Christoher Schmitt of US News reports on how the 3M Company started selling a faulty paper respirator, the 8710, in 1972 to hundreds of thousands of American workers - miners, shipyard workers, textile workers - who needed protection against contaminated air. 3M claimed the mask offered workers absolute protection, especially from small deadly particles. That was not true.
3M introduced the 8710 in 1972, and despite not having been tested for many expected uses, records and interviews show, company officials promoted it for use in conditions they did not fully comprehend. 3M also failed to tell users that the respirator did not meet government standards, or that it had other problems that could allow contaminants to harm workers, according to 3M documents and legal records.Secrets behind the mask - How a promising device designed to protect workers left many fighting for their lives [US News]