The asbestos companies that made a fortune off of deadly asbestos products watched as many of their workers slowly died from asbestos-related disease and did nothing.
Want an inside peak into the asbestos cover-up?
Click here to view some of the actual documents, uncovered by the mesothelioma lawyers at Baron & Budd, that helped us win the biggest mesothelioma verdict in the nation in 2012. Our client was a general contractor who had no idea he had been exposed to asbestos. Our investigation proved otherwise.
In many cases, those company executives not only knew of the dangers of asbestos, but they withheld them from unsuspecting workers. Thousands of documents obtained through Baron & Budd litigation reveal the uncaring attitude of these company executives. Sharing the information, or at least providing adequate safety measures, could have saved thousands of lives. Instead, companies chose to boost profits.
In the 1930s studies funded by the asbestos industry itself showed a link between cancer and asbestos. The executives agreed to suppress the information. They devised a plan to convince editors of asbestos trade magazines to eliminate the word “cancer” from their publications. They even ignored suggestions from scientists to caution workers about exposure.
In the years that followed, companies limited the use of asbestos. However, it’s still used today in some products to make roofing materials, brake shoes for vehicles and pipe insulation. Government agencies have attempted to minimize workers’ exposure, but efforts to ban asbestos have seen little success.
The Environmental Protection Agency came close to banning asbestos in the late 1980s, but major corporations flexed their financial muscles and sued the agency, citing economic ruin. Even Quebec and the Canadian government, which for years has allowed large-scale asbestos mining, came to the American asbestos industry’s aid. Ultimately, judges in the United States 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the ban. The court’s decision essentially said that the EPA has no authority to order a ban.
Today, asbestos exposure victims and their advocates lobby politicians to pass laws that ban the toxic mineral. Those who have developed mesothelioma from asbestos exposure fight for their lives and fight for their day in court. Meanwhile, company executives still claim no wrongdoing.
“If you have enjoyed a good life while working with asbestos products, why not die from it?”
The director of purchasing for asbestos manufacturer Bendix Corp. wrote those callous words in 1966. He knew the dangers that came with working near asbestos. But like many executives during that time, he chose to ignore the warnings.
His quote sums up the industry’s conscious disregard for the lives, health and safety of the American worker. Sadly, it’s just a small sampling. Baron & Budd’s mesothelioma attorneys have uncovered thousands internal memos, scientific studies and other documents that reveal the industry’s coldhearted attitude about asbestos dangers.
Doctors and scientists first began noting the declining health in asbestos workers in the late 19th century. But as early as the 1920s, company executives knew about the link between asbestos and lung disease. In fact, in 1936 the industry funded its own “independent” scientific study that first revealed the connection between asbestos and cancer in animals. Based on these results a responsible company would have limited workers’ exposure or eliminated it altogether. Instead, company executives suppressed the study’s results. Executives agreed that they would publish the report with redacted references to cancer and tumors. The information that could have saved lives remained hidden.
Industry officials also convinced the trade publication, Asbestos Magazine, to publish nothing about the asbestos dangers. In 1939, the publisher of Asbestos Magazine wrote a letter to one industry executive saying that he would see to it that references to asbestosis would be eliminated or reduced.
“You have requested that for certain obvious reasons we publish nothing, and naturally, your wishes have been respected,” the publisher wrote.
The asbestos tragedy was preventable, had the asbestos industry acted responsibly. The unfortunate legacy of the asbestos industry’s actions is the public health crisis that continues to plague the United States today.
This is a sampling of some of the industry documents obtained throughout the years: