Secret industrial documents shown to The Independent newspaper, allege executives in charge of Turner & Newall, attempted to discredit campaign groups and documentary crews highlighting the dangers of asbestos to their own workers and the general public. In doing s, the company hoped to restrict widespread public knowledge of such dangers, thus limiting any asbestos disease compensation claims against them.
Historically, Turner & Newall were one of the major manufacturers of asbestos products in the UK. The success and widespread sales of its asbestos products led to the company being listed on the FT 30, London Stock Exchange.
As the demand for asbestos products increased throughout the 20th Century, there was increasing concern about the ill effects of asbestos manufacturing as more and more issued reports were linking asbestos to deaths occurring within various asbestos factories.
The case against asbestos built gradually throughout the 1900s, in fact the first published case of asbestosis was recorded in 1924, where a textile worker in Rochdale sadly passed away. This asbestos disease arose directly as a result of the victim’s continual exposure to asbestos with Turner & Newall. No asbestos disease compensation was awarded to the family from Turner & Newall.
Following further regulatory measures brought in by successive Governments, the first successful asbestos disease claim succeeded in 1972.
The asbestos debate reached its peak in the 1980s, particularly after a widely publicised TV documentary about the former asbestos worker Alice Jefferson. Alice was suffering from mesothelioma and the documentary linked her condition to her former employment and their negligence in exposing her to harmful amounts of asbestos dust.
Documents show that Turner & Newall actively sought to discredit the reporters and other campaigners, who were linking asbestos to conditions such as mesothelioma, pleural thickening, asbestosis and pleural plaques. In doing so they actively sought to show that the asbestos campaigners were linked to communists and subversive political groups.
Thankfully, their attempts to cover up the linking of asbestos to such dreadful, debilitating conditions did not succeed. After the inevitable demise of the company, a UK Asbestos Trust was set up to provide payment for asbestos disease compensation claims, for those exposed to asbestos by Turner & Newall. However, the level of asbestos compensation awarded under the scheme is far less than average pay outs recovered against active companies and/or their insurers, leaving ex-employees of the polluting firm out of pocket.
If you require assistance in pursuing an asbestos claim please contact us today on our freephone number 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.