Thursday, March 04, 2004

10,000 Deaths American Asbestos Deaths a Year

"Ten thousand Americans die each year -- a rate approaching 30 deaths per day -- from diseases caused by asbestos," according to a report issued today by the Environmental Working Group Action Fund." The report finds that over 100,000 people will die of asbestos-related disease over the next decade.

This report comes as the U.S. Senate prepares to rejoin the debate over asbestos compensation legislation
that would nullify tens of thousands of asbestos lawsuits and transfer all pending and future claims to a newly created $108 billion victims compensation fund financed by manufacturers and insurance companies.

The Senate is expected to take up this bill at the end of this month or in early April. The measure is backed by the business community, which is seeking to cap its liability and get out from under a flood of lawsuits, but it faces opposition from organized labor and trial lawyers who argue the fund will shortchange victims.
The EWG report calls for two measures:
  • Any solution to the asbestos epidemic, be it litigation, a trust fund, or a combination of the two, must help everyone hurt by asbestos. The current proposal by Senators Frist and Hatch does not come close to this goal.

  • All uses of asbestos must be banned immediately. This is the only way to put an end to the ongoing tragedy of asbestos illness and death.
The site also contains extensive documentary proof of the asbestos industy's cover-up of the hazards of asbestos that lead to the massive death rate
These papers, just a handful of which we present here, prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the companies and their insurers knew the hazards of asbestos and concealed this information from workers for decades. More than any other piece of evidence, it is the companies' own internal papers that have convinced juries of citizens across the country that workers and their families deserve compensation to help them manage the severe and often fatal health consequences of working with asbestos.

More here.