Thursday, April 05, 2007

ASBESTOS: What Can't It Not Do?

(click image to read copy)
The burning smell of irony
. Reader Chris Jarvis sent in this ad which, judging by the look and type, I'd say is circa 1970s-mid80s (update: it's from 1981). Copy reads: "Asbestos contains fire, cannot burn and holds up after metal and glass have melted down, giving vital time for people to escape." Also, note the tagline.
The ad is from a Canadian company, Asbestos Corporation Limited. Surprised they're still operating and haven't been sued into a pile of dust.
It hits me very hard personally: my Father has asbestosis in his lungs from 37 years of pipe-fitter work for a big DuPont chemical plant. The company's plant physicians kept his condition a secret from him for several years.
previously in corporations don't give a shit:
1. bp. beyond poppycock.
2. The Good Hands, Bad Taste People.
3. Trees are pretty. Let's use trees.


Blogger RFB said...

Wow. Ironicus Maximus.

I did some work for a large law firm that specializes in mesothelioma cases and was convinced of the evil of the corporations working with asbestos.

Great find, Jarvis.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry about your personal pain, but the fact is that asbestos is one of those useful substances (think DDT) that have been unfairly demonized. Blame the companies that don't take precautions, don't blame the material.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Firefighters who were the first responders to the WTC durring 9/11 are presently dying at an alarming rate. I wonder if there is a connection? Hmmmmmmmmmmm................

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ahh...why would he go to the companies doctors? this was the 70's not the 1890's right? The 70's had all sorts of things like hospitals,xray machines and such.
Not bad for the dark ages

1:01 PM  
Blogger copyranter said...

unfortunately, he believed those doctors' x-ray reports. plus the symptoms of the disease (uh, can't breathe) don't start showing up until many years later. Plus he was a distance runner...which has saved his life...up to this point, and which also delayed the onset of symptoms...which is why he believed the covering-up DuPont docs.
you wanna get in an Asbestosis, believe me, I know more than any of you.

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

outrageous. most people would, of course, visit their company's doctors. most people also completely trust their doctors' diagnoses - particularly in a system which trains us to have the utmost respect for MDs, with their hippocratic oaths and years of training. let's not blame the plantworkers - fingers should be pointed at the companies and the doctors.

CR, very sorry to hear about your father.

as for it's never my fault, perhaps a little compassion is in order?

1:25 PM  
Blogger AB said...

Great find, Jarvis. Very chilling

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe there is a special place in Hell for doctors/insurance companies/corporations who lie to the people they are technically responsible for.

Karma is a bitch, CR. They will get theirs.

And I'm very sorry about your father.

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Between the tobacco companies' manipulation of ingredients (to enhance to uptake of nicotine) and public obfuscation of the known science (to give smokers the "plausible excuse" not to take the research seriously), and the asbestos industry's long-lasting
disregard for the safety of the workers and the public, I've come the conclusion that if a company thinks they can get away with something, it's a pretty sure bet that they'll try.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You ad people just keep lying to yourselves, don't ya? One big fucking circle jerk.

A few observations:

How many of you create copy for products that are scams/fads (Vitamin water, anyone), aren't healthy (Coca-cola, ice cream), are harmful to the environment or animals (cars, beef, industrial farming), exploit the third world (Nike, banks, clothing companies), or are downright bad for people (asbestos is this example, but any pharma company fits the bill)?

Also, how many of you may be working on stuff now that will prove to be harmful in the future? Your client may know it's a killer today, but you have no visibility into their internal research.

Finally, your little boutique shop may be not work on these things, but if it's a subsdiairy of either IPG, WPP or Omnicom then you might as well be working on it yourself.

The guys who drove the trains to Dachau were also complicit. That little voice of doubt in your head is there for a reason.

Suck on that during this most spiritual of holiday weekends you fucking head-in-the-sand, holier-than-thou elitist shits.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous -

We're all cogs in some sort of evil wheel.

I suppose you don't purchase, use, or consume any of the products/product categories you mention? So your money is under the mattress instead of in a bank. You never take medicine, wear clothing, drive a car, take a taxi, etc.?

And there's a difference between driving the train to Dachau and working for a company that makes the whistle that was used when building the train.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe I consume the stuff, but I don't spend 60 hours per week CONVINCING people to use crap in the most nefarious of ways -- the use of scientific methods and outright duplicity to exploit people's emotions and primal urges.

VERY big difference.

Driving the train WAS the wrong analogy.

You're the guys who thought up the whole "resettlement in the East" tagline, wrote the copy for the fliers, etc.

That's CR's point about the asbestos ad, isn't it?

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my karma ran over my dogma.

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TANSTAAFL. The supports for the upper stories of the WTC were not sprayed with asbestos retardant because of "health concerns". But the lack of that shielding allowed the fire from the jet fuel to weaken the steel to the point where a collapse started and cascaded. That nasty old asbestos might have saved a lot of lives on 9/11. Asbestos is a hazard if it is inhaled over a long period. My stepfather had complications from sailing on cargo ships carrying asbestos ore during WWII.
They were not "tricked" by anyone. The long term dangers had not yet been realized. The stuff is not "Zyklon B". It will not send you writhing to the ground upon exposure. Like everything else in the world it presents both advantages and uses. If you're so interested in putting a big corporation out of business, why don't you start with the one you work for? I'm sure you can find something to criticize in even the smallest corporation.

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am currently in a little town in Montana called Libby. In the late 90's the seattle news ran a story regarding the number of asbestos related deaths in the community. The mine here was the city's largest employer and their product "Vermiculite" was sold as both an insulation and soil ammendment. Today the EPA is trying to clean up the mess, but was told not to declare a national emergency by those higher up in the administration.

Libby and NYC are involved in study regarding genetic tags that allow some to be affected while others are not. The thing is if that mine were to reopen tomorrow given everything that is known; there would be a line a mile long for jobs. Industries (oil, asbestos, tobacco) will always survive, even if heir employees and users don't, because people are stupid and ad agencies feed into the stupidity.

BTW isn't "Can't It Not Do" a double negative

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this one is cool too

11:25 AM  
Blogger Harry Pujols said...

There's a special place in hell reserved for advertising people and spammers (not very different one from the other). I always said Al Qaeda could hire an agency in Madison Ave. if they came tomorrow with the money.

11:52 AM  
Blogger dan dan noodles said...

On a completely different note--they misspelled "World Trade Center." I know what you're thinking--its a Canadian company so they used the European spelling. But you dont change the spelling of a building to suit your indigenous style. Americans still spell "the Globe Theatre" the British way, because its in England.

1:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

copyranter, sorry to hear about your dad, i work in the UK within the asbestos industry. i would be interested to hear where you downloaded the poster from so that i can use it in some training seminars.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your dad, copyranter. Any plans to sue?

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there was so much asbestos in the building how come the fires managed to melt structural steel and bring the buildings down in total free fall in under two hours?

Jet fuel doesnt burn as hot as thermite for example and at the end of the day a large amount of fuel was expended in the massive fireballs seen after the plane impacts.

Unless burning office furniture can suddenly acheive temperatures in the 1000's of degree range we still have questions

1:19 PM  
Blogger Aaron Kinney said...


You dont know much about steel, or any metal. It melts at a very high temp, but it softens and loses much of its integrity at far lower temps.

Heres an anlogy for you: water boils at 100c, but easily evaporates at temperatures far below that.

7:48 PM  

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