Asbestos in the News: Issue 63

Asbestos in the News: Issue 63
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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‘You can be exposed to asbestos from as much as a pinprick in a wall’: Iain Naylor recalls the moment when his wife Sandra was diagnosed with the incurable disease in November 2012. She had been suffering from pains in her chest and shoulder and now the doctors were giving the couple the answer. Mesothelioma is a cancer particularly caused by blue asbestos and it normally takes 20 to 40 years from exposure to development. As Sandra undergoes courses of chemotherapy in the hope of controlling her illness, the pair are trying to retrace the steps which might have led to her condition. And they are sure if goes back to her school days. Sandra was a pupil at Caldervale High School in Airdrie between 1974 and 1979 – when it was a newly constructed school that had been built using asbestos.
Be Aware of Hidden Asbestos in Your Home or Office: Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was originally used in building materials because of its excellent insulation properties, its fire resistance and its overall strength. Before 1990, many buildings used asbestos mixed with other materials and in fact, it is unusual to find a building built before the mid 1980’s that did NOT contain asbestos in some form.
Death sentence in a door: If you’re the home handy type, you might be interested in a disturbing blog post I stumbled across this week about a not very well known risk posed by asbestos in doors in homes. Transport engineer and blogger, David Caldwell, veers from the subject of his usual musings with a post titled Death Sentence in a Door recounting how he exposed himself to asbestos dust for more than an hour while drilling a new lock for an 1980s era door, the type of which I’m sure you’ve seen before.
Companies still failing to recognise dangers of asbestos: Asbestos is the single greatest cause of workplace deaths in the UK, yet some companies still appear to be oblivious to the immense problems the material can cause. Although the substance has been banned in the construction industry for a number of years, it was commonly used across the country from 1950 onwards, as people did not know how damaging it was. This means that many structures still contain asbestos and refurbishment contractors come across it all the time. The dust and fibres that come from asbestos can cause long-term lung diseases, including cancer, which is why the material needs to be handled extremely carefully when it is removed from a building.
Parents express concerns about asbestos exposure: On the last day of spring break, Ivy Davis, like many kids, dreads going back to school. But Ivy, a sixth grader at East Bank Middle School, said she’s nervous for a very specific reason. “When I get in there, I notice I can’t breathe that well and I start coughing a lot where the dust has been stirred,” said Ivy, who suffers from asthma. She said ever since construction started at the junior high last fall, her wheezing has only gotten worse.

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Novel Treatment for Mesothelioma Focuses on Combating Chemo-Resistance to Cisplatin: Treatment for mesothelioma and non-small cell lung cancer is often similar, with chemotherapy being one of the primary treatment modes. Chemotherapy is used to manage symptoms and to slow the growth of the disease, but many times the tumors become resistant to the effects of the drugs, and treatment fails. Now, researchers report they have found the reason for resistance to cisplatin, one of the most common chemotherapeutic agents, leading to a novel treatment strategy for mesothelioma and other cancers.
Australia Braces for “Rash” of Mesothelioma Cases: American environmental officials charged with protecting the public against mesothelioma could take a lesson from Australia. The country continues to struggle with environmental and public health problems as a result of its long history of asbestos use. The Courier Mail newspaper’s website says the State Parliament in Queensland is bracing for a rash of mesothelioma cases among people who choose to renovate their own older homes. The new government report warns that any building built before 1990 is likely to contain asbestos, but so far there is no formal procedure for helping homeowners understand and safely address the threat.
MEPs call for removal of asbestos from all public buildings: MEPS ARE CALLING for the European Union to protect workers and citizens in member states from the effects of asbestos. A motion tabled by the Committee for Employment and Social Affairs in the European Parliament has passed through committee stage and will go before the parliament for its first reading later this month.
Asbestos in the Workplace — Who is Responsible?: A draft regulation to impose on Québec employers a duty to take additional measures with respect to the potential presence of asbestos in facilities where their employees work was published in the Gazette officielle du Québec of December 27, 2012, and may come into force in the Spring. The Regulation respecting occupational health and safety (the « ROHS ») would be amended so as to oblige employers to inspect certain buildings in order to locate and, if need be, repair the heat insulating material and flocking present in those structures. At the present time, the ROHS provides for air quality standards for workplaces, including standards governing the concentration of respirable asbestos fibres, as well as an obligation to minimize the exposure of workers to asbestos; but it does not specifically provide for an obligation to search for and maintain asbestos-containing materials. Consequently, the practices of employers and building owners with respect to the prevention of health risks associated with asbestos vary.
Neighbourhood associations fear gap in asbestos checks: Some Ottawa neighbourhood associations say they’re concerned about a potential gap in responsibility for checking demolished buildings for asbestos and other hazardous substances. The province requires developers to submit a “designated substances” report when taking down buildings, which includes steps taken to manage materials such as asbestos, lead and mercury.
Utah Court Affirms $5.2 Million Asbestos Verdict, Rejects Attempts to Apply Joint and Several Liability: A Utah appellate court has upheld a $5.2 million asbestos verdict, rejecting appeals by both the plaintiff and Union Carbide and Georgia-Pacific. In the April 4 opinion the Utah Court of Appeals also declined to apply joint and several liability, ruling that the plaintiff’s cause of action did not accrue until an illness manifested, which occurred “long after” the Comparative Negligence Act was repealed. The appellate court also rejected post-trial motions made by the defendants.
Proposed Wisconsin Bill Would Delay Asbestos Trials: Wisconsin thinks there needs to be more restrictions on asbestos-related lawsuits, so he’s proposed legislation that he says would prevent lawyers from hiding multiple claims in hopes of maximizing awards. Jacque told the Wisconsin Assembly Judiciary Committee during a public hearing last week that the bill he has introduced would result in more transparency for asbestos claims. Jacque believes the bill would help judges and jurors “see how many defendants may be at fault for one person’s illness, ensuring they divvy up damages fairly,” he said. “This is simply, again, helping better understand the totality of the circumstances.”
Asbestos labelling passes House: Products that contain asbestos would have to be labelled in Washington state stores under a bill that passed the House Tuesday.
Black Country widow launches legal fight to win justice after he died following asbestos exposure: The widow of a Black Country factory worker who died last month after being exposed to lethal asbestos has launched a legal fight to win justice for her late husband. Ralph Edward Owen, aged 61, of Toys Lane, Halesowen, succumbed to mesothelioma, a cancer linked to the deadly dust, in Russells Hall Hospital on March 21, having been diagnosed with the disease in October 2011. An inquest heard by Black Country coroner Robin Balmain on March 28 ruled that Mr Owen had died of an industrial disease.
Baucus says Libby asbestos claims to be settled soon: U.S. Sen. Max Baucus says federal Medicare officials have agreed to resolve outstanding settlement claims for at least 100 Libby asbestos victims by the end of the month. Baucus said Tuesday that more than 150 people in Libby and Lincoln County are awaiting action by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
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Asbestos a potential risk to construction workers at proposed asphalt plant site: An investigation of the site of the proposed asphalt plant in Cowes has shown a number of possible pollutants, including the presence of materials containing asbestos which could cause a risk to construction workers.
Borehole samples were taken from the Medina Wharf site in December 2012 by Mayer Brown, the company tasked with finding out if any ground contamination issues may affect Eurovia’s proposed development. The site was previously used for landfill, and the report shows active filling of the site started during the 1960s. Landfill operations were known to have continued into the 1990s, according to available waste licence records.
Peru may be close to banning asbestos: On April 1, the Minister of Health of Peru, Midori de Habich, signed a bill to ban asbestos and submitted it to President Ollanta Humala Tasso. The bill states that governments have a responsibility to protect the health and environment of citizens and refers to the scientific evidence of harm caused by all forms of asbestos. The bill forbids the import of chrysotile asbestos after 180 days from the passage of the bill and forbids the use of chrysotile asbestos after 360 days.
Investigation Continues in Paterson, NJ Asbestos Incident: As authorities in Paterson, New Jersey continue to investigate why prison inmates and untrained municipal employees were charged with the task of removing asbestos materials from municipal offices that were undergoing renovation, the city has finally decided to seek out a private licensed contractor to remove and disposal of the toxic debris. “This is part of being in compliance with what (the state) requested,” Paterson Public Works Director Christopher Coke said, noting that the city council will meet next week to vote on a resolution that charges them with the task of gathering bids to complete the project.
Baie Verte miner registry finally completed: A new registry of information about former employees and contractual workers of the Baie Verte asbestos mine has been completed — almost five years after the project began. Gathering the miners’ work history and health status began in July 2008, and at the time, the project was expected to take a year and a half. Collection data involved thousands of people who were employed at the mine between 1955 and 1995. Former miners and their union have been raising questions about exposure to asbestos for decades. Years of research have shown that asbestos exposure can cause lung diseases, such as asbestosis — and cancers like mesothelioma.

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