In the Fight Against Asbestos, Here is What We Face Today

May 19, 2014

By now we know that asbestos is a dangerous, lethal carcinogen banned or restricted in approximately 52 countries.

At the same time, we know that while asbestos-related deaths are almost always preventable (see: Do Not Breathe In Asbestos), the reality is much more complicated as asbestos was and is still used today in various industries from cars to plumbing.

We know that no amount of exposure to asbestos is safe.

Not one single speck.

So why is asbestos just banned or restricted in 50 plus countries? And why do we still use it in America in these select industries?

We hear the word a lot today. And though we may not be able to recognize them by name, face or even tricky PR-based moves, we definitely know what they’re up to (that would be No Good).

Yep, the word is LOBBY.

And asbestos has a lobby behind it so big your jaw would drop just hearing the figures thrown around.

So we’ll go ahead and introduce you to what we all face when we fight against asbestos both in America and worldwide: a global network of lobbyists who have spent $100 million since the mid-1980s to keep the market for asbestos alive and well.

$100 million. For something that kills people.

Sadly, lobbyists have succeeded. So much so that some scientists predict that asbestos may cause  up to 10 million deaths by the year 2030. (Currently, the International Labor Organization estimates that 100,000 workers die each year from asbestos-related diseases.)

Lobbyists. You can’t always see them, can’t always smell them and you almost never know their full names. But while the fight against asbestos is made up of asbestos victims, their families, their lawyers and other everyday men and women who care, asbestos is supported and protected by a lobby that, scarily, and thanks in large part to plain ol’ money, has government officials, powerful business entities and even some scientists and doctors on board.

We’ve known that asbestos is a deadly carcinogen for decades now. But there are still some studies coming out that claim that asbestos isn’t as bad as we say it is. It’s not that we haven’t figured things out yet, it’s not that asbestos is not as bad as victims say it is — it is.

It’s that those studies are bought and paid for by the asbestos lobby.

The good thing is, we have you on our side. And together, we can fight back. It’s just time we all knew who we were really fighting.