Minneapolis, Minnesota In a sensational revelation a former employee of renowned chemicals and materials company, W.R.Grace & Co, claimed having warned the management about asbestos dangers way back in 1976.
“I felt there was a train wreck occurring and I wanted to tell my boss”, said Robert Locke, whose employment stands terminated since 1998. His warnings reportedly came on the wake of studies revealing high concentration release of asbestos by consumer products.
The statement created waves when it appeared on the Montana newspaper Missoulian website. The MD-based Company Columbia and five others now face charges of endangering environment by mining asbestos laced ores. Such action would ordinarily constitute gross violation of Federal laws.
To quote the Associated Press, “Locke has been named an un-indicted conspirator in the environment crimes case against Grace, and federal charges could still be forthcoming based on his trial testimony.”
Incidentally, Locke has been involved in litigation against the giant construction products company for over a decade now. He was also investigated by officials of the Department of Justice in November, 2004.
When asked about his reactions Locke said he was concerned about his own criminal liabilities arising out of his involvements with the company. “I was on a list of criminal conspirators”, he said. He however, rejected the offers of immunity of the federal prosecutors and opted to testify in the trials.
Locke, whose association with the Grace commenced in 1974, has been global vice president of its construction division as well as the chief technical officer. He was assigned a number of “fiber reduction” programs after the Government health and safety measure agencies started taking a rigid stand on asbestos regulations. However, the actions taken by Grace towards cleaning fiber contents were not up effective according to him.