The man who led the 11-year battle for justice for Corby children with birth defects is to take up the fight of former steelworkers with health problems.
Des Collins won a landmark case when, in April 2010, Corby Council agreed to pay compensation to 19 children who were born with deformities after their mothers were exposed to toxic waste from the former steelworks site in the town.
The council was found negligent in its management of toxic substances on the former steelworks land during the 1980s and 1990s.
Now Mr Collins wants to hear from people who were employed at the works and have skin or lung cancer, or who suffer from respiratory diseases.
The founder and senior partner at Collins Solicitors in Watford said during casework on the Corby families’ toxic waste claims for compensation he was contacted by ex-steelworkers with health issues.
He said: “At the time our focus was well-defined and was on the effects on the women who were pregnant at the time toxic materials were being released into the atmosphere from the steelworks site.
“We now have a growing list of clients, former steelworkers, including families of those who have died, who want to seek redress for their health problems.
“Recent research has shown that manufacturers had knowledge of the risks to workers’ health but did not share that information.
“At the time the industry was reactive rather than proactive when it came to health and safety.
“Now it is clear the health risks were widely known among producers who chose to ignore it, there has been a significant shift in the way these potential compensation cases are viewed. There is a fine balance which is shifting in favour of claimants.”
Mr Collins said former steelworkers would have been exposed to heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
Long-term exposure to PAHs has been associated with the change from normal cells to cancerous ones, or carcinogenesis.
Mr Collins said he is keen to hear from all concerned ex-steelworkers, particularly those who worked in the coke ovens at the plant.
Coke fuel workers were exposed to toxic substances including dust, tar and oils during the production process and it has now been proven that exposure to these by-products can cause respiratory diseases .
Mr Collins plans to hold seminars in Corby for ex-steelworkers during September and the dates will be announced once all those interested in attending have contacted the firm.
For more details on the seminars call 01923 223324, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.