Nearly a quarter of states have asbestos claims transparency laws on the books, and Missouri is poised to raise the number to 13, according to the St. Louis Record. Even if the bill making its way through the General Assembly does not pass this session, it is expected to be reintroduced during the next one. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘Virginia’
Researchers, activists and survivors from around the country and across the globe joined the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) for its 13th Annual International Asbestos Awareness and Prevention Conference in Arlington, Virginia. (more…)
The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill last week targeting asbestos injury compensation. The bill, the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2017 (FACT Act) or H.R. 906, claims to “weed out unmeritorious class action claims,” according to Forbes. The act, which met tough opposition during its last run, was reintroduced by Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) this year in hopes a Republican majority in Congress would see the bill signed into law by the Republican president.
H.R. 906 passed the committee by a 19-11 vote. And though it has managed to slip back onto the docket, all of the previous opposition still applies, as Legal Newsline confirmed it was the same version as last year’s bill. (more…)
For some, potential exposure to asbestos, a known human carcinogen used in a wide variety of products and trades, occurs over a lifetime—each job runs the risk of exposure. What happens if that exposure occurs in different states during a person’s career and he eventually develops mesothelioma? A judge had to determine the answer to that question last month when, in a pending case, asbestos exposure allegedly occurred in both Tennessee and Virginia, according to Lexis Legal News. (more…)
Since 2005, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization’s (ADAO) annual International Asbestos Awareness and Prevention Conference has brought together more than 300 speakers from 14 different countries to speak about joint efforts in education, advocacy and awareness.
This year’s event, to be held April 7-9, 2107, at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Arlington, Virginia, is set to add to those numbers with doctors, scientists, experts, advocates and victims gathering to help prevent and eliminate asbestos-causing diseases. (more…)
An interview published Sunday, April 5, by the Boston Globe featured an interview with popular country music singer Billy Ray Cyrus, and his daughter Miley Cyrus, who is probably more famous now than her father was in his heyday. Billy Ray is known to a generation of 1980s country music fans for his hit single “Achy Breaky Heart” but is probably better known among a younger generation of teens and ‘tweens simply as the father of their idol, Disney superstar Miley Cyrus, of the network’s “Hannah Montana” series.
Discussing the atmosphere of celebrity in which Miley grew up, as the daughter of a performer, the interview veers off to mention Billy Ray’s roots as the son of a steelworker father, Ron Cyrus, who went on to serve 21 years in the Kentucky House of Representatives. Almost offhandedly, the story mentions that Ron Cyrus passed away of mesothelioma, which he almost certainly contracted through his exposure to asbestos in the mills.
Perhaps the paper felt this tidbit was relevant to its Boston audience because the elder Mr. Cyrus visited Boston for treatment of his mesothelioma, and son Billy Ray wrote a colorful country tune, “I Want My Mullet Back,” in honor of a former Red Sox baseball player. In his day, Billy Ray was famous for his own long mullet haircut, a style cropped short on top and sides but long in the back (“business in the front, party in the back”).
The mention of mesothelioma seems random, but there’s more to the story.
Ron Cyrus passed away on February 28, 2006. He had served in the Kentucky House of Representatives for Kentucky’s 98th Legislative District, beginning in 1975, and was elected to 11 consecutive terms before retiring in 1996. He was 70 years old when he passed away, and old reports from that time list his cause of death simply as “lung cancer.”
In March 2006, at the end of its regular session, both houses of the Kentucky State Legislature observed a moment of silence in honor of Ron Cyrus’s passing.
But now, in its 2009 session, the Kentucky legislature is once again recognizing the issue of mesothelioma and asbestos awareness, and, along with it, Ron Cyrus.
First, on Feb. 6, Representative Ancel Smith and Rep. Sannie Overly introduced HR95, a resolution to recognize September 26 as National Mesothelioma Awareness Day, as designated by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF) and supported by U.S. Congressional resolution.
HR95 was established in Kentucky to honor “those who have fallen victim to this disease in the Commonwealth” and names “former legislator Ron Cyrus; Todd Hall, a bright, young University of Kentucky graduate who had started a successful business; [and] Allen Conley, a naval architect and marine engineer exposed to asbestos in the Yorktown, Virginia Naval shipbuilding yards…”
The resolution was adopted in the House by voice vote on Feb. 9.
Then, on Feb. 23, HB519 was introduced in the Kentucky House of Representatives, sponsored by Representatives Ancel Smith, Keith Hall, Tom Burch, Leslie Combs, Ted Edmonds, Jeff Greer and Brent Housman. The Act would designate Sept. 26 of each year as Mesothelioma Awareness Day in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and would be known as “The Ron Cyrus and Todd Hall Mesothelioma Awareness Act of 2009.”
The bill passed the house by a vote of 97-0 on March 10, with 3 not voting.
The bill was introduced in the Senate designated as SB58, sponsored by Johnny Ray Turner, where it passed unanimously by a vote of 36-0 on March 3.
Hamilton College alumnus Edward C. Taylor (’46) and his wife Virginia recently donated $1 million to Dr. Taylor’s alma mater for the establishment of an endowed fund for chemistry research at the college. Taylor is the inventor of Alimta, the most successful cancer drug worldwide, and the only cancer drug approved for the treatment of mesothelioma.
Although Hamilton is a liberal arts college, Taylor fell in love with the subject of chemistry in 1942 when he took the class as an elective to fulfill a science requirement. He credits the College’s smaller, more one-on-one class sizes with helping him form a bond with his professor, Dick Sutherland, who he says became his mentor, fostering his inante love of chemistry.
Taylor went on to earn his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Cornell University. While exploring a research topic for his doctorate thesis in organic chemistry, he came upon an article in Science magazine about a fascinating compound isolated from the human liver (now recognized as folic acid) that was shown to be necessary to the growth of microorganims.
Researchers would discover that by modifying the compound, they could create a new compound to inhibit the growth of microorganisms. In his research, Taylor applied the compound to inhibit the growth of tumors. He developed a collaboration with drug manufacturer Eli Lilly in 1985 to help fund his studies.
After 12 years of research and development, Taylor’s compound became the cancer drug Alimta.
The Edward and Virginia Taylor Fund for Student/Faculty research in Chemistry will be part of the Hamilton College Excelsior Campaign. The fund will offer students the opportunity to pursue research in organic chemistry, biochemistry, physical chemistry and other divisions of chemical reserach beginning in the summer of 2009.
Researchers studying an unusually high incidence of mesothelioma among Iron Range miners and their families reported they are “making progress” as five-year program gets underway, according to the Star Tribune, which serves Minneapolis and St. Paul. The $4.9 million research program was funded by the Minnesota state legislature in April.
The program is being directed by the University of Minnesota. Researchers held an open meeting yesterday evening to share initial results. The program, which involves health screenings for residents of the Iron Range, particularly mine workers and their families, began in Summer 2007, but got a boost when the legislature approved the funding to expand the study significantly. The funding established the Minnesota Taconite Workers Lung Health Partnership task force.
The Star Tribune reports that the program will expand in 2009 to include a respiratory health assessment of 1,200 active and retired miners, as well as 800 spouses or partners. Participants will be selected at random. Physical testing will be handled by the Virginia Regional Medical Center, and testing is exected to run for a period of about 6-9 months.
While mesothelioma is almost exclusively associated with asbestos, researchers are investigating whether or not there is a link between taconite dust – which is produced in the Iron Range mining process – and mesothelioma. To date 58 mesothelioma deaths have been linked to the Iron Range.
According to the Star Tribune report, there are four ongoing health studies associated with this project: a mortality study under the direction of the Minnesota Department of Health related to miner deaths; a cancer rate incidence study; a respiratory health assessment for miners or former miners; and an occupational exposure study. In addition, the paper reports two environmental studies are part of the process as well, under the direction of the Natural Resources and Research Institute the University of Minnesota Duluth. These will examine sediments in lake bottoms as well as airborne particle measurements.
In the first days of writing this blog, I linked to a very inspirational video by Dr. Randy Pausch, popularly called The Last Lecture. Pausch, a 47-year-old Professor of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, and created the lecture to inspire others to make the most of the time they have here on earth.
Based on the idea of “living your childhood dreams,” the lecture is a reflection on what would be most important to a person if they had to choose the last talk of their life – the things they would want to share with others.
Dr. Pausch passed away today, at the age of 47. He is survived by his wife, Jai, and their three children, Dylan, Logan and Chloe; his mother, Virginia Pausch of Columbia, Md.; and a sister, Tamara Mason of Lynchburg, Va.
Please take the time to watch this video. I hope that it inspires you to live your dreams.