Asbestos in the News: Issue 53

Asbestos in the News: Issue 53
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 14 stories we thought may interest you!
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FEATURED STORIES (3)
Asbestos risks ‘not a thing of the past’: An asbestos expert has warned that disease from the deadly substance is not a thing of the past. He says bad worksite practices and ignorance are putting everyone at risk. Yesterday 40 workers evacuated a city worksite when a union official discovered they’d been working amongst asbestos dust for weeks. Across town, asbestos contaminated soil was found during landscaping at Glenside hospital. The union fears if it’s being found on worksites where people are trained to recognise it, the problem is likely to be far more widespread.

New Prognostic Tools Could Improve Mesothelioma Treatment: A pair of cancer researchers from Rome say treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma could be improved if more clinicians considered the newest prognostic tools in their treatment planning. Pleural mesothelioma is a malignancy of the membranes that encase the lungs. It is caused by exposure to the mineral asbestos and is highly resistant to conventional cancer therapies. Many mesothelioma patients do not survive longer than 12 months from the onset of their symptoms. But Tommaso Mineo, MD, and Vincenzo Ambrogi, PhD, of the Department of Experimental Medicine and Surgery at Policlinico Tor Vergata University say newly discovered biomarkers and other tumor factors could lead to more tailored treatment and, potentially, better outcomes.
International Statement condemns asbestos industry interference to prevent a proposed ban on asbestos in Pakistan: On February 22, 2013, one hundred and forty-three scientists and organisations from thirty countries released the following Statement: We condemn in the strongest possible terms the dangerous misinformation that the International Chrysotile Association is disseminating in its effort to defeat a proposed ban on asbestos in Pakistan. The International Chrysotile Association “actively represents the interest of Chrysotile Industry world over”.
ASBESTOS and HEALTH (4)
Autoworkers Remain at Risk for Asbestos Exposure: The dangers of asbestos – a human carcinogen – are well known. Asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that kills more than 3,000 people every year. The federal government’s failure to ban asbestos means this silent killer is still found in thousands of asbestos-containing products manufactured and used every day in this country. A number of asbestos products – such as brake linings and clutch facings – may be found in older cars and even in some newer ones. People who have worked in the automotive industries, as well as those who have tinkered on their own vehicles, are at an increased risk of asbestos exposure and developing diseases such as mesothelioma, as compared to the general population. The auto industry is a hazardous working environment due to the high volume of confirmed workplace exposures to carcinogens such as asbestos. More than 6 million mechanics have been exposed to asbestos from brake dust since 1940, according to one estimate. Research indicates that these exposures contribute to almost 600 asbestos-related deaths each year.
Asbestos is a killer dust whatever its colour: All asbestos is potentially deadly. There is no distinction between white, blue or brown asbestos in the lethal effect it can have. Roughly 4,000 people in the UK die every year from asbestos related diseases, which make it a bigger killer than road deaths. So we don’t need people in authority playing down its danger.
EGCG induces human mesothelioma cell death by inducing reactive oxygen species and autophagy: Malignant mesothelioma is an asbestos-related fatal disease with no effective cure. We studied whether a green tea polyphenol, epigallocathechin-3-gallate (EGCG), could induce cell death in five human mesothelioma cell lines. We found that EGCG induced apoptosis in all five mesothelioma cell lines in a dose-dependent manner. We further clarified the cell killing mechanism.
Homes evacuated for storm asbestos clean-up: Homes on the New South Wales south coast have been evacuated as crews clean up asbestos and other debris from a suspected tornado on Sunday morning. Asbestos sheeting is strewn along both Minnamurra Street and Swan Place at Kiama after the freak winds which destroyed at least three homes and damaged about 70. The cancer-causing material is dangerous when small fibres become airborne.
ASBESTOS in PUBLIC BUILDINGS (1)
Asbestos scare for Royal Liverpool Hospital staff: HOSPITAL staff were told to go to their doctors after asbestos was disturbed in the basement of a building in Liverpool city centre. The concerned relative of a worker at Derwent House, in London Road, where the training and legal departments of the Royal Liverpool Hospital are based, said the material was disturbed, causing potential health risks, a few weeks ago. He said: “After they found it my relative was advised to go and see her doctor.
LEGAL ISSUES and ASBESTOS (5)
Asbestos Lawsuits: Continuing Fall from Grace: A group of lawyers who represented asbestos victims in Libby – many of those victims now have asbestosis and other lung diseases – are seeking about $4 million in fees and expenses for working more than 16,000 hours over 11 years on their clients’ cases that settled for almost $20 million. The attorneys describe their fee request, approximately 20 percent of the settlement agreed to by the chemical company W.R. Grace, as reasonable given the amount of work involved on the asbestos lawsuits. According to their retainer contracts, the attorneys are entitled to up to 40 percent of the settlement, which was intended to cover the victims’ present and future medical costs. Instead, they have opted for this lesser percentage that would come from not just the attorneys’ clients but from all qualifying victims. State District Judge James Wheelis has ordered a March 1 fairness hearing on the request.
Mesothelioma Lawsuit Plaintiffs Face Potential New Challenges: Mesothelioma Lawsuit Plaintiffs face potential new challenges. A republican led effort to change the system though which Mesothelioma Lawsuit claims can be filed with Mesothelioma Bankruptcy trusts is gaining some ground. Laws have been proposed in multiple states that could affect how long it takes for a Mesothelioma Victim to collect from Mesothelioma Bankruptcy trust funds. Mesothelioma Lawsuit trust funds were created primarily from the assets of companies that exposed their employees to asbestos and are no longer in business. If an employer is still in business, a Mesothelioma Lawsuit can be filed directly against the employer. When the employer that exposed an employee to Asbestos is still in business, then the proposed Laws regarding the Bankruptcy Trust fund would not affect these claims.
Guilty pleas over asbestos at Belfast City Hospital: A SENIOR director of the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust yesterday pleaded guilty on behalf of the trust to failing to protect and ensure the health and safety of its workers and sub-contractors. Although no details surrounding the breaches of the health and safety legislation were given to the city’s Crown Court, it is understood it relates to an incident in January 2011 involving a sub-contractor who came across asbestos while working at the Belfast City Hospital.
Asbestos safety often ignored in B.C.: WorkSafeBC writes hundreds of violations a year against contractors who fail to protect workers from exposure to cancer-causing asbestos building materials. Since the beginning of 2010, Work-SafeBC has issued nearly 2,500 orders – the majority of them in the Lower Mainland – against construction companies that violated regulations designed to protect workers from exposure to asbestos. During the three-year period, Work-SafeBC imposed 59 penalties totalling $490,719, according to data provided to The Vancouver Sun after a freedom-of-information request.
Attorneys In Montana Asbestos Settlement Seek $4M In Fees: Attorneys for asbestos victims in a Montana mining town are seeking more than $4 million in fees and expenses out of a legal settlement with chemical company W.R. Grace that was intended to cover the victims’ ongoing medical costs. State District Judge James Wheelis has ordered a March 1 fairness hearing on the request, recently submitted by a group of lawyers who said they sunk more than 16,000 hours of work into the case over 11 years.
MISC. (1)
UN cancer-research agency IARC denies influence by Russian asbestos industry: A World Health Organization agency is denying allegations published in a leading medical journal that it has fallen under the influence of the Russian asbestos industry, which is resisting tighter controls on the carcinogenic mineral. In a Feb. 2 article, The Lancet questioned whether the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) — the WHO’s cancer research arm — has fallen prey to “corporate capture” by the asbestos industry, even as the WHO fights to end worldwide use of the substance.

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