Occupational Hygiene Blog

UK Hairdresser’s Mesothelioma Diagnosis Blamed On Hairdryers

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

6th November 1963: A group of Miss World contestants line up under the hairdryers at La Belle hairdressing salon in Aldwych, London. They include Miss Finland, Miss Brazil, Miss Spain, Miss South Africa, Miss Israel and Miss Japan. (Photo by Kent Gavin/Keystone/Getty Images)

October 18th 2019 article 'Mesothelioma.net

When you think about professions that are at risk for malignant mesothelioma, the ones that come to mind include factory workers, firefighters, and construction workers. You imagine boiler rooms clouded with dust, or insulation being installed. The last occupation you would picture would be a hairdresser in a salon, cutting and curling hair and wielding cans of hairspray. But that is exactly what 80-year-old Calogero La Bella did for a living for several decades, and now he’s been diagnosed with the rare asbestos-related disease.

Mesothelioma Victim Had Cleaned and Maintained Dryers

Looking back on his career after his mesothelioma diagnosis, Mr La Bella feels certain that his asbestos exposure came from years of cleaning and maintaining hair dryers at salons throughout Yorkshire. “Cleaning the dryers was always a very dusty job,” he said, “and you would have to get rid of the dust and hair that had collected in them. I might have also had to replace the element or other aspects like wiring too. It is only in more recent years that I’ve come to learn that some devices made use of asbestos to prevent the dryers from catching fire.” Because of difficulty in pursuing legal action against a specific employer or manufacturer, Mr La Bella received compensation from a fund set up by the government to help pay for his illness. Though the funds help to pay for his expenses, they do little to ease the pain of confronting his death.

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