Saturday, May 21, 2005

The forgotten epidemic

Update: It seems The Birmingham News' story was meant for the Sunday paper but inadvertently and temporarily was posted online a day early. I've fixed the links accordingly.

Research indicates that up to 10 million people worldwide may die in the next 20 years from cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. The Birmingham News today puts a human face on some of the thousands of Alabamians, mostly blue-collar workers, who have died and are dying from mesothelioma, a brutal form of cancer that's especially tough to treat with chemotherapy, and other asbestos-related diseases.

Congress is considering legislation that would establish an asbestos victim's compensation fund, similar to the system set up to pay family members of those killed in the 9/11 attacks, in exchange for ending asbestos-related lawsuits. President Bush's callous reference to "frivolous asbestos claims" while touting the measure during this year's State of the Union address would lead one to believe the bill is rather business-friendly.

One myth to dispense with right away is that corporations had no indication that asbestos was bad for you until the last few decades. Centuries ago, ancient Greeks and Romans noted lung problems in people who worked with asbestos.


Blogger Susan of LocalTint said...

"President Bush's callous reference to 'frivolous asbestos claims'... would lead one to believe the bill is rather business-friendly."Good eye.

Sounds like an issue similar to black lung, which my maternal grandfather, a miner, died of.

Fortunately, miners stricken with Black Lung had the UMWA working for them. I don't know if one particular union is going to bat for mesothelioma sufferers or not, but I hope they're able to obtain some compensation.

2:19 PM  

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