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Cancer: Mesothelioma: Money confuses priorities on asbestos dangers  Previous Next

Money confuses priorities on asbestos dangers

Scott Hendler

Many corporations that failed to advise their workers about the dangers of asbestos exposure did so out of a desire to maintain the considerable profits that selling products with asbestos made for them. These companies were choosing money over the health of their workers.

Sometimes individuals feel the same way. In an article in a local newspaper angry residents object strongly to Health Department notices that residents of 13 towns around a closed Vermont asbestos mine may be in greater danger of suffering asbestos diseases due to loose asbestos fibers floating in the area. A study indicated that the incidence of asbestosis among those who live around the mine are statistically significantly higher than the average. Some residents are worried about their children being exposed. But other residents are angry because they believe the warning by the Department of Health may be scaring off prospective home buyers and reducing the lucrative tourist trade.

For anyone who has not developed the devastating disease of mesothelioma or a related disease called asbestosis, it's a case of feeling "this doesn't apply to me." Someone who doesn’t have the disease or have a close friend or relative who is suffering from it may feel more worried about the money they might lose than the potential health threats to themselves and their families. As a result, they are often unwilling to attribute the asbestos diseases that others suffer to their exposure to asbestos fibers due to living around the mine. The Health Department is challenging this head-in-the-sand attitude by holding a public hearing at which residents can air their feelings and Department officials can respond with the facts as they have confirmed them.

When the consequences are not immediately apparent, it’s hard to accept that something could have deadly results many years down the road. Asbestosis and especially mesothelioma have such long latency periods---up to 50 years---it takes an expert to help you connect the exposure with the disease. In situations like this, it's easy to see how money can confuse priorities. But the truth is, the longer people ignore the truth about asbestos, the more people will sicken and die as a result of exposure. The corporations that first discovered the dangers to workers—and refused to reveal them—started the chain. Now, in these Vermont communities, those who are not directly suffering the consequences are continuing to maintain the wall of silence. They can continue to feel blameless for ignoring a situation that could well result in the sickness and death of their neighbors or friends.

When money comes before respect for others’ health, it’s always a tragedy.



If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or feel you’ve been exposed to asbestos or other toxic substances on the job, first find the right medical help. Then, understand your legal rights. If you have questions or need help regarding a potential mesothelioma or asbestos-exposure lawsuit, you can visit our site, call us 800.443.6353, or email us. We have years of experience helping people just like you as you and your family face this difficult time in your life.

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