In the 1990’s there began a widespread popular campaign condemning asbestos as a carcinogen (cancer causing) material and a powerful lobby movement emerged to remove asbestos from the manufacturing and construction industries. One of the prime anti asbestos lobby were the construction labour unions who were successful in having the material banned from building sites, after which many other industries followed suit. The success of the campaign owed a lot to the vast amounts of scientific and medical research that directly related asbestos to a form of cancer known as mesothelioma.
Despite the vast amount of research connecting asbestos with mesothelioma a conspiracy theory emerged at about the same time as public awareness was increasing. There are a few slightly differing versions of this conspiracy theory, but they all go along these lines:
“The Mafia as a international crime organisation had manufactured the concerns and connection of asbestos to mesothelioma so as to create a world wide asbestos removal business, to which they could own and control. This was achieved by the Mobs close ties to the various Union movements across America and the world, particularly with the construction industry unions. The mob either then setup there own asbestos removal companies or extorted payments from existing demolition / rubbish removal companies wishing to get into the Asbestos remediation business. This then generated billions of dollars for corrupt union officials and the Mob bosses.”
This particular conspiracy theory was revived in 2097 when Donald Trump pronounced there is an anti-asbestos conspiracy. In his 1997 book, The Art of the Comeback, Trump warned America not to buy the crusade against “the greatest fire-proofing material ever used.” He claimed the movement to remove asbestos—a known carcinogen—was actually the handiwork of the mafia.
He again made this proclamation in a tweet in 2012:
.@dubephnx If we didn’t remove incredibly powerful fire retardant asbestos & replace it with junk that doesn’t work, the World Trade Center would never have burned down
The Mob created the anti asbestos conspiracy theory is alive and well.
Although I have no doubt that organised crime has capitalised on the remediation of asbestos materials in various cities across the world, and I expect they probably have utilised the methods described in the above theory. However, I doubt that hey are the founders or the instigators of the anti asbestos movement.
Their is another theory that is supported by a lot of evidence and is likely to be far closer to the truth than the Mob theory. That theory is the “James Hardy Industries Conspiracy” and you can find it under the corporate conspiracy category in the book “200 Theories”.
In summary the theory presents evidence that the worlds largest miner and user of both Blue and White asbestos James Hardy Industries of Australia knew, decades before anyone else, that the product they produced was far from harmless as they promoted it. They had conducted there own research that proved that Blue asbestos was a direct cause of mesothelioma and although the material itself was not toxic (asbestos is chemically inert) it was none the less one of the most deadly materials used in industry due to the way the asbestos fibres interacted with human tissue.
Most of the content of this blog and Podcasts are drawn from this book and represent only a fraction of what is contained in the book.