Talk:Asbestos and the law

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The whole "Online Battle" thing is a myth[edit]

The whole "Online Battle" thing is a myth, has no truth to it at all - mesothelioma and asbestos actually have very average cost per click in online advertising - and was probably put there simply to give a free link and traffic to the supposed reference site, which has no real verifiable information (a simple search using the google tool shows that the conclusions are fake) and is full of pay-per-click advertising ITSELF, which I find hilarious.

Serious NPOV issues still exist. No data is provided to support the validity of such asbestos class action suits, but rather only their legitimacy is questioned.

I absolutely agree with this statetment. Moreover, a BBC article was completely misrepresented, in an effort to claim the "World's largest insurance companies" were being threatened by asbestos litigation. IN fact, the article stated that investors were suing Lloyd's for fraud. Therefore, if Lloyd's was being financially threatened, it was because of its own fraud, and not because of asbestos litigation.MollyBloom 04:24, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

For a December 2004 deletion debate over this page see Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/Asbestosis - Compensation and Liability Disputes

It has been commented that this item is (was? - already modified) uduly biassed. The topic is important, and I feel would benefit from a wider input, to guarantee an appropriate NPOV. The proposed summary deletion seems rather "unWiki-like". - Please contribute !

Done. JFW | T@lk 23:57, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the formatting.

Asbestosis_-_Compensation_and_Liability_Disputes Deletion/Keep/Merge Debate page

Hmm. You can't get enough, can you? :-) JFW | T@lk 01:11, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • JFW...Your Asbestosis article is excellent. I just wanted to offer an unbiassed sub-item. Your criticism is, I feel, undoubtedly helping greatly in provoking revisions to eventually produce a more balanced item. My sincere - really ! and not  ;-)) - thanks
  • The issue is important and someone should address it in Wikipedia. Clearly, my submission is by no means perfect, and if it comes to be completely changed, to offer something factually better, I'll be the first to applaud. (I did make a point of marking my submission as a "stub" and inviting modifications! as did you at the stage at which I offered a contribution, - see history of asbestosis "Revision as of 20:06, 17 Dec 2004")
  • Thanks to all who are contributing.

Removed from article body[edit]

Proposed new Title': Asbestos-Related Diseases: Industrial Health and Safety Issues

When the VFD debate is finished, I think this page should get a new title. Suggestions? The above is a bit long. JFW | T@lk 13:49, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Decision on deletion request[edit]

The request for deletion debate resulted in a vote NOT to delete , but rather to undertake a "clean-up" of the item in question, the deletion debate itself is now preserved as an archive of the debate and, like some other VfD subpages, is no longer 'live'. Subsequent comments on the issue, the deletion or on the decision-making process should be placed on the relevant 'live' pages. Please contribute on article clean-up Wikityke

I'm not sure why I was asked to comment, but here's my two cents. Speaking as a contributor, I'd like to see the article renamed to "Campaign to ban asbestos". I'm of the opinion that (a) people have over-played the risk of inhaling asbestos fibers and (b) many asbestos "abatements" have increased the contamination of indoor air with asbestos fibers.
What?? I don't mean to be insulting, but do you really beleve that people have 'over-played' the risk of inhaling asbestos fibers? Every health agency and government in the world accept that asbestos causes the (always) fatal mesothelioma, as well as other diseases. The EPA website says that the only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos. Asbestos fibers are found in the lungs and toxicology textbooks describe how the fibers are trapped, and cause disease. There is NO medical debate about this, and the "Junk Science" pundits who claim there is are out of their collective minds. If asbestos is safe, then so are cigarettes. But maybe those pundits would say cigarettes are safe, too. It is inconceivable to me that any thinking human being would even consider that the dangers of asbestos are 'overblown'. That is not rational.

Hundreds of thousands have died from asbestos related diseases. I can also tell you what it was like to watch my robust wonderful father die a hideous death. Before you start touting 'exaggerations' of the danger of asbestos, I suggest you read about why 60 countries banned it. MollyBloom 04:17, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

As to your other comment - abatements increase contamination indoors.... That depends on the competence of the company/person removing the asbestos. There are strict guidelines and laws which must be followed. The problem with leaving asbestos in a building, is that asbestos flakes as it ages. This is what is dangerous. The oncologist who treated my father (before he died from mesothelioma) explained that he had treated former execs at Johns-Manville who had NO exposure other than the ventilation system. And for these men, it was enough to kill them. The men died from mesothelioma, and asbestos was found in their lungs. As mentioned below, the fact is that there is no defined threshold below which asbestos is considered safe. Any amount has evidently been sufficient to cause harm, because the lungs cannot expel the material.MollyBloom 01:51, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
A related issue is the linear no-threshold hypothesis (LNT), which argues that if any harm is found at any level then there cannot be any level below which no harm will be found. LNT adherents refuse to examine any research which contradicts their pre-conceived belief. The controversy over levels of arsenic in drinking water even got into the 2000 US Presidential Campaign, with anti-Bush forces accusing the Texas governor of deliberately and knowingly trying to poison people.
Please see the above discussion on mesothelioma. The fact is that scientists don't know if there is a 'minimum' threshold, because very little exposure can cause this disease. I'm not even going to discuss the arsenic issue, because it is entirely different. Furthermore, I don't know anyone, no matter how much they disliked Bush, who would ever say that Bush deliberately and knowingly tried to poison anyone. That kind of political nonsense is irresponsible, and untrue.MollyBloom 03:38, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
As an admin, I'd suggest of course that the controversy over asbestos and disease be described fairly. Perhaps research studies should be cited, along with their conclusions. I hope you all will trust me to do two very different things at the same time: (1) hold an "extreme" POV and (2) write fairly about the controversy between that POV and all others. If not, I can always bow out - no use trying to mediate if it only adds fuel to the fire. --user:Ed Poor (talk) 21:27, Jan 21, 2005 (UTC)
No responsible encyclopedia or any other book would present a 'controversy' about the dangers of asbestos. There is no medical controversy. The dangers are well known and have been for half a century or more. I have included many citations from textbooks, the EPA, the WHO, and others. I surely hope that cooler minds will prevail and not political pundits. This should not be a political issue. It is a health issue. However, because there was litigation, it has become political, which is why the "Junk Science" junkmen are making outrageous statements about asbestos. They would call safe any product that was the subject of litigation, regardless of how dangerous it is.MollyBloom
Fraid I know little to nothing about the subject- but I don't see why the article should be deleted provided it's written in an encyclopedic stylee, etc. Keep but maybe reword? (I only gave the page a cursory scan but seemed Ok to me)... I try to only edit 'safe' pages and steer clear of controversial subjects on wiki these days- life's too short... (contributing here cos I was asked to)

quercus robur 00:13, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The article is important, but it should (and now is) factual, and not a political soapbox.MollyBloom 03:38, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

NPOV and CLEANUP Tags[edit]

What do you think JFW? I've made a few changes myself, over on this "compensation" page, paraphrasing some quotes and removing some of the more emotional language. I've also included a few references to research in this field (hopefully a "balanced mix"), as suggested by Ed. Should the NPOV and CLEANUP be maintained, or is it ready to have these tags removed? Thanks for any suggestions. Wikityke 11:40, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Reply included at User_talk:Wikityke#Industrial_and_safety_issues_in_asbestos-related_diseases

Many thanks to Ed, for his excellent "cleanup" work on the article. Wikityke 23:40, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

If there are no more comments, let's try removing the clean-up and npov-dispute tags now. --user:Ed Poor|Uncle Ed (talk) 20:27, Jan 27, 2005 (UTC)
As there were were no further comments or edits other than my own, in the past week, I followed your suggestion, Ed, and deleted the NPOV and CLEANUP tags, ok? Wikityke 17:55, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Minimum Exposure Limit?[edit]

I'm not so sure about your latest edit, Ed (20:27, 27 Jan 2005). Ok, they admit that there's still no universal consenus (frankly I doubt there ever will be!!) but the HSE are generally very conservative from what I've seen (hence their admission of lack of consensus). Maybe we should at least keep something on the fact that the evidence shows ("seems to indicate"?) that any minimum "cut-off" must really be at a very low level. What do you think?

With, or without a partial revert along these lines, I vote to remove the NPOV and CLEANUP.

Wikityke 22:02, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Needs updating[edit]

The US Senate is now considering the trust fund bill. I'll try to keep this current. --Christofurio 01:27, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Misrepresenting references & POV[edit]

This was what was stated in the article: ..."settlements have also threatened some of the World's largest insurance companies." (BBC report on Lloyds).

This statement is not only unsubstantiated, but the article it references says nothing about the "world's largest insurance companies" being threatened. This is an article about Lloyd's investors suing Lloyds for fraud, over the pending losses. If Lloyd's is threatened, it is because of its own misrepresentation and fraud, not because of asbestos lawsuits. MollyBloom 04:23, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Aside from which, Lloyd's isn't a "company." It's a "market," as the BBC accurately said in the third graf of that story. Which is precisely why such lawsuits have problems. --Christofurio 18:34, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
I reported what the article stated. But yes, you are correct. Lloyd's is not a 'corporation' in the sense that the initial sentence of the article implied. Corporations are not the only legal entities capable of being sued. Here is an interesting court summary of the complexity of legal entities of Lloyd's:

The Names sued four defendants: the Corporation of Lloyd's, the Society of Lloyd's, the Council of Lloyd's, (collectively, "Lloyd's") and Lloyd's of London, (the "unincorporated association"). Lloyd's is a market in which more than three hundred Underwriting Agencies compete for underwriting business. Pursuant to the Lloyd's Act of 1871-1982, Lloyd's oversees and regulates the competition for underwriting business in the Lloyd's market. The market does not accept premiums or insure risks. Rather, Underwriting Agencies, or syndicates, compete for the insurance business. Each Underwriting Agency is controlled by a Managing Agent who is responsible for the financial status of its agency. The Managing Agent must attract not only underwriting business from brokers but also the capital with which to insure the risks underwritten.

I suspect the news article did not make the legal differentiation. But the cause of action was undoubtely accurate.jgwlaw 20:12, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

Facts & Junkscience[edit]

Self-proclaimed 'experts' who proclaimed the dangers from asbestos are 'junk science' are themselves the junk scientists. The term 'junk science' is a political soundbite, not a term about the merits of science. These arbiters of junk science are political pundits. I was astonished to read that one announced in 2001 that lives would have been saved on 9-11 if more asbestos had been used. Of course, that was ludicrous at the time, and is even more so now that we know more about the levels of asbestos inhaled by firemen etc.

There is NO doubt whatsoever that asbestos causes mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung and other types of cancer. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. Asbestos is also found in the lungs upon atopsy. There is no 'he said' or 'she said' about this. The science documents and has for 100 years the dangers of asbestos. I can only presume that anyone who thinks there should be 'balance' in a discussion about the dangers of asbestos either does not understand the problem, or they have listented to people who know nothing. I have included citations from the EPA, various internet sites, and toxicology textbooks. There are many more references available, and one can check at any medical library. There is not even a scintilla of medical dispute about the dangers of asbestos. Now, there is discussion about how dangerous one size of fiber is versus another, but NO legitimate doctor or scientist disputes that people die from asbestos exposure. Every government in the industrialized world has acknowledged the dangers.

But you seem to have missed the point about the "junk science" charge. It concerns the forensic use of science, i.e. its use to try to establish that A's death or injury was caused by X, in whole or in part (and if in part, how much). It isn't enough to say: Defendant was doing X, we know that X can cause death, plaintiff died, the death was consistent with causation by X, so let us find the defendant liable. What is missing there is actual causation, and that is exactly where the junk sneaks in. After all, a given plaintiff's decedent could have been around asbestos, and/or various forms of radiation, and could have been a smoker besides. Likewise, I might be pushed out a window, and then while I am falling to the ground, somebody might shoot me through the heart. Real science can determine which I died of ... the bullet or the fall. Phony science says, "both the pusher and the shooter did something bad, so charge them each 100% as if he had died twice." No ... don't. Justice isn't vindictiveness, and science isn't in itself either of those. --Christofurio 00:22, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

These are all fun tricks on a torts or criminal law exam.  ;-)

If you were pushed out of the window, and while falling to the gorund, someone shot you, there would be culpability for both malfeasors- but a different culpability. THe person shoving you out the window would be charged with attempted murder. The shooter would be charged with murder (or involuntary manslaughter depending on the intent). In this scenario, it was not foreseeable that a someone would shoot you after you were pushed. However, if you were pushed off a building to the street below, survived only to be run over by a truck....well the pusher would be liable for murder. Why? It is foreseeable that pushing you off a bulding onto a street would place you in a position to be run over by a truck. Junk science has nothing to do with this at all. But back to the pusher & shooter... Now if you hit the ground, and the shot combined with the fall caused the death, then both the pusher and the shooter would be liable for murder, understandably, because both were a 'cause in fact' - both substantially contributed to your untimely demise. The law is very fair and logical when allocating fault.

Turning to a third scenario....3 people shoot and the victim dies from the wounds. Suppose for sake of argument, that it cannot be ascertained which person shot the fatal bullet. In that case, all 3 would be culpable. All three had the mens rea (intent) and all three committed the 'actus rea' - the criminal act. The causation here would be split, or the burden shifted to the defendant to show his shot did not cause the fatality.

None of this is junk science. None of this is vindictiveness. It is our legal justice system, and it works pretty well. There has to be some policy driven decisions in any legal system, but ours (in the US) is pretty reasonable.

Turning to asbestos....and I will only address mesothelioma. Mesothelioma by itself is a fatal disease. It kills whether a person smoked, or didn't smoke. The fibers can be found in the lungs. My father died of mesothelioma and never smoked, or was around smoking. Had he smoked, it is likely that he might have died sooner, but that is just speculation. Had he smoked, the cause of his death would still have been mesothelioma attributable to asbestos. Radiation does not cause mesothelioma, either. In all cases, mesothelioma would be the cause of death (unless the person died from lung cancer typical of smoking, or emphezema etc. before succombing to mesothelioma). Mesothelioma is not the kind of lung cancer one acquires from smoking. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelial lining of the lung. The cause of death is very clear and well documented. It is crystal clear, in fact. Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma. Causation here is very clear cut. There is no 'junk science' at all.

jgwlaw 18:15, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

I believe you meant only known cause; that there may be other causes is pretty clear. If you examine SEER data, or data from some of the state registries that underly SEER, you will find that women are diagnosed with meso about 400 - 500 times a year in the US. The increase in incidence among women is small, on the order of 10% over the period 1972 to present, compared to 400 - 500% for men. I think the neutral thing to say is that asbestos is the only known occupational cause of mesothelioma, which is the position taken by at least some of the professional asbestos forecasters (Bert Price, for example). --Bob Herrick 17:46, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
Bob, there is no dispute in the scientific community that asbestos exposure is the only cause of mesothelioma in the United States. The fact that women contract mesothelioma doesn't mean that there is another cause. Women who did not work with asbestos occupationally can be exposed para-occupationally (e.g. a woman who was married to an insulator and washed his work clothes), or through premises exposure (e.g. working in a building with high levels of environmental asbestos). Men and women can also be exposed to asbestos non-occupationally; somebody who did work with asbestos-containing brake pads on his own cars could be exposed to asbestos.
I stand by what I said. Asbestos is the only known cause of meso. You will find that sort of language in most medical journals. I can provide citations to studies in CT (meso incidence in women living in the top half of the state cannot be associated with any exposure to asbestos), in MS (black women have a baseline rate of meso despite (1) little black employment in asbestos and (2) essentially no female employment at the same time in the same place), and in the work of Dr. Bertram Price (who notes that about 25% of all mesos, mostly women, have no known exposure to asbestos). That is to say, it may still be asbestos that is the cause, but no one actually knows. This is all supported, sort of, by the fact that while 90%+ of all male mesos make a claim in tort, very few, literally a handful, women meso victims make claims despite a 400 - 500 per year incidence. To say that they could be exposed is a claim made in the absence of proof. There is no proof, either way, so the best you can say, which, by the way, is still a pretty strong claim, is that no other cause is known. It's important becuase if some portion of meso results, say, from exposure to asbestos in the ambient, then it will always be with us regardless of occupational and product controls.

Bob Herrick 23:04, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

Just to tie this minor issue down, I will quote several bits from the first page of Maule, Magnani, Dalmasso, Mirabelli, Merletti & Biggeri, "Modeling Mesothelioma Risk Assoicated with Environmental Asbestos Exposure," Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol 115, No 7, July 2207, pg 1066:
Asbestos is the only established causal factor for pleural and peritoneal malignant mesothelioma.
In the 1980s Enterline (1983) hypothesized that one-third of all mesotheliomas in the United States could have been due to nonoccupational exposure. These cases could be linked to domestic and neighborhood exposures to asbestos (Garnder and Saracci 1989; Hansen et al. 1998; Hillerdal 1999; Magnani et al. 2000, 2001) or environmental exposure to naturally occurring asbestos or asbestiform fibers (Baris et al. 1987; Luce et al. 2000; Marabelli and Cadum 2002, Pan et al. 2005; Paoletti et al. 2000; Mirabelli and Cadum 2002; Pan et al. 2005; Paoletti et al. 2000; Sakellariou et al. 2000).
Pan et al. (2005) have recently calculated that the odds of mesothelioma decreased approximately 6.3% with every 10 km of distance from the nearest source of naturally occurring asbestos.
The most recent study conducted in Casale[, Italy] (Magnani et al. 2001) showed that environmental exposure caused a greater risk than domestic exposure.
Bob Herrick 18:01, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

It's true that there may be no way to pinpoint exactly where exposure came from--but saying "we don't know where you were exposed to asbestos" is not the same thing as "therefore something else caused your mesothelioma". Khazeh 20:19, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

Epidemiology works by showing a link between exposure and indcidence. Asserting that since no other cause is known, only a given cause can exist is a fallacy, unless you can show that you can really exclude all other causes. You cannot. There literally are cases where there is just no evidence of any occupational asbestos exposure. Living among exposed granite, however, ensures that you will unavoidably get some exposure to asbestos in much of North America. The GC of T&N (Once the world's leading producer of asbestos products), whom I met over a decade ago, once claimed in my presence that there were more asbestos fibers in the air in Central Park from the granite there, than could be found in one of his comapany's shops. Now, I have no idea how he knew that, or if he was just blowing smoke, but I doubt that it is out of the question that it might be true. Certainly studies in California of ambient air around serpentine formations makes it pretty clear that there is some amount that is 'just there.'
I am not saying that there is another cause, just that you cannot prove, so far, that there is not. So "asbestos is the only known cause" works for me, but "asbestos is the only cause" does not.

Bob Herrick 21:44, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Not to necropost my own comment, but recent findings demonstrate a second cause for mesothelioma:
"A major study published in Nature Nanotechnology suggests some forms of carbon nanotubes -- a poster child for the "nanotechnology revolution" -- could be as harmful as asbestos if inhaled in sufficient quantities.
"The study used established methods to see if specific types of nanotubes have the potential to cause mesothelioma -- a cancer of the lung lining that can take 30-40 years to appear following exposure. The results show that long, thin multi-walled carbon nanotubes that look like asbestos fibers, behave like asbestos fibers.[1]
This has the potential for being quite interesting, particulary as such Fullerenes can form in nature in the soot from fires."

--Bob Herrick (talk) 21:33, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Oh and one more thing. The term 'junk science' is a highly charged, political term that has little meaning except to pundits. jgwlaw 19:50, 8 July 2006 (UTC) Obviously it's intended as a derogatory term. Nobody calls their own views junk science, just as no government calls itself a tyranny. But that doesn't make the charge itself meaningless. It might be right or wrong in a particular instance, but it has meaning. As a simple matter of tort law, the shooter in the case I referenced would be liable for my death, in a wrongful death action. Not the one who pushed me off the roof, since that didn't in this hypothesis cause my death. (Criminal charges are another matter.) The charge of "junk science" is generally made in the tort context and I believe I have shown that it does have a meaning there, whether one is a pundit or not. A "junk" scientist is anybody who would take the stand to bolster the tort case against the pusher rather than the shooter. --Christofurio 15:36, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Well, I suppose one could always argue one side or the other, and call each other 'junk scientists'. I personally think it is a purely political term, and not appropriate to use. And I hope you read the scenario I described above. That applies to tort. A shooter would be an independent intervening event, which would release the liability of the pusher. In that scenario, anyone arguing for liability for the pusher would be wrong legally, not a junk scientist. It doesn't apply in this scenario, because it is a legal matter (of foreseaability v. independent intervening event). I described that above. If the facts were slightly changed, and a car ran over the victim after he was pushed into the street, the pusher would have liability, under the law because it was a foreseeable result of the pusher's actions. Again, it has nothing to do with 'science' in this case, junk or otherwise. It has to do with legal constructs of tort law. Now, that aside, I personally think the term 'junk science' is an ideological, and not a valid term. It was designed to be ideological, to promote an agenda, So even if there arguably were an issue of incorrect science, the term does not promote resolution or correction. It promotes politics. And in the case you describe, it is irrelevant. Now all THAT said, I'm not sure your reason for bringing it up, and continuing to discuss it. It has nothing to do with this article.jgwlaw 06:45, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

ONe final comment. If you are trying to make some analogy to asbestos cases, it doesn't fit. Same tort laws would apply. I suspect you are thinking of smoking. THat is actually a logically different issue. If someone smokes and it can be proven that smoking contributed to the injury, as well as asbestos, it does not clear the defendant. It may reduce the award, but it wouldn't clear him. In most jurisdictions, in a wrongful death suit, it is not necessary that the defendant's action be the sole cause of death. That is not 'junk science'. And with mesothelioma, of course, it is irrelevant, because mesothelioma is fatal with or without smoking.jgwlaw 07:01, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

I didn't "bring it up" so the question of my reason for doing so doesn't arise. My reason for 'continuing to discuss it' is the same as yours, I reckon. And there isn't a sharp distinction between "legal" and "factual" aspects of foreseeability and such. One could well apply the label "junk science" to an effort to get into evidence testimony at the expense of the pusher. And, yes, its an ideological term. What isn't? In this case, it is a term that expresses a negative judgment. It doesn't prove a negative judgment, just as labels never prove their own validity just by virtue of the fact that someone puts them where there do. On the other hand, that fact doesn't make such labels meaningless, either. I have continued to discuss these matters become some people here have written as if the label is a meaningless one, and it isn't. There is no equation of "ideological" equals "meaningless." One other point: one cigarette company did include asbestos fibers within its cigarettes for a period in the 1950s. --Christofurio 05:25, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
As for the term "junk science" itself, it was popularized by Peter Huber, a columnist for Forbes magazine, in his book Galileo's Revenge, published in 1991. As the subtitle of Huber's book, "Junk Science in the Courtroom," suggests, his emphasis was on the use or misuse of expert testimony in civil litigation. One example prominent in the book was litigation over alleged casual causes of the spread of AIDS. A California school district sought to prevent a young boy with this condition, Ryan Thomas , from attending kindergarten. The school district produced an expert witness, Dr. Steven Armentrout, who testified that there is a possibility that AIDS could be transferred to schoolmates through yet undiscovered "vectors." But five experts testified on behalf of Thomas that AIDS isn't tranferred casually, and the court affirmed the "solid science" (as Mr. Huber called it) against Armentrout's sort.

Asbestos and the Law[edit]

This is not a forum for bashing lawyers. It is not a political forum. To make this a rant on tort reform, or an article by political pundits on alleged fraud is wrong. Instead, it should be a discussion of the legal issues related to asbestos. This includes regulation, civil litigation (existing and proposed) and criminal prosecution. Corporate losses from asbestos are not only attributable to civil litigation,. Corporations are being indicted on criminal charges, as well. There also is a section on Environmental law & criminal prosecution. The environmental issues surrounding asbestos removal are huge. I said 'dozens' of cases have been's probably many more than that. This is a health issue, as evidenced by the WR Grace prosecution. Please people, lets stop with the lawyer bashing. I couldn't believe the article as it was when I first saw it. That's not informative; it's a rant. Let's keep it clean, factual and informative.MollyBloom 02:24, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

Adding a Reference List[edit]

I added a reference list, and am starting the process of adding proper citations for the references. IT will take some time, and I welcome any help available. I am still a little inexperienced at the Wiki formatting but am getting the hang of it. Still, help would be nice!  ;-) jgwlaw 18:38, 15 July 2006 (UTC)


This could be an interesting paragraph - Could the author clarify, please? What were the payouts - lawsuits over key words, or payments, or what? To whom by whom, and for what? A citation that might explain would be helpful. Thank you! Jance 21:41, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

That was my edit, its actually because I help manage the pay per click accounts for a major asbestos lawyer. I will try to add some more information to the article when I can Boston2austin 21:24, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

I may be able to shed some light on this. In the interest of transparency, my work brings me into frequent contact with defendants and their attorneys, and occasional contact with attorneys for plaintiffs, among other interested groups. The payoff is obtaining a new client for a lawfirm. A meso is worth around $1 million in settlements and judgements, so represents a fair bit of revenue.
Purely annecdotal, and certain not for the main article, but I can recall discussing this topic with some defendant or some defendant's attorney. The number tossed around in this conversation was $50/click although I have no idea if that was really per click or per 100 or ??. It was the group's feeling that the number was high since someone made a joking suggestion to hire an army of clickers to help increase the cost of litigating. I have no reason to believe, by the way, that such a tactic was ever employed.
Bob Herrick 20:53, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
I don't think this adds anything to the article, and I the website linked from the 'online battle' section probably doesn't qualify as a WP:RS. 02:39, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Wall Street Journal[edit]

A front page story in yesterday's Wall Street Journal suggests there is a developing scandal over insider trading in the asbestos context. Apparently, somebody in Congress or working for a member of Congress told investors or the agents of investors that there would be some movement soon in the tort claims relief bill re: asbestos, and the investors loaded up on the instruments of the corporations that would benefit. Anybody want to tackle this? --Christofurio 16:12, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Do you have a copy of the article? I could look for it at the library, but it would be easier if someone had a copy. WSJ is one that is not obtainable online. It sounds like something surely that would be in other news articles, but I did not see anything. I am not surprised, but my guess also is the recent changes in Congress may also affect the way the bill proceeds, or individual provisions in it. That, of course, does not affect a possible insider trading that already occurred. You have got me most interested now, and if there isn't anymore info by next weekend, I will look it up.Jance 05:47, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

POV tag[edit]

I have added a POV tag; legitimate criticism of asbestos litigation is entirely absent from the article. See also Baron & Budd Script Memo controversy‎.

I attach here a partial list of links to problems with asbestos litigation for future editors to address.[2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13] -- TedFrank 17:05, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Ted, I hope my addition to the "background" section begins to address the point you make. You are, of course welcome (indeed, encouraged) to add further "legitimate criticism of asbestos litigation" yourself as you see fit, to help acheive a balanced article. Thanks for your contribution. Wikityke 13:27, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Are there any objections to any of the links I've listed above? If not, I'll incorporate them into the article. THF 13:15, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

I hope you were not the one who added a reference to Lester Brinkman as though he were a neutral commentator on this issue, rather than a professional expert witness and commentator for the asbestos-defense bar. 07:21, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
A bit harsh in your characterization of Brickman (note spelling). He is Professor of Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University. Granted, his congressional testimony was in support of one or more defendant groups, but you might like to read what he has to say, perhaps in L. Brickman, "On the Theory Class's Theories of Asbestos Litigation: The Disconnect between Scholarship and Reality", Pepperdine Law Review, Vol 31:33, 2004, pp 33 - 170. After reading that, read Judge Jack's subsequent extremely long and detailed ruling in the Federal Circuit court related to silica litigation. Professor Brickman's opinion appears, broadly and in large part, to have been correct.
Here is what Goodwin Procter (a defense oriented lawfirm) had to say about the Jack's ruling in its July 14, 2005 Client Alert entitled Products Liability & Mass Torts - Multidistrict Litigation Order Criticizes Thousands of Silicosis Claims; Potential Implications for Other Areas of Mass Tort Litigation:
In a 249-page order intended to “serve notice . . . that truth matters in a courtroom no less than in a doctor’s office,” a federal district court has found that the vast majority of approximately 10,000 silicosis claims consolidated in multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) “were essentially manufactured on an assembly line” run by plaintiffs’ lawyers, screening companies and doctors. U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack’s June 30 order sharply criticized the plaintiffs’ diagnoses, granted a motion for sanctions against a plaintiff law firm and concluded that most of the MDL cases should be remanded to state court for further proceedings. In re: Silica Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1553 (S.D. Texas).
Judge Jack’s conclusion that the MDL cases “were driven by neither health nor justice” but instead “were manufactured for money” could become a watershed moment not only in the silica litigation nationwide, but also in other areas of mass tort litigation based upon a similar model.
All in all, it seems fair to me that Professor Brickman be given at least some time in the discussion and that he not be branded as a gun for hire.
Bob Herrick 21:21, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
I'm sure someone working for insurance company would appreciate that particular professor's comments. I find it interesting that a POV tag was added to the "civil litigation section" but the section quoting only Brickman is deemed NPOV. I am glad to see that Ted Frank's inflammatory article showing his less than NPOV slant was modified by cooler heads. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:59, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Who works for an insurance company?Bob Herrick (talk) 21:35, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

I randomly choose a source listed above, and added a criticism section. NPOV tags removed. - RoyBoy 03:56, 9 December 2011 (UTC) Spam[edit]

I have noticed many asbestos/mesothelioma related pages have been spammed with links to Just an FYI. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Boston2austin (talkcontribs) 22:40, August 27, 2007 (UTC)

The first lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers were brought in 1929[edit]

Does anyone have a primary source for this assertion? I have found evidence of workers' compensation claims starting in 1927, and there may be some tort action at about the same time (particularly if employer's liability before the workers' comp law began to cover occupational disease) but the cited source has the look of a site that is used to feed plaintiffs into lawyers (just a suppostition on my part). It would be nice to cite a more direct source. Bob Herrick 21:51, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

When my dad was diagnosed in 1987 with mesothelioma, I read the Reports to the Senate Subcommittee on Asbestos Related Diseases. In that I found the first lawsuits were in 1929. I can not now find this report. I agree, if anyone can find a direct source, it would be helpful. Partisan or sites like that are not great sources, although I do know that this fact is correct. Oh, and my dad died of mesothelioma in 1987, 5 months after his diagnosis. He was not a smoker, and worked only 6 weeks cutting asbestos shingles in 1941, before he went overseas in WWII. He was also a conservative geologist, who once said environmentalists would be the death of business. Sadly, it seemed that business was the death of him.

One of the doctors from England editing Wikipedia said something about mesothelioma studies showing problems very early - earlier than the 1920s, but again, I do not have any source info. I no longer have his email, but his comments were very interesting.

I no longer edit Wikipedia, and have noted that there were some people associated with various political groups who made it a bully pulpit, and went out of their way smearing editors with whom they disagreed. I find that unfortunate. One such "article" written by one of those guys was an attack on Baron or Budd, who are/were mesothelioma lawyers. I don't know that firm, or the lawyer, but I do note the vehemence with which those lawyers were used as an example of why all lawyers and the mesothelioma lawsuits were fraudulent. I don't doubt that some unscrupulous lawyers exploited the asbestos litigation. However, the suggestion that all or most cases were fraudulent is equally untrue. There were also reasons why those who had not yet been diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestos were attempting to protect their rights, given the statute of limitations they had to deal with. The American Bar Association had recommended a remedy to these problems, but I suppose that too was considered biased by those attacking all litigation.

Has anyone considered adding anything about Haliburton's interest with the asbestos cases? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:05, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

"Regulation and government action:United States" section needs a better starting line[edit]

I would like to see the "United States" subsection under "Regulation and government action" section to begin with a line like, "United States has not joined the ranks of the many advanced countries that have banned asbestos". This is the biggest subsection with a lot of clutter with the ASTM stuff, but does not clearly and concisely state the fact that asbestos is NOT banned in US. Of course it says there have been calls for a ban. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:38, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Many uses of asbestos are banned in the US, including most "consumer" uses. Other countries (eg, France) have implemented "total" bans, but with exceptions… I'm collecting references on the point for other articles, which could equally well be used here. Still, I think it is important not to take a "political" line, but merely try to give information as to what has happened in various countries in response to this (in my mind obvious) health risk. Physchim62 (talk) 17:45, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

asbestos ban in usa being canceled and why[edit]

(so I guess if you want safe and healthy indoor air quality today, you'd have to move to france?)

"A. July 1989 EPA rule commonly known as the "Asbestos Ban and Phaseout Rule" (40 CFR 763 Subpart I, Sec. 762.160 - 763.179)

NOTE: Much of the original rule was vacated and remanded by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1991. Thus, the original 1989 EPA ban on the U.S. manufacture, importation, processing, or distribution in commerce of many asbestos-containing product categories was set aside and did not remain in effect." (ref, from

I just learned about this, but this article needs this information in it- and information about how and why the ban was vacated by who in what court in 1991! (can one biased judge with a personal agenda really have the power to change everything?) - — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gawdsmak (talkcontribs) 23:25, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Two sections: One on litigation and one on regulation[edit]

This page seems to be getting rather lengthy and confusing. Perhaps it should be split into (a) a page on the asbestos litigation and (b) a page on governmental regulation and worldwide bans. The former is a law-related page and it seems like the later is an occupational or public health related page? Thoughts? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:14, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

Oppose a) is civil law and b) is criminal law. Both are the law. There is no need to split at this time. There may be a case for having 2 substatial sections within the article, one for each. A split would be very confusing.

Geographic bias[edit]

The section about regulation is quite fair and pays attention on many countries. On the contrary, the litigation section is focused on America. In other countries too we had big trials against companies because of asbestos damage. Often they are the most important trial against a company and took headlines on mass-medias. Lele giannoni (talk) 19:26, 2 February 2013 (UTC)