With the occurrence of asbestos related diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis on the rise, it seems impossible not to be aware of the dangers of asbestos. However, the long latency period between asbestos exposure and the development of an asbestos caused disease sheds light on some of the incomprehensibly dangerous ways asbestos has been used in the past.
One such use of asbestos was as a filter, first during World War II in gas masks and atomic energy plants, and later in cigarettes in the early 1950s. In 1952, the Lorillard Tobacco Company introduced the Macronite, a new Kent cigarette that was released in response to emerging research about the dangers of smoking, aimed at providing a filtered product that promised to be safer than its non-filtered rivals.
Ironically, the filter used actually contained 30 per cent crocidolite asbestos, also known as blue asbestos.
Asbestos is a known carcinogen that is banned from use in Australia, with many experts believing that crocidolite asbestos is the most dangerous out of the six types of asbestos. However, back in the 1950s, the asbestos filtered Macronites were very popular, with an estimated 13 billion sold in America before the product was removed from the market in 1956.
Since asbestos related diseases such as asbestos related pleural disease and malignant mesothelioma can be developed from only minimal, short-term exposure to asbestos, anyone who smoked Kent cigarettes from 1952 to 1956 are at risk, as well as workers employed at the Lorillard Tobacco Company factories.
Australia asbestosis compensation claims are common. Asbestos compensation claims in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia regularly allege asbestos exposure of small quantities have led to the development of asbestos conditions like malignant mesothelioma. Such asbestos litigation in Australia is well developed.