The history of asbestos dates back to around 2000 thousands years ago. However, it may surprise you to know that the dangers of asbestos have been known as far back as the Roman empire, when it was linked to lung disease in the slaves that were forced to mine the mineral for commercial use.
In more recent history, in 1918, the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics published a report that linked the deaths of asbestos workers to the inhalation of asbestos.
Then in 1924, a 33 year old woman named Nellie Kershaw died from the world’s first diagnosis of asbestosis in the UK. She worked in an asbestos plant for the world’s largest asbestos conglomerate named Turner & Newall (T&N). T&N denied any responsibility or compensation. Decades later, documents at the Manchester Metropolitan University exposed the scandalous fact that T&N had known all along that asbestos was a lethal carcinogen.
Despite the known dangers of asbestos, the asbestos industry exploded all around the world, peaking in the 1970’s at over 5 million tons/year. Today, the world is still producing over 2 million tons/year even after its use has been banned in over 60 countries around the world.
So why was asbestos used on such a widespread global basis when it was a known fact that it was toxic. The answer is profits. Asbestos is a deadly but amazing mineral that has incredible physical properties that allow for its use as a light weight fire retardant material.
Since the lethal nature of asbestos was public knowledge by the 1930’s it has been proven in court that corporations knew of the deadly nature of asbestos and still willingly exposed the public and their employees to it. Many victims of asbestos have received compensation for their medical bills, lost wages and other expenses. On February 27, 2008, one of the largest court settlements was awarded in New Jersey. The amount of $30.3 million was awarded to the widow and three daughters of Mark Buttitta from General Motors. The interesting fact about this case was that Mr. Buttitta claimed his exposure to asbestos was from his father and brother who brought home asbestos contaminated clothing from their jobs at General Motors.
There is a massive legal industry that is growing to obtain compensation for mesothelioma patients. Many legal precedents have been set in courts around the world which make it much easier to prove that employers knew of the dangers surrounding asbestos exposure. It is relatively easy to find a lawyer in your area that specializes in mesothelioma litigation especially if you live in a big city. Simply use a Google search and type in something like,”mesothelioma lawyer New York”. Your visit to the lawyer will more than likely be short lived as most mesothelioma lawyers will be respectful of your health and emotional challenges and will do all that they can to handle the case with as little of your time as possible.