Asbestos in the News: Issue 60

Asbestos in the News: Issue 60
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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An increase in future incidences of mesothelioma is being predicted as a result of the home renovation boom: QUEENSLAND’S ombudsman has recommended a new department be set up to handle the problem of asbestos. It comes as the state braces for an increase in asbestos-related diseases linked to the home-renovation boom. A report tabled in State Parliament yesterday said any buildings built before 1990 in Queensland could contain asbestos but there was a lack of co-ordination and understanding about how to deal with it. In one case outlined in the report, a woman who called her council about asbestos on a neighbour’s property in September 2011, received no response until her lawyer got involved six weeks later.
Do Asbestos Victims Deserve Compensation? And Other Questions the Wall Street Journal Never Asks: The bill is just the next step in the insurance industry’s coordinated campaign to make this debate about lawyers vs. poor, beleaguered corporations. The real story, of course, is not that there is * gasp * “rampant fraud,” but that there is an uptick in asbestos claims because people are suffering and dying form asbestos exposure. And the WSJ conveniently leaves out the well documented fact these people and their families were not exposed to asbestos by accident, but were knowingly exposed to a toxic substance in hopes of increasing coporate profits as far back as the 1930s. This article highlights the misleading “smoking gun” that more than 2,000 victims “said they were exposed to asbestos working in industrial jobs before they were 12 years old.” Sadly, as the WSJ and their allies are well aware, this latest wave of asbestos victims represent the children of workers who were exposed by asbestos tracked home daily on the clothing of their fathers — workers with the highest daily ‘on the job’ exposure levels.
Federal budget finally buries asbestos industry: If the asbestos industry in Canada was on life-support, last week’s federal budget finally pulled the plug. It was hidden midway through the budget papers, amid the more flashy and noticeable cuts to the cost of baby clothes and the “largest long-term federal commitment to Canadian infrastructure in our nation’s history.” “Supporting the Economic Transition of Communities Economically Linked to the Chrysotile Asbestos Industry,” said the headline on page 241. “Historically, the chrysotile asbestos industry has been a significant employer in the communities of Thetford Mines and Asbestos in the province of Quebec,” reads the section. “Due to the decline of the industry, these communities are now exploring ways to diversify their local economies and create new jobs. Confirming the commitment made by the government in September 2012, Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to provide $50 million over seven years to Canada Economic Development for Quebec regions to support economic diversification efforts in the communities of Thetford Mines and Asbestos.”
Asbestos in at least 180 Quebec health care sites: Documents obtained by Radio-Canada through access to information requests reveal 180 health care sites in the province contain asbestos, and there could be more. The buildings known to contain the carcinogenic fibre, which was once used as a fire-retardant, include various hospitals, clinics, and long-term care homes. Provincial authorities acknowledge the list is incomplete and say they are working to create a registry, but it will be at least two more years before it is complete.

Breaking the chrysotile habit: Track the decline of Canada’s asbestos industry: In last week’s budget, the federal government promised $50-million over seven years to help diversify the economies of two Quebec towns: Thetford Mines and Asbestos. Both communities historically relied on asbestos mining as the biggest driver of their economies. And with the decline of the asbestos industry, the local economies have suffered.
Asbestos found in Union, around campus: Recently, announcements about the dangers of asbestos on television, radio and the Internet have increased—especially its links with mesothelioma, a fatal form of cancer found in the linings of the lungs, abdomen and heart. Asbestos has often been linked with workplace environments such as shipyards, railroads and many remodeling and construction jobs. But this mineral fiber, a popular insulate and fire retardant, has impacted campus as well. Recently, students may have begun to notice that the 4th floor or “attic” of Willard Hall is closed with a yellow sticker stating “Danger of Asbestos.” This room, usually full of students, stands empty because of the threat. This is not the only place that asbestos has been found at K-State. Division of facilities supervisor Larry McCoy confirmed cases of asbestos prevalent in the ceilings of the K-State Student Union and the basement of Waters Hall to name a few.
Yet Another Form of Cancer Attributed to Asbestos Exposure: Recently, another disease has been added to those with a possible connection to asbestos. As stated in an article (February 28, 2013) from, the Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine at the University of Bologna has observed a link between asbestos exposure and cholangiocarcinoma, a form of bile duct cancer. Medical surveys conducted by the research team found that 24 out of 258 patients they treated for cholangiocarcinoma had sustained occupational or household exposure to asbestos and ten of these patients did not have any other known risk factors for the disease. Since the research team published these findings in 2009, they have been conducting a case-control study to test if asbestos might be a risk factor for cholangiocarcinoma. Their results have been published in the February 2013 issue of Cancer Causes and Control and in fact, those results indicate an increased risk for the disease among patients with past exposure to asbestos.
Lung Volume Indirectly Measures Mesothelioma Tumor Growth, Impacts Prognosis: Size matters. Tumor size, that is. Doctors monitor tumor size throughout cancer treatment to determine whether or not the selected therapies are working. If, despite treatment, the tumors continue to grow, doctors know that their approach is not improving the patient’s prognosis. At that point, they may need to turn to a different treatment plan. Sometimes, though, measuring the tumors is easier said than done.
Vermiculite insulation containing asbestos: Of concern is vermiculite ore produced from the Libby Mine in Montana from the 1920s to 1990s and sold as Zonolite® Attic Insulation and possibly other brands in Canada during that time. Vermiculite from this mine may contain amphibole asbestos. The Libby Mine supplied the majority of the world market in vermiculite-based insulation. Products made from vermiculite ore produced by the Libby Mine were not widely used after the mid-1980’s and have not been on the market in Canada for more than 10 years. Not all vermiculite insulation produced before 1990 contains amphibole asbestos fibres. However, to be safe and in the absence of evidence to the contrary, it is reasonable to assume that if your building has older vermiculite-based insulation, it may contain some amphibole asbestos.
Dr. Arthur Frank Speaks to Ninth ADAO Conference About Looming Mesothelioma Crisis Brewing in Asia: Asia is the world’s largest continent in both size and population— China and India have two of the fastest-growing economies and the two biggest populations in the world. Chrysotile dependence here goes unchecked, according to Frank. In some cases it is running rampant, simply because asbestos is a cheap, easy, and durable material for insulating roofs, making cement, and a multitude of other necessities in rapid-growth zones. Dr. Frank’s alarm reflects multiple expert studies projecting a spike in mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases in Asia by 2030. “What we can expect is very predictable—an absolute catastrophe of death and disease.” He emphasizes, however, that it is “all preventable.”
New Drug Combo May Fight Mesothelioma: A new study finds that the combination of a naturally occurring protein and a drug used to treat multiple myeloma may offer a promising new approach to treating mesothelioma. Malignant pleural mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung lining caused by asbestos exposure, is known to be difficult to treat using standard cancer therapies. The newly-tested combination of TNFalpha-Related Apoptosis Inducing Ligand (TRAIL) and the cancer drug bortezomib appears to kill mesothelioma cells by triggering “robust apoptosis” (programmed cell death).
International Data Suggests Estrogen May Play Key Role in Defying Peritoneal Mesothelioma: n New South Wales, Australia, a possible mesothelioma breakthrough is emerging: Early tests show that a form of estrogen— the sex hormone estradiol— may slow down or speed up peritoneal mesothelioma growth depending on its location and proximity to estrogen receptors (ERs). “Peritoneal” means the abdominal lining. This kind of mesothelioma accounts for 20-30 percent of all mesothelioma diagnoses.
Asbestos Cleanup Begins at Valley Forge: The long-awaited cleanup of the asbestos release site at Valley Forge National Historical Park began this month, according to site manager Donna Davies. Actual excavation of soil is scheduled to begin in April 2013, while the remediation and restoration of impacted areas should be finished by the summer 2014. The site will be reopened for public use at that time.
Nassau Coliseum Workers To File Lawsuits Over Asbestos ExposurE: The situation surrounding the Nassau Coliseum just continues to get uglier. More than 100 workers are alleging that long-term exposure to asbestos at Nassau Coliseum has made them seriously ill. The plaintiffs represent current and former employees of the county-owned arena. They include electricians and carpenters who worked as independent contractors. Attorney Joseph Dell told Newsday that 140 people have filed notices of claim, the first step toward filing a lawsuit. He says they’ll name the county, the New York Islanders and facility manager SMG.
Ruling cracks open asbestos bankruptcy records: Documents in 12 major asbestos-related bankruptcies could be unsealed for the first time next month in a novel bid by a manufacturer to bolster its defense against a barrage of claims that its products caused deadly cancer and mesothelioma. Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC won access to lists of clients of plaintiffs’ attorneys after a federal judge in Delaware on March 1 reversed a bankruptcy court judge who kept the documents from the public. The bankruptcies include Pittsburgh Corning Corp, W.R. Grace & Co, Kaiser Aluminum Corp and nine others. Law firms that opposed opening the records called the volume of material “staggering” and “of almost unprecedented scope.”
Elderly Pa. man, West Virginia widow file separate asbestos claims in Phila. court: A 92-year–old Montgomery County man who allegedly suffers from pulmonary asbestosis as a result of working with products containing the fiber years ago was one of two plaintiffs who filed mass tort asbestos claims in state court recently. William J. Filandino and his wife, Edith, who reside in Bridgeport, Pa., filed a short-form complaint in the master asbestos docket at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on March 21 against 15 defendants who deal in asbestos.
MISC. (3)
A web of intrigue: Tarantula skin found contaminated with asbestos in attic… and the beast that shed it could be still around and twice as large: To most people, even the sight of the smallest of spiders can cause an irrational fear and terror. But surveyor Katie Parsons-Young has good reason for being petrified after finding the skin of a large tarantula contaminated with asbestos in a darkened attic. And an arachnid expert warned the beast that shed the skin could still be at large – and possibly twice the size.
Asbestos love-in runs its course; Feds take timid step to help Ring of Fire: The Harper’s government fondness for the cancer-causing chrysotile asbestos industry seems to have run its course. As part of Thursday’s budget, Ottawa will send $50 million over the next seven years to help the commmunities of Thetford Mines and Asbestos, Quebec diversify their economies away from exploiting the dangerous mineral. Canada has taken heat for keeping its asbestos industry alive and shipping exports to countries like India, an effort that requires federal and provincial subsidies.
Mum, baby flee house and asbestos: WHEN Emily Mann noticed the plasterboard chipping in her three-month-old son’s bedroom, she thought it was just in need of some paint. But when chunks of wall crumbled to the floor, she knew something was wrong. “The landlord came and inspected it and told me it was asbestos,” Ms Mann said. “I contacted the asbestos people in Brisbane and told them what was going on, and they said ‘get out right now’.” Ms Mann and her three-month-old son, Eli Dobbins, have been living in the Cunningham Hwy house, about 30km out of Warwick, for the past 10 months.

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