In the fall of 2009, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists began looking into the global trade in asbestos, a cancer-causing fiber banned or restricted in much of the industrialized world but aggressively marketed in developing countries. What evolved was a nine-month investigation of an international lobby, much of it coordinated from Canada, which promotes the use of asbestos in construction materials and other products.
ICIJ joined with reporters and producers with the BBC’s International News Services to document the asbestos industry’s activities in Brazil, Canada, China, India, Mexico, Russia, and the United States. Our investigation concluded that the industry has spent nearly $100 million since the mid-1980s to keep asbestos in commerce. The team’s reporting reveals close relationships among the industry, governments and scientists, and cites predictions from health experts that new epidemics of asbestos-related disease will emerge in the coming decades. Some experts believe that by 2030, asbestos will have taken as many as 10 million lives around the world.
“Dangers in the Dust: Inside the Global Asbestos Trade” is based on extensive research in eight countries. The team relied on thousands of pages of documents, including court filings, scientific studies, and financial records, as well as on interviews with health officials, industry representatives, scientists, victims, lawyers, and activists.
Editorial Director: David E. Kaplan
Deputy Director: Marina Walker Guevara
Additional Editing: Julie Vorman, Gordon Witkin
Web Editor: Andrew Green
Deputy Web Editor/Social Media: Cole Goins
Deputy Web Editor/Multimedia: Erik Lincoln
Fact-Checking: Peter Newbatt Smith
Communications: Randy Barrett, Steve Carpinelli
Project Director: Jim Morris
Reporting Team: Ana Avila (Mexico), Steve Bradshaw (United Kingdom), Te-Ping Chen (China), Dan Ettinger (U.S.), Carlos Eduardo Huertas (Colombia), Murali Krishnan (India), Shantanu Guha Ray (India), Roman Shleynov (Russia), Marcelo Soares (Brazil), Abhishek Upadhyay (India)
Web Site Design: Top Dead Center Design
Interactive Maps and Graphics: Stephen Rountree
Photos: Traver Riggins
Video: Sarah Whitmire
BBC (with special thanks to Anne Koch, Jon Cronin, Steven Duke, Geraldine Fitzgerald, and Stephen Mulvey)
Folha de Sao Paulo (Brazil)
McClatchy Newspapers (United States)
Novaya Gazeta (Russia)
South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)
Dangers in the Dust is generously supported by a grant from the Adessium Foundation. Support for this and other Center for Public Integrity projects is provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, Greenlight Capital LLC Employees, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the Park Foundation, the Popplestone Foundation, Public Welfare Foundation, V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
ICIJ was founded in 1997 as a project of the Center for Public Integrity to marshal the talents of some of the world’s leading investigative reporters in pursuit of vital stories that do not stop at the water’s edge. A unique collaboration of more than 100 investigative reporters in 50 different countries, ICIJ works on in-depth projects on difficult-to-tackle subjects in the public interest, from the arms trade to water privatization to climate change. For more on ICIJ, visit our website.