Introduction: The Barry Castleman Files

Toxic Docs is pleased to host the papers of Barry Castleman. Castleman is an expert on the risks of asbestos who has published pathbreaking work on the topic.

Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be dropping the entire collection, highlighting documents of note each time we do.

Barry Castleman

Here are some comments from Castleman himself, along with instructions on how to access his files.

In 1976, I was a scientific consultant working with environmental groups and governmental agencies to regulate asbestos and toxic chemicals. Lawyers representing plaintiffs in personal injury asbestos litigation asked me to investigate the public health and corporate history of asbestos. As I sought to access everything that had been published and been publicly available about the dangers of asbestos, the lawyers used the power of legal discovery to compel the disclosure of relevant documents and admissions from the defendant corporations and testimony from their officials. I began to testify as an expert witness in asbestos litigation in 1979 and have continued to the present to gather historic internal documents, etc., from a growing number of corporate entities.

These asbestos files are mostly grouped by company and by types of asbestos products. Company names are the names during the years of asbestos use in the 20th century, not more recent renaming by mergers and acquisitions. The documentation reflects the findings of continuous research and hundreds of trials and depositions in which corporate defendants had every opportunity to present evidence from their records and question my opinions.

My doctoral thesis was an attempt to present this history, a book based on it was published and expanded over the next 20 years (Asbestos: Medical and Legal Aspects, 5th Ed. 2005).

I am especially grateful to Prof. David Rosner, Prof. Merlin Chowkwanyun, and Columbia University for the opportunity to make the material in these files publicly available. It is an extraordinary record of corporate response to an insidious industrial and environmental health hazard. It is an encyclopedic record of toxic corporate crime which led to a pandemic of preventable disease that continues worldwide. Barry Castleman, ScD

To access these files, go to Advanced Search. Under "Special Collections," choose "Castleman Papers." Modify your search query accordingly, and that's it! You can also just click here.


Our first batch of Castleman talc-related material comes from RT Vanderbilt, International Talc Company, Colgate, Lockheed, Pfizer, the FDA, and other organizations.

This is only about 5% of Castleman's files, and we'll be releasing more shortly.