Mesothelioma & Asbestos Round-Up: March 20, 2009

This week we’ve seen developments in the Libby trial and elsewhere that demonstrate how and why the legal system can be the last safe haven for victims of corporate greed. In the Libby trial, testimony revealed that federal, state and local government agencies were aware of the dangers at the W.R. Grace vermiculite mine as early as 1980. Grace knew of the dangers in the early 70’s or before. While miners and their families were exposed to deadly tremolite, the government did nothing to protect them.

In our update last week we mentioned that Chrysler prevented a family from burying their beloved father and husband. Again, it is an example of large corporations placing their own bottom line over the simple dignity and privacy of a grieving family. Thankfully, a judge in New Jersey held that Chrysler could not delay or disrupt something as sacrosanct as a funeral.

Each of these cases represents how far an unscrupulous business can and will go to pursue its own interests. Some businesses, like some people, will stop at nothing to gain or protect profit.

These stories are also excellent profiles in courage. Neither the citizens of Libby, nor the family in New Jersey were silent victims. They are fighting for what is right, not just for themselves, but for everybody.

National Asbestos News

The Libby Trial

The EPA began investigating Libby as early as 1980. Testimony revealed that the government, though aware of asbestos dangers, did nothing.

James Becker, a financial analyst for W.R. Grace in the ’70s, testified that Grace was aware that asbestos dust had settled over a large area of Libby. His division was charged with analyzing the financial benefits of continuing the mining of the lethal tremolite.

Students at the University of Montana are providing up-to-the-minute updates on the Libby trial on a blog. You can view their blog here:

Shocking Conduct and Justice Served

The ghouls at Chrysler and Honeywell were prevented from stealing the body of a victim of asbestos cancer from his family.

Deadly Libby Mineral Found in Cement Quarry

Helena, Montana — The Ash Grove Cement Co. has shut down all of its operations after tremolite, the same deadly asbestos mineral in Libby, was found in its limestone quarry. Ash Grove, whose headquarters are in Overland Park, Kansas, has told its employees not to return to work until further notice.

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