Corporate Knowledge


As hard as it is for people to believe, asbestos-related diseases are not new. They began occurring in the United States in the early 1920s. By 1930 the asbestos industry knew that this was a serious problem for their own employees. They also knew though at that time that the disease was completely preventable. All you had to do was control the dust, educate the workers, warn the workers about the dangers of the dust, and take measures to protect the workers with respirators, and exhaust of the dust. People ask me how do I know that the industry knew this. Probably the most compelling proof is that in 1933 eleven people contracted asbestosis at the Johns Manville plant. They sued the company. And Johns Manville agreed to settle those cases on the condition that the lawyers would never bring anymore cases again. Well, for the next fifty years it was a dirty little secret of the asbestos industry. How many people were getting sick? And by the '30s, the late '30s, people were getting cancer. By 1949 the journal of the American Medical Association said it has been proven conclusively that asbestos caused cancer. And by 1960, people were dying of mesothelioma. People that just lived in the neighborhoods where asbestos was used. And so from the 1930s to 1960 the information was being developed. The industry was fully aware, but the public didn't find out about these dangers until the early 1970s, and that's when this litigation began.


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