Although the disease risks were not known when humans first began using asbestos commercially, the dangers were observed long before those observations were made public. In many ways, the history of commercial asbestos is a story of corporate greed. When companies have a vested interest in a product that is killing workers and customers alike, they too often choose profits over people.
This doesn't just happen in the United States. Recently, the UK newspaper The Independent published a report on the alleged actions of a now-defunct company called Turner and Newall. Based in England, T&N had become one of the world's biggest asbestos manufacturers in the mid 20th century. By the 1950s, the company had established a "virtual monopoly" in the UK.
The dangers of asbestos dust were first observed in the late 1800s, but attempts at regulation were few and far between. By the 1980s, however, the public was starting to catch on, which worried executives at T&N. The company tried to keep a lid on these secrets and protect its business interests in ways that only recently came to light.
An anti-asbestos campaigner took it upon himself to look through the archived records of Turner and Newall after the company went out of business. He discovered documents showing that company executives had:
- Spied on journalists who were close to the story
- Spied on environmental campaigners
- Tried to discredit these journalists and campaigners by falsely outing them as communists and communist sympathizers (a serious accusation back then)
- Worked with a corrupt member of Parliament in an attempt to discredit the makers of a documentary about the health of asbestos factory workers
These allegations may sound too strange to be true. But they are reportedly documented in T&N's own paperwork archives. In light of these revelations, many UK politicians are calling for "a full-scale inquiry" into this alleged corporate espionage and the complicity of at least one former Member of Parliament (now deceased).
Asbestos use is no longer widespread here in the United States. But victims of asbestos-related diseases still have difficulty seeking compensation because most of these corporations are more concerned with their own liability than with the health of current and former employees.
If you are seeking mesothelioma compensation for yourself or a loved one, the odds may be stacked against you. That's why you need an experienced mesothelioma attorney on your side.