The company knew for decades about the deadly effects of asbestos but they suppressed this information and mounted a campaign of public relations spin while they plotted to escape liability—and would have succeeded but for the union and community campaign for justice for asbestos victims. Matt Peacock, who has covered this issue as a reporter since , has written a trenchant critique of James Hardie in his aptly-titled and meticulously-researched book Killer Company.
The company was also aware of the issue in when it was first sued—unsuccessfully—for death caused by asbestos dust. Mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos was first reported in South African miners and their families in and a case was reported in from the Witenoom mine in Western Australia. The nucleus is dust particles—fibre.
Peacock outlines the impact of the Hardie mine at the Aboriginal community of Baryulgil.
Killer Company: James Hardie Exposed.
A little-known company in northern Tasmania, Goliath Portland Cement, poured out a range of asbestos products for over 40 years: asbestos sheeting, corrugated roofing, airport runway markers and pot plants. By the James Hardie board had agreed to relocate headquarters to the Netherlands.
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This meant a split from its former asbestos subsidiaries and setting up the separate Medical Research and Compensation Foundation to fund claims from asbestos victims. Peacock was rightly cautious of this at the time. He made the insightful prediction that the company could move to the US and claim that asbestos compensation would make it bankrupt. There has only ever been one finding against the Hardie directors, related to a press release and.
The pressure that was brought to bear, however, meant that even the Labor party and public relations firm Hawker Britton returned James Hardie donations to asbestos victims.
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The asbestos was festooned like thick cobwebs throughout and the dust spilled onto the footpath and road. We call in the health inspectors and they closed it down. Howitt continued to campaign around asbestos and as a research officer in he had an angry confrontation with Hardie management after seeing a worker at the Camelia plant covered in asbestos.
When the union movement campaigned to ensure that Hardie provide adequate compensation for its asbestos victims the MWU was a notable absence. Fight continues Peacock reveals that the extent of the use of asbestos is far greater than had been realised.
Killer company James Hardie Exposed by Matt Peacock | Matilda Bookshop
Millions of hessian bags used to transport asbestos—and leaking in the process—were recycled for other uses, many of them as felt undercarpets. It is not known how many carpets have the lethal underlay but many carpets installed in the s would have been replaced ten to 15 years later, releasing the asbestos dust.
This will not show up as mesothelioma for another 40 years—in the s! The hessian bags were also used by wheat farmers in WA, banana growers in Queensland and by fruit sellers at the Victoria markets. In a program on Radio Australia, Peacock warned that a third of all the countries in the world are currently expanding the use of asbestos.
Killer company James Hardie Exposed
Authors Tim Winton Sarah J. Top Pick. This compelling work of investigative journalism reveals how James Hardie concealed an asbestos tragedy likely to kill or maim an estimated 20, Australians. Matt first warned the public about the dangers of Hardie's asbestos empire in an award-winning radio series in He has followed the tragic trail for more than 30 years: from the company's factories where workers had 'snowball' fights, to the mine where Aboriginal children played in the tailings, and into the homes of tens of thousands of Australians still at risk from Hardie's products, where asbestos lies in the walls, roofs and even under the carpets.
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