Asbestos was once considered a magic mineral, but in reality, it’s killer dust.
Asbestos was used throughout the 20th century in a huge variety of products, especially building materials such as concrete, cement, bricks, tiles, pipes, and insulation. It was also used in car parts, mattresses, protective clothing, even cigarette filters. Today asbestos is still found in household items such as talcum powder.
Corporations knowingly subjected hundreds of thousands of people around the world to severe illness and even death in the pursuit of profit. Anyone who has worked in manufacturing, shipyards, power plants, chemical plants, metal works, carpentry, mining, 9/11 first response and more, is susceptible.
And asbestos increasingly affects people who have not worked with the substance directly such as teachers, doctors, nurses, secretaries, even children who embrace fathers who have worked with asbestos.
Asbestos claims tens of thousands of lives every year, yet incredibly it is still being used in the United States. Despite industry claims that taking precautions allows the safe use of white asbestos, in practice, this simply isn’t the case.
Industry leaders have known for decades that asbestos was toxic, but they went to great lengths to cover it up. Studies demonstrating that asbestos causes cancer was never published and scientists fighting to spread the word were harassed or vilified.
Concealment, cover-ups, and distortion by governments, politicians, and corporations have resulted in public misinformation campaigns dating back over 80 years and continuing today.
There is a high stakes game being played in Congress with little media coverage as corporations and insurance companies try to cap the funds in trust to prevent victims from filing claims in the future.
Certainly, things would be different if asbestos was taking the lives of politicians and the upper classes, rather than working-class people.
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Even still, industrial lobbyists argued against restricting the manufacture of products containing asbestos, causing the comprehensive asbestos ban passed in 1989 only to be overturned in 1991.
This action opened the gates once more to the propagation of this dangerous substance in our places of work, schools, and homes.
Why do industries continue to fight for the use of asbestos when it has caused so much pain and devastation, and how did we start using asbestos in the first place as a society?
You can follow the links to the left to learn more about asbestos, its use, its history and how it manages to hurt so many people to this day.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a type of naturally-occurring mineral that was once praised and valued for its many desirable properties.
Extreme heat resistance, electrical resistance, tensile strength, sound absorption and general resistance to temperature changes caused asbestos to be used in a multitude of common construction, industrial and household products.
Despite awareness of critical asbestos health risks, the material continues to be used throughout the country.
In 2009, 715 tons of asbestos were imported into the U.S. and two million tons were produced worldwide that year, half of which came from Russia.
How Does Asbestos Make People Sick?
Asbestos’ deadly characteristics were not well understood until the mid-20th century.
Even then, industrial manufacturers continued to use it against the advice of health and science experts.
You can learn more about the health risks of asbestos exposure in our corresponding site section.
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