Asbestos in the News: Issue 16

Asbestos in the News: Issue 16
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 24 stories we thought may interest you!
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FEATURED STORIES (4)
Analysis: Charest government may have miscalculated announcement to reopen Jeffrey Asbestos Mine with a $58-million loan: If the Charest government was hoping to avoid criticism by quietly announcing the relaunch of Quebec’s controversial asbestos industry on the Friday before a holiday weekend, it might have miscalculated. In the month following the June 29 announcement that Quebec would loan $58 million to help reopen and expand the Jeffrey Mine in the town of Asbestos, newspapers across Quebec and Canada have run editorials and columns condemning the decision. The wisdom of staking public money on this project has come under question, and last week an international scientific organization of epidemiologists joined the call for a global ban on asbestos.
Another Prison Sentence in Asbestos Case: A man who illegally removed, handled, and disposed of asbestos during work at a Kankakee, Illinois building site last year has been sentenced to a prison term of 10 years, clearly indicating that the federal government aims to crack down on individuals who’ve decided that the rules of asbestos handling don’t apply to them. According to an article by the Associated Press, Duane “Butch” O’Malley of Bourbonnais, age 59, will serve his term in a federal prison since his actions represented violations of the federal Clean Air Act. O’Malley has also been ordered to pay in excess of $47,000 to the Environmental Protection Agency as reimbursement for their clean-up costs at the site, and will be paying an additional $15,000 fine for his disregard of state and federal asbestos handling laws.
Saying no to Canada’s asbestos – National Post Editorial: Last month, the Quebec government revealed it would lend $58-million to the Jeffrey Mine, the country’s last operating asbestos mine. At the time, mine officials said the money would be enough to keep it operating for 20 years, and we condemned Quebec premier Jean Charest’s decision to essentially provide mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for a “carcinogenic corporate cadaver.” (The Jeffrey Mine already had closed when the province stepped in with the funds, and was unlikely to have reopened without the government’s intervention.)
Woodbridge man charged after releasing asbestos in nine schools, one day care: A Woodbridge man released hazardous asbestos dust and debris at 10 sites, including a day care center, as he did unlicensed work at numerous Central Jersey schools and homes, the state attorney general charged Thursday. The Division of Criminal Justice Environmental Crimes Unit obtained an indictment charging William T. Muzzio, 50, with 10 counts of unlawful release of a toxic pollutant, 36 counts of removing or encapsulating asbestos without a license, one count of theft by deception and two counts of uttering a forged document, Attorney General Jeffery S. Chiesa said Thursday. The indictment was issued Wednesday, and Muzzio was arrested Thursday by detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice. He was held at the Union County Jail with bail set at $75,000.
ASBESTOS in SCHOOLS (2)
State fines Lake Zurich District 95 because of elementary school asbestos management plan: Lake Zurich Unit District 95 is disputing state allegations that May Whitney Elementary School had violations in its asbestos management plan. The district received notice of an $18,000 fine issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health for alleged violations in the asbestos plan at the school at 100 Church St., spokeswoman Jean Malek confirmed.
Lehigh Valley: Asbestos removed from Hackettstown, Union Township schools without license, police say: A Middlesex County man was arrested Thursday on charges he released asbestos into a New Jersey day care and nine homes and removed the cancer-causing substance from Hackettstown and Union Township schools without a license, authorities said. William T. Muzzio Jr., 50, of Woodbridge, N.J., removed asbestos in July 2011 in the Hatchery Hill Elementary and Willow Grove schools in Hackettstown and Union Township Middle School in Hunterdon County, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office announced.
ASBESTOS and HEALTH (8)
Breakthrough for asbestos victims: Campaigners for a better deal for asbestos victims have welcomed news of a new compensation scheme. The Minister for Welfare, Lord Freud, and the Association of British Insurers have announced newly-diagnosed victims of mesothelioma, a fatal form of cancer normally caused by exposure to asbestos, will now get help through a tariff scheme set up to to pay compensation in cases where employers’ liability insurance cannot be traced.
Asbestos trouble: Albion’s Union Steel plant a cleanup target again: Ramona Saldana was working in her sunny yard Monday afternoon. She took a few steps, put her hands on her hips and looked at the former Union Steel plant just down the street. She was worried, but she’s not the only one. Inside the building, behind the broken windows and crumbling brick, a crew of nine men total worked in paper suits with respirators to contain a dangerous material: asbestos. “If I ever get sick, it’ll be because of this,” Saldana said, her laugh tinged with concern. “I’m concerned about the health and other safety risks that could come of this.”
Life sentence for builder who worked with asbestos: A HIGH Street TV store and a property company have been fined after a builder was exposed to asbestos. Matthew Thompson, 28, was brought in to help refurbish a Cheltenham store. But the construction worker did not realise he was pulling out asbestos insulating boards. His then-boss Simon Cooper, who runs Montpellier Property Maintenance, has now been fined for not carrying out the necessary checks beforehand. And both men have been told by doctors that there is no way of knowing if their contact with the substance will kill them. The impact of asbestos usually takes between 15-40 years to become apparent. Asbestos fibres can cause serious diseases, including mesothelioma and lung cancer, if inhaled. They are responsible for an estimated 4,500 deaths each year.
Asbestos cancer diagnosis sparks information plea: A FORMER Basingstoke carpenter is appealing for help after he was diagnosed with an asbestos-related cancer. Martin Woodhouse, who now lives in Melbourne, Australia, was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, in September last year. The 66-year-old claims he was exposed to the deadly building material when he worked as an apprentice carpenter from 1961 to 1966 with Musselwhite and Sons.
Man, 74, died after asbestos exposure: A RETIRED Weston draftsman died from exposure to asbestos which he encountered during his work for BT, a coroner court heard last week. Derek Butler, of Ebdon Road, was in the process of making a claim for his condition when he died at the age of 74. Mr. Butler died of terminal cancer at Weston Hospicecare and a post-mortem concluded that the final cause of death was mesothelioma – a rare form of cancer which is caused by exposure to asbestos.
Sky News: New test to detect asbestos exposure: A potentially life-saving test has been developed to detect malignant mesothelioma in its early stages. A team at the University of NSW has developed a breath test using an electronic nose to help diagnose the fatal disease, which is caused by exposure to asbestos. Study leader Associate Professor Deborah Yates said the device was designed to distinguish between benign and malignant disease. Asbestos-related disease affects thousands of people in Australia.
‘I want to know what caused my cancer’: A former post office worker who contracted an incurable asbestos-related cancer is appealing for ex-colleagues to help him discover how. Last month, Jack Deeble from Alnwick was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which he believes was caused by dust churned up when asbestos was stripped from the Fenkle Street Post Office branch during the 1960s. The 91-year-old started to develop symptoms in 2011 – the same year he was awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2011 for his work with Alnwick Infirmary’s League of Friends. He visited his GP this March after feeling lethargic, breathless and losing weight rapidly. Jack was then referred to a specialist at Wansbeck Hospital with follow-up treatment at Tyneside Hospital, where he endured an operation to drain fluid from his lungs.
Electronic nose helps locate deadly tumour: Researchers have designed an electronic nose to help diagnose malignant mesothelioma (cancerous tumour) early on, with a breath test. Malignant mesothelioma is an uncommon, usually fatal, cancerous tumour of the lining of the lung and chest cavity or lining of the abdomen (peritoneum) caused by long-term asbestos exposure. The non-invasive test was created by a team from the University of New South Wales (UNSW). The device was designed to distinguish between benign and malignant disease and to detect the disease early, the European Respiratory Journal reported. “If you catch it earlier, your chances of actually giving people the right treatment to stop it spreading are actually better,” said team leader, Deborah Yates, assistant professor at the UNSW.
ASBESTOS in PUBLIC BUILDINGS (5)
Asbestos cleanup at Wilton mill site begins in earnest: The man who is working to remove asbestos from a former mill on Depot Street called it the worst asbestos site he’s experienced in more than 30 years on the job. “I’ve done over 10,000 projects. This is the worst that’s ever been seen,” Bob Rickett, owner of Abatement Professionals, said Tuesday. “This is the absolute worst.” Rickett signed a six-figure contract with the property’s owner, Adam Mack, of Wilton Recycling, after a year of efforts by state and federal officials to bring the site into compliance. Rickett began abatement efforts last August, but stopped, claiming that he was owed $75,000 by Mack for work that he had completed.
Asbestos Removal Begins at the Nassau Coliseum: This week, contractors at Long Island’s famed Nassau Coliseum – home to the NY Islanders – are beginning to remove asbestos materials from non-public areas in the structure, this following much to-do about six months ago that had patrons of the arena questioning whether or not they were putting their health at risk by attending games there. According to a Newsday article, workers are currently removing the asbestos material from the loading dock and machine room. Once that’s complete, an engineering firm will be hired to help determine what has to be done in other areas of the Coliseum, which has long played host to the local NHL hockey team as well as other sporting events, concerts, family shows, and more.
Asbestos is widespread in the town, say official reports: ASBESTOS has been found in schools, council buildings, leisure centres and even artefacts kept at Steam museum, according to official reports. Surveys by Swindon Council show how widespread the hazardous material is in the town, with some buildings requiring extensive work to remove or contain it. While most of the areas affected were concealed behind walls or in cavities, window frames and floor panels were also found to contain the material.
Asbestos Clean-Up Now Underway at Wilton Mill Site: Area residents are breathing a sigh of relief now that asbestos removal at the old Wilton, Maine textile mill has begun in earnest, notes a story in the Kennebec Journal. According to the article, after more than a year of struggles with errant owners and improper abatement of the material, it looks like the job is progressing and the end is in sight. That’s good news for state and federal officials who’ve been trying to bring the site into compliance, as well as for area residents who’ve worried constantly about the effects of asbestos exposure. Asbestos, a known carcinogen, can cause a host of respiratory diseases, including mesothelioma cancer.
Mohawk Valley Factory Fire Releases Asbestos, Toxic Plume Threatening Area Health: At 1:30 PM on Wednesday afternoon a fire broke out at the former Union Fork and Hoe Company in Frankfort, New York, in the Mohawk Valley Region of the state. Fire officials report that no one was injured during the blaze or containment. However, a much larger, more ominous force lingers over the destroyed factory. Sold in 2005 to Ames True Temper, the site that formerly manufactured hoes and other garden products, was under going a thorough asbestos abatement process. At the time of the fire, removing asbestos from the site was well under way and was done so in conjunction with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
LEGAL ISSUES and ASBESTOS (4)
Human rights court is to hear asbestos case: About 20 former dockyard workers suffering from the effects of asbestos inhalation have taken their battle for compensation to the European Court of Human Rights, which has given the government four months to reply. They are joined by the family of another worker who died from cancer caused by asbestos. The workers claim the Maltese government, which owned the Malta Shipyards between 1968 and 2003, failed to fulfil its “positive obligations” to protect their life against the cancer-causing fibre and inform them they were exposed to any danger.
Asbestos exposure at railworks led to illness and claim for payout: A FORMER British Rail worker who served as an apprentice for five years has been awarded compensation after developing an asbestos-related illness. David Stevenson said he was exposed to the deadly dust when he visited the firm’s workshops. The 79-year-old said he would also come into contact with blue asbestos – one of the three main types of the mineral – when taking it out of tins to use for packing. He said, as a result, he started experiencing breathing difficulties about three years ago and doctors later confirmed he suffered from pleural thickening in the lining of his lungs.
Buffalo woman names 53 defendants in asbestos case: A Buffalo woman is suing 53 companies she claims are responsible for her husband’s lung cancer and death. On Sept. 2, 2011, James Reilly was diagnosed with lung cancer, from which he died on April 27, according to a complaint filed July 17 in Kanawha Circuit Court. Lillian Reilly claims he was exposed to asbestos during his employment as a welder and millwright from 1965 until 1997. The defendants failed to warn James Reilly about the dangers of asbestos, according to the suit. Lillian Reilly claims the defendants also failed to supply James Reilly with proper apparel to wear while handling asbestos. The defendants are being sued based on theories of negligence, contaminated buildings, breach of expressed/implied warranty, strict liability, intentional tort, conspiracy, misrepresentation and post-sale duty to warn, according to the suit. Lillian Reilly is seeking a jury trial to resolve all issues involved. She is being represented by Thomas P. Maroney and Victoria L. Antion.
ETU threatens court action over asbestos dispute: The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) is threatening to take the multinational construction company Bechtel to the Federal Court over an asbestos related dispute at a massive gas project in Central Queensland. Bechtel is refusing to pay the wages of workers who walked off the job because of fears they were being exposed to asbestos. Bechtel says it doesn’t have to pay them if they were striking but the union says the employees refused to work because of safety.
MISC. (1)
Asbestos abatement crews dig in and stand out: Even in the physically demanding construction industry, asbestos abatement workers stand apart for their ability to work nine to 10-hour days in often confined spaces, wearing respiratory equipment and full layer of protective clothing. “They have to be motivated and prepared to work as the conditions are hot and dirty,” says Ron Amaral, an estimator and project manager with I & I Construction Services Limited. Asbestos abatement is often considered an entry-level job into construction and many workers often move on, he says. “They go to a job where conditions are better and once they leave they don’t come back.”

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