Royal Air Force Corporal wins groundbreaking court decision against the UK MoD after being exposed to chemical paint strippers.
An RAF Corporal who was left with a devastating degenerative neurological condition after he was exposed to dangerous toxins while working in ‘Victorian conditions’ has won a groundbreaking decision after the Court of Appeal dismissed the Ministry of Defence’s case.
Shaun Wood, 52, from Northallerton, was diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy-P (MSAP), a Parkinsonian condition that affects the nervous system, after exposure to a lethal cocktail of solvents as a painter and finisher at RAF sites across the world.
There is no cure for the condition, which has left him needing to use a wheelchair.
Today (Thursday, July 7, 2011) the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by the MoD bringing to an end Mr Wood’s 18-year-battle for justice. It ruled that on the evidence presented – which was not rebutted by the MoD – that there was in legal terms a “probable connection” between heavy solvent exposure and neurological damage.
The decision paves the way for other people who develop neurological conditions in similar circumstances to pursue compensation.
His job involved painting aircraft and motor vehicles.
Shaun, whose father served as a Lancaster Bomber Navigator in the Second World War, joined the military from school in 1975 signing up as a painter and finisher in the belief it would provide him with an interesting career, which would lead onto further employment opportunities after he was discharged.
He worked in RAF sites across the UK and abroad, including RAF Abingdon, RAF Bruggen and RAF Leeming.
Mr Wood’s job involved painting aircraft and motor vehicles and through that exposure to solvents, now banned by the European Union for consumer use as known carcinogens (including trichloroethylene and dichloromethane), for sometimes in excess of 12 hours a day - particularly in the lead up to the first Gulf War - he contracted his illness.
At the time he had no idea the exposure to the cocktail of chemicals would damage his health in the long term.
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