Asbestos in the News: Issue 35

Asbestos in the News: Issue 35
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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NDP, dying man want asbestos registry in Sask.: A Saskatoon man who is dying from an asbestos-related cancer is urging the province to make lists of public buildings that contain asbestos available to everyone. Howard Willems wants people to know if they’re going into a building that contains asbestos. He worked as a building inspector for 31 years, and he now suffers from a rare cancer that’s linked to asbestos.
“Everyone has the right to know how to be safe,” says Willems. Willems’ story inspired the NDP to introduce a private members bill that would require details about asbestos containment in public buildings to be listed online. New Democrat Cam Broten says the bill would allow people to take steps to protect themselves.
Lobby groups call for registry of buildings containing asbestos: Two health lobby groups are calling for a national public registry of buildings containing asbestos. Decades ago, asbestos was a popular insulation material. That was before it was linked to cancer. Workers on P.E.I. were removing lead paint on Thursday and the safety equipment and measures they were taking are similar to the removal of asbestos.
Asbestos: Silent killer in homes: AT FIRST it was miners and tradesmen who fell victim to asbestos. Now the toxic product is stalking people at home. Every evening in the ’70s and ’80s, dads and husbands returned home from work and did what dads and husbands have always done: they gave their wives and children a hug and a kiss. As they did, a cloud of dust often rose from their overalls – asbestos. Cheap, strong, waterproof and fireproof, it was in building products everywhere. No one realised its invisible fibres, 50 to 200 times thinner than a human hair, were working their way into people’s lungs, where they lay dormant for many years before developing into the incurable lung cancer, mesothelioma.
Still no school for Sheehan students due to roof damage and asbestos tile issue: Sheehan High School will remain closed today after suffering storm damage earlier this week and students are not expected to return until Nov. 7. Classes at the school were canceled Wednesday and Thursday after winds ripped off a large section of the school’s roof and let water into the building. All of the other schools in town reopened Wednesday. In a letter to parents Thursday, School Superintendent Salvatore Menzo said roof repairs were nearly complete and the building was in the process of being dried, but the leaks caused damage to asbestos floor tiles on the second floor.
Asbestos Keeps Storm-Damaged School Closed: Up and down the East Coast of the United States, Hurricane Sandy took her toll on all sorts of structures, including schools. Many school buildings have now reopened, but in Wallingford, Connecticut, one high school has been forced to keep its doors closed because of the presence of dangerous asbestos. According to an account in the Record-Journal, Sheehan High School students will be staying home until the school district can remove damaged asbestos-containing floor tiles on the building’s second floor. The tiles were damaged when water leaked into the school. Damaged asbestos can result in the release of dangerous fibers into the air where they can be inhaled. As such, no one is currently permitted in the building.
Former Merchant Navy man died from mesothelioma after inhaling asbestos fibres: Industrial disease killed a former Merchant Navy man after he breathed in harmful asbestos fibres when he was younger. Great Hollands man Michael Stevens died aged 83 after contracting mesothelioma – a cancer caused when he worked with asbestos lagging during a stint in the Merchant Navy from 1946 to 1958, Berkshire coroner Peter Bedford ruled. Mr Stevens, of Trevelyan, was diagnosed with cancer in February and died at Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading on August 13. An inquest, held at St Luke’s parish Hall in Erleigh Road, Reading, on Tuesday, heard Mr Stevens worked as a deck boy and regularly came into contact with asbestos lagging.
Sask. man dying from cancer urges gov’t to release public lists of asbestos buildings: A Saskatoon man dying from asbestos-related cancer and the Opposition NDP urged the provincial government to make available to everyone lists of public buildings that contain asbestos. Howard Willems worked as a building inspector for 31 years and now has me-sothelioma, a rare form of cancer resulting from inhaling asbestos fibres. “Everyone has the right to know if a building they’re going into has the potential for short-or long-term harm,” Willems said in a phone interview Thursday, his shortness of breath obvious. “I have seen the pain and suffering my family has gone through and it’s been very hard on them these last two years and I don’t want anyone to go through what I’ve gone through.”
Could Iron Removal Stave Off Mesothelioma?: Scientists have long known that exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma, but the jury is still out as to exactly why this happens. It is known that the shape of asbestos fibers makes them more likely to lodge deep in tissue, causing chronic irritation. But some have speculated that the high iron content of asbestos – particularly chrysotile asbestos – may also play a key role in triggering mesothelioma. A new study published in the Journal of Pathology appears to support the iron overload/mesothelioma connection. Japanese scientists studied the effects of three commercially used types of asbestos – chrysotile, crocidolite and amosite – in laboratory rats. Of the three asbestos types, chrysotile brought on mesothelioma the fastest and iron overload was at least partially to blame. The team reports that “massive iron deposition was found in the peritoneal organs with high serum ferritin” (a measure of iron in the blood serum) in the chrysotile group. The mesothelioma cells in these rats “showed an iron regulatory profile of active iron uptake and utilization.” When the researchers increased the level of iron in the bodies of rats that had been exposed to chrysotile, mesothelioma developed even faster, supporting the carcinogenic role of iron.
The £1.6 billion bill to rescue crumbling Parliament: Victorian structure is stuffed with asbestos and leaky roofs: Parliament is so dilapidated that it would be condemned and demolished were it not one of the most famous buildings in the world, experts said yesterday. The Victorian structure is so stuffed with asbestos and leaky roofs that it will require billions of pounds of renovation just to keep it standing. In a report commissioned by Parliament, it is warned that MPs and Lords will have to move out of the building within the next decade to enable a massive programme of works to electrics, heating, ventilation systems, drainage and stone work.
High Royds Hospital patients and staff asbestos fears plea: Solicitors are appealing for former staff and patients of High Royds Hospital in Menston to come forward following claims a man died as a result of inhaling deadly asbestos in the building. Relatives of former patient John Gogan believe he was exposed to the substance during his 27-year stay at the psychiatric hospital, which closed in 2003. Mr Gogan died in July aged 61, shortly after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, a lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
Union warns asbestos in substations could be nationwide problem: Ausgrid claims that most of the 35 electrical substations in Sydney’s Central Business District with friable asbestos have been cleaned – at night by workers in full protective suits to avoid alarming members of the public. The Electrical Trades Union’s NSW Secretary Steve Butler warns the problem will not be just in Sydney, but nationwide, with more than 50 Ausgrid employees already developing asbestos disease, and the toll growing by at least two a year.
Union fears police asbestos exposure: The WA Police Union says hundreds – possibly thousands – of police officers may have been exposed to potentially deadly blue asbestos in Fremantle police station. Union president George Tilbury said blue or crocidolite asbestos, identified during maintenance work, was not enclosed in the eaves, meaning fibres could enter the building.
Ore. developer told to pay $1.6M in asbestos case: A developer whose plans to redevelop a sawmill in Sweet Home collapsed has pleaded guilty to accusations that he allowed an unlicensed contractor to demolish a building, releasing asbestos near residential neighborhoods. After the work, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared it a Superfund site and spent $1.6 million cleaning up more than 4 million pounds of the cancer-causing material. In a plea deal, Dan Desler was sentenced Wednesday in federal court to pay restitution for the cleanup.
Developer pleads guilty in Sweet Home asbestos case: Failed land developer Dan Desler put profits ahead of people’s health, assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Potter argued in a sentencing memorandum filed this week in U.S. District Court in Eugene. Desler pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of negligent endangerment for releasing a hazardous pollutant into the air. He admitted he should have known there was asbestos in many of the buildings at the former Willamette Industries sawmill site in Sweet Home, but allowed an unlicensed contractor to conduct demolition and renovation work.
Family of Pipefitter Who Worked ith Asbestos Wins $3 Million: Juries continue to award big verdicts to workers who develop the deadly form of lung cancer known as mesothelioma after working with asbestos products. In the most recent jury trial, the family of a New York pipefitter who was exposed to asbestos for more than a decade won a $3 million award. Gerald Suttner worked at the GM Powertrain facility in Tonawanda, N.Y. for nearly four decades. Suttner repaired valves made by Crane Co. with gaskets containing asbestos. Suttner was diagnosed in 2010 with mesothelioma, a cancer that destroys the lung’s lining, and died a year later at age 77.
Demolition contractor fined for mishandling asbestos: Cheltenham demolition contractor DA Environmental Services has been fined after exposing its own workers to dangerous asbestos fibres and illegally removing asbestos waste from a property in Gloucester. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted DA Environmental Services Ltd at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court yesterday (5 November 2012) for three breaches of regulations relating to asbestos removal. The court heard that the firm had undertaken an asbestos survey before demolishing the building. This showed the presence of asbestos insulating board (AIB). The report identified that this would have to be safely removed in a controlled manner before demolition went ahead. However, during a six-week period in August and September 2011, the building was demolished and asbestos boarding removed by employees, exposing them to potentially significant quantities of asbestos fibres released during the work.
French Socialist leader charged over asbestos deaths: Martine Aubry, the former leader of France’s governing Socialist Party, has been charged with manslaughter in a probe into whether state negligence contributed to thousands of deaths caused by asbestos exposure. The charges against Aubry relate to her time as a senior official in the ministry of social affairs, before she became a major figure in French politics. As the ministry’s director of industrial relations from 1984-87, Aubry is accused of having helped to delay the implementation in France of a 1983 European Union directive designed to strengthen the protection of workers dealing with asbestos. The examining magistrate in the case believes Aubry bowed to pressure from industrialists lobbying against a complete ban on the use of the material and that she ignored warnings from French health authorities of a mushrooming epidemic of cancers and terminal lung diseases.
Asbestos legal battle looming: A BUNDABERG man who says he was exposed to asbestos over a 15-year period at different workplaces has lodged a claim for compensation after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Ernest Tanna, 63, worked as a labourer for various sugar mills, the Johnstone Shire Council, and Mount Isa Mines between the mid-1960s and 1980 and was believed to have been exposed to high levels of asbestos on the job. Mr Tanna said he was angry that he and his colleagues weren’t informed about the dangers of asbestos which has long been regarded as one of the likely causes of lung cancer. “I would come home covered in dust from head to toe,” Mr Tanna said. “If I would have known about the dangers of asbestos back then, I wouldn’t have gone anywhere near it.
MISC. (1)
Steam pipe ruptures in downtown Boston, releasing small amount of asbestos: An underground steam pipe near Boston City Hall ruptured early this morning, spewing steam and a small amount of asbestos into the air, according to the Boston Fire Department. The leak happened just after 1 a.m. on Congress Street at Hanover Street, said department spokesman Steve MacDonald. When the 14-inch pipe ruptured, it sent steam and particles of asbestos insulation into the air, MacDonald said.

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