Thursday, February 03, 2005

Frivolous Asbestos Claims?

Our fearless leader told America last night that "our economy is held back by irresponsible class actions and frivolous asbestos claims."

Frivolous asbestos claims? Gosh. Who knew? Glad he's doing something about it. I mean, it's not really such a big deal anymore, is it?

According to study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health:

Deaths from asbestos exposure have surged in the United States and are set to keep rising in the next decade as more workers succumb to the lung disease caused by the industrial mineral, federal health experts warned on Thursday.

The number of Americans who died of asbestosis, which is caused by inhalation of asbestos particles, jumped to 1,493 in 2000 from 77 in 1968, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

I find that hard to believe. Are you sure?

"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.
And can you believe all those people taking advantage of those poor companies?
"You know what I want? I want my husband back," Cheryl Blevins said. "I just want us to grow old and enjoy our grandkids. I want him back the way he was before he got sick. But I don't see that happening."
Meanwhile, away from the court rooms and the halls of Congress, a school maintenance worker in Texas is paying the ultimate price of the industry's criminal negligence:
The telltale white patches covered his left lung.

As Randall Blevins was recovering from surgery, doctors told his wife that the patches indicated exposure to significant amounts of asbestos. Presumably, they said, the right lung was the same.

Well, at least no one else is getting exposed any more, right?

Witnesses testified that Alex Salvagno's company, AAR Contractor of Latham, profited by forcing its workers to clean up asbestos as quickly as possible, by using illegal methods that jeopardized the health of employees and, in many cases, left deadly fibers behind. Their shoddy work went undetected because Salvagno secretly co-owned a firm, Analytical Laboratories of Albany, which was supposed to be testing the job sites.The prosecution argued successfully that AAR's practices had jeopardized the health of workers who were ordered to rip out the insulating material from ceilings, boiler rooms and around pipes without first wetting it, as law required.

That sent clouds of the dangerous material floating into the air. In addition, workers testified they were discouraged from wearing respiratory equipment by Raul Salvagno, who supervised AAR's work crews.

Dr. Stephen Levin, an associate professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, testified in October that an estimated 100 employees who worked for more than four years for AAR will almost certainly get sick and die.

Maybe Laura should have sat next to someone dying of mesothelioma.

Frivolous asbestos claims?

What a jerk.