Source: Asbestos Network
Millions of Americans across the U.S. have suffered exposure to the asbestos fibers that cause the fatal conditions mesothelioma, lung cancer, other cancers, and asbestosis. In addition, workers who came home from the shipyards, construction sites, and factories with the dust on their clothes, skin, and hair also exposed their spouses and children — many who have now been diagnosed with asbestos-related disease, themselves.
What is the history behind how this deadly material entered the American industrial scene and when was it first linked to cancers such as mesothelioma or lung cancer, or to asbestosis?
In 1897 a doctor in Europe demonstrated a strong link between asbestos dust and a pulmonary condition in a patient. More medical professionals sat up and took notice and began documenting their diagnosis and suspected causes. The first death directly attributable by autopsy to asbestos dust occurred in 1906. By 1910, life insurance companies began acknowledging the connection between asbestos dust and fatal respiratory conditions and started reducing coverage benefits for workers in the industry.
In the 1920s the medical industry officially recognized asbestosis as a fatal condition directly attributable to inhaling and absorbing asbestos fiber dust, followed by lung cancer in the 1940s, and mesothelioma in 1960. Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tried to ban the use of asbestos in the United States in 1989, a powerful asbestos industry had the ban overturned through the courts.
The product is still legal for use in manufacturing in the United States.
And the rest, as they say, is history.