding on Clyde.

To John Ferguson, one of the legions of men who worked on her construction, she is a grim reminder of how he acquired the pleural plaques infecting his lungs.

John, 71, of Dumbarton Road, Dalmuir Clydebank was a joiner working on the iconic vessel unaware, of the deadly legacy of the asbestos boards he and his mates cut and trimmed daily.

John is one of Thompsons Solicitors’ pleural plaques respondents in the judicial review at the Court of Session which rejected the insurance companies attempts to block the Scottish Government’s pleural plaques legislation.

John said: “When I started working on the QE2 in 1965 asbestos was one of the main materials we worked with.

“It was used extensively as a fire retardant in the corridors and cabins.

“Before we could fit the decorative panels we had to put in an asbestos lining, and that involved taking large sheets of asbestos and sawing and trimming them to size.

“Needless to say that meant that we were breathing in air that was full of asbestos dust.

“We were totally unaware of how deadly the asbestos was at that time, but the Government knew and kept bringing it into the country without saying a word about the risks it posed”.

John a widower with two sons and four grandchildren only discovered he had pleural plaques in June 2007, although doctors had spotted the condition ten years earlier when he went through heart surgery.

“It was only when I went to the doctor because I was becoming increasingly breathlessness that I learned I had pleural plaques although the condition was recorded in the notes from my heart operation all those years earlier.

“Now I just have to live with the condition and hope it doesn’t get any worse. Now I am retired I go to somewhere hot like Turkey for four months over the winter because I find it easier to breathe in a warmer climate.”

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