“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.”
This quote came from a purchasing director for Johns Manville corporation in 1966. Years later the company would face bankruptcy from being overwhelmed by nearly 16,500 asbestos lawsuits in what would become an important moment in the history of asbestos litigation.
For years large corporations like Johns Manville operated their asbestos manufacturing operations with internal knowledge of health problems and tried their best to control any information that hinted to the safety risks of asbestos.
It is a sad corporate legacy and one that continues to haunt the numerous dying and diagnosed men and women who seek compensation for their exposure. Some estimates put the number of exposed patients to nearly 27.5 million between 1940 and 1979.
It wasn't until the mid-1970s that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration began to regulate asbestos exposure. By then however it was all too late. New cases of asbestos related health problems will continue to be diagnosed every year at a rate of nearly 3,000 cases for mesothelioma alone. The reason is that asbestos related illnesses have long latency periods of up to 40 years before exposure can lead to cancerous formations.
According to Adam Raphael, "the best estimate of what lies ahead is a study published by the Yale School of Organization and Management in 1992. It predicts that there will be 200,000 asbestos-related deaths over the next quarter of a century at a cost to asbestos manufacturers and their insurers of $50 billion.”
With such liability it is easy to see why since 1985, nearly 16 major asbestos manufacturing firms have gone out of business. When they go out, it makes it nearly impossible for families to collect compensation.