The American Association for Justice (AAJ), through its new blog site, Take Justice Back, is asking the public to speak out to help protect the rights of asbestos victims. At issue is legislation currently before the U.S. Congress that would protect corporations that knowingly exposed workers to asbestos. Asbestos exposure is directly linked to the development of mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that affects the lining of the lungs or abdomen, and, rarely, the heart. There is no known cure for mesothelioma. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘asbestos disease’
The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) 2013 Symposium kicks off Thursday, March 7, in Las Vegas, Nevada. If you can’t attend in person this year, don’t worry! You can attend “virtually” with a live streaming broadcast of the conference! (more…)
A recent report by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) throws light on an alarming problem often overlooked in the wake of natural disasters – the massive increase in risk of exposure to asbestos. The report specifically examines the situation in Fukushima, Japan, following the devastating 2011 tsunami, which leveled miles of the country’s northeast coast, leaving piles of debris where communities once stood. Many of the buildings that were destroyed had been manufactured following World War II, using asbestos. (more…)
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) is asking the public to help give a voice to efforts to ensure a safe and healthy workplace. Simply go online to vote that an article titled “Ensure all jobs are healthy jobs” by Michael Kalmus Eliasz should be presented to the upcoming United Nations Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, scheduled to take place June 20-22 in Rio de Janeiro. (more…)
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) has made an educational slideshow titled “Asbestos – See for Yourself” available online. The slides feature striking images of actual asbestos fibers, as well as products that contain asbestos or historical products that used to be made with asbestos. The slideshow is concluded with a short video. (more…)
Professional golfer Fred Couples designated $25,000 from the 2011 Presidents Cup tournament to go to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. The Presidents Cup tournament raised a record-setting $4.5 million in proceeds to be distributed to charitable organizations around the world. Beneficiaries are chosen by the 30 players, captains and captains’ assistants. Couples chose the Meso Foundation with his girlfriend and caddy, Midge Elo Trammell, whose father, George Sheldon Elo, passed away in 2009 after a battle with pleural mesothelioma. (more…)
A landmark verdict handed down by a three-judge panel in Turin, Italy, could set a precedent for manufacturers dealing with toxic environmental substances, like asbestos. Following a two-year trial, two former executives of a Swiss building-products company were found guilty on criminal charges, held responsible for the deaths of more than 3,000 people who lived and worked around four Italian asbestos cement factories. Asbestos has been proven to cause deadly diseases, including mesothelioma, a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen and, in rare cases, the heart. The verdict was handed down Monday, Feb. 13, 2012. (more…)
As part of its look back at the year 2009, the Missioulian newspaper spoke with residents of Libby, Montana, the “poster child” for mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases. Libby and its people have been decimated by asbestos exposure from the vermiculite mine that for generations operated in the town. Even those who did not work in the mine were affected, as asbestos dust blanketed the town, spilled from trucks and railway cars, and asbestos particles were used as landfill throughout the town.
W.R. Grace & Company operated the mine. In 2009, the company and several of its officers were brought up on criminal charges, but a jury returned a verdict of “not guilty.” Many following the trial closely said the government botched its case against the company, and others argued Grace’s deep pockets simply outpaced the efforts of a handful of government lawyers.
The aquittal was another in a long line of emotional blows for Libby residents, who hoped to see W.R. Grace finally brought to justice for the devastation of their hometown, their families and loved ones. Generations of Libby residents have already died of mesothelioma, and many more are currently suffering from mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and a host of other ailments caused by longterm exposure to asbestos.
On June 17, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finally declared a public health emergency in Libby. This designation – the first of its kind in American history – will allow the government to increase funds to provide for medical treatment for Libby residents, and for research into asbestos disease. According to the Missoulian, Libby has already received $6 million, which is designated for patient screening and care, and the town is set to receive an additional $2 million for health care and home care assistance. The paper reports the asbestos health care clinic – the Center for Asbestos Related Diseases (CARD) – and the local hospital are planning expansions.
At the beginning of December, a series of town hall meetings were held, hoping to address important questions about safety and health, including whether or not the government’s clean-up efforts are truly making any difference.
For residents who already have seen husbands, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives die terrible deaths from asbestos disease, it is too little too late. They try to remain strong, but they are angry, and sad, and it’s hard to hold onto hope.
Read the full article by Missoulian reporter Micheal Jamison.
A recent study published in the September 2009 issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine reports workers at four U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) facilities have elevated risks for developing cancer, and former construction workers at the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington state are 11 times more likely to develop mesothelioma, in particular.
The study, Mortality of Older Construction and Craft Workers Employed at Department of Energy (DOE) Sites, was funded by the DOE and involved a medical screening program that began in 1996 and followed older construction workers at four DOE nuclear weapons complex sites. Sites in the study were Savannah River Site (SRS), South Carolina; Hanford near Richland, Wash.; and facilities at Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Amchitka, Alaska.
The study indicated Hanford workers were 11 times more likely to develop mesothelioma, and three times more likely to develop multiple myeloma, a cancer found in white blood cells. Additionally, Hanford workers died of asbestosis, a severe scarring of the lungs resulting from asbestos inhalation, at rates 30 times higher than the general population. The study also found higher rates of deaths from cancers of the trachea, bronchus and lungs among Hanford workers.
According to the report, significantly excess mortality was observed for all cancers, lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis at all four sites studied. Additionally, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was in excess at Oak Ridge and multiple myeloma was in excess at Hanford. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was significantly elevated among workers at the Savannah River Site.
Workers participating in the study, called the Building Trades National Medical Screening Program, were followed to determine their vital status and mortality experience through Dec. 31, 2004. There were 8,976 workers included in the initial screening program, all of whom had participated in the building trades at the sites. Their data was gathered between 1998 and 2004, and compared to the National Death Index.
Approximately 31 percent of the people in the study – or close to 3,000 workers – had done construction work at the Hanford facility. Since the beginning of the study, 266 Hanson workers had passed away, and 94 of those deaths were attributed to cancer. That number reflects 14 more cancer deaths than would be expected in the general U.S. population.
According to its web site, the Building Trades National Medical Screening Program was developed to identify health problems caused by hazardous substances that workers may have been exposed to while working on a Department of Energy site. It is led by the CPWR, The Center for Construction Research and Training, in Washington, D.C. The consortium includes the University of Cincinnatie Medical Center (Ohio), Duke University Medical Center (N.C.), and Zenith Administrators, Inc., Seattle, Wash. The program is sponsored by the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO and endorsed by various state and local Building and Construction Trades Councils.
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) reported this week that the New South Wales Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that it will impose penalties against seven former directors and three executives of James Hardie Industries Limited. James Hardie is a manufacturer of Fiber Cement Siding and Backerboard. The court said the former Australian listed entity (JHIL) breached the Corporations Act in 2001 when making statements about the adequacy of asbestos compensation funding. The court also ruled James Hardie Industries NV (JHINV, based in the Netherlands) breached its continuous disclosure obligation in 2003.
James Hardie was one of Australia’s largest manufacturers of asbestos building products, and was alleged to have known the dangers of asbestos for decades.
The current proceedings came about as a result of ASIC’s investigation of matters identified by the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Medical Research and Compensation Foundation. James Hardie established the foundation, which was intended to compensate families who lost loved ones to asbestos disease, in 2001. The inquiry into the MRCF was established in 2004, and the commission found that James Hardie industries deliberately underfunded the victims’ compensation fund
According to a report by Nonee Walsh of ABC News, who has been following the story since 2003, James Hardie has spent about $25 million so far fighting the ASIC’s case, while asbestos victims and their families have been simultaneously negotiating for new funding for the foundation. Payments to the new asbestos compensation foundation are currently suspended.
Walsh also noted that Australia has one of the highest rates of asbestos disease in the world, including asbestos-caused lung cancer, mesothelioma. In 2003, when the sale of all asbestos products was finally banned in Australia, the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission went on record as saying there is no known safe level of asbestos exposure.
The only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure, and there is currently no known cure. Mesothelioma most often affects the lining of the chest cavity and lungs, but also may affect the lining of the abdomen or, more rarely, the heart. Asbestos exposure also causes a variety of other diseases, including asbestos, a severe scarring of the lungs.
It is estimated that the levels of asbestos disease will not peak in Australia until 2020, when it is expected that there will be 13,000 cases of mesothelioma and up to 40,000 cases of other asbestos-related lung cancer and disease.
The New South Wales Supreme Court imposed financial penalties totaling $750,000, and said the company directors and executives named in the case will be barred from serving other boards of directors for between 5 and 15 years.
According to the ASIC, the James Hardie decision underlines the responsibility of companies to assess and check the veracity of statements make to the market. ASIC Chairman Tony D’Aloisio said, “The decision is another important step in improving corporate governance in Australia and that improvement will add confidence to the integrity of our markets.”
The matter will return to the Court on August 27, at which time the Court will make orders reflecting the penalties. The defendants will then have 28 days to appeal the findings.