The defense counsel for the companies that manufactured and sold asbestos for decades, and profited for years at the expense of workers who were faced with the shock of a mesothelioma diagnosis after inhaling asbestos, would like you to believe that the only problematic issues are some victims attempting to “double dip” in the asbestos trust funds.
Asbestos, after all, is so 20th century, a legacy disease of large industrial plants, of the old shipyards that used to line the seaports of California coast and most of those workers are reaching the limits of their natural life expectancy. This is an issue that is soon to fade from memory, like polio and iron lungs.
That sounds plausible, except for one problem.
Asbestos cases are not declining.
A story from England illustrates the point. A school district’s asset managers tell teachers that even if their buildings have asbestos-containing material within, it is “encapsulated,” and therefore benign.
Which is the story that has been told about asbestos from the beginning. First, workers are not told that asbestos is a problem. Once they begin dying, they are told that a limited exposure is not a problem, or that this type of asbestos does not cause disease. They keep dying. Always the apologists come up with some reason why “this” asbestos is not a threat, but still the workers become ill and die.
In England, just like the United States, there was a massive school building boom in the years following the Second World War. To the misfortune of their millions of teachers and students, these buildings were constructed with various materials that contained the deadly fiber.
Floor and ceiling tiles line the miles and miles of hallways. Tens of thousands of feet of air ducts and pipes are insulated with asbestos wrappings. Walls may have been covered with plaster or drywall laced with asbestos. (cont.)
Source: theguardian.com, “Schools are facing an asbestos timebomb,” Fran Abrams, May 19, 2015