It was the first asbestos mining company to do so. The mine was bought and sold to many companies over the years and was responsible for many mesothelioma cancer diagnoses and deaths.
Harmful Products and Health Consequences
Bell Asbestos Mines Ltd. made and sold spray-on insulation, which was one of the most harmful asbestos-based products ever made, putting people at risk for asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.
The companies that owned Bell over the years, including Turner & Newall (1934 -1998) and Federal-Mogul (1998-present), also sold asbestos-laden products that put workers at risk of developing asbestos-related disease.1
In 1985, an American Law Reports article reported that in many mining-related asbestos cases and cases in which manufacturers sold raw asbestos fibers, the manufacturers felt that they could defend their cases based on the fact that they could not have foreseen that people would develop mesothelioma and other deadly diseases from exposure to the mineral. Many courts across the U.S. disagreed and issued verdicts in favor of injured parties.
In the 1980s, a New Jersey court held Bell and other companies responsible for the lung cancer-related death of Mr. Fischer, holding that these companies were aware of the risks but failed to warn people who worked with their asbestos-laden materials of the dangers.
People who mined asbestos fibers and worked with raw asbestos often had no idea that they were putting their lives at risk. They endangered their families’ lives as well because many of these workers came home with their uniforms covered in carcinogenic dust and fibers.
Many family members of asbestos miners became ill or died from secondhand asbestos exposure. Likewise, people whose jobs involved utilizing spray-on asbestos insulation were not warned by their employers that breathing in these carcinogens could lead to terminal cancer.
Bankruptcy and an Asbestos Trust
The responsible companies ultimately went bankrupt in 2001 under the financial burden of paying out so many millions of dollars to settle asbestosis- and cancer-related lawsuits and personal injury and wrongful death verdicts. People who were not able to fight for justice through the courts, as bankruptcy halted all litigation against these companies, have since had to file proofs of claims to be paid by the trusts established through the bankruptcy courts.