Posts Tagged ‘National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’

Study indicates firefighters diagnosed with mesothelioma at twice the rate of general population

23 Jan 2014 by under News, Research/Treatment

fire 100x100 Study indicates firefighters diagnosed with mesothelioma at twice the rate of general populationA recent study by the () revealed firefighters had a rate of mesothelioma two times greater than the rate in the U.S. as a whole. The research included a combined population of nearly 30,000 firefighters from Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco fire departments who were employed since 1950. (more…)

Maine leads nation in mesothelioma deaths

30 Apr 2009 by under News, Research/Treatment

The Maine Public Broadcasting Network yesterday reported that the state has the highest rate of death resulting from mesothelioma per capita in the United States. MPBN quoted Ki Moon Bang, the senior epidemiologist at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, as saying Maine’s death rate is 27.5 per million population as a result of asbestos, for a total 0f 173 deaths in the state. The NIOSH study examined mesothelioma rates nationwide from 1999-2005.

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos fibers, which when they are inhaled remain in the body. Asbestos exposure can also cause asbestosis, a severe scarring of the lungs, and lung cancer. Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer that affects the lining of the lungs and, less commonly, the stomach and/or the heart.

Bang said the high rate of mesothelioma death in Maine could come from any of three sources: asbestos used in homes or other buildings as insulation prior to the substance being largely (although not completely) banned in the late 1970s; naturally occurring asbestos deposits where Maine borders New Brunswick and Quebec; or exposure in the workplace.

According to the study, some of Maine’s largest employers used asbestos, including paper companies, chemical companies, and the shipyard inudstry. Bang says a study recently released by the National Cancer Institute places people formerly employed by the shipyard at the most elevated risk from asbestos disease including mesothelioma.

There also is danger to those working in the construction industry, as many products still contain small amounts of asbestos, as it is not yet entirely banned in the United States.

According to the MPBN report, Bang says mesotheioma deaths in the United States is expected to peak in 2010, about 40 years after companies began limiting or avoiding the use of asbestos.

Please help ban the use of asbestos in America. SIGN OUR PETITION!

CDC grant for possible Ground Zero illnesses

31 Jul 2008 by under News, Research/Treatment

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently announced a new program to provide $30 million in grant money for health screenings, assessments, monitoring and tracking, and improved access to health care services and treatments for those who may have been impacted by the World Trade Center collapse on Sept. 11. The grant will be available not only to first responders and other workers, but also to hundreds of thousands of Manhattan residents who live or lived near the Twin Towers.

The buildings’ collapse released thousands of pounds of hazardous material into the atmosphere, which may have included a combination of glass, asbestos, fiberglass, pulverized concrete, lead, mercury, cadmium, dioxins and PCBs. Construction of the World Trade Center buildings was begun before the use of asbestos was banned in the U.S., and some estimates say as much as 400 tons of asbestos fiber was in the buildings.

People near could experience a number of medical problems as a result of their exposure to this toxic dust, including respiratory problems and asbestos disease including mesothelioma.

In an official release from the CDC, Christine Branche, acting director of the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), said, “These public health dollars extend the reach of our efforts so that they help support the provision of the health care services to residents, students, an others who were in the vicinity of the attacks of September 11, 2001.”

The release says the NIOSH-administered grants provide up to $10 million per year for three years, and the money can be used to help cover gaps when individuals’ public or private insurance is insufficient to fully cover the costs associated with care or treatment.

Funding will be provided to one to three organizations, with the deadline for proposal submission set for Aug. 25, 2008. For more information about how to apply for one of these grants, visit The CDC encourages health and medical care facilities to apply.

The CDC says it already has invested at least $925 million in programs to support responders to the emergency.

Nanotechnology linked to mesothelioma concern

21 May 2008 by under News, Research/Treatment

nanotube graphic 150x150 Nanotechnology linked to mesothelioma concernThe scientific journal Nature Nanotechnology published a report May 20 detailing the results of an early study that likens the effect of carbon nanotubes to asbestos when introduced into the body. Researchers injected mice with nanotube fibers and observed the same type of imbedding, irritation, inflamation and the creation of lesions called granulomas, which can lead to mesothelioma.

Nanotubes are tiny, cylindrical carbon molecules that, according to Wikipedia, exhibit extraordinary strength and unique electrical properties, and are efficient conductors of heat. They are already being used in sporting equipment like bicycle frames and tennis rackets due to their strength, and are thought to be the future of technology. They are used in some electronic components now, and are being researched to build tiny electronics and optics.

Researchers do not believe that materials containing carbon nanotubes are dangerous in and of themselves, in materials and products where they are safely encased, but are concerned about tiny nanotube fibers being released when those products are broken or incinerated. Also, they are concerned about workplace safety for nano factory workers.

The Washington Post reported that “preliminary evidence of cancer risk is strong enough to justify urgent follow-up tests and government guidance for nano factory workers.”

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is conducting nanotoxicology research, and, according to a story in the San Francisco Chronicle, already recommends people working with carbon nanotubes follow NIOSH guidelines for working with engineered nanomaterials. This includes using respirators and special filters to clean the air.

It is estimated that nanotubes will be a $2 billion industry within the next few years, and nanoparticle technology and production even more than that.

The Washington Post points out that there is already significant federal spending in place to support this industry, with the National Nanotechnology Initiative providing about $1.5 billion a year for research. Only 5 percent of that fund is focused on health and safety.

While the carbon nanotube research is preliminary, its findings are significant enough to warrant real concern.

John M. Balbus, health program chief at the Environmental Defense Fund, made a prophetic statement to the Washington Post about the future of nanotechnology as it relates to public health. The paper quotes him as saying, “I think we are really coming to a critical juncture relating to transparency and stewardship. We will see whether various companies are going to be proactive and up front with people, and communicate openly in a way that inspires confidence and not repeat mistakes that other industries made in the past.”

National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank operational

15 May 2008 by under News, Organizations, Research/Treatment

This week the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF) announced that a National Virtual Bank (NMVB) is now operative. ’s advocacy efforts, in cooperation with medical and academic institutions, helped make this tissue bank a reality.

According to a release on MARF’s web site, the Virtual Bank, which was four years in development, is the first mesothelioma research resource of its kind. The NMVB provides mesothelioma tissue samples from a variety of institutions, clinically annotated in a readily accessible database, to researchers in all mesothelioma investigations.

The Meso Foundation is the national organization dedicated to eradicating mesothelioma as a life-ending disease by funding the highest quality and most promising research projects from around the world through our rigorous peer-reviewed process; helping patients connect with national meso experts and obtain the most up-to-date information on treatment options; and advocating in Washington, D.C., for federal mesothelioma research funding to stop this national tragedy.

The Foundation has funded more than $5 million in mesothelioma research projects around the world, to date.

According to the MARF release, the NMVB is a collaborative effort of multiple organizations, including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which together provided the initial $1 million grant for starting the tissue bank.

The release goes on to describe the NMVB as a bioinformatics system that combines assorted data from mesothelioma-related specimens into a single, annotated engine. The goal of the tissue bank is to expedite the discovery of preventive measures, novel therapeutic interventions and ultimately cures for mesothelioma.

For more information on the National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank, visit

The Meso Foundation will host its annual symposium to educate patients and families on the latest advances in meso research and treatment this year in Washington, D.C., June 26-28.

Asbestos: A Looming Crisis in Public Health

26 Feb 2008 by under Organizations, Research/Treatment

A report published recently by the (EWG) provides startling and frightening information about the state of asbestos-related disease in the United States today, and its potential for future health issues. A study of official government data reveals an epidemic of asbestos-caused diseases in the United States that claims the life of one out of every 125 American men who die over the age of 50.national meso map.thumbnail Asbestos: A Looming Crisis in Public Health

Ten thousand Americans die each year – a rate approaching 30 deaths per day – from diseases caused by asbestos, according to a detailed analysis of government mortality records and epidemiological studies by the EWG Action Fund. Asbestos kills thousands more people than skin cancer each year, and nearly the number that are slain in assults with firearms, they found.

Another scary statistic shows that mesothelioma was not tracked as a cause of death by federal health officials until 1999. Prior to that time, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health () tried to estimate the number of deaths due to malignant mesothelioma by using surrogate measures with tumors related to mesotheliomas.

The report states that scientists now know that estimates of mesothelioma based on surrogate indicators dramatically underestimated the number of deaths due to mesothelioma. The EWG Action Fund found the first year that federal officials began tracking mesothelioma as a distinct cause of death, official mortality more than doubled! In 1998, the last year surrogate indicators were used, the estimated number of mesothelioma deaths was 935. One year later, when malignant mesothelioma was specifically coded as a cause of death, the number of deaths was 2,343.

The EWG also estimates that we may not see the peak in U.S. asbestos disease for another 10 years or more.There was widespread use of asbestos in the United States by the mid-1970s. The EWG estimates that more than 3,000 consumer and industrial products on the market at that time contained asbestos; asbestos product factories were polluting nearby neighborhoods; asbestos workers were heavily exposed on the job and were bringing home substantial amounts of asbestos dust to their wives and children; and asbestos was commonly used in public buildings and workplaces for soundproofing, fireproofing, and insulation.

Awareness of the dangers of asbestos to health didn’t develop until the beginning of the 1980s, and safety measures weren’t implemented across the board even then. Asbestos is still not totally banned today. The EWG points out that it remains heavily used in brake shoes and other products, and millions of people are exposed at home or in their workplace by the monumental quantities of asbestos that remain in the built environment — the attic insulation in 30 million American homes, for instance — following decades of heavy use.Asbestos diseases have a 20 to 50 year latency period, meaning that a substantial portion of individuals exposed in the 1960s and 1970s are just now showing up as disease or mortality statistics.

The magnitude of this public health crisis raises profound questions about the wisdom and fairness of doing anything to cut off any avenue that might provide assistance or protection to the tens of thousands of Americans who become sick and die from asbestos exposure.For more information, visit or