Asbestos Temper Tantrum
The IBAS has just published an interesting rebuttal to the personal attacks against it and its executive director, Laurie Kazan-Allen, by the Russian Merchants of Asbestos Death which began several years ago and accelerated in the last week or two, along with a scholarly article by Drs. G. Tweedale and J. McCulloch, Fighting Back: A History of Victims’ Action Groups and the Ban Asbestos Movement, describing the real history of the grass-roots origin and evolution of the world-wide movement to ban asbestos and protect its current victims.
Since I am Laurie Kazan-Allen’s older brother, I take attacks on her quite personally, and am always ready to spring to her defense. However, in this case, she clearly doesn’t need my help; it is clear that she is engaged in a battle of wits with a group of unarmed men whose ignorance and incompetence is outweighed only by their lack of integrity and common decency, and she has already won the fight.
At the risk of being accused of ‘piling on’, i would only offer an additional point with respect to the part of the attacks against me and our firm by these same forces; to wit that we benefit financially from stopping the sale of asbestos around the world. it is true that our work is devoted to representing workers and their families in litigation in the US that is based on asbestos cancer and the devastation it causes. But we in fact support the ban EVEN THOUGH it is against our financial self-interest!
Had asbestos been banned in 1960, when the world knew it caused mesothelioma, we would have had far fewer clients, since the litigation would have mostly disappeared 25 years ago; had it been banned by the 1940s when it was clear asbestos caused lung cancer, the litigation would have ended 30-35 years ago; and had it been banned by the early 1930s, when it was clear that asbestos caused often fatal lung disease, there would have been no court cases at all for us to do when I started in 1974.
We support the movement to ban asbestos because we have seen close up and at first hand what asbestos has done, and continues to do, to the thousands of workers and their family members we have been privileged to represent, for whom monetary compensation is often important, but always wholly inadequate to make up for the agonizing deaths, destruction of families, ruined lives, and traumatized communities it leaves in its wake.
We know that there will be asbestos deaths for decades to come, but hope for a world-wide ban soon, so that when our grandchildren look back they will know of asbestos disease only from the history books.
We couldn’t be prouder of what IBAS and Laurie Kazan-Allen have done, and are honored to support their efforts. we invite others to join us in working for a world wide asbestos ban.