Asbestos: An “Unending” Responsibility

The asbestos industry and the industry of defense lawyers who are very well paid to protect that industry, like to create the impression that they are victims. Just look at the way they characterize the current state of affairs:

“So far, asbestos litigation has driven nearly 100 companies into bankruptcy and created an asbestos bankruptcy trust system with between $30 billion and $37 billion reserved for current and future asbestos claimants.”

Let’s examine that statement. They characterize asbestos litigation as “driving” companies out of business. However, isn’t it more correct to look at it from an economic analysis, and merely see that as the cost to the company for using an inherently dangerous material that causes many people to die?

For the asbestos industry, which has known about the dangers of asbestos for nearly 100 years, to pretend that they are being unfairly victimized because of the horrific and deadly consequences of their products would be laughable, if mesothelioma were not so horrible for its victims.

The companies gambled and lost. But while some companies “lost” by reason of becoming bankrupt, the workers and other innocent victims lost their health and their lives. The companies hoped they could hide the deadly nature of their material, and attempt to bury victims in legal paperwork before their mesothelioma buries them in a grave.

The projected $250 billion in present and future asbestos litigation costs must be viewed as the price of the lives of the all the workers and their families that those companies knowingly stole by exposing them to asbestos.

And those business only have their “earnings” today because they extracted it from the lives of their workers, who produced the asbestos, manufactured the brake shoes and gaskets and placed them into service, all while inhaling the deadly material that would decades later would lead to their deaths.

The so-called “unending liability” from which the asbestos industry appears to shrink back from in horror could be called by another more accurate phrase: their unending responsibility.