Asbestos in the News: Issue 48

Asbestos in the News: Issue 48
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 11 stories we thought may interest you!
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Vermiculite Insulation May Expose People to Dangerous Asbestos Fibers: Millions of homes across America may be contaminated with asbestos tainted vermiculite insulation. Vermiculite is a light-weight, fire-resistant, and odorless material that has been used in numerous products, including insulation for attics and walls. Although not all materials that contain vermiculite have asbestos, many products containing vermiculite and asbestos were sold in the United States until the 1990s. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “If you have vermiculite insulation in your home, you should assume this material may be contaminated with asbestos and be aware of steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from exposure to asbestos.”

Remodeling and asbestos or lead concerns: Whether you have purchased a home that you are anticipating remodeling, or you have finally decided to update the family home once the kids have grown up and moved away, there are things to be aware of to protect yourself from accidental exposure to asbestos and lead. Asbestos is found in many different construction materials. It was used because of its fire resistant qualities, its strength and durability. Most commonly used materials in homes are floor tile, mastic for flooring and wall board, acoustical ceiling or popcorn ceiling, plaster, insulation and duct wrap. It was also used in other materials. More detailed information on specific asbestos containing materials can be found on the EPA website.
The Danger of Asbestos in Schools: Asbestos was commonly used in schools as insulation and in building materials, such as drywall, floor/ceiling tile, applied fireproofing spray, and piping/boiler insulation. Undisturbed asbestos materials generally do not pose a health risk to students and teachers. However, over time asbestos materials can become hazardous due to deterioration or damage. If asbestos containing materials are disturbed, (e.g. during the installation, maintenance, or removal process), asbestos fibers may become airborne and pose a health threat to students, teachers and other employees within the schools. Once asbestos fibers are inhaled or swallowed, the risk of getting an asbestos related disease, such as asbestosis or mesothelioma, also increases. Student exposure to asbestos in schools is particularly concerning because once the fibers accumulate in the lungs, the latency period between asbestos exposure and the onset of symptoms can take as long as 20 to 50 years.
The tiniest particles that may be a threat as bad as asbestos: Europe is failing to control a burgeoning industry in microscopic materials, prompting claims that it has failed to heed the lessons from millions of asbestos deaths, according to a hard-hitting new report. Despite early warnings of the damage some nanomaterials could cause, EU governments are still reacting too slowly to signs of potentially deadly environmental hazards. Nanomaterials – tiny particles as small as a billionth of a metre – are not currently governed by any regulations specific to them in Britain or the EU, despite concern about the possible effect some may have on health.
The interaction of asbestos and iron in lung tissue revealed by synchrotron-based scanning X-ray microscopy: Asbestos is a potent carcinogen associated with malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer but its carcinogenic mechanisms are still poorly understood. Asbestos toxicity is ascribed to its particular physico-chemical characteristics, and one of them is the presence of and ability to adsorb iron, which may cause an alteration of iron homeostasis in the tissue. This observational study reports a combination of advanced synchrotron-based X-ray imaging and micro-spectroscopic methods that provide correlative morphological and chemical information for shedding light on iron mobilization features during asbestos permanence in lung tissue. The results show that the processes responsible for the unusual distribution of iron at different stages of interaction with the fibres also involve calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. It has been confirmed that the dominant iron form present in asbestos bodies is ferritin, while the concurrent presence of haematite suggests alteration of iron chemistry during asbestos body permanence.
Residents call for action on asbestos washing up at Henley Beach: HENLEY Beach residents have raised the alarm about asbestos sheeting which is regularly being found washed up on the shore. Locals say the debris has been washing up on the shore for years and are concerned it poses a potential health risk for beachgoers. An Environmental Protection Authority spokeswoman said if people found asbestos on the beach they should not touch it and instead contact their local council or a licensed asbestos removalist. Henley Beach man Leon Diou has been removing asbestos from the beach up to three times a week for almost 20 years, sometimes finding up to a kilogram of the material in a single day.
Cancer Council calls for state asbestos database: The WA Cancer Council has called for the establishment of a state-wide asbestos database to identify all buildings containing the harmful material. The asbestos register is one of three cancer-related issues being pushed by the council in the lead-up to the state election.
Virginia Supreme Court tosses $17.5 million asbestos verdict: The Virginia Supreme Court has reversed a $17.5 million verdict against ExxonMobil in an asbestos case, saying a trial judge improperly excluded evidence that Newport News Shipbuilding knew of the dangers of breathing the microscopic asbestos fibers. In a 5-2 ruling, the state’s highest court ruled that a jury in Newport News Circuit Court might have rendered a different verdict against the oil giant if Circuit Judge Timothy S. Fisher had allowed evidence about the shipyard’s knowledge about asbestos. The court remanded the case back to Newport News for a new trial.
Grace Announces Adjustment to Asbestos-Related Liability: W. R. Grace & Co. (NYS: GRA) announced today that it will adjust its recorded asbestos-related liability to $2,065 million from the previous amount of $1,700 million. Grace will report a $365 million non-cash, pre-tax charge in its fourth quarter 2012 earnings. This non-cash charge will have no impact on Adjusted EBIT or Adjusted EPS. As discussed in the company’s November 9, 2012 teleconference with analysts, an adjustment to the recorded amount is now necessary to reflect the increased estimates of the settlement values of the warrant and deferred payment obligation payable to the asbestos personal injury trust under Grace’s plan of reorganization.
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European Parliament Adopts Report on Asbestos: On 23 January 2013, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs of the European Parliament adopted a report drawn up by Stephen Hughes. This report is largely in line with the stated aims of the European Trade Union Confederation and organisations representing asbestos victims in different countries. The report explores over the different areas in which the European Union can intervene. It calls for a policy that protects workers and the population effectively. It notes that millions of tonnes of asbestos in existing buildings and facilities continue to represent a health hazard in Europe.
Liberty Mines finds asbestos in the ore body at its McWatters Mine: Liberty Mines Inc. (LBE:TSX) said Wednesday that it has found a form of asbestos in the ore body at its McWatters nickel mine, which is currently on care and maintenance mode. The company said it will conduct additional testing and further independent analysis to determine the impact on the economic feasibility of restarting the mine, southeast of Timmins, Ont.

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