As a young apprentice I worked in the shipyards, when the use of asbestos was wide and lavish. Its effects are still being felt today. To me, to a degree, the asbestos scandal mirrors the coronavirus pandemic, but to a slower degree. There was medical papers written and advice given on the dangers of asbestos as far back as the 20's, but the governments of the world ignored all that and it wasn't until around 1970, that a ban was started to be imposed. This was after countless deaths from the incurable lung disease of mesothelioma, the reason for its continued use, against 50 years of medical advice and lobbying from trade unions, was that it was an excellent insulator and very cheap, in monitory terms, but expensive in human suffering and deaths, to ban it would obviously hurt the economy. Today thousands of people still die from asbestos related illnesses.
More than 39,000 American lives are lost to asbestos-related disease every year. Asbestos facts and statistics summarize the devastating impact the toxic mineral has had in the U.S. and around the world.
The same factors are still driving the governments policy today on the coronavirus, it is hurting the economy, so we must get people back to work. So some will die, to the capitalist that is a risk worth taking. Just as deaths from asbestos killed thousands but the economy must be saved, now it is covid19 that is killing thousands, but the economy must be saved.
It is estimated that an average of 13 people a day in the UK die from conditions caused by previous exposure to asbestos – more than double the number of people who die on the roads.The first health fears associated with asbestos were raised at the end of the 19th century. Asbestosis, an inflammatory condition affecting the lungs that causes shortness of breath, severe coughing and other damage to the lung was described in medical writing in the 1920s.
For how long and how many more times will we tolerate the economy being put before the health and well-being of the ordinary people? Why should we tolerate the price of shares and the profits for millionaires/billionaires to be placed ahead of the life of ordinary people? Refuse to go anywhere near your employers profit making machine until your are completely satisfied that it is 110% safe for you to do so. My belief is, that safety guarantee will never materialise under the capitalist economic system. Change the system if you wish a safe working environment, that's the only answer worth considering. Generations of ill health and deaths from working conditions must surely by now, have convinced you of that fact.
When the Time-Bomb Goes Off
The bike just sits there,
dust covering its lovely sheen,
puffing up the Fintry Hills
well, it’s no longer my scene.
Y’see, as a Clydeside apprentice
I proudly learnt the tradesman’s skill,
little did I know then
the price, asbestos lungs that kill.
Now I just sit here through the painful day
gasping each mouthful of air, wondering
how can I make the bastards pay.
They new it was a killer
a time-bomb in our lungs
but, because it was so quick and cheap
they firmly held their tongues.
So what, if it cost the workman’s life,
there’s always a couple of new workers
in the care of the worker’s wife.
Please try to understand my anger
as I and others bear their cost,
a slow death from asbestos lungs,
a vibrant life lost.
Anguish for family and friends,
all in the name of profit;
now that really does offend.
Our anger without direction
is a blind archer behind the bow,
we have to use our anger
to smash the status-quo.