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Asbestos was used for decades in construction and shipbuilding. If you or someone close to you has worked as a drywaller, pipefitter, or in the Navy, you may have been exposed to harmful asbestos fibers. Learn more >

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Mesothelioma Lawyer

Asbestos Companies: The Great Cover-Up

By the 1800s, asbestos was being used across the US as an insulator and a cost-effective way to strengthen certain materials. It was popular for its cheapness, resistance to fire, and durability. It was not long, however, before certain problems became apparent:

  • As early as 1924, the British Medical Journal published articles linking the mineral asbestos to a syndrome known as asbestosis, a serious lung disorder that makes it difficult to breathe.
  • By the 1930s, researchers were establishing a link between asbestos and certain kinds of lung cancer, such as mesothelioma.
  • By 1964, a study published by Dr Irving Selikoff finally brought the dangers of this widely used product to the public’s attention.

And yet, asbestos remained in common use through the 1980’s. Even today, it is not illegal in the US – only regulated. How did this happen?

A History of Corporate Greed

Mesothelioma lawyers began working to get to the answer to this puzzle in the 1960’s. A series of asbestosis and mesothelioma lawsuits filed on behalf of injured clients accused asbestos companies of failing to warn their employees about the hazards of this material.

In the 1969 mesothelioma lawsuit of Clarence Borel against Johns-Manville, the company’s accident prevention manager made a typical defense: he had no idea that asbestos was harmful until Selikoff’s report was published. Therefore, he could not have warned employees and was not liable. Although Borel won his case with the aid of mesothelioma attorney Ward Stephenson, many other companies successfully claimed that Selikoff’s study was their first warning.

The breakthrough came in 1977, when New Jersey mesothelioma attorney Karl Asch was representing former employees of Raybestos-Manhatten. Over the course of his research, he uncovered a study commissioned by the company demonstrating the dangers of asbestos – a study that had been published in the 1940’s.

Since then, mesothelioma lawsuits have been far more successful, finally winning justice for employees injured by negligent companies.

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If you have developed mesothelioma or other cancers after being exposed to asbestos at your workplace, contact mesothelioma attorneys Williams Hart at 800-781-3955.

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