Asbestos Has Caused Misery and Disease Since the Dark Ages
As part of our ongoing commitment to providing you with reliable information on asbestos related issues, Weitz & Luxenberg updates these pages frequently. Here is an asbestos timeline, which details some of the many significant asbestos related events that have taken place over the years. They are presented in reverse chronological order.
What is asbestos and why is it dangerous?
Asbestos is a dangerous human carcinogen that wreaks havoc on the internal organs and can cause slow, agonizing death. Since 1979, over “47,073 Americans have died from mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer or asbestosis,” (Environmental Working Group) and that figure is steadily increasing.
2010: The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) meets with the House of Representatives to discuss the reform of The Safe Chemicals Act, a stricter version of its 1976 predecessor, The Toxic Substances Control Act.
2007: Weitz & Luxenberg wins over $20 million for the widow of a boilermaker and over $10 million for the daughter of a steamfitter who passed away from mesothelioma. Both men died from lung cancer. Weitz & Luxenberg attorneys successfully convince the jury that asbestos can play a significant role in the development of lung cancer.
2004: The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) is founded by Linda Reinstein and Doug Larkin, whose decision to start the organization is deeply personal. Both of them have a family member who is suffering from an asbestos related disease.
The primary agenda of the ADAO is:
- “To serve as the united voice for all asbestos victims.” (ADAO)
- “Unite asbestos victims.” (ADAO)
- “Educate the public and medical community about asbestos related diseases.” (ADAO)
- “Support research that leads to early detection, prevention and a cure.” (ADAO)
- “Ban the use of asbestos.” (ADAO)
ADAO has works tirelessly on behalf of asbestos patients and their families both in the United States and other parts of the world such as Europe and Asia. They publish numerous newsletters, attend asbestos conferences and protest the production and exportation of asbestos across the globe.
2003: Weitz & Luxenberg wins over $40 million on behalf of a boilermaker dying of lung cancer from asbestos exposure. The two companies he worked for are found by the jury to have been negligent.
2002: Weitz & Luxenberg settles for over $ 50 Million verdict on behalf of a brake mechanic who was exposed to asbestos repeatedly while at work.
2001: Weitz & Luxenberg wins over $64 Million verdict on behalf of four plaintiffs who are dying of mesothelioma.
1993: The nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) is founded by Ken Cook and Richard Wiles. The organization passionately “supports federal legislation to ban asbestos.” (EWG) The EWG works to:
- “Protect the most vulnerably segments of the human population- children, babies and infants in the womb, from health problems attributed to a wide variety of toxic contaminants.” (EWG)
- “To replace federal policies, including government subsidies that damage the environment and natural resources, with policies that invest in conservation and sustainable development.” (EWG)
1991: Weitz & Luxenberg achieves a historic $75 M on behalf of 36 former employees of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The men suffer from mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer and asbestos as a result of being exposed to asbestos during the 1940s and 1950s.
1990: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), having discovered the disastrous effects of asbestos exposure combined with tobacco smoke, “prohibits cigarette smoking in areas where occupational exposure to asbestos takes place.” They also initiate training programs, intended to “specifically instruct employees about how to handle asbestos.” (Center for Asbestos Safety)
1988:The collapse of asbestos giant Johns Manville and other asbestos companies “results in the formation of a trust to pay asbestos claims.” (Lectric Law Library)
1986: Perry Weitz & Arthur Luxenberg establish Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. and proceed to make it a leading asbestos law firm.
1984: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) “publishes a notice of proposed rulemaking for a standard covering occupational exposure to asbestos in all workplaces” (Center for Asbestos Safety) under its authority.
1981: Johns- Manville suffers a serious legal blow after the California Supreme Court rules that workers can sue their employers under certain circumstances, such as those present in the Rudkin case seven years before. The ruling “enables other Johns- Manville workers to proceed with their cases in civil court against the corporation.” (African American Environmentalist Association)
1974: Reba Rudkin, an employee of the Johns- Manville manufacturing plant in Pittsburgh, California, develops asbestosis after devoting thirty years to the company. Johns Manville “would normally be protected from such a lawsuit because workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy for an employee suing an employer” (African American Environmentalist Association), but Rudkin’s attorney dismantles that argument. He goes on to produce a series of incriminating letters, which reveal Johns- Manville’s intent to withhold information about asbestos hazards from its employees.
1966: An asbestosis patient from Beaumont, Texas named Claude Tomplait “files a lawsuit against ten manufacturers of asbestos containing insulation products.” (Ring Surf) The case goes on to court on May 12, 1969, “and a week later, the verdict returns in favor of the manufacturers.” (Ring Surf) It is the first asbestos lawsuit in the United States.
The Vietnam War: (1964- 1975)
Soldiers that serve in the Vietnam War are regularly exposed to asbestos on naval ships and airplanes. “The vast majority of Vietnam Veterans will likely lose their battle with their asbestos disease, and less than 1% will survive.” (Vietnam Veterans Against the War)
Before the 1950s:
World War II (1939-1945)
American soldiers who serve in the United States Army, Marine Corps, Air Force or the Navy, are at dangerous risk of asbestos exposure. Many of their military bases are inundated with asbestos, making it virtually impossible to avoid. Asbestos is indiscriminately used to build and insulate ships, submarines and air vessels. It is also used to construct the facilities on military bases- including dormitories.
World War I (1914-1919)
Many of the apparatuses that are produced during World War I, such as various sea vessels and aircrafts, as well as hundreds of war devices and products contain asbestos. Since it is wartime, however, little is done to remedy the asbestos problem.
The Industrial Revolution in America (1820-1870)
The Industrial Revolution travels from the United Kingdom and arrives in the United States. Two of the major inventions of this period are the railroad and the automobile, which revolutionize transportation. Unfortunately, those who participate in their construct are frequently exposed to asbestos.
Asbestos in the Middle Ages (Approximately 500 AD- 1400 AD)
Kings and other high ranking members of medieval society collect the asbestos belongings of ancient civilizations and proudly display them in their homes totally unaware of the dangers. Asbestos is also used to insulate armor, directly exposing countless soldiers to the carcinogen.
Ancient Uses of Asbestos:
The term “asbestos” translates to “indestructible.” The ancient Greeks are the first civilization to recognize the devastating effects of asbestos fibers on the human body. In spite of these dangers, they have a myriad of uses for asbestos, including building structures that are immune to fires and weaving asbestos fibers into cloth.
The ancient Romans refer to asbestos as “amiantus,” Latin for “untarnished.” (UNRV History) They “mine and quarry asbestos from all over Europe,” (UNRV History) and some Romans cast their asbestos table cloths into the fire to cleanse them of any stains.
The ancient Egyptians mostly use asbestos during the mummification process. The strips of linen that are used to wrap corpses contain asbestos, ensuring that the bodies won’t burn during the deceased’s journey to the afterlife.
Weitz & Luxenberg Attorneys Are Leaders in Asbestos Litigation
In spite of all of the stringent asbestos regulation, asbestos continues to be used in a number of industries. Sadly, this almost guarantees that many more generations of people will become sick with mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer or asbestosis in the future.
Weitz & Luxenberg has achieved numerous verdicts and settlements for people who are suffering from mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer or asbestosis following exposure to asbestos. Our attorneys have the qualifications and experience necessary to get you the justice and compensation you deserve.
If you would like a free legal review of your mesothelioma case, please fill out the form on this page. All communication will be strictly confidential, and there is no fee unless we secure a monetary verdict or settlement for you.
World War I Net: www.worldwar-1.net/
UNRV History: www.unrv.com/economy/asbestos.php