It is now well-known that asbestos is a deadly mineral that can cause mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other deadly illnesses in those who are exposed to it. However, for centuries asbestos was lauded as a miracle mineral and was used in countless products because of its ability to act as a fire retardant.
Even after countless instances in which people who regularly used asbestos products passed away from lung illnesses, the first official case of “asbestosis” was not documented until 1924. Even as asbestos companies began to learn about the dangers of asbestos exposure, many of them withheld the information from employees and the public, leading to widespread asbestos exposure that sickened many unknowing individuals.
The first major asbestos lawsuit in which an asbestos victim was awarded compensation by an asbestos manufacturer took place in 1973. While asbestos has since been banned in some countries, it is still currently legal to use asbestos products in the United States.
For more information on the history of asbestos – from it initially being mined in Greece as early as 5000 BC to it being touted as a “magic mineral” at the 1939 New York World’s Fair to the sad legacy of pain and suffering associated with it today – check out our infographic documenting “The History of Asbestos.”