Rick Pankowski was a young man from Mansfield, New Jersey who moved to Philadelphia in the 1980’s. Rick and I were both associated with the charitable organization known as Philadelphia Committee for Homeless. While in his 30’s, Rick learned he had contracted mesothelioma, a serious affliction of the lung, and he would be dead within six months. The cause is clearly asbestos.

His widowed mother lived in Mansfield, New Jersey. Rick’s father died from a lung affliction linked to asbestos, a major product of the Johns-Manville Corporation in the city. Rick did not have the emotional fortitude to inform his grieving mother her son would soon be departing.  As an associate in work among Philly’s homeless, Rick asked me to go visit Mansfield for informing his mother that she must prepare herself for another loss.

When I arrived at the family home in Mansfield and rang the doorbell, Mrs. Pankowski’s maternal intuition prompted her to ask – “What is wrong with my son?” During our visit Rick’s mother sadly told of multiple deaths in her family from asbestos. 60 minutes had been to her home days earlier to do a documentary on the medical disasters due to asbestos.

Between 1999 and 2015 there were 45,221 deaths linked to asbestos. There is a multi-billion dollar trust set aside by the corporation to deal with lawsuits from asbestos. Rick is buried in a cemetery near Ossining, NY.

Asbestos is banned in 65 nations and all 28 nations of the European Union has banned asbestos.

  1. Q) Which world leader would allow his face to be on a bag of asbestos from Russia entitled Uralbest?
  2. A) Donald Trump – 45th President of the United States

Henry David Thoreau wrote: “How does it become us to behave toward this American government today? I answer that we cannot without disgrace be associated with it.”

President Trump lectured NATO in July 2018 to spend more money on arms. He boasted “We have the best in the world,” identifying three major corporations.