The dangers of asbestos exposure were known to scientists and industry by the early part of the 20th century. The relationship between asbestos exposure and cancer was known and acknowledged by at least the early 1940s. In the 1950s, Dr. Irving Selikoff began his research at the Mt Sinai School of Medicine. While Dr Seikoff certainly did not discover the dangers of asbestos, he did more than any other human being living or dead to publicize the information on asbestos and disease and as a result changed the landscape of occupational medicine forever.
I had the privilege of getting to know Dr Selikoff personally and was able to proudly call him my friend. I spent may hours with Dr. Selikoff at his home and at his office discussing the need to educate and protect workers and the public from the ravages of asbestos exposure. The last project we worked on together was to obtain funding for molecular biological research on the cause of environmentally induced cancer.
Although Dr. Selikoff is acknowledged at the preeminent expert on asbestos related disease, he avoided working as an expert witness because it took time away from his research. By clicking on the following link you can read the rare testimony provided by Dr. Selikoff in the landmark case of Claude Tomplait.