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Distribution of 'Asbestos facts' to individuals affected by asbestos

Correspondence (occasionally just covering letter) with individuals affected by asbestos. Includes telephone memoranda, occasionally sensitive personal data, copies of death certificates, etc.

In reverse chronological order by receipt of inquiry. Each inquirer received an Asbestos Facts (AF) number,1324 in toto.

Nancy Tait (2000) 'Asbestos facts'

'Daily hazard' (May 2001) considered 'Asbestos facts' "a ‘must have’ for all advice workers, safety reps and trade union officers who are involved with this deadly dust. In addition to information about early use of asbestos and some important dates when evidence emerged of disease, it gives an extremely clear guide to the obstacle course involved in making both DSS and civil claims. The many illustrations tell much of the story: pictures of diseased lungs, electron micrographs of fibres, early use, damaged asbestos in buildings and machinery. Also of workers using air-line respirators and full protective gear in 1978. The section on DSS benefits explains key aspects of the process. It supplements official forms by important pieces of extra information. There are checklists, question and answers for DIYers and home owners. It urges self-employed workers to apply if they were exposed as an apprentice because DSS should count this as paid employment. It explains the workings of the new Community Legal Service Fund. It has four pages aimed at bereaved relatives explaining exactly why the post mortem is so vital and hoping it will ease the pain and bitterness many feel. This short pamphlet really does reflect thirty years experience."

Nancy Tait et al. (1989) 'Pleural mesothelioma resulting from exposure to amosite asbestos in a building'

Correspondence and papers re joint publication of R C Stein, J Y Kitajewska, J B Kirkham, N Tait, G Sinha and R M Rudd, in 'Respiratory medicine' 83 (1989): 237-239. Discusses the case of a 54-year old female office worker who developed pleural mesothelioma 14 years after commencement of exposure to amosite asbestos at her place of work.


  • offprint and drafts in various stages
  • correspondence with American litigator Patrick S Guilfoyle, who expressed an interest in accessing the text prior to publication
  • photocopies of correspondence with William McKelvey MP, 1985, re the threat posed by asbestos
  • photocopies of earlier correspondence relating to Nancy Tait's fact-finding mission, among them a letter from DHSS to her son John W Tait, at the time a fellow at Christ's College, Cambridge

For Tait this scientific publication grew out of her recent case work. The other authors were researchers at the London Chest Hospital (Rudd, Sinha, Stein) and the Biological Electron Microscopy Unit of Queen Mary College London (Kitajewska and Kirkham). Brian Kirkham was an expert on electron microscopy; in the early days of the SPAID Electron Microscope (EM) Unit, SPAID retained him as an EM consultant. He also trained SPAID’s EM technician Lawrie Hawkins.

'OEDA Newsletter'

  • subscription list, December 2000
  • complete set from No 1 (summer 1996) to No 14 (Winter 2002/3)
  • various documents and news items gathered to produce current and future issues, 1998-2001, among them:
  • correspondence with freelance journalist Eileen Fursland, 2003
  • some case correspondence and correspondence on the 'compensation culture'
  • copy of Government of Canada (1996) 'Minerals and metals policy of the Government of Canada'
  • copy of House of Lords’ judgment in Matthews v. Ministry of Defence, 2003
  • documents re journalist Christopher Booker downplaying the asbestos risk, 2002

Publications by SPAID / OEDA

Nancy Tait taught herself about asbestos, then proceeded to produce her own literature on the subject. These texts often were self-published and usually written by Nancy Tait herself. But the literature to which Tait contributed included also scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals. Of the earliest of these, no trace has been found in the collection. The piece in question is J S Gilson, N Tait, J Zussman, and R G Burns (1977) 'Medicine and mineralogy and discussion', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, A, 1336. 286 (1336): 585–592.

Miners and British Coal respiratory disease litigation

Correspondence and papers re compensation of British Coal workers for respiratory diseases, vibration white finger (VWF), hearing loss, etc. Includes

  • correspondence with prospective claimants' solicitors, occasionally also with MPs and with union representatives, 1988-2004
  • press coverage to 2007
  • details of National Coal Board (Co. Durham) employees, copy of opinion in Doris Livsey v. British Coal Corporation (1995), statement by a mesothelioma sufferer who had worked at Moston Colliery for the National Coal Board as a boilerhouse stoker (1989)

Further includes

  • copy of statement by three commissioners (21 October 2002) 'Decisions of the Tribunal of Social Security Commissioners' discussing issues the four appeals in question raise in respect of PDD1 (pneumoconiosis) for coal workers
  • copy of IIAC (Industrial Injuries Advisory Council) position paper 11 ‘Lung function assessment: industrial injuries disablement benefit prescribed disease D12 (chronic bronchitis and emphysema in underground coalminers)’ (n.d., c. 2000)
  • judgment of Mr Justice Turner on The British Coal Respiratory Disease Litigation (summary, 23 January 1998)
  • copy of Sallie Booth, Irwin Mitchell solicitors (1997) 'Chest disease - legal view'
  • copy of 'Social Security Act 1975: bronchitis and emphysema' (1988)
  • DTI press notices and news releases 1998-2002

Background research on pleural plaques

Correspondence and papers re compensation / industrial disablement benefits claims for pleural plaques.

Papers include press coverage, scientific papers, case information, also copy of judgement Grieves v. F T Everard & Sons (2005). Includes feedback on Nancy Tait's latest pleural placques note, given to solicitors at John Pickering & Partners, 2005.

Pleural plaque cases, 2004-2007

Pleural plaque cases from 2004, in alphabetical order (by name of patient).

Includes list of OEDA clients marked 'Pleural plaques notes sent 2005, 2006, 2007' (at front of file). The remainder is mainly information requests from individuals affected by pleural plaques (including from Germany), press coverage naming pleural plaques sufferers, solicitors' correspondence.

At the time a pleural plaque compensation claim (in England and Wales) had to be brought within 3 years from the date of diagnosis (OEDA pleural plaques note, 8 March 2006).

Queries in relation to the Ministry of Defence

Mainly correspondence (including telephone memoranda) re asbestos-related queries re claims against the Ministry of Defence (MOD); also re Australian cases. In reverse chronological order. Includes

  • photocopies of SPAID / OEDA "Claims advisory service" sheets
  • copies of DSS/DHSS correspondence, solicitors' correspondence
  • correspondence with investigative journalists
  • photocopies of index cards listing Armed Forces SPAID clients
  • press coverage
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