Asbestos was used extensively by many companies in a wide range of industries from the late 1800s to the 1970s. While some people believe that information about the link between asbestos and mesothelioma and other lung cancers only recently emerged, evidence of the dangers of asbestos traces back to centuries earlier. However, it was not until the early to mid-20th century that medical professionals started to document asbestos-related diseases, and even then, many companies ignored medical findings and continued to knowingly expose employees to the toxic fiber by choosing to put profits ahead of workers' safety.
Some of the companies that manufactured asbestos-contaminated products are very large and very well known, such as General Motors and Honeywell. With thousands of asbestos-containing products still on the market today, it is reasonable to ask what companies really know about these products and whether they knowingly expose consumers and workers to such a toxic, and often deadly, substance.
It is easy to see why asbestos became popular to use among many companies. The fiber can withstand extremely hot temperatures, it is resistant to change and it is exceptionally durable. Given that asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, it was also fairly cheap to obtain, which made it a cost-effective way for companies to add fireproofing or durability to their materials.
Many companies and their executives knew or should have known about the dangers their workers were facing in regard to asbestos exposure. As far back as the 1920s and 1930s, many companies ignored warning signs and put workers at risk in the name of greater profits.
Mesothelioma is a tragic and incredibly painful disease caused by asbestos exposure, and in many cases, companies knowingly put workers at risk.
At Kaiser Gornick LLP, our Northern California attorneys have years of experience representing workers in the Bay Area and throughout California.