“Some of these companies are being held accountable, but it doesn’t make the whole circumstance easier to deal with… it wasn’t about money. I’d rather have my mom here.” Those are the words of Michael Levesque. His mother died recently from malignant mesothelioma.
Despite attempts to control asbestos pollution and hold corporate executives accountable, tens of thousands of Americans, primarily blue-collar industrial workers who did the actual “heavy lifting” that made the U.S. a strong and prosperous nation during the last half-century, are now having their rightful rewards, years of relaxation and quality time spent with grandchildren, stolen from them because of corporate greed. And greed was definitely the motivating factor, as it is today. Asbestos was cheap to produce, and could be sold at a high profit margin. That, however depended on the labor of people.
To issue warnings and to provide training and protective gear would have cut into those profit margins too much. And the knowledge of asbestos dangers might have eliminated the product altogether, removing a high-profit source of revenue from corporate income. In a recent Boston Herald article, Barry Castleman, an expert on asbestos issues, recently said, “The companies knew plenty about toxic substances. It’s extraordinary how much they did know. The workers didn’t know, nobody was telling them. The unions knew little or nothing.” Investigative reporter Michael Bowker concurs, and wrote an entire book on the subject. Entitled Deadly Deception: The Terrifying True Story of How Asbestos is Killing America, this definitive work presents an in-depth analysis of the entire asbestos story in lurid detail, focusing on the plight of the people of Libby, Montana, where asbestos mining was a way of life for fifty years.