Asbestos in the News: Issue 27

Asbestos in the News: Issue 27
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 15 stories we thought may interest you!
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The belated demise of Canada’s asbestos industry: In the space of three weeks, the political support the Quebec asbestos industry has enjoyed for decades from the Quebec and Canadian governments came crashing down. It could hardly have been more politically dramatic or more financially devastating for the tottering, bankrupt Quebec asbestos industry. After 130 years in operation, the last two asbestos mines in Quebec — the Jeffrey mine in the town of Asbestos and the mine run by LAB Chrysotile at Thetford Mines — shut down more than a year ago in the face of catastrophic financial and environmental problems.
Asbestos products still being imported to Ontario: Despite recent announcements in Ottawa and Quebec that suggest asbestos will soon be a thing of the past, products made of the cancer-causing mineral are still being imported and used in Ontario today. While the carcinogenic insulation is now being removed from buildings across the province, two new products that contain asbestos — brake pads and cement pipes — are being brought in. Statistics Canada reports that $2.6 million worth of asbestos-containing brake pads were imported into Canada last year. Of that, more than half arrived in Ontario.
U.S. Considering Total Ban on Asbestos: Many people might remember actor Steve McQueen for his eponymous role in the movie Bullitt, where he performed what is widely considered to be one of the greatest car-chase scenes of all time. Off screen, though, McQueen garnered a more tragic notoriety when — like countless others of his generation — died from mesothelioma. He was just 50 years old when the cancer, caused by exposure to asbestos, took his life. Now, McQueen’s widow, Barbara McQueen, is using the actor’s legacy to try and convince federal lawmakers to finally ban the sale and use of asbestos in the United States. In July, Mrs. McQueen spoke at a House of Representatives staff briefing in an effort to generate support for the Safer Chemicals Act of 2012. She participated in the event as part of a contingent representing the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization.
EPA pushes tough asbestos standard for Mont. town: A proposed standard for federal cleanup of asbestos contamination in a Montana town concludes that even a tiny amount of the material can lead to lung problems — a benchmark far more rigorous than any in the past and one that the industry says could force expensive and unnecessary cleanups across the country. The Environmental Protection Agency’s new proposal for the northwest Montana town of Libby, where asbestos dust has killed hundreds of people, would be 5,000 times tougher than the standard used in past cleanups addressing airborne asbestos. W.R. Grace & Co., the Maryland chemical company blamed for pollution from its vermiculite mine that operated for decades, is pushing back against the EPA, suggesting sites across the country could be subjected to costly cleanups. The ongoing Superfund cleanup in Libby has cost at least $447 million since 1999 and is expected to last several more years. The town of about 3,000 people is about 40 miles south of the Canadian border.
Experts say the EPA proposal is a move long sought by advocates and fiercely resisted by the industry. An EPA board met this week to discuss Grace objections to the proposal, part of a pending risk study for Libby.
Death of Employees at Chico State Raise Fears about Asbestos Contamination: The lung cancer deaths of two employees at California’s Chico State University have others at the college wondering whether they’re headed for the same fate, and concerns over poor air quality and exposure to asbestos are among the topics being discussed by the co-workers of the deceased, both of whom worked in the same building. According to an article in the Chico News and Review, administrative support coordinator Tami Harder Kilpatric died on September 16 at the age of 51 from complications due to lung cancer. She worked in the Political Science Department located on the sixth floor of the northwest corner of Butte Hall. Four months earlier, sociology professor Andrew Dick died of atypical lung cancer, just a year after he was diagnosed with the disease. Dick also worked in the northwest corner of Butte Hall, but on the seventh floor.
Sedgley school asbestos discovery holds up lessons: The ceilings were being refurbished at Cotwall End Primary when the material was found. Fifty children, aged four and five, should have started at the school on September 4 but have been accommodated at The Straits Primary in Longfellow Road. They are now expected to start at Cotwall End after the half-term holiday on October 29. The rest of the school is open as usual after the start of the new term was originally delayed by one day. The refurbishment of the ceilings was being carried out in the summer holiday. Nicole Anderton, headteacher at Cotwall End Primary School, said: “Due to the continuing refurbishment work on the Key Stage One building it has been necessary to accommodate our reception class at Straits Primary School on a temporary basis.”
Asbestos At Former Naval Base Highlights Health Risk to Navy Vets, Demolition Workers: According to The Courier and Post newspaper, South Carolina Health and Environmental Control officials last week visited the work site, a fenced-in yard near the former Charleston Naval Base power plant and found what appeared to be asbestos. They shut down the demolition operation. The Noisette Company, which currently owns the site, had hired AAA Metal Company to remove obsolete pipes. The company will now need to hire a licensed asbestos abatement contractor to remove asbestos materials and clean up the site. Since the 1940s, millions of American workers have been exposed to asbestos, according to the National Cancer Institute. The people most likely to be diagnosed with mesothelioma are older workers, retired workers or veterans who were exposed to asbestos fibers in the workplace or military service. Mesothelioma typically takes 20 years to 40 years before sufferers notice symptoms such as pain beneath the ribs and difficulty breathing. The cancer often has reached an advanced stage before doctors diagnose it correctly.
Man alleges asbestos exposure caused father’s illness, death: Alleging that an illness reportedly attributed to asbestos exposure killed his father, Jerry Mapp has filed a lawsuit. Recent court documents filed Sept. 18 in Galveston County District Court blame a slew of companies, including BP and Pharmacia Corp., for Sam Billy Mapp’s death from lung cancer on Sept. 23, 2010. The suit shows Sam Billy Mapp worked as an operator from 1947 to 1952, claiming he was exposed to asbestos dust and fibers prior to 1980. It is unknown as to when physicians diagnosed the decedent with cancer “which ultimately took his life.”
Scientists Find Compound in Marijuana Could Stop Cancer Metastasis: Two researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco believe now that a chemical compound found in marijuana can be used to stop the metastasis of certain aggressive cancers. Scientists Sean McAllister and Pierre Desprez believe the compound cannabidiol (CBD), found in the marijuana plant, has the potential to stop the spread of particular cancers. Their belief is based upon the findings that CBD has the ability to stop the expression of Id-1, a gene protein often responsible for the metastasis of cancers. For mesothelioma, the implication of the recent findings might not be as significant as with other cancers. Mesothelioma, which has a lengthy latency period (20 to 50 years) generally spreads locally and rarely metastasizes until very late in the process.
Headquarters of UN receives facelift, massive amount of asbestos removed: A silent killer that stalked Nikita Khrushchev, Yasser Arafat, Fidel Castro and other world leaders as they gave historic speeches has been exhumed from the United Nations Headquarters. Enough asbestos to bury a football field in more than 5 meters (16 feet) of lethal blue dust has been extracted from the building during a US$2 billion plus renovation aiming to turn it into a clean, green Manhattan landmark, according to the chief architect. World leaders who gather at the annual U.N. debate next week will see a gleaming modernist skyscraper, far from the gutted building they visited last year.
Asbestos Found In N.M. State Office Building: The New Mexico General Services Department says low levels of asbestos have been found in a state building that’s scheduled for an $18 million renovation. The agency said the asbestos was in glue fastening latillas to ceilings and walls in the Manuel Lujan Building in Santa Fe. General Services Secretary Ed Burckle said the materials can be safely removed and don’t pose a health risk now because the glue remains intact.
Former paper mill owner accused of removing asbestos-laden pipes for scrap: The former owner of the Rock-Tenn paper mill site has been charged in a five-count indictment accusing him of violating the federal Clean Air Act. The indictment, which was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, charges Michael Davis Jr. with failing to obtain a thorough asbestos inspection, failing to have a representative trained in asbestos regulation on-site, failing to wet asbestos-containing material, failing to label asbestos-containing waste and failing to properly dispose of asbestos-containing material.
Village leader fined for asbestos removal: An Ocean Beach village board member who owns a construction company has been fined $5,000 by the state Labor Department for removing asbestos without the necessary certification. Thomas Nolter, owner of Nolter Construction and Ocean Beach’s deputy mayor, was the lead contractor to renovate The Palms Bungalows hotel in the Fire Island village. The state Labor Department received a complaint from a neighbor in February that Nolter’s workers were removing asbestos from the building without the proper equipment and certification.
MISC. (2)
Asbestos discovery adds about $800,000 to price tag of downtown Saginaw parking project: The discovery of asbestos covering the structural steel inside the Saginaw Centre has added more than $800,000 to Saginaw County’s estimated cost to demolish the onetime downtown mall.
The Saginaw Centre is part of a larger county project to add parking on about 6 acres south of The Dow Event Center in downtown Saginaw. The project also includes the demolition of the Saginaw Plaza Hotel and renovation of a parking ramp across Franklin from the Saginaw Centre.
Asbestos battle not over, activists say: The fight isn’t over, says an organizer of Saturday’s second annual Walk to Remember Victims of Asbestos. That will come when asbestos, a fire-resistant mineral fibre that causes cancer and other illnesses, is completely banned in North America, said Leah Nielsen. She organized last fall’s first walk with her sister Stacy Cattran after losing their father, who worked at one time in Chemical Valley, to mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Nielsen said they’re hoping Saturday’s walk, starting at 10:45 a.m. at the Dow People Place in Centennial Park, will attract even more than the about 400 people who attended last year to honour asbestos victims and call for an end to its use.

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