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Personal Injury – Cancer

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A disturbing pattern of deaths in laboratory workers at Teagasc was revealed in 1989 in an epidemiological report prepared for the organisation three years before. The organisation gives an advisory service to Irish farmers on agricultural matters. 11 workers had died from rare blood and brain cancers. The study did not pinpoint the cause of the deaths. The Teagasc workers were above the average age of Irish laboratory workers. Teagasc had been in possession of the report for three years before releasing it to the employees. Contemporaneously, Teagasc declined an opportunity of being included in a survey of European laboratory workers undertaken by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The survey was to detect occupational levels and causes of cancer in such workers.

A few days after the publication of the Teagasc incidents the National Industrial Safety Organisation called for a nationwide survey of the incidence of cancer and other health problems in laboratory and research workers. It was said that they should be continually monitored at the expense of the employer.

Occupational cancer is avoidable.