Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Investigation into cancer deaths of workers at former chemical plant near Chesterfield

Martin Collis and Neville Musson were close work colleagues for 16 years Credit: Audrey Musson

Widows of four electricians who died from the same rare form of brain disease have spoken of their fears of a new cancer cluster.

Audrey Musson is one of the women searching for answers as to whether the death of her husband Neville could be linked to a former chemical plant at Staveley, near Chesterfield.

Neville died six months ago - less than a year after his friend Martin Collis had passed away.

Now Audrey is working with Martin's widow Jacqueline, as the pair appeal for other bereaved families to get in touch.

"They were good friends. They loved their job. They really enjoyed their job. I think they knew they worked in hazardous situations, but they never used to bring their work home. I don't think they liked to worry us"

– Audrey Musson
The former Staveley Chemicals site near Chesterfield Credit: ITV Yorkshire

All four men worked at Staveley Chemicals near Chesterfield during the 1990s, making products for the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries.

While there's no evidence of a direct link between the mens' deaths and the work they carried out, John Knight, from the Trade Union Safety Team in Chesterfield, has been asked to investigate.

"You would expect maybe one person out of that old factory that would have died from it, looking at the statistics. But where you've four, and they're all doing the same or a very similar job, it just doesn't stack up"

– John Knight, Trade Union Safety Team

Local MP Toby Perkins is also now looking into the case.

"I think people just want to know that there's been a proper investigation into what has caused these brain cancers and whether other people should be worried, whether there should be a screening programme to make sure that other people who may be affected can have any potential problems be investigated at the earliest possible opportunity"

– Toby Perkins MP

The site is now owned by Rhodia Limited - whose parent company is the Belgian chemical giant Solvay. Rhodia's involvement in the site began in the late 1980s.

Rhodia have now offered to speak to representatives of the families to discuss their concerns.

Rhodia is always saddened to learn of the deaths of former employees and our sympathies are extended to their families. The company is not aware of any claims in respect of brain tumours suffered by former employees, nor of any complaints or enquiries from families regarding this matter.

The health and safety of employees is of paramount importance to the company and we take seriously any suggestion that ill health or deaths might have related to company operations. We would welcome the opportunity to speak with family representatives to further understand the circumstances surrounding their enquiry and concerns.

– Rhodia Limited

Click below to watch David Hirst's report: