American Home Products was founded in 1926. This holding company eventually took over Wyeth, which at one time was the largest manufacturer of pharmaceuticals in the U.S. Today, AHC has adopted the Wyeth name.
As a holding company, AHC has had its hands in almost everything, and has engaged in numerous mergers and acquisitions over the years. Most of these had to do with the manufacture and processing of prescription, OTC drugs, and prepared foods. While these products are not inherently dangerous, asbestos products have been associated with virtually every industry, from machinery to the building materials used in the construction of plants.
In addition, when a holding company makes an acquisition, it also assumes any associated liabilities; therefore, even if AHC is not directly liable for a case of asbestos poisoning, it could find itself in such a position if a subsidiary if found legally responsible.
In the first two-thirds of the 20th century, it was typical for plants, mills, and factories to use the mineral asbestos because it provided high resistance to heat and electricity. Although the use of asbestos was usually intended to reduce the risk of injury, it sadly ended up with the opposite effect. Asbestos exposure at the workplace has resulted in mesothelioma cancer and death for far too many employees. The reason is that asbestos strands, if inhaled, damage respiratory passages, leading to life-threatening diseases such as pleural plaques and cancer. mesothelioma, a fatal cancer affecting the mesothelium, is linked with mild to moderate exposure to asbestos.
Those who work with asbestos today are usually safe from contact because of the extensive body of guidelines regulating its use, inclusion in products and demolition. In earlier days, though, laborers all too often were forced to operate in spaces in which air filled with asbestos particles was not filtered; in many cases, the risks of asbestos exposure were unknown. Moreover, employees took asbestos particles home with them on their clothes or in their hair when decontamination procedures weren't offered at the workplace As a result, the potentially deadly mineral also put at risk families of those who worked near asbestos.
Asbestos-related complications like mesothelioma disease often take 20 years or more to appear, and their symptoms are often mistaken for those of other conditions. Therefore, those who were employed at these sites at any time in the past, as well as their partners and children, are encouraged to talk with their physicians about their history of contact with asbestos.Sources
Federal Trade Commission