Important historical documents have been saved from destruction thanks to a court battle waged by the Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK (the Forum). They will be vital to future asbestos compensation cases.
The documents would have been destroyed but for the timely intervention of the Forum. They provide extraordinary evidence that the asbestos manufacturing giant Cape knew the high risks caused by the use and handling of Asbestos Insulation Board (AIB). Cape’s trade name for this was Asbestolux.
What the documents show
The documents also show how Cape interfered with the Government’s regulation of asbestos in the 1960s and 70s and withheld important tests results. Cape publicly stated that there was no risk from handling AIB/Asbestolux, despite knowing the high dust counts in its own sampling data.
One document states that “a caution label on our products and none on [our competitors’] would make our selling efforts most difficult”. This shows that Cape dismissed the idea of a warning label because they were concerned about their profit margins.
Our solicitor felt revulsion when she read the documents
Harminder Bains, a partner at Leigh Day, who represented the Forum said, “Having fought on the Forum’s behalf for several years to secure access to these hugely important documents I felt revulsion and anger when I finally read through them. They clearly show that Cape knew of the high risk of fatal disease, yet deliberately withheld information and lobbied the Government to protect their profits. As a result of their greed many men and women including my father have lost their lives.”
It’s time for a meaningful apology
Forum chair Joanne “The Forum is now demanding Cape make a donation of £10 million towards Mesothelioma Research. We believe victims and their families deserve this by way of an apology from Cape for their deliberate deception and shamelessly causing deaths. They added insult by vehemently defending cases.”
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Picures (c) The Asbestos Victims Support Groups’ Forum