Asbestos in the News: Issue 74

Asbestos in the News: Issue 74
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 29 stories we thought may interest you!
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FEATURED STORIES (6)
Telstra’s asbestos payouts hit $30m (Australia): Telstra has paid about $30 million in compensation to workers affected by asbestos since 1999 and could face tens of millions of dollars in costs over the mishandling of the deadly fibres.
Asbestos-Detecting Lasers: Finally a Weapon For the Good Guys (United Kingdom): Graphene might be the latest and greatest hero of the scientific community, but lasers are still awesome and have a new trick up their sleeves to prove it. Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom have developed a device that can detect the presence of airborne asbestos particles—a fireproof material now known to cause lung cancers like mesothelioma—using a laser-based detection system.
Teachers’ union takes board to Ministry of Labour over asbestos concerns (Canada): Teachers’ union takes board to Ministry of Labour over asbestos concerns. Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario alleges public school board has not addressed recommendations to remove asbestos tiles at Bracebridge school.
Wife of Asbestos Victim Says Proposed Transparency Bill is Flawed (USA): Vento pointed out that, for years, asbestos companies – those who manufactured products containing asbestos – have rallied to “erode the constitutional and legal rights of those workers diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis and cancers caused by asbestos.” With this proposed bill, known as FACT, they’ve succeeded, she says, pointing out with certainty that the law would further delay compensation payments to victims.
Asbestos risk to children ‘greater over lifetime’ (United Kingdom): A committee that advises the government on cancer has said children are more vulnerable to asbestos than adults over their lifetime. It says a five-year-old is five times more likely than an adult of 30 to develop mesothelioma, a type of cancer linked to asbestos, if they are exposed to it at the same time. This is because a child will normally live longer and have more time for the disease to develop, it says. Most schools have asbestos.
Scientific articles, intended to cast doubt on harm caused by chrysotile asbestos, were potentially part of a crime-fraud (Canada): In a powerful decision, a New York appeal court has found that eleven articles, published in scientific journals, were potentially part of a crime-fraud. The articles, financed by Georgia-Pacific, were intended to cast doubt on the capability of chrysotile asbestos to cause cancer. In a unanimous decision, five judges of a New York Appeal Court ruled (1) on June 6, 2013 that Georgia-Pacific must allow an in camera (private) review of documents and raw data related to eleven published research studies, funded by Georgia-Pacific, concerning the health effects of the company’s asbestos-containing joint compound (a product used in construction).
ASBESTOS in SCHOOLS (3)
Union riled by asbestos tiles at Monck (Canada): It’s been more than two decades since the school board was advised to remove asbestos-containing ceiling tiles from Monck Public School.
But they’re still there. The Trillium Lakelands District School Board received consultant reports compiled in 1992 and 2004 calling for the removal of the tiles, which contain asbestos, a known carcinogen. Now, the Trillium Lakelands Elementary Teachers’ Local is asking the Ministry of Labour to investigate what the union says is a failure of the school board’s asbestos management programs.
Fears over asbestos in schools (Australia): Parents, teachers and principals have called for the wide-scale removal of asbestos in Victorian schools, as state government audits reveal many buildings need the toxic material cleaned up immediately. Documents seen by Fairfax Media also reveal that the amount of funding to manage asbestos has plunged in recent years, from $14.3 million between 2007-10 to $1.8 million in 2011-12. About two-thirds of Victoria’s 1531 public schools contain asbestos, and the documents show that many of the schools have so-called ”Priority 1” problems – where asbestos could be of ”substantial risk” unless it was immediately removed, sealed or labelled.
Asbestos to increase cost, duration of school project (USA): The cost for renovating the science wing egresses at the Newmarket Junior/Senior High School this summer will be higher than originally thought and take longer after workers found more asbestos in the section of the school than they expected.
ASBESTOS and HEALTH (10)
New Delivery Method Can Make Chemotherapy More Effective (USA): A new delivery system that would allow the inhalation of chemotherapy drugs for lung cancer has shown considerable promise in increasing efficacy and dramatically reducing the toxic side effects that often cause patients to stop treatment.
Widespread dumping of asbestos (Australia) (Video): Telstra says it’s working on plans to remove asbestos from all of its pits and pipes after some workers exposed the dangerous material during the rollout of the National Broadband Network. However, experts warn there’s an even bigger problem looming. The widespread illegal dumping of asbestos waste around Australia. It’s costing tens of millions of dollars each year and exposing thousands of Australians to deadly health risks.
Scientists challenge asbestos industry’s corruption of science, but the industry continues its deadly deception (Canada): The Archives of Environmental & Occupational Health has published the Statement, issued by one hundred and forty-three scientists and organisations from thirty countries, in response to efforts by the International Chrysotile Association (a global asbestos lobby organisation) to prevent a ban on asbestos by Pakistan. The Statement exposed the information put forward by the International Chrysotile Association as being dishonest, deceptive and false and urged Pakistan to protect the health of its citizens by approving the proposed ban on asbestos.
Macrophages May Hold Key to Fighting Mesothelioma (Australia): Researchers in Western Australia are investigating new ways of bolstering the immune system in an effort to fight cancers like mesothelioma. Like most types of cancer, malignant mesothelioma occurs primarily in people over 65. That is also the time in life when the immune system typically weakens. Researchers from Curtin University and the University of Western Australia say it is no coincidence that people become more susceptible to mesothelioma as their immunity wanes. In addition to age-related immune dysfunction, mesothelioma patients experience a further decline in immunity caused by the growing tumor itself.
History of asbestos in McLean County (USA): Ron Thacker only worked at Bloomington’s UNARCO plant for a couple of years as a young man in the early 1950s, but it left an indelible imprint on his life — and his lungs. Thacker, now 77, is among more than 100 workers who contracted asbestosis, an incurable lung disease, from the asbestos used at the factory to make insulation for such things as pipes and boilers.
Asbestos shock hits homes (Australia): Hundreds of Canberra families may have been exposed to a deadly form of asbestos believed to have been removed from homes in the early 1990s. About 1000 houses in the ACT were insulated with loose-fill asbestos in the late 1960s and 1970s by a company trading as Mr Fluffy. Amosite asbestos is considered to be one of the two most dangerous forms of the substance because it is easily crumbled or reduced to powder. The microscopic amosite fibres require very little disturbance to become airborne.
Mum dies of cancer caused by cuddling asbestos worker dad (United Kingdom): A MUM of three who developed cancer after hugging her dad in his asbestos-covered overalls has died. Debbie Brewer, 53, battled rare lung cancer mesothelioma for seven years before she died at the weekend. She had been infected by the disease as a child after regularly cuddling her dad Phillip Northmore as he returned home from work as an asbestos lagger.
Volunteers Warned Against Mesothelioma Risk in OK (USA): As volunteers from across the country continue to head to tornado-ravaged Oklahoma for the cleanup effort, they are being warned about a potentially serious threat to their own health. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says damage to homes and buildings in Moore, Oklahoma has exposed a host of toxins including asbestos, the primary cause of malignant mesothelioma. Although asbestos has been phased out of most new construction materials, it can still be found in the insulation, caulk and joint compound, floor and ceiling tiles, and shingles of many older homes and buildings. According to the Huffington Post, many of the houses destroyed in Moore had been built in the 1960s and 1970s when asbestos use in construction was at its peak. While the asbestos may not have posed a threat when the buildings were intact, it can now become a mesothelioma risk for anyone who inadvertently comes in contact with it.
Angeles Clinic Opens Its First Mesothelioma-Specific Clinical Trial (USA): The Angeles Clinic and Research Institute, which carved an international reputation for developing personalized cancer therapies, is opening its first mesothelioma-specific clinical trial. The Institute in Santa Monica, Calif., will be part of a multi-center, Phase 2 study of tremelimumab, an immunotherapy agent that has shown success treating other cancers.
Importance of Early Diagnosis of Mesothelioma Spurs Research for Better Blood Test (Japan): Diagnosing malignant pleural mesothelioma early is very important to achieving the best outcome for patients. Researchers continue seeking more reliable non-invasive tests to identify the disease. Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer of the lining of the chest cavity and abdomen caused by breathing asbestos fibers. The cancer often goes undetected until it has advanced making it harder to treat. Researchers in Japan recently published an article in the journal BMC Cancer evaluating the usefulness of the blood protein HMGB1 as a prognostic marker for mesothelioma.
ASBESTOS in PUBLIC BUILDINGS (3)
Asbestos removal from New Haven courthouse (USA): If you work or walk in downtown New Haven you have probably noticed construction at the Superior Courthouse building on Elm Street. That work includes removing asbestos from building materials.
Asbestos, Bed Bugs Plague Residents of San Francisco Public Housing (USA): In a horrifying report produced by San Francisco-based KQED, the San Francisco Housing Authority is coming under intense scrutiny after months of federal investigations. The San Francisco Housing Authority, which is home to nearly thirty-one thousand residents, is struggling to keep up with, and in some extreme cases, entirely ignoring routine maintenance causing widespread problems.
Courthouse Employees Weren’t Notified of Asbestos Removal (USA): Individuals employed at a New England courthouse would like to know why no one bothered to tell them that construction work involving the removal of asbestos would be happening at their workplace while they were on the job.
LEGAL ISSUES and ASBESTOS (4)
Asbestos victims’ advocate accuses Coalition of exploiting NBN claims (Australia): An advocate for asbestos victims has accused the Coalition of not caring about them and using the alleged unsafe removal of asbestos from National Broadband Network (NBN) sites to score political points.
Alleged asbestos dumper to face court (Australia): A TRUCK driver who allegedly dumped up to 10 tonnes of building waste containing asbestos in Sydney’s Hawkesbury region will face court.
MPs call for withdrawal of parts of Mesothelioma Bill (United Kingdom): A group of MPs have called for parts of the Mesothelioma Bill to be withdrawn after claiming that half of asbestos-related victims will be ineligible for compensation. The Mesothelioma Bill, which was announced in the Queen’s Speech, last month, aims to create a payment scheme for mesothelioma suffers who cannot trace the company where they were exposed to the asbestos.
Neb. company fined $25,000 for asbestos removal (USA): A Nebraska company has been fined $25,000 for illegally disposing of asbestos in an effort to save money. U.S. Attorney Deborah Gilg announced Monday that Vision 20-20 Inc. pleaded guilty to an offense involving the illegal abatement and disposal of asbestos.
MISC. (3)
Asbestos fallout a national curse (Australia): Anyone who thinks the asbestos story is a beat up hasn’t seen someone in the late stages of mesothelioma. Yes, undisturbed brown, white and blue asbestos is safe. But when it’s broken up without the necessary safety measures, as was the case under the NBN, it can be a killer years down the track. Untrained workers and asbestos pits and pipes are a recipe for disaster. To those who say the risk is minimal, tell that to the thousands of people battling to breathe.
National asbestos register launched (Australia): AUSTRALIANS who fear they’ve been exposed to deadly asbestos will now be able to register with a national database. The federal government’s National Asbestos Exposure Register, launched on Friday, comes amid concerns of asbestos exposure at National Broadband Network (NBN) sites across Australia.
Asbestos risks endemic in construction industry, union claims (Australia): Dangerous handling of asbestos is “endemic” in the building and construction industry with multiple complaints every day that it is being mishandled at work sites across the country, union leaders say. The discovery of alleged unsafe removal of asbestos at National Broadband Network worksites which potentially put workers and members of the community at risk points to a broader problem.

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