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Campaigners, including Members of Parliament and asbestos victim support groups, have called for one of Britain’s biggest former asbestos companies to donate £10m to cancer research for the pain and suffering it has caused.
The Cape Asbestos Company (Cape) was one of the main manufacturers of asbestos products in Britain during the 20th century.
Its factories in Barking, Uxbridge and Hebden Bridge produced a huge quantity of asbestos products, including Second World War gas masks and fire-resistant boards used in construction, plumbing, and engineering.
Hundreds of people who were exposed to dangerous asbestos fibres by Cape have gone on to develop life-limiting or fatal asbestos diseases such as asbestosis, pleural thickening and the cancer mesothelioma.
Last year, following a legal battle with the Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum, Cape and Altrad were forced to publish documents which showed that during the peak era of asbestos usage between the 1950s and 1970s, Cape withheld information about the dangers of asbestos.
The company also lobbied the government to prevent zero-asbestos-dust regulations and failed to add labels to its products warning people of asbestos risks.
“We believe victims and their families deserve this by way of an apology from Cape for their deliberate deception and shamelessly causing deaths, adding insult by vehemently defending cases.”
A year later, Ian Lavery MP, the Chair of the Occupational Health APPG, followed up the demand in an open letter to Altrad Chief Executive Ran Oren. He noted that Cape had yet to offer any response to the funding request, saying:
“Knowing the links between the products made by your company, the role of Cape in knowingly putting more people in danger, and the devastating consequences, we appeal to your company to make this donation. Mesothelioma is always terminal, and Britain has the highest rates of anywhere in the world (sic).
“Your company has played a major role in exposing people to the toxic substance, meanwhile profiting at their expense. Your contribution to medical research may go some way to recompense victims of asbestos disease.”
Cape has since responded to say it will be “reaching out” to the support groups to see how they can be supported outside of ongoing Cape asbestos compensation payments.
“The misery that Cape caused is still being felt today, as hundreds of people and their loved ones deal with the devastating consequences of asbestos exposure.
“Cape’s callous treatment of asbestos disease victims is appalling. We are in full agreement with support groups, the TUC and the Occupational Health APPG – and many others – that Cape must pay.
“Cape was aware of the health risks posed by their products, but tried to hide and downplay the dangers so they could reap profits. It’s high time that some of the wealth they built up was put towards mesothelioma research, so that there’s a better chance of overcoming this dreadful disease.”
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos disease as a result of exposure by Cape, you may be able to claim compensation.
At Novum Law, our expert, compassionate lawyers have many years of experience securing maximum asbestos compensation on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis. We will support you through every step of your claim so you can access the justice you deserve.
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