| Connect Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook
About | Subscribe | Advertise


Download our free ebook on Advances in Corrosion Control Coating Technology

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

Wife’s Fatal Cancer Tied To Paint Worker’s Laundry

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

More items for Health & Safety

Comment | More

A family in the UK is searching for colleagues of a veteran paint company inspector whose wife allegedly died of cancer contracted by washing his asbestos-filled clothes over the years.

Annie Shotton, originally from South Shields, England, never worked with asbestos, but her husband Ernest did—over several decades, as an inspector and paint technologist assigned to shipyards for International Paint, Lewis Berger Paints and Jotun Paints, according to a report in the Shields Gazette.

Annie Shotton died in December, at age 80, from the asbestos-related lung cancer mesothelioma. She had been diagnosed with the incurable cancer in March 2008.

 Ernest Shotton
Ernest Shotton’s wife washed his asbestos-laden work clothes for 40 years and later died of asbestos-related lung cancer.

“My dad came home covered in dust from the shipyards,” said Philip Shotton, the couple’s son, who is gathering information for a legal claim over his mother’s death. “My mum washed his clothes every day, and never dreamt that it would cause her death.”

‘She Would Shake Out the Dust’

Ernest Shotton worked for International Paint Ltd., based in Low Fell, as a paint technologist from the 1950s until 1963. He then worked for Lewis Berger in 1963 and 1964, and then was with Jotun until he retired in 1994. He died that same year.

During his career, his job took him to every shipyard in northeastern England.

“After reviewing Mrs. Shotton’s working history, it became clear she was exposed to asbestos from her husband’s work overalls,” the Shields Gazette reported. “At the end of the working day, she would shake out the dust before washing them in a [tub].”

The family is represented by Thompsons Solicitors, a UK law firm that specializes in mesothelioma cases.

Shipyard, Paint Workers Sought

The family wants to talk with “painters as well as other tradesmen who may have worked alongside Mr. Shotton,” the newspaper said.

“We want to hear from anyone who worked for—or knows anything about—the paint companies and the work they did in the shipyards at the time my dad was there, so we can find out more,” Philip Shotton said.

“It’s devastating to know that his lifelong work caused her death, which is why we feel it is important to find out exactly how this happened.”


Tagged categories: Asbestos; Berger Paints; Coatings technology; International Paint; Jotun; Laws and litigation; Lawsuits; Marine Coatings; Shipyards

Comment from Jerry LeCompte, (10/12/2011, 10:18 AM)

Looks like a U.S. designed lawsuit. The plaintiff is trying to build a case in seeking additional plaintiffs. Looser pays in the UK (and in Texas).

Comment from JOHN GLANZ, (10/12/2011, 12:09 PM)

Come on....She was 80 years old...time to go anyhow.

Comment from Ron Cros, (10/12/2011, 12:51 PM)

Cold comment John, yes she was 80 however she may have lived another 10+ years if not for the cancer. We have learned a lot sense the 50's about the dangers of lead and asbestos. I tell me employes all the time not to wash there work clothes with the family laundry or pick up their children until they change and remove and dust and contaminants.

Comment from Lim Derric , (10/14/2011, 2:16 AM)

Rest in Peace, Mrs Shotton. My heart goes out to you and your children. Hope they are able to uncover the truth and determine the root causes of your pass.

Comment from Joseph Schinner, (10/14/2011, 9:20 AM)

Hopefully some of you shipyard dogs can enlighten me- I have very limited shipyard maint. ctg. experience from the 70's and low 80's. Where did all that asbestos come from? Wrap around insulation was friable but had to be abused to dust; fireproofing and inorganic Zns were wet applied (no dust). What could a "paint technologist" do to handle asbestos dust or be exposed to it if he wasn't the one dumping bags of it during coating production?

Comment from Doug Steitz, (10/18/2011, 1:40 PM)

Phillip, I am sorry to hear of your Mum's passing, sounds as if at 80 she had a full and complete life. Wondering if you have any medical or forensic evidence other than hearsay from a paper called the "Shields Gazatte". Also not reported was your Dad's cause of death a result of the alleged asbestos exposure ? After all he was the one supossedly covered in it ?? Wish you well in your greiving process, unfortunately it will require much more time as more than likely you will not be healed until your lawsuit is over........PEACE

Comment from Joseph Vogel, (10/22/2011, 4:11 PM)

I am in america but my father in-law worked as a union carpenter for 40 years and was diagnosed with lung cancer related to asbestosis as well and has since passed almost 2 years ago. My mom n-law is living still but same issue... she handled and washed his clothing all the time. When my wife was little, she would greet him at the door as he came home from work and run into his arms before he could even set his lunch box down. Is my wife going to contact this horrible cancer as well? or my mom in-law? Sadly, it could be a reality for sure and that really sucks! Companies need to pay... they knew and never told the workers... going to make a living for your family ends up your own death sentence and quite possibly your wife's and child's as well. ( mom in-law does have a lawsuit going and has for several years and has only got menial money ) god bless

Comment from Jerry Trevino, (10/25/2011, 8:15 AM)

What was the source of asbestos? Was it used in paint or in coatings? If he was a paint technologist, does that mean he was a coating's applicator or was he a coatings formulator? Maybe asbestos was used as a thickening agent in coatings..

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (11/3/2011, 11:05 AM)

Asbestos was fairly commonly used as a thixotrope in coatings formulation, particularly in textured coatings such as the once-popular "popcorn ceiling" in homes. It was/is also a fairly common contaminant in other minerals used as pigments. Talc is one common example.

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.


The Next Generation
of Blasting

• Lightest
• Coolest
• Most Comfortable
• Most Dependable

RPB Respiratory

With RPB Safety’s new Nova 3 Cassette Lens System which has been specifically designed to save you time and money! See the benefits for yourself now!

SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings

Join SSPC and Enhance
Your Career !

Minerals Research & Recovery


“Made in the USA!”

Why recycle waste from other countries? Go FASTER, CLEANER, at 1/3 THE COST with MR&R “All-American” Sharpshot®HP!!


Polyurethane and Polyurea Sprayed-On Protection

Buy POLYURETHANE or POLYUREA coatings and spray equipment for years of proven chemical resistance, water- and weather-proofing, and structural improvements.

Modern Safety Techniques
Modern Safety Techniques

See our Low Temperature Catalyst for your CO removal needs. Help to provide your workers with safe, comfortable breathing air!

Waterjet Technology Association (WJTA)
2015 WJTA-IMCA Conf/Expo Click here to register today!

Nov. 2-4, New Orleans. See the latest advances in automated and handheld UHP waterjetting tools/systems for paint/coating removal, surface prep, industrial cleaning. Exhibits, live demos.

US Minerals
US Minerals -
Black Magnum

With nationwide production and distribution capabilities, U.S. Minerals supplies a complete range of coal slag and other abrasives to meet all of your blasting needs.

Armakleen Company, The
ARMEX when nondestructive cleaning is critical

ARMEX the original baking soda blast abrasive is a brand of Church & Dwight Co., Inc. makers of ARM & HAMMER products since 1896.

Clemco Industries Corp.
Powerful Protection in a Small Package

Mounts inside blast helmet, alerts operator to dangerous breathing-air condition by audible, visual, and vibratory alarms. Easily calibrated, battery operated.

Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us

© Copyright 2000-2015, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail