Provided below are confidential internal memos from Dow Chemical subsidiary Union Carbide employees regarding the hazardous effects of asbestos. The internal memos show that Union Carbide was keenly aware in the mid-1960s that short term exposures, even those as short as one day, could put workers at risk for developing fatal cancers thirty or more years later. Union Carbide determined that informing users of the potential of developing cancer by putting warnings on their asbestos that used the word “cancer” would be fatal to their business interests of selling asbestos, and accordingly chose to never inform users with a warning regarding cancer. Decades later Union Carbide was still actively pushing its asbestos. At this point it performed a “risk analysis” regarding its own potential risk of losing money in future lawsuits. Union Carbide estimated that tens of thousands of workers would develop cancer, but that only a small percentage would actually file lawsuits, and so it determined the cost of future liability would not necessitate it from ceasing the sale of asbestos.
Most recently, the uncovering of these documents were instrumental in obtaining a $48 million verdict for a mesothelioma patient who was exposed to asbestos by Dow Chemical subsidiary Union Carbide and other companies. Union Carbide was specifically held responsible for $18 million in punitive damages for knowingly exposing workers to cancer-causing materials. This amount was awarded, in part, because of the information exposed in the documents below.