Pesticides worker gets pounds 90,000 for cancer

LAWYERS claimed a historic victory yesterday after a man who had worked with pesticides and contracted a rare form of cancer was paid pounds 90,000 in an out-of-court settlement.

George Yates claimed that he developed soft-tissue sarcoma through contact with the pesticides, which contained Pentachlorophenol (PCP) and the attendant impurities, dioxins, used in timber treatment.

His case is the first to be settled anywhere and could pave the way for other claims in Britain. It could also open the way for renewed actions by people exposed to Agent Orange, the defoliant used by the United States during the Vietnam war.

Between 1978 and 1988, Mr Yates worked for Rentokil, one of Britain's leading wood and dry rot treatment firms, using Lindane and PCPs in sprays.

Mr Yates, who is in his forties, from Rhyl, Clwyd, estimates that over the years he used about 35,000 litres of pesticide and was not given the necessary protective clothing. He was only supplied with overalls, through which the chemicals could soak, and a face mask, though he was eventually provided with a helmet with an air supply.

Several years ago he developed the cancerous growth in his abdomen and underwent extensive surgery. His condition is stable, but he is disabled and unable to work. Leading doctors, including Lennart Hardell, a Swedish cancer expert, have backed his claims that the illness was caused by the dioxin. His solicitor, Alan Care, of Leigh Day and Co, said that the settlement was 'a watershed in dioxin-related claims'.

Dioxins are present in a wide range of commonly-used products, including petrol and waste from incinerators.

American lawyers were also keenly awaiting the outcome of the case. Stuart Callwell, a leading West Virginia-based lawyer, said: 'It's very significant. There is a substantial body of medical literature that reports critical observations of a variety of illness in populations exposed to dioxins, including cancer.'

Mr Callwell represented employees manufacturing an ingredient used in Agent Orange, who said they had developed illnesses as a result. Although the jury found that the injuries were caused by dioxins, it ruled that the company had not been at fault.

Last year, President Bush signed a Bill clearing the way for Vietnam war veterans who developed cancer after being exposed to Agent Orange, to be paid disability benefits.

However, some of the veterans are still hoping to take legal action. Their claims could be affected by the outcome of the British case.

Yesterday, Rentokil strongly rejected Mr Yates's claims that his cancer was caused by his contact with the chemicals and said that the settlement had been made by its insurers against their wishes.

Charles Grimaldi, of Rentokil, said: 'We are quite clear that there is no connection between his exposure to chemicals while working for us and his contracting a rare illness.'

He said that the insurance company had taken the decision since the irrecoverable losses even if they won a court case would be at least pounds 200,000, on top of costs already incurred.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea