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Snowball fights with asbestos!

While we frequently work with clients from California who have suffered from the deadly effects of asbestos-related diseases, we know the problem is much more widespread.

Throughout the United States and across the world, industrial applications of asbestos have resulted in thousands of workers contracting lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. A recent story from Great Britain tells the story of a Welshman who worked for twenty years in a steel factory and now has been diagnosed with mesothelioma.

One may think that because he last worked in the steel plant in 1978, the threat posed by asbestos would have been long passed. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed at age 83 and given slightly more than a year to live.

The dangers of asbestos were suspected as early as 1900 according to the news report and it is appalling that it workers were told nothing and were not warned of any potential danger. Decades after it was initially suspected of causing illness, it remained in use and was treated as a harmless substance.

Workers from the steel plant claim to have seen "snowball fights" at the facility using asbestos in the 1960s. Apprentices in the plant would be subjected to a "snow time," which consisted of having asbestos dumped over them.

The story notes that asbestos lawsuits from this period may not peak until 2016, but we fear that the thousands of locations where asbestos containing materials exist will provide a constant stream of cases long past that date.

While workers no longer have "snowball fights" with asbestos, because of the widespread use of the material, its threat may linger far into the future. 

Source: "UK Steel Plant Workers Alleged to Have Had “Snowball Fights” with Asbestos," Gordon Gibb, November 24, 2013

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