UK MPs lobby for mesothelioma research pledge from asbestos manufacturer

UK MPs lobby for mesothelioma research pledge from asbestos manufacturer

Members of the United Kingdom Parliament have written to Altrad, one of the largest asbestos manufacturers, calling for the parent company to make a £10m donation towards mesothelioma research “for knowingly putting people in danger”.

Cape, which Altrad owns, was addressed in the letter by the all-party parliamentary group on occupational safety and health, which says that recently released court documents show that Cape “provided misleading reassurance about the dangers of asbestos”.

The letter also asserts that the documents indicate that the company “compromised the government’s regulatory response to asbestos, which they say was done by sharing selective data samples of asbestos and lobbying against lowering dust exposure limits.

The APPG has urged the chief executive of the company to make the mesothelioma research donation, noting that in 1969, the company advised that mesothelioma could be caused by “short and possibly small” exposure and that “no type of asbestos proved innocent”.

APPG Chair, the Labour MP Ian Lavery, explained that: “Knowing the links between the products made by your company, the role of Cape in knowingly putting more people in danger, and the devastating consequences, we appeal to your company to make this donation. Mesothelioma is always terminal, and Britain has the highest rates of anywhere in the world.

“Your company has played a major role in exposing people to the toxic substance, meanwhile profiting at their expense. Your contribution to medical research may go some way to recompense victims of asbestos disease.”

The letter also outlines that, according to financial reports, Cape Intermediate Holdings Ltd held assets above £150m in 2021, with profits exceeding £145m, highlighting the company’s available resources that could be committed to the cause.

A Cape spokesperson said: “Cape understands the unfortunate legacy which asbestos has on people’s health. It will be reaching out to the AVSG to establish how it and other stakeholders can support victims of asbestos-related illness beyond the support already provided through its victim compensation fund – the scheme of arrangement.”

The spokesperson noted that the company had paid more than £48m as part of its victim compensation fund.

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