The asbestos industry’s continuing deceit and secrecy recently formed the topic for one of our favorite blogs, the Pop Tort. Entitled “Asbestos, Yum!” the blog entry began with the sad but true story of the Johns-Manville company, which back in 1933 reached a settlement agreement with several of its former employees who had developed asbestos disease. The settlement required the former employees’ lawyer to agree that he would not sue the company in the future or participate indirectly in any other claims against the asbestos producer. It would be 45 years before the public learned of this enforced secrecy. But by the late 1980s, millions of Americans had been made sick or had died as a result of exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos Abroad: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
The asbestos industry is now busy abroad in developing companies such as China, India and Kazakhstan. India, in fact, is the world’s largest importer of asbestos. The asbestos industry in developing countries continues to conceal the true hazards of asbestos by assuring workers that only certain types of asbestos are dangerous. According to the asbestos companies, chrysotile asbestos is as safe as rain. Mr. Kanat Kapbayel of United Minerals in Kazakhstan has proclaimed that “Chrysotile [asbestos] you can eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner!”
Most experts around the globe disagree about the wisdom of having asbestos for lunch or any other meal, however. U.S. agencies and scientists who are not paid by the asbestos industry have found time and again that chrysotile asbestos causes mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases. Among those taking the majority view are:
- the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA);
- the Occupational Safety & Heath Administration (OSHA);
- the World Health Organization (WHO); and
- the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
Asbestos in America: New Legislation Exposes Victims’ Private Information
Here in the United States, Congress is once again holding hearings on proposed asbestos legislation — H.R. 526, also known as the FACT Act. You might think that the purpose of any new laws concerning asbestos would be to protect or assist the thousands of American families who learn every year that they will lose a loved one to mesothelioma, an always fatal cancer whose only known cause is asbestos exposure. Not so.
Asbestos industry lobbyists are pushing Congress for legislation that will make it more difficult for asbestos victims to seek compensation from bankruptcy trusts that were set up to help them. What’s worse, a host of private information about anyone who seeks bankruptcy trust compensation would become public under the asbestos industry’s proposed law. This information includes victims’ names, addresses, workplaces, income, medical information and the last four digits of their Social Security numbers.
While all of this private information would be publicly revealed in a website open to anyone, including Internet scammers, the asbestos companies that have caused 3,000 Americans to die annually of mesothelioma would be required to disclose nothing that might help those veterans and others receive the compensation they deserve.
Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel: Learn More About Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel is a national plaintiffs’ law firm devoted to helping families in personal injury and wrongful death cases involving asbestos, mesothelioma and other injuries caused by toxic exposures. Based in Dallas, Texas, with offices in California and Maryland, Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel has represented families across the country whose lives have been devastated by asbestos and mesothelioma.
If you (or a loved one) have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact us by email or call us at 800.226-9880 to speak with one of our mesothelioma lawyers, like Scott Kruka and Walker Humphrey in our Texas office, to learn more about how we can assist you and your family with a mesothelioma lawsuit.