Judy Pendell of AEI-Brookings has released an important paper on this subject. The abstract:
Attorney-funded mass medical screenings for asbestos and silica litigation have been shown to have a high rate of false positive diagnoses. It is likely that hundreds of thousands of asbestos and silica lawsuits have been based on unreliable medical evidence. Several analysts have discussed the financial and legal consequences for defendants and the courts. This paper adds to the discussion by focusing on the effects on the workers who are screened. I find that there are numerous breaches in acceptable medical procedures. Harms to workers include: unnecessary anxiety caused by false positive diagnoses, unwarranted x-ray exposures that increase the risk of cancer, and invasive procedures that may have resulted from false positive diagnoses.
The most effective prevention of further abuses by attorney-funded litigation screenings would target the point at which the lawsuits are allowed to move forward in the courts. I recommend that judges carefully scrutinize asbestos and silica claims and dismiss any that are not based on reliable medical evidence; legislatures should establish medical standards for these suits; and medical authorities should investigate attorney-funded screening activities.