January 6, 2006
Air That Kills: How the Asbestos Poisoning of Libby, Montana Uncovered
a National Scandal (Hardcover)
In a week in which so many BuzzFlash readers purchased "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room," we thought we'd offer another riveting insight into corporate corruption, the story of the asbestos poisoning of Libby, Montana.
When Bush touts his snake oil poison of industries regulating themselves, remember what Erin Brockovich uncovered, remember Love Canal, remember the toxic pollution Diane Wilson found in the shrimp harvesting water's of her Texas town.
And Bush, of course, as an afternote, had the EPA cover up the release of asbestos into NYC air as the result of 9/11.
The book jacket tells you that this is, in part, "the story of Gayla Benefield, a former honky-tonk singer and bartender turned activist, who has sixty-two family members dead, dying, or in danger from asbestos poisoning." That's because "over the period of six decades, thick waves of asbestos dust -- created by corporate mining activities -- have turned the once pristine town of Libby, Montana, into the worst of America's killing fields."
We have government regulations because companies are not to be trusted. Their interest is, for most large corporations, profit and share price, not the health and well-being of their workers of the communities in which they do business. As we witnessed in the West Virginia mining disaster this week, a hands-off approach by government can be deadly. And this intrepid journalistic unraveling of the deadly tale of Libby, Montana, is further proof that we are all at risk when large companies are let run loose.
This is really a tale about corporate murder, corporate greed, and corporate evasion of responsibility.
The publisher describes "An Air that Kills" as "the horrifying true story of the decades-long poisoning of a small town and the definitive exposé of asbestos in America -- all told by the prize-winning journalists who broke it.
"This is the story of miners who were unaware of the toxins they took into their lungs, then brought home in their clothes-infecting their families. It is the story of the ongoing use of asbestos in products ranging from insulation to cat litter. It is the story behind the George W. Bush administration's successful campaign to cover up the full extent of the post-9/11 asbestos problem in Lower Manhattan. But it is also the story of the townspeople and government workers who took on the government in Washington to demand justice for those who died-and those who are still dying-of preventable exposure to asbestos."
Grace Corporation is the villain in this book, but it could be Halliburton, it could be Enron, it could be -- well -- just fill in the blank.
Terrorists may have killed many Americans and foreigners on 9/11, but every day the Bush Administration is letting large corporations get away with murder.
This is one heck of a compelling, extremely well-documented, and strongly written story about the devastation caused in one red-state community by a company that knowingly let the bodies just keep piling up.
Next week, we will be offering a DVD, "Blue Vinyl," about similar neglect in the vinyl industry, although not on as massive as scale as the asbestos corporate murder story.
A reader on another website praised "An Air that Kills": "The story is one of deception, corruption and greed on the part of Big Business, in this case the mining business. The owners and executives misled their workers, investors and the government agencies that regulated them into turning a blind eye to the dangers of asbestos in their products.
"While the deception of the miners in Libby was unconscionable, the book goes on to document the Bush White House withholding information that the air in and around the World Trade Center was not healthy! Can you imagine, after a tragedy like the WTC disaster, that your own government, that you rallied round to give support, would turn on you and withhold information that the air that you breathe is full of cancer causing dust? Which tragedy is worse?
"The book is truly a must-read."
Due to a special purchase, BuzzFlash is able to offer the hardcover edition of an "Air that Kills" under the original retail price, including shipping and handling.