A Greek Australian man is suing Goodyear Dunlop tyre factory after being diagnosed with asbestosis after working at the company for ten years.

John Melissinos, 71, who worked at the Thomastown factory in High St from 1975 to 1985, is now in poor health due to the medical condition.

Mr Melissinos had been exposed to and inhaled substantial quantities of asbestos in the course of his employment as he removed and applied asbestos lagging to steam pipes and oil tanks, and during its use in the tyre-manufacturing process.

He had also been exposed to asbestos from brake pads, and in the process of removing asbestos debris from the factory floor, his lawyer Claire Setches from Slater and Gordon said.

Ms Setches said her client now suffers from asbestosis, breathlessness, shock and anxiety, and a significantly-increased risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma.

“He now also has to cope with a multitude of costs – including medical, hospital, nursing, pharmaceutical costs, and travel costs as he makes his way to appointments and treatments,” she said.

“What’s more, he will need to rely on the kindness of his friends and family for the rest of his life, as he moves into his senior years with a serious lung condition,” she added.

Many people were not aware that Goodyear Dunlop had used asbestos products in the tyre-manufacturing process, the lawyer said.

“Many workers who’ve worked in similar roles to Mr Melissinos would have been unknowingly and unwittingly exposed, as uncontrolled removal of asbestos occurred in their day-to-day work,” Ms Setches said.

“Goodyear Dunlop knew, or ought to have known, its employees were at danger of inhaling asbestos and developing serious lung disease as a consequence, but it failed to take any precautions.”

Mr Melissinos hopes others who worked in tyre-manufacturing would take heed. “Most people have no idea that asbestos was used in the tyre industry. I would urge any former workers to speak to their doctor and lawyer as soon as possible,” he said.

While not everyone exposed to asbestos develops lung cancer or other lung conditions, it is vital any ex-employees of the Thomastown factory put their names on the firm’s asbestos register, Ms Setches said.

“Slater and Gordon’s register builds a database of workplaces where asbestos has been used, and is a comprehensive reference point in the event that workers develop an asbestos-related disease,” she said. “If in the future, workers are diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, it means we can move quickly to identify how and where the exposure happened.”