Asbestos has been woven into are history as one of the most dangerous naturally occurring minerals. Originally, it was used for its durability in many building and transpiration materials. The wide use of asbestos exposed millions of people to this deadly fiber. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that evidence began to mount revealing the dangers of asbestos. This occurred when most everyone lived and worked in a building that was covered in asbestos. The huge amount of growth during the Industrial Revolution put asbestos into every building and transportation device exposing millions of people.
The dangers of asbestos came into light because insurance companies refused to insure people who worked asbestos jobs. They had decades of data that showed asbestos workers were at high risk for developing lung diseases. This caused for further investigation into the dangers of asbestos. It was revealed through multiple medical studies that airborne asbestos is deadly to breath. The small fibers latch onto the lungs causing immune cells to break them up. The immune cells die in the process of fighting the asbestos fibers. They form scar tissue on the lungs and this process is continued until the lungs are covered in scar tissue and stop working. These disease are called Asbestosis, Desmoplastic Malignant Mesothelioma (DMM), and Mesothelioma.
The information revealed about the dangers of asbestos caused mounting mesothelioma claims. Asbestos lawyers began to get compensation for injured workers. In order to get punitive damages for the hundreds of thousands of injured workers they were going to have to prove that asbestos companies had prior knowledge of the dangers of asbestos. An investigation revealed that asbestos companies had known details regarding the dangers of airborne asbestos and had been covering this information up for decades. Not only was the information covered up but nothing was done to protect workers who were exposed to high levels of airborne asbestos. These documents resulted in compensation beyond the amount of the injury. Some claims received over 5 million dollars for a single worker.
There has been a new asbestos exposure in the United States that has affected one of the richest cities in the world. When the World Trade Center came crashing down on 9/11 a cloud of asbestos dust filled the air of Manhattan. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) went on record saying the air was safe to breathe. They later corrected this statement when private air tests revealed that air around the site of ground zero was at toxic levels. Many people have already died from this exposure and many more are contracting lung diseases. The latency period from exposure to illness can be up to fifty years, making the long-term health risks unknown.