Cape Intermediate Holdings (formerly Cape PLC) was one of the largest asbestos companies in the world. They had mining interests in South Africa as well as factories in the UK. Their asbestos products were widely used in construction in this country, especially Asbestolux and Marinite insulation boards. These products are at the heart of the mesothelioma epidemic in the UK. They are also responsible for other asbestos diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural thickening.
Roughly 5,000 people die from asbestos related diseases in the UK each year
The UK has the highest rates of mesothelioma in the world. Around 2,500 people die of this disease each year. A similar number die of asbestos-related lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural thickening. These figures are based on statistics gathered by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). More people die of mesothelioma than in road traffic accidents.
How Cape’s actions affected people
Most patients developed mesothelioma just through going to work. They were not protected or warned of the real dangers of working with asbestos.
In 2017 the Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK (the Forum) started a legal battle to obtain documents that Cape had been forced to disclose in an earlier court case. The Supreme Court has now made many of these documents publicly available. The documents show that Cape:
- Downplayed the fatal risks of working with their products
- Encouraged others to suppress this information
- Withheld their own data, which showed that working with and handling their asbestos products released far more dust than had previously been admitted or allowed by Government standards
- Successfully lobbied the Government to water down allowable exposure limits and product warnings
Cape put profits before people’s lives
Cape did all this despite knowing of the link between asbestos and mesothelioma. They put their profits before the lives of
- their own workers
- transport workers moving their products
- joiners and other construction workers using their products
- the women who developed mesothelioma through washing their husbands’ overalls
The actions they took then are the reason people are dying of mesothelioma today and why thousands more will die in the future.
Despite their central role in the mesothelioma epidemic in the UK, Cape has made no contribution to mesothelioma research that we are aware of. Money is desperately needed for better treatment and a cure for this dreadful disease. Cape is a wealthy company with £165.5 millions in reserves from profits accumulated on the backs of those they exposed to asbestos.
We demand that Cape now donate £10 million to fund medical research to find a cure for mesothelioma. It is the least asbestos victims and their families deserve. Please sign our petition and support our campaign to save lives.
Please sign the petition