According to the CDC, one factor that makes a person more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 is the presence of an underlying medical condition. Because of weakened immune systems, cancer patients are among those at high risk of serious complications from a coronavirus infection. Mesothelioma, to be specific, is an extremely aggressive form of cancer associated with asbestos exposure and with limited survival despite systemic therapy. Fighting mesothelioma depletes a patient’s energy and nutrients, and this worsens a patient’s body’s ability to fight COVID-19. Mesothelioma treatments can also weaken a person’s immune system and increase the risk of COVID-19 complications. Further, COVID-19 is much more deadly in those individuals over the age of 65, and most mesothelioma patients are seniors. Most mesothelioma patients are seniors because, from the first asbestos exposure, it can take decades for an individual to be diagnosed with mesothelioma. If, for example, an individual gets exposed to asbestos for the first time at the age of 20, they might end up being diagnosed with mesothelioma even at the age of 70.

Recent studies have found that for every five patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) one contracted COVID-19. According to one particular study presented at the IASLC 2021 World Conference on Lung Cancer, approximately one in five patients with MPM at a Barcelona hospital contracted the coronavirus during the pandemic. To study the effect of COVID-19 infection on individuals with MPM, Dr. Susana Cedres of Vall d’ Hebron University Hospital and the Institute of Oncology, Barcelona, Spain, analyzed medical records of 38 patients with MPM. Dr. Susana gathered clinical data such as comorbidities, oncological background, demographics, and COVID-19 illness status. Upon completion of the study, Dr. Cedres found that;

  • Of the 38 patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma at the institution in this pandemic era, seven (18%) were diagnosed with COVID-19 infection by a positive RT.PCR and

According to a federal workplace report on safety inspection, three companies exposed residents and workers at a Missouri residential nursing facility to asbestos hazards during a flooring replacement project. The three companies also failed to ensure safe asbestos removal during the project. Early this year, OSHA began an inspection in the residential nursing facility based on a referral from the Missouri Department of Natural resources. More than 30 days after the flooring work began, OSHA evacuated the nursing facility’s residents.

According to OSHA, three companies, namely; SRZ OP Bentonview, SRZ Mgmt Holdings, and Eastern Coast Management Inc., failed to conduct their work professionally and safely in various ways. According to OSHA, these three companies did not check for the signs of the dangerous substance, asbestos, and neither did they build barriers to contain the site. Also, the three companies in question failed to provide PPE and respiratory equipment to workers to prevent asbestos exposure. OSHA further claims that workers from the three companies did not complete an asbestos assessment to determine the presence of asbestos even after removing approximately 10,000 square feet of floor tiles containing asbestos.

According to samples collected at three different locations in the nursing facility, there was a huge asbestos concentration in the facility. Approximately 45% to 51% of the samples contained chrysotile asbestos. White or chrysotile asbestos is the most commonly encountered form of asbestos in the U.S.

Firefighters are quite important to the community since they protect people against fires and other perils. Unfortunately, firefighters face many safety and health risks. When people think of the different safety and health risks firefighters face, they often think of hazards such as burns, crush injuries from collapsing buildings, and smoke inhalation. Indeed, all these are risks that need to be acknowledged. However, apart from these well-known risks, firefighters face unique asbestos exposure risks. While a firefighter’s set of soot-covered overalls is a sign of a brave and proud firefighter, it is also a sign of potentially deadly asbestos contamination.

How are Firefighters Exposed to Asbestos?

During the 20th century, asbestos-contaminated materials were widely used in buildings. Most manufacturers only phased out the use of asbestos after its link to fatal illnesses was publicly revealed. However, despite the phasing out, the toxic substance remains in millions of old buildings across America.

Asbestos is a mineral composed of flexible and soft fibers that are resistant to corrosion, heat, and electricity. Although these qualities make asbestos a useful mineral, asbestos exposure is highly toxic. For a long time, asbestos was used in construction, fireproofing, and insulation.

Unfortunately, many individuals assume that asbestos exposure is a thing of the past while it remains a deadly public health concern. Even though scientists have long recognized the dangers of asbestos exposure and made these dangers known, asbestos-related illnesses and deaths remain a big concern. According to recent data, more than 40,000 asbestos-related deaths occurred in 2019 alone. Some of the common fatal asbestos-related diseases include asbestosis and mesothelioma.

There are many things users do not know about asbestos, yet it is important to be knowledgeable about this toxic substance. By being knowledgeable, you can take the necessary precautions against asbestos.

The link between mesothelioma, a type of cancer, and asbestos exposure is irrefutable. In fact, asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma. Apart from mesothelioma, asbestos exposure can cause other diseases like asbestosis and lung cancer. In an effort to reduce cases of people developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases or cases of people dying because of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, many countries across the world have banned asbestos. Notable nations that have not banned asbestos include the United States, Brazil, China, India, Russia, and Canada. Therefore, while the United States of America has implemented prohibitions on asbestos manufacturing and has not produced asbestos for many years now, the nation continues to import this toxic substance. Unfortunately, the importation of asbestos into the United States means that Americans will continue suffering from the fatal effects caused by asbestos.

300 Metric Tons Imported in 2020

Based on a recent report, while the U.S. imports of asbestos have significantly reduced since the 1980s, there was a high increase in imports in 2020. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released its annual Mineral Commodity Summaries on January 29, 2021, and the report shows a 74% increase in imports between 2019 and 2020. According to the report, the U.S. imported 172 metric tons of Chrysotile in 2019 and 300 metric tons of Chrysotile asbestos in 2020. Chrysotile is the only type of raw asbestos that is imported into the United States of America. According to the report, imported Chrysotile is used by the Chloralkali industry. The Chloralkali industry uses Chrysotile imported from Brazil to manufacture non-reactive semipermeable diaphragms, which come in handy in the industry.

When it comes to apartments and rental properties, tenants usually care a lot about factors like the apartment or rental unit size, rent price, location of the apartment or rental, and safety features. Although these are important factors for tenants to consider, there are many more things people need to care about when it comes to the apartments or rentals they live in. For instance, tenants should be concerned about their rights in regards to asbestos in rental units and apartments. Even though asbestos is not widely used in construction anymore, this substance is still present in many rental properties built before the 1980s. Drywall, paint, cement, ceilings, floor tiles, roofing materials, insulation materials, plaster, and casing for electrical wires are features in older buildings that can contain asbestos materials.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos, which is the name of a group of six unique minerals, is a naturally occurring fiber that is highly heat, electricity, and corrosion-resistant. Because of its qualities, asbestos was widely used in building materials from the early 1940s until its effects on human health became known in the 1970s. Many buildings built before the 1980s are thought to be asbestos-contaminated. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can lead to illnesses such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Because of its resistance to corrosion, heat, and electricity, the naturally occurring mineral asbestos was a popular additive to various products in the 20th century. Unfortunately, even though asbestos boasts of such qualities, this substance poses a threat to people’s lives. When inhaled, asbestos fibers can get stuck in a person’s body. Over time, trapped asbestos fibers can cause scarring, inflammation, and eventually asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma, a rare, aggressive, and fatal cancer. Usually, after asbestos exposure, it can take up to 60 years for someone to realize they have mesothelioma. Unfortunately, because of mesothelioma’s long latency period, sometimes people realize they are sick when it is too late. Nevertheless, it is vital to note that not everyone who falls victim to asbestos exposure develops mesothelioma.

As much as not every individual who falls victim to asbestos exposure develops mesothelioma, it is vital to take caution. Being cautious is especially important, considering the life expectancy of a mesothelioma patient ranges from 12 to slightly over 20 months. Even though asbestos is no longer commonly used, it still lingers in workplaces and homes. In the 20th century, the cancer-causing substance was used in thousands of products, and many asbestos-contaminated materials can still be found in offices, homes, and factories across America. Therefore, to avoid asbestos exposure, people must educate themselves about the possible hiding places of asbestos. At work, workers may encounter asbestos in settings such as;

  • power plants

When it comes to asbestos production and use, once an individual or company fails to abide by the set rules, they can either face criminal or civil charges. Different states enforce different rules, but both OSHA and the EPA have the right to enforce the law at the federal level. When it comes to the EPA, the agency takes the enforcement of environmental laws seriously. To the EPA, enforcing these laws ensures that human health and the environment remain protected. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency works hard to ensure people and companies comply with environmental requirements. Whenever warranted, the agency will take either civil or criminal action against people or companies that violate environmental laws.

There is a huge difference between civil and criminal asbestos cases, and the Environmental Protection Agency addresses these differences on its website. According to the website, the two mainly differ in:

  • Legal standard

Asbestos is a natural mineral made of fibers that are resistant to corrosion, electricity, and heat. It is because of its qualities that the mineral was widely used in the 20th century. However, even though asbestos boasts of these useful qualities, asbestos is highly toxic. When an individual inhales the asbestos fibers, the fibers can cause mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive type of cancer.

Today, asbestos is no longer being used in most new products and buildings. However, many old buildings, homes, and products still contain this toxic substance. Even after it was discovered that the substance is harmful, most asbestos-containing buildings were not banned. Additionally, many asbestos-containing materials and products were not forcibly removed from circulation, either. As a result, asbestos still poses a threat to homeowners, workers, and many other people.

Many people would want to know what asbestos looks like. Homeowners and renovators, most especially, would want to know how to identify this toxic substance before beginning home construction or renovation. Many schools, homes, and other buildings built before the 1980s contain asbestos, and during construction or renovation, people interact with asbestos-containing materials without even realizing it. Unfortunately, identifying asbestos is not that simple.

A New Orleans, Louisiana jury recently awarded an $8.2 million mesothelioma verdict to a former mechanic against Ford. Ford Motor Company is a multinational company that designs, manufactures, markets, and services cars, trucks, utility vehicles, and luxury vehicles. After only 60 minutes of deliberation, the Louisiana jury ordered the manufacturing giant to pay the victim $8,261,874 as compensation for the malignant mesothelioma he blamed on the repeated asbestos exposure he suffered while servicing vehicles manufactured by Ford. The jury’s quick decision came after three weeks of testimony about how the former mechanic was repeatedly exposed to asbestos while servicing clutches and brakes installed on Ford vehicles and buses.

Over a year ago, the Louisiana resident was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare and fatal cancer. Immediately the former mechanic learned that he had mesothelioma, he filed a negligence and strict liability lawsuit against Ford Motor Company. The former mechanic worked as a gas station mechanic and as a school bus mechanic. It was while working these jobs in the 1960s and 70s that he suffered repeated asbestos exposure. While servicing asbestos-containing clutches and brakes on vehicles manufactured by Ford, the former mechanic was exposed to asbestos dust. When asbestos fibers get stuck in the lining of the lungs after being inhaled, they cause inflammation and scarring to DNA and mesothelial cells. Mesothelioma then develops due to the inflammation, typically decades after initial asbestos exposure.

Ford Motor Company’s failure to warn of the presence of asbestos or related dangers was at the heart of this mesothelioma litigation. The plaintiff’s attorneys and the jury determined that Ford knew about the dangers of asbestos long before the former mechanic’s exposure. They also determined that the manufacturing giant failed to warn the former mechanic about the dangers of asbestos. Due to that, the jury awarded the plaintiff $8.2. million in compensatory damages.

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