The History of Asbestos

The health risks of asbestos exposure have been known for some time. In the early 1900's physicians noted that workers who were frequently exposed to asbestos seemed to develop lung problems. This newly identified disease was named asbestosis in 1924. Doctors began to realize the importance of informing workers about the dangers of asbestos, but many of the companies that produced these products ignored the warnings.

Asbestos Cover-up and Corporate Responsibility

During the 1930's articles began appearing in various medical journals with case studies and further warnings about asbestos. These also went unheeded by asbestos corporations. When the evidence against them began to mount, the asbestos industry commissioned its own study on the effects of asbestos, but then refused to allow the results to be published. Despite the danger to workers, industry journals were prohibited from printing articles that might damage the financial prospects of asbestos corporations. One quote indicative of the industry's uncaring attitude came from the director of purchases for Bendix Corporation:

"My answer to the problem is: if you have enjoyed a good life while working with asbestos products why not die from it. There's got to be some cause."