Companies Have Been Concealing The Dangers of Asbestos for Decades

Weirton Steel Asbestos Exposure

Companies Have Been Concealing The Dangers of Asbestos for Decades

Asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer continue to be the top causes of occupational sickness and mortality in the United States. Thousands of people who were exposed decades ago are now being diagnosed. The time between exposure to asbestos and illness development can span decades. Those exposed 20 or more years ago may just now be experiencing symptoms of lung cancer, mesothelioma, or asbestosis.

Libby, Montana- America’s Deadliest Superfund Site

During the 1920s, W.R. Grace employed workers to mine vermiculite in Libby, Montana. Vermiculite is a type of magnesium aluminum silicate material used for construction and agriculture. Since vermiculite and asbestos are found in proximity, vermiculate is often contaminated with asbestos fibers.  In Libby, miners and residents of the town was most affected by this hazardous material when nearly 10 percent of the population died from asbestos-related diseases after decades of mining vermiculite exposed the residents and workers to the toxic dust. Miners were exposed on the job, and townspeople were exposed in throughout their community, as W.R. distributed leftover vermiculite to playgrounds, roads, backyards, and other well-used areas.  W.R. Grace knew the vermiculite was contaminated with asbestos and since the high levels of asbestos fibers circulated for decades among the town, Libby, Montana was eventually declared a Public Health Emergency in 2009.

Today, the EPA’s cleanup and remediation efforts are still underway. Asbestos-related illnesses are still being detected in over 1,500 locals. Former processing factories for the Libby contaminated asbestos may be found at 39 Superfund sites in 21 states.

Victims with mesothelioma are victims of corporate malfeasance and carelessness. Many firms who marketed asbestos-containing items knew about the hazards of their products, but either didn’t enough to educate their employees or the corporations that bought them.

  • A 1918 study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that asbestos workers died at an unusually young age.
  • Exxon conducted an internal assessment in 1949 and discovered that trade laborers exposed to asbestos were at risk of lung cancer.
  • “The greatest threat in your facility is workers handling asbestos,” The National Gypsum Company cautioned in a 1958 inter-office communication. Because……asbestosis is caused by inhaling asbestos dust.”
  • An internal document from Babcock & Wilcox in 1978 revealed that the business was aware of the asbestos exposure but chose not to inform the hourly employees of the hazard.
  • A 1988 internal memo from Johns Manville Co. cited “the documents… show there was corporate knowledge of the dangers associated with exposure to asbestos dating back to 1934.”

The first substantial asbestos-related cases were filed in the 1970s. Evidence proved that corporations deliberately put employees at risk of sickness, and the courts ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. Since mesothelioma is one of the more severe cancers, the courts awarded huge sums that put numerous businesses out of business.

Latency periods for mesothelioma can range from 20 to 50 years. There were concerns that paying an amount that would bankrupt a company would deplete funding for future victims. Companies pay into Asbestos Trust Funds on a yearly basis to offer compensation for future claims. Every trust oversees investments that increase the amount of money available to asbestos sufferers. There are already more than 60 active trust funds.

Those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer can submit a claim to recover medical bills, lost wages, and other expenditures linked to an asbestos disease.

Patients with mesothelioma have a variety of legal alternatives for pursuing compensation through the courts or an asbestos trust fund.

If you have mesothelioma, contact Goldberg, Persky & White P.C. to analyze your claim and help you through the compensation process Get in touch with us today.

Sources:
Libby Asbestos Site Libby, MT Cleanup Activities, U.S. EPA, [link]
“Asbestos Companies hid the danger for decades.” EWG Action Fund (2004). [link]
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