Asbestos Victims Trust Fund – Malignant Mesotheliomia, Asbestos Lung Cancer

New Report on Asbestos – Need for Congressional Asbestos Victims Trust Fund Legislation

The Asbestos Alliance today issued the following statement by Jan Amundson, chair of the Asbestos Alliance and Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the National Association of Manufacturers:

The Environmental Working Group’s asbestos study is inaccurate and misleading and contains no information that diminishes the need for Congress to establish an asbestos victim compensation fund.

The report was sponsored by the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, the only stakeholder group against the trust fund legislation, and is yet another attempt to divert attention and focus on history.

According the Nobel Prize laureate Joseph Stiglitz, asbestos bankruptcies have cost 60,000 jobs, reduced laid-off workers wages by $25,000 to $50,000 and cut the value of employees’ 401(k)s by an average of 25% (“The Impact of Asbestos Liabilities on Workers in Bankrupt Firms”).

Asbestos litigation is leading to the bankruptcy of multinational corporations seeking protection from litigation that will soon approach $100 Billion Dollars worldwide.

These press releases were distributed by corporations commenting on their liability, government on legal reforms to end or stem payouts, as well as claimants and law firms announcing settlements for their clients.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer. It affects the linings of the cavities around the lungs, stomach, and heart. It is caused by inhaling asbestos fibers, but the cancer usually does not appear until 10 to 40 years after a person first inhales asbestos.

Use and manufacturing of certain types of asbestos was outlawed in 1974. The re-construction and renovation of old buildings containing asbestos insulation products is now tightly regulated to protect workers from contracting asbestos-related diseases.

We have already seen at least 70 asbestos bankruptcies. Without legislation, there will be many more. How could anyone say this is good for asbestos victims or companies, workers, retirees, communities and shareholders?

Concerning asbestos mortality, the EWG report conflicts with peer-reviewed articles published in leading medical journals. Recently published articles in the British Medical Journal and (January 31, 2004) and American Journal of Epidemiology (January 15, 2004) confirm that asbestos deaths have peaked in the U.S.

Congress is closer than ever to enacting long-overdue asbestos litigation reform. Members of Congress (Democrats and Republicans), the AFL-CIO, defendant companies and insurers all agree-the status quo on asbestos litigation is absolutely unacceptable.

It’s bad for companies, bad for workers and bad for our economy. Most importantly, the current system is hurting those who it should be helping the most-asbestos victims. Intensive negotiations have yielded progress toward a consensus bill.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has pledged to bring a bill to the floor later this month or in early April. The Asbestos Alliance will continue participating in efforts to enact a fair solution. If the EWG is concerned about asbestos victims, it should support these efforts.

The Asbestos Alliance is a coalition that includes companies, trade associations and other parties seeking congressional legislation to solve America’s asbestos litigation crisis.

Mesothelioma Information

A mesothelioma lawyer fights for compensation for sufferers of asbestos-related diseases. Malignant mesothelioma is a serious type of cancer (not to be confused with asbestos lung cancer) responsible for the death of more than 200,000 people worldwide. Causes of mesothelioma have been limited to asbestos exposure.

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