Asbestos in the News: Issue 68

Asbestos in the News: Issue 68
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 21 stories we thought may interest you!
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FEATURED STORIES (5)
Asbestos concerns force closure of Guelph daycare: For the second time in two years, the Willowdale Child Care Centre in Guelph’s west end has been shut down due to asbestos concerns. The asbestos was discovered last Friday, peeking out from behind a baseboard. Parents were notified of the shutdown over the weekend and informed that they would have to find alternative arrangements for their children.
‘Asbestos is a time bomb and it’s all around’: It’s a silent killer. A ticking time bomb in your chest that hides its timer and doesn’t even let you hear the ticking as it winds down. Until, one day, you might get a little short of breath while walking up a hill. You might feel a little bit tired all the time, but dismiss it as a side effect of getting older. Except that’s not what happened. Take Mavis Nye, who lives in Kent. For just six months, between 45 and 50 years ago, she washed the overalls her husband wore when he went to work at the dockyard in Chatham. Nothing wrong with that. It was the 60s, and that’s what happened. But the trouble was his overalls were covered with asbestos fibres, and as Mavis washed them, she breathed them in – invisible fibres that are so small they travel straight down into the lungs. And there they wait, silent killers, waiting to strike.
Russia and Zimbabwe Step In to Keep Asbestos Off Hazardous Materials List: At this week’s UN Rotterdam Convention, lobbyists from both Russia and Zimbabwe will be attending for the first time, intent on keeping chrysotile asbestos off the convention’s list of hazardous substances. Prior to this year, Canada – which had a huge interest in the chrysotile industry – played that role. An article in the Toronto Newspaper The Star reports that now that Canada is no longer the chief party in the cover-up about the truth surrounding the toxicity of chrysotile – or white – asbestos, it is necessary for the countries that still do the majority of the exporting of the material to step forward and make their opinion known.
Cypress Health taking care of asbestos in buildings: These actions are required as a result of the Public Health (Howard’s Law) Amendment Act, which passed third reading in the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly on April 18. This legislation makes it compulsory to report the presence of asbestos in public buildings through a public registry that is available online. In addition, information about the presence of asbestos must be available at the affected buildings. Cypress Health Director of Occupational and Public Health Jeff Schwan said the health region has already done assessments as part of legal requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to identify asbestos containing materials in various facilities.
Help for asbestos victim payouts: Newly diagnosed mesothelioma sufferers who developed the disease after being exposed at work will be able to receive help through the support scheme. Many sufferers are unable to claim compensation from employers because the disease takes many years to develop and the companies they worked for may no longer exist. Introducing the Mesothelioma Bill, the Queen’s Speech said: “Legislation will be introduced to ensure sufferers of a certain asbestos-related cancer receive payments where no liable employer or insurer can be traced.”
ASBESTOS in SCHOOLS (2)
Asbestos Dust Found in Offices at Sonoma State University: A student publication at Sonoma State University reports that traces of deadly asbestos dust have been found in at least one building on the sprawling campus in Rohnert Park, California, prompting officials to advise faculty members not to disturb the dust lest they create a health hazard. The article in the Sonoma State Star explains that friable asbestos was found in floor and ceiling tiles in Stevenson Hall, which houses the offices of the school’s Sociology Department. The hall was built in 1965 during an era in which building materials often contained asbestos. The material was used because of its exemplary fire-resistant qualities and because adding it to products such as cement increased the durability and life-span of those products and made them stronger. Unfortunately, it was later revealed that asbestos was a carcinogen, causing such cancers as mesothelioma, which most often attacks the lining of the lungs.
JFK High reopens next week after asbestos cleanup: John F. Kennedy High School will re-open to students on Wednesday one year after it was cleared out following the discovery of asbestos. The 420 students will be able to see out the term at the Villeray buildingin St-Michel following the $2.8 million cleanup. Students from the JFK Business Centre will not return until the start of the next academic semester.
ASBESTOS and HEALTH (3)
New Device Detects Asbestos In Real-Time, With Lasers And Magnets: Asbestos is an insidious killer, with a nasty habit of being most deadly when it is least visible. Fortunately, a new device can detect asbestos on site, without a lab test. Popular in construction because of its fire-retardant properties, asbestos is mostly harmless if left alone. However, friction or other damage can make asbestos-containing products release asbestos fibers into the air, which are tiny, thin, and carcinogenic. Inhaled asbestos fibers increase the risk of lung disease, especially mesothelioma, which is a cancer than can wait as long as 40 years after exposure to strike the lungs and heart, and generally proves fatal within a year of development.
Doctors Claim Cancer Drug Prices “Astronomical”: Last week we posted an article about lawmakers considering legislation to force insurance companies to lower the high cost of prescription anti-cancer drugs. For mesothelioma patients who are faced with high medical bills and limited treatment options, actions like this are critical to ensure they can afford the most effective care. Now, doctors across the country are joining forces in calling for pharmaceutical companies to lower the cost of some cancer drugs.
Study Lists Factors That Impact Mesothelioma Prognosis: Predicting survival in mesothelioma patients does not have to be complicated. A new Parisian study suggests that simple-to-measure factors such as patient age and the histological subtype of the mesothelioma can be highly accurate prognostic indicators. The study followed 170 patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma between 2000 and 2010 at Saint Antoine Hospital in Paris. Patients in the study were all treated non-surgically. For each patient, a list of parameters was recorded including age, gender, tobacco use, asbestos exposure, type and duration of symptoms, BMI, C-reactive protein levels and white blood cell and platelet counts. Inflammation of the pleura (pachypleuritis) was also noted, along with the type of diagnostic surgical procedure, histological subtype, the way in which pleurodesis was performed (for treatment of excess lung fluid), and whether or not the patient had chemotherapy.
ASBESTOS in PUBLIC BUILDINGS (2)
Asbestos concerns at Christchurch Hospital: Industrial abseiling contractors have grave fears they have spread white asbestos through Christchurch Hospital. The contractors were repairing the hospital’s roof and says the company, Goleman, knew about the asbestos 10 days before the workers were told. A sample of the roof tested by Chemsafety on 2 April confirmed the presence of white asbestos. But work continued on site until employees reiterated their concerns to the project manager, Fletcher, about 10 days later.
Historic Vermont Municipal Building Remains Empty as Community Awaits Asbestos Results: One small town in Vermont is facing a $1 million dilemma after it was discovered the historic municipal building is in need of extensive renovations. In 2010, the Castleton town offices were relocated to a temporary building after issues regarding accessibility, emergency exits and possible asbestos contamination rendered it virtually inhabitable. Since the relocation, the former site of the municipal offices have been abandoned.
LEGAL ISSUES and ASBESTOS (7)
Asbestos: builders warned of spot fines: ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe will seek approval from the ACT government to slap $5000 fines on builders who fail to dispose of asbestos properly, saying too many were risking the health of their workers and members of the public to avoid the time and cost of safe removal.
Victims slam ‘insulting’ asbestos payouts plan: 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 tomorrow. 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% lower than is standard for the asbestos cancer mesothelioma.
WorkSafeBC seeks tougher penalty against asbestos-removal contractor: WorkSafeBC will ask the court for stronger action against a Lower Mainland asbestos removal contractor that could result in rare jail time for exposing workers to health risks. B.C’s workplace safety agency filed an application in B.C. Supreme Court on April 26 for a hearing this month that asks a judge to find Mike Singh, son Shawn Singh and company Seattle Environmental Consulting Ltd. in “contempt of court” for ignoring a 2012 court order to stop exposing employees to asbestos.
Gateshead factory worker in asbestos cash pay-out: A former factory worker has won a battle for compensation after being diagnosed with terminal asbestos-related cancer. Gerald MacEwan, who now lives in Gateshead, was exposed to the toxic fibres while working at Rolls Royce’s Hillington plant, in Scotland, in 1964. The building was undergoing repair work but Gerald said staff were not warned or given protective masks.
Matoaka couple name 69 defendants in asbestos suit: A Matoaka couple has named 69 defendants in a case claiming asbestos exposure caused lung injuries. David Leroy Estes was diagnosed with asbestosis and pleural plaques on Oct. 25, 2011, according to a complaint filed April 22 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
Democrats oppose bill affecting asbestos lawsuits: The state Assembly has passed a bill opponents say would slow asbestos-exposure lawsuits. The measure passed Wednesday would require plaintiffs to reveal how many businesses their attorneys plan to go after. Republican supporters say such a move would prevent lawyers from hiding multiple claims in hopes of maximizing awards.
Asbestos Victims to Be Denied Justice in New Mesothelioma Bill: Asbestos victims are set to be denied the right to receive the compensation they fully deserve on the Mesothelioma Bill outlined in the Queen’s Speech yesterday. It was announced that sufferers of mesothelioma, only one type of asbestos-related cancer, will receive compensation where no liable employer or insurer can be traced. This means that those suffering from other forms of asbestos-related cancer, such as asbestosis, will be excluded from receiving similar compensation.
MISC. (2)
Urgent action needed to stop asbestos death toll says East Midlands MEP Glenis Willmott: A new report by the European Parliament calls for the removal of asbestos from all European public buildings by 2028. East Midlands MEP Glenis Willmott explains why she backs the move. YOU may not think of education as a dangerous occupation but 128 school teachers died from the asbestos-related lung cancer mesothelioma between 2002 and 2010, according to figures from the Health and Safety Executive.
Asbestos payout promise U-turn branded a disgrace: VICTIMS of asbestos exposure and their families will be denied compensation after a Government U-turn condemned as a “disgrace”. The Queen’s Speech promised a Mesothelioma Bill to provide payouts to sufferers – many now deceased – unable to trace the employer who exposed them to the deadly dust. The move has long been demanded in the North-East, which, because of its long history of heavy industry, is a known blackspot for asbestos deaths.

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