Asbestos in the News: Issue 67

Asbestos in the News: Issue 67
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 19 stories we thought may interest you!
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FEATURED STORIES (3)
On-site Asbestos Detector Offers Promise of Better Workplace Safety: Asbestos was once called a miracle material because of its toughness and fire-resistant properties. It was used as insulation, incorporated into cement and even woven into firemen’s protective clothing. Over time, however, scientists pinned the cause of lung cancers such as mesothelioma on asbestos fiber inhalation. Asbestos was banned in the many industrialized countries in the 1980s, but the threat lingers on in the ceilings, walls and floors of old buildings and homes. Now a team of researchers from the University of Hertfordshire in the U.K. has developed and tested the first portable, real-time airborne asbestos detector. They hope that the prototype, described in a paper published today in the Optical Society’s (OSA) open-access journal Optics Express, will be commercialized in the U.K. in the next few years, providing roofers, plumbers, electricians and other workers in commercial and residential buildings with an affordable way to quickly identify if they have inadvertently disturbed asbestos fibers into the air.
Asbestos Production in Canada: To keep up with industrial demand, asbestos production in Canada increased dramatically in the 1950s and continued increasing throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. But even when production and use declined sharply in the late 1970s after damaging publicity about the long-term effects of asbestos, Canada continued to produce and export the mineral. Until recently, Canada was one of the world’s largest exporters of asbestos, with the vast majority of Canadian asbestos going to developing countries such as Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and Thailand, where workers often lack the capacity and knowledge to use the mineral safely.
What’s the “new” asbestos?: What does asbestos have to do with fabrics? Asbestos has been used in fabrics for centuries – the story goes that Roman soldiers (or, depending on the story, wealthy Persians) would clean asbestos napkins by throwing them into the fire – and they’d emerge clean and white. During the Middle Ages, some merchants would sell crosses made of asbestos, which looked just like wooden crosses, and claim they were from the “true cross” – the very same cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. To prove it they’d show that the cross wouldn’t burn. Chrysotile or white asbestos is the form that was used almost exclusively by the textile industry. While some types of asbestos are characterized by brittle, needle-like fibers, chrysotile asbestos fibers are as soft and pliable as cotton or flax, which makes them ideal for weaving into cloth. The special characteristics of asbestos (nearly fireproof, chemical resistance, and high tensile strength) means that from the 19th through the 20th centuries, it was used a lot for specialty applications in fabrics, such as.
ASBESTOS in SCHOOLS (2)
Pre-school gets ‘all-clear’ after asbestos find: A shire on the New South Wales far south coast says children at a council-run pre-school are safe after an asbestos find. Maintenance contractors working at the Eden Pre-school over the school holidays found a small amount of asbestos dust in an electrical meter box.
Asbestos Contamination, Aging Buildings Force Illinois School District to Renovate High School: Elementary and high school age students in a small central Illinois school district will be housed together after a several million dollar renovation updates the aging high school, including asbestos abatement. Rossville-Alvin school district officials approved contractual agreements for design and renovation work this week. Before the decision to combine the two schools in the Rossville-Alvin school district came down from the school district level, elementary students from kindergarden through eighth grade were housed in a separate but adjacent building.
ASBESTOS and HEALTH (5)
Still No Drop in Mesothelioma Incidence Rates: The use of asbestos within the United States has been reduced dramatically in recent decades, but the incidence of mesothelioma cancer has remained stubbornly and hauntingly steady. Work toward finding a cure – or at least better therapies – has never been more important. According to records updated this week by the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program at the National Cancer Institute, the annual incidence rate of mesothelioma in America remains just above the 3,000 mark, where it has hovered for 30 years.
Mesothelioma Clinical Trials Explained: When dealing with the journey that is mesothelioma, you might be asked if you are interested in participating in a clinical trial. Many questions and myths surround what people associate with clinical trials. I will try to explain a few. Clinical trials are research studies involving people. The researchers running the trials are trying to answer scientific questions, and to find better ways to diagnose and treat people. Clinical trials are the way that care gets improved, and questions get answered, and better ways to treat and prevent diseases are explored.
Benefit for Biggs woman with cancer: Cami Bivert is a 45-year-old mother of two teenage daughters and one son who recently had the shock of her life to be diagnosed with a very rare cancer.
Only 500 cases of Peritoneal/mesothelioma have been diagnosed in the United States which is a form of stomach cancer. Mesothelioma cancer usually means cancer of the lungs but the Peritoneal refers to cancer in the lower part of the body, or the stomach.
Predicting Mesothelioma Outcomes with Blood Tests: Two separate teams of Japanese researchers are delving into the possibilities of blood serum indicators that could help predict outcomes in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare but aggressive cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Pleural mesothelioma, a cancer that starts on the lining around the lungs, is the most common form of the disease. It occurs most often in people who have inadvertently inhaled asbestos dust. Mesothelioma is highly resistant to conventional treatments. It is also difficult to predict which patients are likely to do well with standard therapies and which are not, which is referred to as prognosis.
Woman, 66, killed by asbestos after washing her husband’s overalls 40 years ago: A retired electrician has been awarded £187,500 after his wife died from exposure to the asbestos dust on his work overalls. Mother-of-three Yvonne Moaby, 66, contracted the incurable lung cancer mesothelioma while husband John was repairing and stripping out storage heaters for four years in the 60s. She was diagnosed in 2009 and died at her home in Quenington, Gloucestershire, in May 2010.
ASBESTOS in PUBLIC BUILDINGS (1)
Burned-out Vegas Casino is an Asbestos Hazard: There’s not much left to the old Key Largo Casino these days, but the structure that remains after a fire ravaged the gaming hall last month includes a lot of asbestos, officials say. That’s why the owners have had to ask for a four-month extension to complete demolition, recognizing the fact that removal of the hazardous material will be a long and tedious process. An article in the Las Vegas Sun reports that the Clark County Building Department issued a demolition order after the fire, demanding that the structure be removed in its entirety by April 26. However, once the large amounts of asbestos were discovered, it was evident that the owners wouldn’t be able to stick to the time schedule.
LEGAL ISSUES and ASBESTOS (7)
Loss of Consortium Claims for Mesothelioma – Are You Eligible?: Spouses of people who were negligently injured may be eligible to file their own loss of consortium claims, which we covered in an earlier post. These claims potentially compensate them for physical, mental and emotional pain they may experience as a result of their loved one’s injuries. But there are special considerations when the injuries are caused by asbestos exposure. Specifically, the timing of both asbestos exposure and the diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness, as well as the date of the marriage impact the validity of a loss of consortium claim.
£250K asbestos death claim: A bereaved widow who claims her husband was killed by the after-effects of asbestos exposure in the workplace is now battling for £250,000 compensation over her loss. Barrie Gedney died aged 69 in January 2012 after developing the devastating lung disease, mesothelioma, which was diagnosed the previous month.
City of Casper Cited for Asbestos Violations: Before demolishing a long-abandoned house in the city of Casper, contractors should have tested for asbestos, officials say. Now their negligence has gotten them in trouble with the local Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), which recently cited the city, as well as the contractor they used for the demolition, for not fully testing the residential building for the presence of the toxic mineral.
Austria’s RHI settles last U.S. asbestos claims: Austrian fireproof materials maker RHI said it had settled the last of the asbestos claims it was facing in the United States 11 years after deconsolidating its U.S. business. RHI said late on Wednesday it would receive a payment of $40 million from the former owner of one of its U.S. companies, after a U.S. district court confirmed a settlement with all the insurance companies concerned.
Owners of New Jersey Superfund Site Must Repay EPA for Asbestos Clean Up Efforts: A New Jersey company and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached a legal settlement on Wednesday over payment due for clean up efforts at a former brake pad manufacturing site. Friction Division Products Inc. must pay the EPA $1.6 million the government agency spent on abating left over asbestos, and removing deadly toxins such as acids, waste oil and solvents.
Exclusive: Victims blame insurers for ‘insulting’ asbestos payouts: Thousands of families whose relatives die because of exposure to asbestos will be left with little or no compensation under a new law to be announced this week. Legislation that forces the insurance industry to pay victims whose employers’ policies can’t be found will be announced in the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday. But it has been so watered down after lobbying from insurers that it will help only a fraction of the victims, and payouts will be 30 per cent lower than is standard for the asbestos cancer mesothelioma.
Failing to remove asbestos in demolition on the rise, officials say: When a Michigan company began demolishing an elevator factory in Toledo five years ago, it reported finding no asbestos in the building. The site inspector found that suspicious, considering most older buildings contain asbestos, said Brad Ostendorf, an investigator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigative Division.
MISC. (1)
Hyderabad Ind to reduce dependency on asbestos: Hyderabad Industries, which is into making building materials, is looking at reducing its revenue dependence on asbestos sheets from 80 per cent and focus more on green materials, according to a top company official. Hoping to tap 15 per cent growth in overall revenues, alongside every year the company wants to reduce 5 per cent sales in asbestos sheets for the next few years.

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