Monday, August 2, 2010

Philip Morris, Document ID 2071039886/9888

Big Tobacco apparently subscribes to the tenet, "Keep your enemies close." As I sift through the tobacco companies' document archives, time and again I come across copies of scientific studies that show links between smoking and cancer. Ironically, Big Tobacco might be the world's largest keeper of evidence showing why we shouldn't smoke.

Today's document is one of these pieces of evidence, a copy of "planned testimony" by Dr. James Alcott (not sure who he was testifying to), a Dana-Farber Cancer Institute doc who discovered in the late '80s that asbestos had been used in cigarette filters. This copy of his testimony tells the details:

Dr. Alcott and his DFCI colleagues had three patients in 1986 with rare cases of malignant mesothelioma, typically caused by asbestos. They traced the patients' histories back to a Mass. paper-product plant the patients had all worked at back in the '50s. Turned out the company manufactured, among other things, filters for Kent cigarettes (a Lorillard product). Alcott did some digging and discovered Lorillard sold more than 15 billion cigarettes with asbestos in the filters from 1951-1956. Apparently Lorillard continued to sell the Kents even after discovering health problems brought on by the asbestos, then finally switched to fiberglass and conveniently never told anyone they had used asbestos.

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