Asbestos: Cover Up of a Century
April 3rd

By Kenneth A. Cook
Co-founder and President, Environmental Working Group

“Thousands of innocent people die while governments do nothing to prevent it. In Darfur it’s called genocide. In the case of asbestos-related deaths in the United States, it’s just a statistic.Ten thousand Americans lose their lives every year as a result of exposure to asbestos. Our government could take action and ban the mineral, but it has not.A number of other developed countries, including all of Europe, prohibit manufacture and use of asbestos. In the U.S., however, it continues to be imported and used in a number of products that many of us encounter every day.

Industry has known all about the deadly affects of asbestos for decades but covered it up. Manufacturers and users did everything possible to conceal just how deadly it is, particularly for those exposed on the job.

A few years back, EWG compiled industry internal memos and court documents highlighting just how callous and duplicitous the cover-up of asbestos has been.

“…if you have enjoyed a good life while working with asbestos products, why not die from it.” 1966 memo from an executive of the Bendix Corporation (now part of Honeywell)

The results of our investigation, including all the documents, are on EWG’s website:

*Ken Cook co-founded EWG with Richard Wiles in 1993. In the 15 years since its founding, EWG has earned renown for its innovative, headline-making computer investigations of environmental problems.



Asbestos Awareness Week Contributors:

April 1st Linda Reinstein, President/CEO, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO)

April 2nd Richard Lemen, PhD, MSPH, Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS(Ret.) & Rear Admiral (Ret.) and  ADAO Science Advisory Board Co-Chair

April 3rd Ken Cook, President, Environmental Working Group (EWG)

April 4th J. Brent Kynoch, Managing Director, Environmental Information Association (EIA) and Tom Laubenthal, ATC Associates Inc.

April 5th Arthur L. Frank, PhD, MD, Professor of Public Health and Chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the Drexel University School of Public Health in Philadelphia and ADAO Science Advisory Board Co-Chair

April 6th Paul Zygielbaum, ADAO Product Testing Manager and Laurie Kazan-Allen, IBAS

April 7th Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH, Assistant Research Professor, Dept of Environ & Occup Health, School of Public Health & Health Services, The George Washington University & Jordan Zevon, ADAO Spokesperson