Essay on Asbestos in Industry Article
The article begins with an introduction to Clarence Borel who was employed as an industrial insulation installer in 1936. Borel was exposed to heavy concentrations of asbestos dust. The asbestos products were manufactured by Johns-Manville Corporation among other corporations. Borel died from lung cancer, specifically mesothelioma caused by asbestosis. Asbestosis is a scarring of lung tissue and is believed to have been involved in “10 percent of the deaths among asbestos workers.” Asbestosis may not be evident in a victim for ten to thirty years following exposure. Once asbestos fibres are inhaled in the lungs, they remain there and damage the lung tissues. It is a gradual disease and extremely painful. Cigarette smoking seems to increase the risk of lung cancer related to asbestos related exposure. It is estimated that 4 million US workers and consumers have been exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos since the 1940s due to the widespread use of the product. Exposure to asbestos is still prevalent in the US, 1.5 to 2.5 million, and it is expected that 35 percent of those with heavy exposure will die from asbestosis and mesothelioma related diseases. The focus of this article is on the actions taken by Johns-Manville, “the largest producer of asbestos fiber in the US.” The author indicates that it is not clear when Johns-Manville became aware of the danger of working with asbestos. Johns-Manville acted unethically by not providing warnings about the safety of their product at the time the information became available to them. The company commissioned a study in the early 1930s, that found that asbestosis could be compared to silicosis, which was already recognized as an occupational disease. The legal department of Johns-Manville urged Dr. Lanza, lead researcher on the 1935 study, to change the survey and not dwell on the dangerous aspects of asbestos, giving manufacturers “a break.” The study, only...
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