Father allegedly contracted lung disease while working in chewing gum production
The family of a man who allegedly contracted a lung disease while working in the production of chewing gum settled a lawsuit against his employer in the amount of € 375,000.
father of two, Gerard Hanratty (55) had been an operator and senior worker at the South Dublin factory for 15 years before his death in 2013.
His wife and children this week settled their action in relation to his death. The claims were all dismissed in the case.
His widow, June Hanratty, Ballinclea Heights, Killiney, Co Dublin sued Kraft Foods Ltd, Cadbury Adams and Mondelez Ireland Production Ltd.
In an affidavit, Ms Hanratty said that at the time of her death, her husband was employed as a main operator in the defendant’s factory unit at South City Business Park, Tallaght.
It was alleged that as of 2005 chewing gum production had taken place and Mr Hanratty was allegedly tasked with mixing powdered aspartame, an artificial sweetener, with polyvinyl alcohol and talcum powder. .
It was claimed that this was part of the chewing gum production process and in order to do so, Mr Hanratty was allegedly forced to open 25kg boxes containing plastic bags sealed inside aspartame, from divide the bag and empty the contents into a hopper on a sweetener loading unit. .
Ms Hanratty said that as a result of work, her husband “inhaled noxious amounts of toxic chemical dust, including aspartame”.
She stated that as a result of this alleged “prolonged exposure to dust” he allegedly contracted lung disease with an alleged superimposed acute lung injury and died on August 23, 2013.
Justice Garrett Simons was advised that a full defense had been filed in the event that all of the claims were dismissed and it was argued that the Hanratty claim was time-barred.
The court heard that a separate claim by Ms Hanratty for nervous shock over her husband’s death was settled against the defendants two years ago.
Judge Simons approved the € 375,000 settlement.