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Company Knowledge of Asbestos Risks

During a now-infamous July phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, Donald Trump paired his request that Ukraine open an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden with a very specific recommendation: that Zelensky get in touch with attorney general William Barr, too. He wrapped up the conversation by promising to have Barr call Zelensky soon. For the whistleblower who filed a complaint about the call—a complaint that just launched the fourth presidential impeachment inquiry in U.

It isn't clear whether Trump actually looped Barr into this effort to coordinate with a foreign head of state on a clandestine probe of his political rival, and the Department of Justice has flatly denied Barr's knowledge or involvement. But the whistleblower's report alleged that this was not the first time White House lawyers concealed politically sensitive records of Trump's conversations, and lawyers in Barr's Justice Department stymied efforts to transmit that report to Congress. Once again, Barr finds himself involved in a presidential cover-up—or now, as Nancy Pelosi put it , the "cover-up of a cover-up," too.

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Trump has long prized unquestioning personal loyalty in his attorneys general. When he learned that his first attorney general, longtime Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, planned to recuse himself from investigations of Russian interference in the election, an irate Trump complained that he needed someone who would "protect" him, not stand down in his hour of need.

Barr, who served as attorney general during the George H.

Bush administration and was re-confirmed to the position in February, has ably filled that role ever since: a man who sees the job as less about enforcing the law than about shielding the president from the consequences of breaking it. The Ukraine matter is far from the first time that Barr has worked to conceal wrongdoing within the executive branch. Nearly three decades ago, he encouraged his then-boss to pardon six key figures in the Iran-Contra affair.

This controversial move brought the most significant scandal in the Reagan administration, in which Bush served as vice president, to a quiet, clean end.

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The independent counsel in that matter, Lawrence Walsh, was irate; he complained that Bush had gummed up the investigation by withholding evidence, making misleading statements about his knowledge of the scandal, and refusing to be interviewed by prosecutors. By pardoning those already implicated, the president effectively foreclosed the possibility that the investigation would one day reach him.

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Upon hearing the news, Walsh publicly accused Bush of complicity in a "cover-up. Under Trump, he quickly burnished his reputation as a presidential power absolutist.

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Barr auditioned for the role by circulating an unsolicited memo in D. During his confirmation hearings, Barr declined to recuse himself from the Russia investigation on the basis of these statements. Even though he was named in the Ukraine whistleblower complaint, he has not recused himself from that matter, either. The company expanded its operations to Cleveland, Tennessee, in and was still producing asbestos-containing brake components in the U. Pathologist J. Wagner was the first doctor to publish the findings that linked asbestos exposure to mesothelioma, but years later, court records showed he was on the payroll of many asbestos companies involved in lawsuits with mesothelioma victims.

When Wagner reversed his own research, he helped the asbestos industry flourish across the world. Ernie Martin, director of purchases for Bendix Corporation, in September shared an asbestos report with Noel Hendry, a sales manager at a Johns Manville asbestos mine in Quebec, Canada. The report predicted asbestos health risks may lead to undesirable government regulations. While current U. Clearly, there was cause for alarm. The paper stated the asbestos industry had invested millions in industrial hygiene and medical research, but it gave a misleading account of the health risks of asbestos.

In , four U. Like many of the major asbestos companies in the U. While the company held many health and safety conferences, officials did not open the conversations to those unfamiliar with asbestosis, namely workers and their trade unions. In her autopsy report, a doctor said the collection of fibers was so thick his knife almost appeared to grate as he cut into her left lung.

Besides miners, this group was perhaps the highest risk occupation for asbestos disease. All branches of the U. Navy ships and shipyards. As a result, veterans serving a wide range of military occupations are now at high-risk of developing cancer and other asbestos-related health complications.

The U. Asbestos health risks are mentioned in Navy correspondence and documents from government archives dating back to the late s. In litigation, attorneys representing asbestos companies have argued that strict military specifications required the use of asbestos, but documents from the s and s suggest the industry may have played a leading role in drafting these specifications.

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Although some Navy guidelines were written for asbestos insulation, most major specifications for pipe and block insulations listed performance requirements, but not specific materials. Insulation manuals in the early s first told military insulation workers to take precautions while handling asbestos. The Navy adopted new asbestos regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA in , and issued a ban on all new asbestos insulation materials the following year. It is likely, however, that harmful exposures occurred well after , when the Navy began to phase asbestos materials out of its ships.

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In the s, new developments in law and medicine exposed the questionable dealings of the asbestos industry and put an end to a cover-up that may have continued indefinitely. Irving Selikoff of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, with the help of two colleagues, definitively linked occupational asbestos exposure to cancer and other life-threatening conditions in and Finally, the asbestos industry could no longer hide or ignore the truth. Several years later, the American Law Foundation amended tort law to make the sellers of dangerous materials liable to legal action unless they placed adequate warning labels on their products.

Not surprisingly, few companies added labels until the law required it. The first asbestos product lawsuit emerged in , opening the door for the thousands of lawsuits that followed. Around the same time, doctors were advancing their understanding of mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer of the lining of the lungs caused almost exclusively by asbestos. Knowledge about the dangers of asbestos prompted more than 55 countries to ban or restrict asbestos use, but worldwide use of the toxic mineral continues.

In alone, the world produced and consumed more than 2 million metric tons of asbestos, with the majority of it mined and used in Russia and China. Despite a clear medical link between asbestos exposure and various cancers , workers worldwide still handle heaps of raw asbestos by hand without protective equipment or guidelines for safe work practices. In coming years, researchers expect the number of asbestos-related cancer cases in the U.

Unfortunately, asbestos cover-ups continue in many countries. Joey Rosenberg is a researcher and content writer for The Mesothelioma Center. He is an alumnus of the University of Central Florida with a background in technical writing. Joey joined The Mesothelioma Center in to raise awareness and understanding of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Stay up-to-date on treatment, research, clinical trials, doctors and survivors. The information on this website is proprietary and protected. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Any unauthorized or illegal use, copying or dissemination will be prosecuted. Please read our privacy policy and disclaimer for more information about our website. This website and its content may be deemed attorney advertising. Prior results do not predict a similar outcome.

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For more information, visit our sponsors page. Please click here if you are not redirected within a few seconds. Toll Free Stages Stage 4 Symptoms Causes Diagnosis. Find a Doctor Dr. David Sugarbaker Dr. Paul Sugarbaker Dr. Asbestos Cancer Lung Cancer. Asbestos Cover-Up Court documents provide irrefutable proof the asbestos industry leveraged its power and influence to keep workers and the public in the dark about the hazards of asbestos. The End of the Cover-Up. Favoring Profits over Health of Workers Scientists established a connection between asbestos and lung cancer in the s.

Signs protesting the killing power of asbestos.

Manville founded Johns Manville. Paid to Lie Pathologist J. Stephenso U. Mesothelioma Linked to Asbestos Scientists established a connection between asbestos and lung cancer in the s. Global Asbestos Use Knowledge about the dangers of asbestos prompted more than 55 countries to ban or restrict asbestos use, but worldwide use of the toxic mineral continues. Email Me. Edited by Walter Pacheco. Medical Review By Dr.

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