Asbestos in the News: Issue 36

Asbestos in the News: Issue 36
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 22 stories we thought may interest you!
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Man who pushed for Saskatchewan asbestos registry dies: A Saskatchewan man who urged the province to make lists available to everyone of public buildings that contain asbestos is dead. The family of Howard Willems says he died peacefully Thursday after a long battle with mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that comes from inhaling asbestos fibres. “He gathered the family around and said he’d had enough and he was tired,” Todd said in a phone interview from Saskatoon. “Just wanted to go in peace.”
Asbestos registry needed: cancer society: The majority of Canadians are sending a clear message that a public registry of buildings containing asbestos, including private homes, is important and 78 per cent say it’s the responsibility of the federal government to create one, according to poll results released by the Canadian Cancer Society. The Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Medical Association have joined forces in urging the federal government to establish one central public registry of all buildings in Canada that contain asbestos. The registry should be free, easily accessible and include privately owned buildings, buildings on aboriginal lands and government-owned structures. “We know all forms of asbestos cause cancer and creating a public registry is a crucial first step in making sure Canadians are not exposed to this harmful substance,” says Dan Demers, director of public issues at the Canadian Cancer Society. “Once it’s known that a building contains asbestos then appropriate action can be taken to protect people from this substance.”
Asbestos book helps renovators identify asbestos in their home: Asbestos Audits has officially launched its new book, Identifying Asbestos in your Home, which seeks to help homeowners and renovators understand and locate asbestos used in the construction of their homes. Author Brian Sketcher from Asbestos Audits Queensland has collated his experience and knowledge gained from 25 years of inspecting buildings for asbestos, and put it together in this comprehensive book. “Unfortunately, very little information about asbestos identification is available in Australia. As far as I’m aware, it is not taught in TAFE, trade or university courses. With the housing boom in turn causing a renovation boom, this book will help Australians be aware of the hazards of asbestos and the possible consequences of exposure,” says Brian Sketcher.
Veterans & Mesothelioma: Those That Fought For Us Need Us To Fight For Them: Prior to the mid 1970’s asbestos was widely used throughout the military. It was thought of as a fantastic product due to its insulation properties and the fact that it will not catch on fire. Through testing it had demonstrated that it did not burn. Because of this it was woven into fabrics that were used to make things like gloves and aprons for workers in overheated climates. The military used it for insulation on many bases, ships, and buildings. Asbestos was used to line ceilings, walls and floors in areas that needed fire protection. Many of these buildings still stand, with very little changes made to them, today. Crews aboard a Navy ship would have been exposed to asbestos from its use lining engine rooms. There were so much asbestos used on Navy ships that the US Government estimates several tons of asbestos insulation was used in the engine rooms of every ship. Due to the high use of asbestos throughout the military Veterans have a greater risk of developing mesothelioma than the rest of the United States population. Veterans represent only 8% of Americas population, but 30% of the mesothelioma related deaths.
Aged asbestos-cement water pipes across U.S. pose a risk for workers: The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) has confirmed that workers in Houston, Texas were exposed to asbestos while repairing one of the city’s water mains in 2011. The Scientific Analytical Institute (SAI) determined that the pipe was composed of 35 percent asbestos (25 percent chrysotile asbestos and 10 percent crocidolite asbestos). According to the workers, they were not informed that the pipe contained asbestos nor given personal protective equipment appropriate for handling asbestos. The workers told ADAO that they were instructed to cut the pipe using a power saw and sledge hammer, which released asbestos into the environment. “Cities must ensure that asbestos-cement pipe is handled with utmost caution.” “It is inexcusable that workers continue to be exposed to asbestos, a known human carcinogen,” said Linda Reinstein, co-founder of ADAO. “In order to protect workers’ safety and health, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has developed detailed standards for handling asbestos. Nonetheless, some contractors continue to knowingly expose their workers to asbestos without complying with these standards. ADAO calls on Congress to require that OSHA’s asbestos standards are enforced so that workers’ safety and health are never compromised.” Beginning in the 1960s and continuing into the 1980s, cities throughout the U.S. installed millions of miles of asbestos-cement pipes. As these pipes wear over time, they rupture and require repair.
Catherine Junior School pupils to go to other schools: About 400 children from a fire damaged school in Leicester are set to continue their education at four different schools from Monday. Pupils were evacuated from Catherine Junior School, in Brandon Street, due to the blaze on 30 October. Damage to buildings and the presence of asbestos has meant its long-term future is unclear.
Growing anger over asbestos find at school: MORE than 170 parents and family members have signed a petition saying they have lost confidence in the council over its handling of an asbestos discovery at a school.
Asbestos and Mesothelioma: Still Silent Killers: Even though asbestos use has been limited in the U.S. since the late ’80s, it is not illegal to use it in small quantities. Therefore, it still presents a risk, especially to people who work in the industries that still utilize the legal amount on a regular basis. For example, asbestos is used in some car products, including brakes, and this presents a risk to both the manufacturers of those parts and the mechanics who install them.
Links to Life award winners to be honoured: The group Victims of Chemical Valley will receive this year’s Links to Life Award Nov. 15 at the ninth annual banquet honouring contributions to health and safety in Sarnia-Lambton. Sandra Kinart, who was named along with Victims of Chemical Valley, said she’s pleased the group is being honoured by its peers. Made up largely of women who have lost husbands and other family members to occupational disease, the group has lobbied for several years on behalf of workers and their families. “These women have worked for a long time and very hard at being a good advocate for the issue of occupational disease and asbestos awareness,” she said.
Victim of killer asbestos calls for help from Stortford workmates: A MUM of four who claims her work in Bishop’s Stortford caused her terminal cancer is calling on former colleagues to help her battle for justice. Lorraine Berry, nee Trundle, who lives in Sawbridgeworth, has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, aged just 48. She is struggling to come to terms with the fact she will be robbed of family life because, she claims, she was not protected from asbestos dust while she worked for a development company in Bishop’s Stortford.
ADAO Confirms Asbestos in Water Mains in Houston, Texas: The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) has confirmed that workers in Houston, Texas were exposed to asbestos while repairing the city’s water mains in 2011. The Scientific Analytical Institute (SAI) determined that the pipe was composed of 35% asbestos (25% chrysotile asbestos and 10% crocidolite asbestos). According to the workers, they were not informed that the pipe contained asbestos nor given personal protective equipment appropriate for handling asbestos. The workers told ADAO that they were instructed to cut the pipe using a power saw and sledge hammer, which released asbestos into the air.
Asbestos illness leaves victim baffled: A man who has the deadly asbestos-related disease mesothelioma fears he may have contracted it when he was a student at a school in Wagin more than 30 years ago. Diagnosed in July last year, Ballidu resident John McDonald, 49, is appealing for information from anyone who was a student or teacher at Wagin junior high school in the 1970s, when he believes the school used asbestos in an extension. Slater and Gordon lawyer Tricia Wong said Mr McDonald was considering seeking compensation from building products manufacturer James Hardie and from the Education Department. It was a race against time and he would need help from others who were at the same school to be able to mount a case for compensation.
Village hall asbestos find: Asbestos has been discovered during the refurbishment of Denholm Village Hall, but it seems there was no danger to the public. Last weekend’s Denholm Folk Festival was forced to move from its traditional venue to Denholm Kirk and the Auld Cross Keys Inn after the discovery. Organiser Kenny Speirs told TheSouthern: “There was no question we could use the hall for the festival.” Revealing the story, he said: “The refurbishment began in August and was due to finish in the middle of October. Then they discovered asbestos, but not in the main hall, just in the ceiling in the entrance of the building. “It was all contained – so there was no danger. There’s no problem with asbestos unless you start drilling it and poking holes in it. Specialists were called in to deal with it, and they won’t sign off the building until it’s given the all-clear.”
Sask. creates asbestos registry for government buildings: The family of a man who died from an asbestos-related cancer says a public registry that lists government buildings containing the substance may not go far enough. Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan said Tuesday the province will create an asbestos information website. “We want to make sure that working people and their families learn about asbestos and how to keep themselves safe,” Morgan said.
Va. SC: Asbestos victim’s estate can sue shipbuilder: The Virginia Supreme Court has found that the estate of a man who had been exposed to asbestos in a private shipbuilding company while he served in the Navy was not barred by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act from filing suit against the shipbuilder. In mid-1965, Navy seaman Kenneth Gibbs was ordered to be part of the USS Lewis and Clark’s pre-commissioning crew. His job was to test systems on the nuclear submarine during the six months prior to its delivery to the Navy. In 2008, Gibbs filed suit against the shipbuilder, Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, alleging that while performing his Navy duties on the sub, he had been exposed to asbestos, causing his development of malignant mesothelioma.
Milford company fined in asbestos case: The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection on Thursday fined a local real estate company after it bypassed state asbestos regulations.
DARN Properties, LLC of Milford was assessed a more than $28,000 penalty for a 2011 renovation project on a Congress Street rental home. The company allowed asbestos-laden floor tiles taken from the property to be improperly removed and later disposed of in an open-top Dumpster, according to the state DEP. Under an agreement it reached with the state, the company must pay $8,500 of the fine. The state plans to suspend the rest of the assessment, more than $19,000, as long as the company does not tally any violations for one year.
New asbestos suits filed in St. Clair County: Earl and Bertha Marshall filed an asbestos lawsuit in St. Clair County Circuit Court on Oct. 19 against 64 defendant corporations. The Marshalls will be represented by Randy L. Gori and Barry Julian of Gori, Julian and Associates in Edwardsville. In their complaint, the Marshalls allege the defendant companies caused Earl Marshall to develop lung cancer after his exposure to asbestos-containing products throughout his career. The complaint does not indicate where the Marshalls reside; however, it states that Earl Marshall worked as a plumber at Hawthorne Racetrack in Cicero, Illinois, from 1963 until 1977; as a cook at Peter Pan Restaurant in Chicago, Illinois, from 1977 until 1978; and as a self-employed construction/demolition worker from 1978 until 1989.
James Hardie directors lose final appeal: Seven former James Hardie directors have lost an appeal to scrap penalties and disqualifications, ending a marathon legal battle over the board’s 2001 decision to release misleading information about a compensation fund for asbestos victims. But the fine for former company secretary and general counsel James Shafron was increased from $50,000 to $75,000 and a seven-year ban as a company director was kept because he held key actuarial information about the fund. The other directors – Meredith Hellicar, Michael Brown, Michael Gillfillan, Martin Koffel, Dan O’Brien, Greg Terry and Peter Willcox – had five-year bans reduced to three years and fines cut from $30,000 to $25,000, and to $20,000 for two US-based directors.
Group Cited for Asbestos Training Violations: Hawaii’s Globeteck Group Inc, a company charged with the task of training and certifying technicians in the proper removal of asbestos, has been cited by the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) for violations of the state’s official asbestos training and certification regulations, reports an article in the Hawaii Reporter. The article notes that Globeteck Group has been fined $10,000 and was cited for “two counts of issuing course completion certificates to a student who did not successfully complete two concurrently run training courses, and failing to properly ensure and document that each person receiving a certificate achieved a passing score on the examination.”
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Asbestos is not a problem of the past: On October 12th this year 900 pupils were moved out of Cwmcarn High School in Caerphilly in Wales and the school closed down after brown asbestos fibres were found in the air during a structural survey. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says if asbestos is in a good condition and undisturbed it should not be a hazard to health. The HSE’s control limit for exposure to asbestos dust in the atmosphere is based on measurements taken over a period of four hours in accordance with the World Health Organisation’s recommended methods. At the moment, the control limit is 0.1 asbestos fibres per cubic centimetre of air (0.1 f/cm3) and the HSE has progressively tightened the control limit since 1987. However, these are occupational limits for exposure in an industrial or working environment. There are no accepted safe levels for exposure in schools and the contractors’ survey found that atmospheric fibre levels in Cwmcarn High School were 20 times higher than those HSE control limits. Parents are naturally worried that those fibre levels could mean their children run a risk of developing mesothelioma, which can take several decades before symptoms become evident and is virtually undetectable until those symptoms present themselves.
Mesothelioma, Asbestos, Annuity: Google’s Most Expensive Keywords: Markus Allen posted what will be a monthly report documenting the most expensive keywords you can by on Google AdWords. Leading that keyword list this month, according to the Google AdWords Keyword tool include keywords in the category of mesothelioma, asbestos, annuity and auto donation. For example, [mesothelioma settlement] goes for $142.67 and [auto donation] goes for $84.51. The chart also shows how much the cost per click increased or decreased from the previous month. The [mesothelioma settlement] increased over 3% whereas [asbestos attorney] dropped about 1% in cost.
Asbestos | Rewind with Michael Enright | CBC Radio: All about asbestos, the substance that was once one of Canada’s major resources until it was found to be dangerous to the people who pulled it out of the earth and processed it. The needle-like fibres seemed like nature’s perfect gift. It was fireproof, indestructible and cheap. And from the 1940s to the 1970s, asbestos was everywhere. It was woven into clothes, used to insulate buildings and even mixed with water as children’s play dough. But by the late 1960s and ’70s, study upon study linked asbestos to voracious diseases such as lung cancer, scarred lungs (asbestosis) and mesothelioma, a cancer of the stomach and chest that is only caused by exposure to asbestos. As recently as 2010, Canada was still producing 150,000 tonnes of asbestos annually, all of it in Quebec, and exporting 90 per cent — worth about $90 million — to developing countries. The domestic asbestos industry is all but dead now, following the Quebec government’s decision in September to cancel a loan to the country’s last remaining mine. That was the Jeffrey Mine in Asbestos, Quebec. The largest asbestos mine in Thetford Mines, Quebec had also been shut down. On this Rewind, a look at asbestos- the industry, the miners, and the health concerns. Asbestos is a natural mineral formed during intense volcanic activities millions of years ago. By the late 1800s asbestos was mined commercially for its fireproof and virtually indestructible properties.
Quebec was rich in asbestos and it became a symbol for Canada’s prosperity and wealth.

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