Asbestos in the News: Issue 30

Asbestos in the News: Issue 30
At Got Mold? our goal is to keep our followers aware of asbestos related news stories. Each day, we scour the internet looking for relevant information. Here are 18 stories we thought may interest you!
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FEATURED STORIES (2)
Sickened by Asbestos, Mesothelioma Victims Awarded Billions: For decades the asbestos industry covered up the known danger that breathing asbestos causes mesothelioma, a fatal cancer that causes internal tumors. Lawyers.com Supervising Producer John McCarthy interviews attorney Kevin Conway of Chicago, who has handled mesothelioma cases for 40 years. Referring to the coverup by the asbestos industry, Conway says, “How many people have been killed as a result of these actions? They are more than irresponsible, in my opinion. I think the conduct was willful. I think these lawsuits are a small part of the price of what they should have paid.”

Quebec asbestos mine won’t reopen, president says: Canada’s last asbestos mine, the Jeffrey Mine in the Eastern Townships town of Asbestos, won’t reopen, its president said Wednesday in an interview with the newspaper La Tribune. Bernard Coulombe got confirmation that a $58-million loan from the Quebec government that would have helped it reopen for the next 20 years has been cancelled, the Sherbrooke daily reported on its website. Cancelling the loan was an election promise of the Parti Québécois. Now that it has formed the new government, that promise has been met, Coulombe told the newspaper.
ASBESTOS in SCHOOLS (5)
Wokingham firm fined for Reading University asbestos exposure: A business has been fined for safety breaches after two workers were exposed to asbestos at Reading University in Berkshire. Wokingham firm Gardner Mechanical Services (GMS) failed to tell the men the substance was present where they were carrying out mechanical work. GMS admitted breaching safety regulations at Reading Magistrates’ Court. It was fined £28,000 and ordered to pay £22,631 in costs.
Mesothelioma News: Asbestos Found at Terre Haute High School: The administration at Terre Haute South Vigo High School announced late last week that they’ve found it necessary to close the school’s auditorium after asbestos material fell from the ceiling and landed in the seating area. According to an account in The Tribune-Star, superintendent of schools Dan Tanoos confirmed the presence of asbestos in the auditorium and announced that the material came from an aging acoustical ceiling. The pieces of ceiling fell late last month and the auditorium was sealed off while testing was completed.
Asbestos Concerns at Student Union at University of Oregon: The student union building at the University of Oregon in Eugene needs a lot of work, and students at the college are concerned that some of the problems inside the structure might be serious enough to cause health issues. According to an article in the Daily Emerald, the student-run newspaper at the university, the Erb Memorial Union (EMU) building is in sad shape. “There are rooms full of buckets collecting water from leaks that can’t be fixed. Rust covers the valves containing the main water source for the building. Numerous pipes are being held together with duct tape,” wrote reporter Emily Schiola. In addition, she noted, lead-based paint was used on the walls and much of the vinyl tile in the building contains asbestos.
EPA Awards OK $240k for Asbestos Inspection in Schools, State Buildings: In a press release issued on October 9, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the state of Oklahoma will be the recipient of governmental money to use for asbestos inspections in schools and state-owned buildings. The $240,000 will also be applied to ensure that professional, certified asbestos abatement workers are fully trained in the safe removal of asbestos from structures. Further, the funding will also ensure that the asbestos abatement contractors hold all of the necessary accreditation. The Oklahoma Department of Labor (ODOL) is the recipient of the funding and will oversee the inspection of the buildings.
Schools warned of asbestos risk: ASBESTOS campaigners are stepping up an awareness drive to protect children and teachers from the deadly dust in South Tyneside schools. Most schools built before 2000 contain asbestos and experts say a high proportion of deaths from mesothelioma can be linked to their premises. There are almost 2,500 new cases of mesothelioma in the UK each year and this number is expected to rise by 100 to 120 annually until at least 2015, with an estimated 250 to 300 of these new cases each year in the Northern region.
ASBESTOS and HEALTH (4)
Asbestos-related Disease and Workers’ Compensation
Asbestos still haunts those exposed as kids in mining towns: The relationship between asbestos exposure and diseases such as malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer is well established. But now other diseases not typically associated with asbestos may possibly be linked to occupational and non-occupational forms of exposure. Asbestos refers to a number of naturally occurring minerals that have crystallised to form long thin fibres and fibre bundles. There are three main types that have been used commercially – crocidolite (blue asbestos), amosite (brown asbestos) and chrysotile (white asbestos). The difference between these types has to do with the shape and size of their fibres. Crocidolite and amosite have long, straight fibres, while chrysotile fibres are short and curly. The shape of these fibres is thought to be central to the damage they do to human health. The long straight fibres, in particular, are thought to easily penetrate into the lungs. So although all types of asbestos have been found to cause asbestos-related diseases, some types lead to more of these diseases than others. Blue asbestos (the type that was mined at Wittenoom, Western Australia) is the worst for human health, followed by amosite, and then chrysotile.
Study: Chemo Brain Can Linger Years after Chemotherapy Treatment for Cancer: Mesothelioma survivor Michelle Marshall didn’t need a medical study to tell her the chemotherapy she received years ago had scrambled her ability to remember things. She has one now. “Chemo Brain” is an all-too-real issue for many people dealing with cancer, according to a recent study. Having foggy thoughts and forgetting routine things are a couple of the not-so-obvious side effects of chemotherapy that often get overlooked, despite the frustration it causes.
Biomarker for Asbestos-Linked Cancer Works: Glycoprotein fibulin-3 can be used to identify patients with pleural mesothelioma and may be a useful biomarker for the asbestos-related illness, researchers reported. Plasma levels of the protein were higher in people with the disease than they were in people exposed to asbestos but who did not have mesothelioma, according to Harvey Pass, MD, of New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues.
ASBESTOS in PUBLIC BUILDINGS (1)
Asbestos lives on with us: Asbestos is again becoming a part of conversations around building and renovation sites in our region, specifically about how to dispose of materials containing it. As most of you already know asbestos was used for many decades in materials such as insulation, flooring, stucco, and even drywall mud and plaster. Although it has not been widely used since the late 1960s in North America, it is still in place in many thousands of homes and commercial buildings – places that we are now renovating and repairing.
LEGAL ISSUES and ASBESTOS (3)
Family wins payout for asbestos cancer victim: A FAMILY has won tens thousands of pounds in compensation after a Bicester man died of asbestos related cancer. Peter Wilkins died in March 2010, aged 82, four months after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer. He had started a compensation claim against his employer builders’ merchant Jewson, in Launton near Bicester, before his death. After he passed away his siblings took on the legal case, and now more than two years later they have finally won their battle.
Mesothelioma : Philadelphia Federal Judge Hands Down Major Decisions Affecting Maritime Cases: Addressing a series of first impression maritime law issues in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, a judge has ruled that a ship doesn’t qualify as a product for the purposes of products liability and that makers of the components of those ships don’t have a duty to warn “sophisticated” users about hazardous products, like asbestos. In addressing the sophisticated user and sophisticated purchaser doctrines, U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dealt with issues that have split both state and federal courts. The case, Mack v. General Electric, stemmed from asbestos exposure on a Navy ship. It has been consolidated in the expansive asbestos multidistrict litigation. The intent of maritime law, he said, is first “to protect maritime workers from the perils of working at sea” and, second, “to promote and protect maritime commercial activity.”
Lismore builder fined for asbestos dumping: A Lismore builder faces a fine of $1500 after dumping asbestos near a children’s play area. A family walking its dog found 12 sheets of asbestos fencing in Kadina Park in late August. The Lismore City Council’s environmental compliance officer says co-operation from the media and the public led to the culprit being identified. Stuart Thompson says asbestos dumping is a serious offence which puts the health of the community at risk.
MISC. (3)
Asbestos high in quake zone / Excessive levels of hazardous material found at demolition sites: As of last month, asbestos levels exceeding the World Health Organization’s safety limit were detected in 14 cases at sites where buildings damaged by last year’s Great East Japan Earthquake were being demolished, according to a government study.
Life in a non existent town – Wittenoom – Population: 6: Lorraine Thomas is one of six residents left in a town that does not exist. Her home, sung about in Midnight Oil’s Blue Sky Mine, is well known to West Australians for its association with asbestos. Ms Thomas has stayed on in Wittenoom in the years since it was deemed a risk to human health, while most of the other residents took government payments to leave, since the power was cut off and the name of the town removed from roads signs. In the 1950s and 1960s blue asbestos was mined in the town and at its peak in the 1950s the town had a population of about 500 people.
Japan Earthquake Still Causing Asbestos Concerns: On March 11, 2011, Japan was rattled by a massive earthquake that caused health concerns around the world. The magnitude of the quake caught Japan’s leaders off guard and prompted them to manage the most pressing dangers first. At the time, fear of radiation poisoning from Japan’s nuclear reactors were making headlines. However, another problem was lurking beneath the rubble. Asbestos, a fine particle that was used in construction and manufacturing for many years, was released into the air as buildings crumbled to the ground. Although the measurable levels immediately following the quake were considered safe, the debris clean-up process disturbed more of the dangerous mineral, causing toxic exposure to those close enough to inhale or ingest it. Now, a year and a half later, air quality studies around 14 different buildings in Japan tested for dangerous levels of asbestos per a study by the Japanese government. Each of the 14 sites had levels of asbestos that were above that which is considered safe by the World Health Organization.

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