Asbestos in the News: Issue 37
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 20 stories we thought may interest you!
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FEATURED STORIES (5)
The Basics of Post-Sandy Asbestos Exposure: The day after Sandy hit the East Coast, thousands of volunteers and locals had already rallied, many to work (often ad hoc) on cleanup efforts of damaged buildings. “It’s analogous to what happened at the Trade Center,” says Raja Flores, MD, chief of Thoracic Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, where he and his colleagues have for years been tracking some 30,000 9/11 relief workers. “You’ve got all these innocent people trying to help, and they’re subjecting themselves to asbestos, a known carcinogen.” Asbestos is indeed toxic; inhaling it raises your risk of developing a variety of lung diseases, among them lung cancer and mesothelioma. Nationwide, as many as 35 million homes, schools, and businesses may be contaminated with asbestos vermiculite alone, according to one Environmental Protection Agency report. (That asbestos ban you’ve heard about? It was largely overturned in 1991.) Government agencies are taking the hazard seriously. Since the storm, the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has tasked 60 ground personnel with the job of teaching workers and residents how to protect themselves against what it terms major environmental toxins, among them asbestos, according to a department of labor spokesperson.
The Mesothelioma Law Firm of Baron and Budd Achieves $8.4 Million Verdict for Widow of Mesothelioma Patient: A widow of a Dallas mesothelioma patient was awarded a $8.4 million verdict after a Texas jury found Ashland, Inc. subsidiary, Hercules, Inc., responsible for the patient’s asbestos exposure which led to their mesothelioma diagnosis. The verdict is the first asbestos verdict against Hercules, Inc. regarding asbestos exposure at the Dow chemical refinery. The verdict could set a precedent for future claims against the asbestos company. Mesothelioma attorneys John Langdoc and Alana Kalantzakis of the mesothelioma law firm Baron and Budd represented Martha Gensler on behalf of the late John Gensler. (John Edwards Gensler and Martha Ann Gensler personally and as representative of the Estate of John Edwards Gensler, deceased v. Hercules Inc. individually and as successor in interest to Hercules Powder Company, successor in interest to Haveg Industries, Inc., successor by merger to Haveg Corporation and the “Haveg” asbestos liabilities and “Haveg” product line, No. DC10-08454-D, Civil District Court of Dallas County, 68th, TX.) Hercules actively chose not to place the warning labels on its products even after the government began requiring warning labels for asbestos-containing products in 1971. During a three-week trial, Langdoc and Kalantzakis showed that Hercules was fully aware that they were exposing Gensler and others to dangerous asbestos pipe products during the late 1960s and early 1970s and did nothing to warn workers.
Vigilance is vital as asbestos killer lurks everywhere: The most confronting part of my job is meeting with members of the union with diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma and who are battling to get on with life. They carry on as best they can, bravely putting their families ahead of their own welfare. But beneath the courage lies an abiding anger a sense of betrayal that they were left unprotected and exposed to an invisible killer. The physical toll their disease has taken on them is visible for all to see. The emotional toll on their families is not visible but is ever-present. The telemovie Devil’s Dust, screened last week on the ABC, reminded us all of the dangers of asbestos, the toxic building material that has caused so much sickness and death across the world.
Baron and Budd Announces $9 Million Mesothelioma Verdict Against Dow Chemical for Mesothelioma Patient: Baron and Budd, one of the first law firms to successfully handle a mesothelioma, previously announced a $9 million asbestos cancer verdict against manufacturer Dow Chemical. The mesothelioma lawsuit was filed on behalf of Mr. Robert Henderson, deceased, his widow Tanya Henderson and two daughters. Mesothelioma attorneys John Langdoc and Alana Kalantzakis of Baron and Budd, represented the Henderson family at trial and showed that Mr. Henderson’s asbestos exposure while working at the Dow Chemical facility led to his diagnosis of mesothelioma (Henderson v. Dow Chemical Co., Dallas County District Court, No. 10-07003). According to court documents, Mr. Henderson spent much of his career working around asbestos-containing materials. As a contract employee for Dow Chemical, Mr. Henderson was exposed as a bystander to asbestos-containing Dow insulators. One of the largest chemical manufacturing plants in the world, Dow Chemical employs thousands who may have been subject to asbestos exposure as bystanders through the air.
SLIDESHOW: Living with cancer: A woman has opened up about her battle with asbestos-related cancer. Louise Williams, whose father was a plasterer, came into contact with the deadly fibre as a child. People are increasingly coming into contact with deadly asbestos fires at home, according a recent Federal Government-commissioned review. The Asbestos Management Review found the number of women developing asbestos-related illnesses was on the rise.
ASBESTOS in SCHOOLS (4)
Asbestos in fill dumped near school: Tests are being carried out on asbestos-containing material found in truck loads of soil dumped at Glendowie Park right opposite Glendowie Primary School. The Auckland Council has fenced off a large section of Glendowie Park and school principal Anne-Marie Biggs has stopped the 650 pupils from playing sport on the park until it is declared safe. The fenced off area is just 30m from the front gate of the primary school. Sacking and plastic sheeting has been placed over areas where the soil was dumped. Winds yesterday blew plastic off one of the areas.
Exposed asbestos sealed off at BEC: A small amount exposed asbestos discovered at Breton Education Centre on Tuesday has been sealed off and classes are continuing as usual, according to the school’s principal. “A contractor was brought in, they worked overnight sealing it,” said Bruce MacDonald. He said air quality tests are being conducted today. “It is all going to be done according to the Department of Labour proper standards,” he said. MacDonald said maintenance was being conducted on the ventilation system Tuesday when the discovery was made in the basement of the school.
Work continues to seal exposed asbestos at New Waterford school: Repairs to small tears in a protective cover over asbestos material at Breton Education Centre continued overnight Wednesday. “This is not something in my view that people should be alarmed about,” said Paul Oldford, director of operations for the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. “This is just something we are going about taking care of carefully.”
Asbestos in old Sheffield schools is ‘no risk to students’: Three-QUARTERS of Sheffield’s schools contain asbestos despite major rebuilding work – but council officials say there is no risk to pupils. Most of the city’s 17 secondary schools have now been rebuilt and the toxic material removed. But 116 of 154 schools in Sheffield in total – some 75 per cent – still contain the cancer-causing substance, most of which are primary schools. Action plans have been drawn up for each school which has asbestos to ensure that whenever any work is carried out – even down to fixing up new shelves – checks are made to ensure the substance will not be disturbed. The material, used in previous years for insulation and for its fire-resistant properties, is safe when untouched, but dangerous if damaged.
ASBESTOS and HEALTH (2)
Asbestos-exposure victims have until Nov. 20 to enroll in plan: Victims of asbestos exposure from the W.R. Grace and Co. vermiculite mine in Libby have until Nov. 20 to enroll in the Libby Medical Trust Plan, an off-shoot of the Libby Medical Program, voluntarily created by Grace to provide coverage for particular asbestos-related illnesses. A recent article explains the program is available to anyone diagnosed with asbestos diseases, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis, linked to exposure to the asbestos-tainted Grace mine, which operated in Libby from 1963 until it closed in 1990. Several hundred individuals living in and around Libby have already died because of asbestos exposure and a few thousand are now ill.
Gosforth engineer died after exposure to asbestos: A RETIRED engineer contracted a killer cancer due to asbestos exposure, an inquest heard. Alan Brown, of Gosforth in Newcastle, was diagnosed in November last year with malignant mesothelioma and was given just months to live. The 68-year-old spoke to the Chronicle earlier this year, just weeks before his death on May 29, and pleaded for clues that could reveal how he contracted the killer cancer malignant mesothelioma. An inquest in Newcastle yesterday heard how the dad-of-three had worked with a number of different employers throughout his life and he had come into contact with asbestos a number of times. Coroner Karen Dilks summarised a statement Mr Brown had written in January this year about his engineering work.
ASBESTOS in PUBLIC BUILDINGS (2)
Government public buildings containing asbestos in Saskatchewan made public: A list of government buildings in Saskatchewan containing asbestos has been made public in what may be a first for a Canadian province. The news comes less than a week after advocate Howard Willems passed away from a rare form of cancer caused by inhaling asbestos fibres. Don Morgan, minister of labour relations and workplace safety made the announcement today. Besides the registry, the website at lrws.gov.sk.ca/asbestos also has guidelines, regulations and related information about asbestos.
Almost 1.4 million Dutch rental homes may have asbestos, says Nos: Some 60% of Dutch rent-controlled housing contain asbestos, but this is mostly not dangerous unless drilled or damaged, Nos television reports. The broadcaster bases its claim on a survey of 122 housing corporations carried out in the wake of this summer’s asbestos scare in Utrecht. Removing all the asbestos from the country’s housing stock will cost an estimated €3.8bn, or €2,800 per dwelling, the broadcaster says. Translated nationwide, some 1.4 million homes may be affected.
LEGAL ISSUES and ASBESTOS (4)
Construction Company Fined In Asbestos Case: Cherry Hill Construction Co. of North Branford has received the largest reported fine for asbestos violations in the state so far this year – a $27,500 penalty in July for a series of health violations at a Brookfield demolition site last year, according to a report of health-related actions released Thursday. The report lists disciplinary actions by the Department of Public Health in a variety of regulated occupations, including hairdressers and embalmers, doctors and daycare centers, massage therapists and psychologists, nurses and marriage counselors.
Man’s asbestos-related death blamed on Goodrich: The widow of Herbert Carmon has filed an asbestos suit against Goodrich Corp. and Michelin North America. Martha Carmon filed the suit Nov. 9 in Jefferson County District Court. According to the lawsuit, Herbert Carmon was employed by B.F. Goodrich in Jefferson County, where he was exposed to asbestos dust and fibers. “As a result of such exposure, Herbert Carmon developed an asbestos related disease, pleural disease and mesothelioma/lung cancer, from which she died a painful and terrible death on July 24, 2011,” the suit states.
Northern TUC Asbestos Group has won nearly £250,000 for asbestos victims and their families: Since the beginning of 2012 the Northern TUC Asbestos Support and Campaign Group has offered support and advice to 98 asbestos victims and their families across the region, helping 63 of them to claim benefits/compensation totalling £240,593.00. Almost £85,000 worth of these entitlements has been awarded since 1st September this year. The recipients of the funds are suffering from a range of asbestos-related diseases including Mesothelioma, Asbestosis and Lung cancer. One of the main functions of the Group is to offer support, advice and information (including help with benefit claims) to people living with the effects of asbestos poisoning, employing two dedicated members of staff, Maggie Fitzsimons and Maggie Bailey. Working out of the Wallsend Memorial Hall and People’s Centre in North Tyneside they cover the whole northern region from Northumberland to Tees Valley and over to north Cumbria and work with Health professionals, trade unions, law firms, Macmillan and Welfare Rights staff to offer a comprehensive and personal service to sufferers.
French Socialist Party’s Aubry charged over asbestos poisoning: Martine Aubry, the former first secretary of France’s ruling Socialist Party (PS), was charged with manslaughter November 6 in the public health scandal over the use of asbestos by French industry. She faces accusations of having allowed its continued use even after scientific studies and European Union (EU) legislation revealed its role in causing lung cancer. Examining magistrate Marie-Odile Bertella-Geoffroy said that Aubry did not take adequate measures that would have prevented workers from being exposed to the asbestos fibres and the consequent contamination. French government scientists at INSERM (Health and Medical Research Institute) estimate that 100,000 workers will die from the contamination by 2025. Asbestos has been used widely for over 80 years as a fire prevention material. Its role in causing lung cancer has been documented for decades, especially since the research done in the US by Selikoff, Chung and Cuyler in 1964.
Gallagher plea to PM as asbestos talks fail: Talks aimed at resolving Canberra’s buried asbestos crisis have collapsed with the territory government accusing the Commonwealth of double standards.
The two sides are now deadlocked on who will pay the hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up more than 100 sites around the capital where deposits of the deadly substance have been buried for decades. Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says the federal government has funded big clean-up operations on some contaminated sites but is still refusing to accept responsibility for others. Ms Gallagher is appealing to Prime Minister Julia Gillard to intervene.
Worry about Asbestos from Concrete Recycling Plant: Individuals who reside near a limestone quarry in Wheatland Township near Joliet, Illinois are concerned that a proposed addition of a concrete crushing and recycling unit at the quarry will mean lots of airborne asbestos fibers that could compromise their health. According to an article in The Herald-News, neighbors are fighting the addition proposed by Boughton Materials, concerned that toxic dust will float over their homes. They also have concerns about water runoff from stored concrete contaminating the adjacent DuPage River. Asbestos, a known carcinogen, can cause a host of diseases if the fibers are inhaled, including mesothelioma cancer.
EPA, contractors look at ways to log Libby’s asbestos-laden forest: A new study identifies timber harvesting as a possible remedy for a 35,000-acre swath of asbestos-laden forest in Libby, where decades of vermiculite mining has led to widespread contamination of the town, its residents and its trees. Asbestos-related disease has killed an estimated 400 people and sickened 1,750 in Libby since the now-defunct W.R. Grace and Co. vermiculite mining operation released airborne fibers over the mountain town – the deadliest Superfund site in the country. So far, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has spent $370 million trying to remove asbestos-contaminated soil and construction materials from the town. The mine produced 2 million tons of asbestos-laced ore annually and employed 200 people at its peak. Its vermiculite was shipped around the world for use as insulation.
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