Ford and Its Attempt to Reshape the Research on Asbestos

When it comes to identifying the villains behind mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, it is pretty hard to ignore the Ford Motor Company and its role in exposing its employees and others who worked with their products.

As is the case with many other big corporations, there is significant evidence that the automaking company was well aware of the dangers of asbestos, but continued to use in its vehicles and parts because it yielded greater profits.

In 1971 an internal Ford memo complained that using asbestos-free brakes would cost $1.25 per vehicle, and this was written shortly after the company’s analysis of forty articles on the cancer-causing effects of asbestos dating back to 1954.

A recent report published by the Center for Public Integrity and Vice News has indicated that since 2001, the company has been funding research specifically designed to cast doubt on the existing science on asbestos’ dangers.

Over $40 million has been spent over the years. The bulk of the papers that have been generated gathering the weakest previous attempts at research, and putting them together to try to cast aspersions on whether asbestos in brake linings actually caused harm to auto mechanics.

The action and expense came in response to the company continuously losing mesothelioma lawsuits filed by mechanics who had been expose to asbestos fibers while repairing and replacing Ford brake pads and linings.

Experts in occupational health and safety, as well as asbestos researchers, are in agreement that the goal of the research that Ford has funded has been to confuse juries considering asbestos cases.

Despite the fact that the World Health Organization and other notable health institutions have agreed that there is “no safe exposure level for asbestos,” the Ford-funded researchers maintain that “there is no credible study that has shown an increased risk of disease in auto mechanics.”

Scientists and physicians who analyzed the journals published by the Ford researchers said that the researchers drew their conclusions by taking early studies that are based on bad science. They called the literature “publications just supporting litigation that has had a real negative impact on pushing the science forward.”

Critics of the practice point out that the corporations have almost unlimited industry money to invest in research supporting their case, while plaintiffs are struggling to pay for their medical bills. Fortunately, in most cases where this corporate-funded science has been presented, the victims have continued to prevail, in large part due to the hard work and commitment of their mesothelioma attorneys.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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