For more than three decades, Gayla Benefield has been at the center of tragic events unfolding in Libby, Montana. Three generations of her family have died or become sick from asbestos-related diseases traced to a mine operated by W. R. Grace.
Pulitzer Prize Winning Investigative Journalist
More than 50 nations have banned asbestos over the past three decades, but that fact provides little comfort to Sharad Vittnal Sawant of Mumbai, India. He works in a factory that uses chrysotile asbestos and lives in a nation that is one of the world’s largest importers and consumers of asbestos. Hundreds of his fellow workers at the factory have been diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases – and both Sawant and his wife have asbestosis.
On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1927, which included the FACT Act, by a vote of 211-188. The vote came after a four-hour debate on the House floor and was mainly along party lines.
On April 18, 2012, then-Congressman Ben Quayle introduced legislation that he said was necessary to root out fraud by people seeking compensation for asbestos-related diseases leaving more money for victims with genuine claims.
When her husband was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2003, Linda Reinstein was devastated. She had never heard of the disease, couldn’t pronounce it and soon learned that doctors couldn’t cure it.
Susan Vento’s husband, longtime U.S. congressman Bruce Vento, died of mesothelioma nearly 15 years ago, but Susan’s fight against asbestos has never been more urgent than it is today.
As a young girl growing up in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Heather Von St. James loved wearing her Daddy’s work coat, the type that she could wrap her whole body inside. It was one of those large construction jackets and was often covered with white flecks of dust. There was something about wearing it that made her feel closer to him, as if he was enveloping her instead of four pounds of nylon. Whenever she had chores outside––whether to feed her rabbits or fetch the mail––she would slip it on and head out to brave the bitter northern cold.
In early 2012, reports circulated detailing some of the profit-centered entitlement raids that occurred at Bain Capital under Republican Presidential nominee, Mitt Romney. The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance became intrigued when asbestos industry defendants appeared on a list of these types of corporate liquidations and commissioned a three-month investigation of the company’s handling of GS Industries through journalist, Gary Cohn. What we uncovered is the true human tragedy of collateral damage stemming from this profit model. We found a community affected by decades of toxic exposure, gasping for breath while picking up the pieces among an uncertain future.