Asbestos factory managers accused of covering up the dangers of the killer dust

Mesothelioma lawyer Harminder Bains has reacted with shock to allegations published in the Independent claiming that executives of the Turner & Newall asbestos factory spied on journalists, solicitors and activists who were trying to expose the dangers of asbestos dust.

The Independent also claims that managers at the firm tried to discredit a Yorkshire TV documentary, Alice: a fight for life, directed by film maker John Willis, which linked asbestos with cancer as it told the story of Alice Jefferson who was dying from mesothelioma, a cancer that is caused only by exposure to asbestos.

The article alleges that Turner & Newall executives kept dossiers on people who campaigned about the dangers of asbestos in the 1980s, trying to discredit them by accusing them of being communists.

Asbestos campaigner Jason Addy discovered documents in the archive of Turner & Newall which claim to show that the company enlisted the help of the late Cyril Smith MP who spoke in Parliament about asbestos safety, using information supplied by the company.

Following the broadcast of Alice: a fight for life, the Government was forced to improve safety standards and lower dust levels in factories.

Harminder Bains has successfully represented victims of asbestos exposure for 20 years, and whose father died of the disease says:

“These allegations that asbestos manufacturers tried to discredit campaigners, solicitors and journalists as they worked to expose the dangers of asbestos are truly shocking.  

“While asbestos workers were being exposed to the lethal substance in the factories of Turner & Newall it seems that executives at the company were busy trying to cover up the campaigning work film makers and journalists were doing to publicise the link between asbestos and mesothelioma.

“I back Jason Addy’s call for a full investigation into the role of the company and its links with the late Cyril Smith.”