INDUSTRIAL exposure to asbestos did not play a part in the lung cancer which killed a Dursley man, a coroner has ruled.

Deputy county coroner David Dooley recorded a verdict that Frederick Rudd, 74, a retired carpenter/joiner of Rock Road, died from natural causes.

Mr Dooley said at the inquest in Gloucester that the level of asbestos fibres found in Mr Rudd's body was not high enough to prove that it was due to industrial exposure to the deadly mineral.

Mr Rudd's widow, Maureen, who had been married to him for 10 years before his death, said he had worked for Mawdsley's electrical engineering company in Dursley as a pattern maker for 10 years.

He had then spent the rest of his working life with builders Joe Denning, doing roofing work on new developments. He retired in 1995.

Mr Rudd had come into contact with asbestos during the building work and used to cut and saw it to shape, she stated.

He had also been a lifelong smoker, although he had given up in 1998 because he was fed up with getting chest infections in winter.

Last summer, 2006, the warm weather seemed to affect his breathing and he was admitted to hospital for five weeks, she said.

Eventually the family were told he had been diagnosed with lung cancer and although he was discharged from hospital on September 20, he had to be readmitted six days later and died the same day.

Pathologist Dr Annemarie Ludeman said she found Mr Rudd had died from carcinoma of the lung, but there was no evidence of mesothelioma, the type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

She said tests had shown he had 80,000 fibres of asbestos per gramme of his dry lung tissue, but this was a level consistent with normal environmental exposure rather than industrial.

She pointed out, however, that people who smoke and are exposed to asbestos at work have a 50 times higher likelihood of contracting lung cancer than those who do not.

Mr Dooley said: "I cannot say, on the balance of probabilities, that smoking or asbestos actually was a contributory factor to his death. I believe the appropriate verdict is that he died from natural causes."