Hazardous Products

An image of four people dressed in hazmat suits removing Asbestos tiles.

Prior to being banned in the 1980’s, asbestos was known to be the “miracle mineral” for its heat and fire resistance properties and superior durability. Unfortunately, its use continued long after the industry and manufacturers became well aware of the serious health issues and dangers surrounding its use and exposure.

Their personal relationship was something I needed, but didn’t know that I needed at the time. And their ability to have answers and solutions to problems that I didn’t know I had yet, was huge!

Chad C.

The word asbestos comes from the Greek meaning unquenchable or indestructible. Appropriately defined, asbestos actually refers to a group of naturally occurring minerals with outstanding heat-resistant qualities. Thanks to those heat-resistant and insulating properties, asbestos was also used in many buildings built before 1980. However, no matter how fireproof asbestos materials were in the past or in the present, it is still responsible for killing thousands of people. It protects victims from being burned on the outside, but the damage asbestos does to the lungs and other internal organs is devastating.

Asbestos has long been considered a magic mineral because of these many useful properties, and asbestos has been incorporated into more than 3,000 different industrial and household products.

The danger of asbestos exposure arises from inhaling and swallowing tiny dust particles and fibers. Those particles are released when asbestos is broken up or disturbed in any way. Once the asbestos fibers have been inhaled or swallowed, they lodge in the lining around the lungs, heart or abdominal cavity, while going unnoticed for decades. Eventually, they cause scarring and cell changes that can become a malignant cancer known as mesothelioma. Even when mesothelioma does not develop, asbestosis and other asbestos-related conditions could cause pain, restricted breathing or other health difficulties.

For several decades, the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products and many of the companies that employed the men and women who worked with and around those products knowingly exposed workers to asbestos hazards. The testimony of Charles H. Roemer best illustrates the industry’s callous attitude. Roemer, a former employee of Unarco, described a meeting between Unarco officials and Johns-Manville President Lewis Brown and his brother, Vandiver Brown, in the early 1940s: “I’ll never forget, I turned to Mr. Brown, one of the Browns made this crack (that Unarco managers were a bunch of fools for notifying employees who had asbestosis), and I said, ‘Mr. Brown, do you mean to tell me you would let them work until they dropped dead?’ He said, ‘Yes. We save a lot of money that way.’”

This unsympathetic attitude continually shows itself in industry documents. The companies that manufactured and used asbestos products had many sources of information exposing the hazards of asbestos: scientific and medical literature, industry trade organizations, and corporate documents from industry members. These incidents and documents show a conscious disregard for the safety of the American worker. This attitude is best highlighted by a September 12, 1966 document from E.A. Martin, 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.”

Time and again, it has been proven the victims of mesothelioma are those who worked long, hard years in shipyards, power plants, refineries, construction trades and other laborious jobs and were forced to pay the ultimate price for the asbestos industry’s willingness to turn a blind eye to the known health hazards associated with asbestos. The catastrophe of asbestos hazards was avoidable, had the asbestos industry acted to protect the innocent. Rather, the industry acted to protect profit and left a public health crisis in its wake—one that continues today.

No items found.
Photo of Chad C with his red sports car.
Richard C.
Richard C. was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma during the holiday season of 2019. The diagnosis came as a shock to everyone as he had been in exceptional health and living an active life before this dreadful diagnosis wreaked havoc on the family.
Read more
Photo of Bill B. barbecuing with friends and family
Bill B.
Bill B. was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in the Spring of 2021. Before his diagnosis, he was living a vibrant life with his wife, daughter and grandchild.
Read more
Photo of Evelyn R.
Evelyn R.
When Ed R. died unexpectedly, his wife, Evelyn, knew there must have been something more than simply old age.
Read more