Breast cancer: teacher fails with lawsuit

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Breast cancer: Teacher fails with complaint about recognition of occupational disease

The teacher suffering from breast cancer failed yesterday with her lawsuit against the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the district of Neuss. The plaintiff wanted her cancer to be recognized as a "typical occupational disease". However, studies by experts were unable to determine whether the legally prescribed limit values ​​for pollutants had been exceeded.

Yesterday, the Düsseldorf Administrative Court tried on the complaint of a 52-year-old vocational school teacher. The official had sued the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the district of Neuss as school authorities. The teacher asked for her breast cancer to be recognized as an occupational disease (we reported). The woman had taught at the Grevenbroich vocational training center for several decades. When the teacher fell ill with breast cancer in 2005, she was responsible for the release of pollutants from the PVC floor of the classrooms as well as persistent car exhaust fumes from the school's own auto repair shop. According to the applicant, a total of 14 teachers had also contracted cancer over the past few years. Nine of those affected had died of the consequences of the cancer.

Relationship between pollution and cancer cannot be demonstrated
The judges at the Düsseldorf Administrative Court did not uphold the lawsuit. Recognition as an occupational disease is out of the question in the evaluations given, since a clear connection cannot be proven. A report from the University of Düsseldorf had confirmed that a direct and unequivocal context between cancer and pollutants cannot be demonstrated in vocational school. In tests carried out on behalf of the district, no exceedances of the pollutant limit values ​​could be measured. However, the verdict is not yet final since the mother of three can still appeal. (sb)

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Image: Peter Kirchhoff /

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