News & Record, Sunday, November 15, 1992
0 Ex-Lorillard employees link
their asbestos-related disease BURNING ISSUES
to the company's Kent Mi-
Lorillard retiree to die of inesothe-
cronite cigarette, which con- lioma, apparently caused by his
tained asbestos in the 1950s . work with the Micronite . One law-
work on the Micronite filter 40
boro cigarette-making plant. suit names both Lorillard and a
years ago in Jersey City, N .J. Lorillard learned small amounts Massachusetts company that made
BY TAFT WIREBACK Two former Lorillard machine of asbestos were leaking into Kent the raw Micronite filter material;
Staff Writer ye' operators - one in Jersey City, the smoke in early 1954, but waited at the other seeks damages only from
other in Louisville, Ky. - also have least 18 months to remove asbestos the Massachusetts company .
Three .former employees of Lor- died of the cancer estimated to from the filter . In court testimony, In addition, a fourth Lorillard
illard Corp . have died since 1989 of strike 2,000 U .S . residents per year the company said it dropped asbes- retiree - Arthur Chadderton, Sr . of
a rare cancer linked to the type of and caused almost exclusively by tos because it was too costly and Greensboro - claims he got an-
asbestos the company once used in asbestos . Medical researchers say made the cigarette difficult to other asbestos-related disease, as-
its Kent Micronite cigarette filter . the "African Blue" asbestos in smoke, not because of asbestos bestosis, by handling Kent
A former Lorillard chemist, John Kents is especially prone to caus- leakage. Micronites at the Jersey City plant
Bohlken of Greensboro, is the latest ing mesothelioma, a cancer of the lard's employee deaths could bol- 40 years ago . He also won an out-
linings or coverings of the lung, ster lawsuits against Lorillard by of-court settlement .
abdomen or heart. ex-smokers, possibly leading to the Bohlken's family and Chadder-
Two of the three Lorillard retir- first major jury award against a ton declined comment . So did
ees died within the past seven tobacco company for making a can- Spencer Parris, their Raleigh attor-
months . All died of abdominal me- cer-causing product. ney, who said the out-of-court
sothelioma . Bohlken, 66, died Sept . 30 after agreement prohibits him and his
Lorillard declined to comm .ent. accepting an out-of-court settle- clients from discussing its terms .
Meanwhile, former Kent smok- ment. The other two former Loril-
ers from California to Delaware lard workers who died of O Lorillard won court lawsuit/A12
have been suing Lorillard, claiming mesothelioma operated machines
they contracted mesothelioma of in Micronite operations at now- O Asbestos has checkered past/A12
the lung from the cigarettes . closed Lorillard plants in Jersey
Kent Micronites had asbestos City and Louisville . O Deaths called proof enough/A13
from early 1952 to mid-1956, about Their relatives have filed wrong-
when Lorillard opened its Greens- ful death suits stemming from their O Law firm keeps getting calls/A13
bestos in a cigarette filter?"
Mesothelioma is, a rare cancer ,=
caused almost exclusively by asbes- "'
tos . Statisdcians at the National Can-
cerln"stitute estimate that 2,000 people
& Some former Kent smokers
have something in common
ago by causing mesothelioma, a
rare cancer that takes decades to
develop. The filter was 15 percent
get it each year'amopg the U .S . popu-. . asbestos, a mineral fiber known as
latior) of 250 rrlillio'n .,Other`estimates with three deceased Lorillard
range up to 4,660 new cases per year . the only major cause of mesotheli-
workers - a rare cancer . oma. By some estimates, the dis-
The Nation,al kfstitute for Occupa-
tional Saf,etytind Health reports fewer ease strikes eight U.S . residents
than 06Q'deaths yearly y', about three ~ BY TAFT WIREBACK per 1 million.
mes6thefroma deaths per,1 million "Asbestos in a cigarette filter?"
residents .The chart shows U .S . deaths Staff Writer,
Manzo says . "It's like putting rat
from mesothelioma of the atidomen '
JERSEY CITY, N.J . - One day poison in baby food."
and lungs foP 1983, through 1987, the Stella Manzo died without
latest year for which data is available . nearly 40 years ago, Joe Manzo's Stella Manzo never smoked, but
mother told him all about the Kent knowirfg what caused her cancer, she handled the Micronite regu-
1983 Lung = ;490'Abd.orpen. - 231
Micronite filter. but her soh Joe thinks he does . larly in her job as a Lorillard ma-
1984 tung - 832 Abdomen - 262
1985 Lung .467 Abdomen - 255 She said it was the newest thing was supposed to be the very best chine operator in the early 1950s .
1986 Lung `?,',484 -Abdomen - 249 in tobacco, made right there in thing," Joe Manzo remembers . She breathed factory air that might
1987 Lung - 504 Abdomen - 314 Jersey City by her employer, P . A kid of 6 or so, he was im- have been contaminated by Mi-
LorillaPd Co. It was being adver- pressed . The memory sticks with cronite's deadly asbestos . She even
Source : National Institute for Occupational tised as Lorillard's answer to the him to this day, but with an ugly brought home bags of discarded
Safety and Heatth, a division of the U .S .
Department of Heakh and Human Services . health fears of U .S . smokers . and ironic twist. filters for her son to play with : .
Stella Manzo was proud. "She Manzo thinks the Micronite filter
Margaret Bmcter/cvew, & xecord told me how clean it was, how it took his mother's life three years Please see CANCER, Page A12