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Sen. Ray Albright, a 26-year veteran in the Tennessee state legislature, recently passed away at the age of 83 after a battle with mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer that typically affects the thin lining of tissue surrounding the lungs and abdomen. Sen. Albright first won election to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1968, running on a strong environmental platform dedicated to cleaning up air pollution in Chattanooga, known at the time as having the worst air pollution in the state.

Sen. Albright won election to the state Senate in 1970 and became well known for co-sponsoring a bill to put a community college in Chattanooga. Albright grew up in a modest household and valued education as a means for people to advance their careers and improve their lives. Colleagues remembered him as an effective legislator who was well liked. After leaving politics in 1994, Sen. Albright went to work for health care provider Blue Cross in its relations department.

Sen. Albright announced his mesothelioma cancer diagnosis in November of 2016. He disclosed that he likely contracted the disease sometime in the 1950s or 1960s after being exposed to asbestos while working at an engineering plant for Combustion Engineering. The engineering firm owned and operated a boiler manufacturer in Chattanooga as well as many other facilities engaged in many activities associated with asbestos exposure.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for iStock-460053679.jpgA jury in Portland, Oregon recently handed down a significant verdict in an asbestos cancer lawsuit brought by a man with lung cancer and his wife who claim that gasket maker John Crane Inc. knew its products contained deadly asbestos fibers but did nothing to prevent exposure to the substance. The jury awarded the plaintiffs approximately $5.4 million as compensation for medical bills, loss of consortium, lost income, and punitive damages to punish John Crane Inc. and deter other powerful companies from putting the public at risk.

The 75-year-old plaintiff and his wife claimed he suffered from asbestos exposure while serving in the U.S. Navy from 1960 to 1964 and that John Crane Inc. was the company responsible for manufacturing the insulation used onboard the vessel. Asbestos was once widely used in such military applications, particularly in ship building, due to its heat resistant and malleable properties.

Furthermore, the plaintiff claims he again suffered asbestos exposure while working as a pipefitter from 1965 to 1987 in Oregon and Massachusetts with many asbestos-contaminated products. The victim argued John Crane Inc. manufactured the pipe gaskets and packing material he came in contact with on a daily basis and did so using asbestos despite knowing full well about the risks of developing cancer from asbestos.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for NaitonwideMesotheliomaAttorney_ThroneberryLawGroup.jpgItalian researchers from the University of of Salento in Lecce recently published findings from their study of a potentially groundbreaking mesothelioma cancer treatment that could drastically improve the prognosis of patients with what is considered to be one of the more difficult types of cancer to treat. The study researched how well lab rats with particular mesothelioma tumors responded to two experimental drugs, Ptac2S and cisplatin, and whether either of the two treatments could potentially translate into benefits for human patients.

Sarcomatous mesothelioma, also known as diffuse malignant fibrous and spindled mesothelioma, is one of the less common forms of the disease, affecting an estimated 7 to 20% of mesothelioma cancer patients. Diagnosis is often more difficult with this particular form of the disease as the tumor cells tend to mimic other types of benign and deadly cancers under traditional diagnostic methods like x-rays, CT scans, and MRI.

The results of the study were promising, with injections of Ptac2S reducing tumor growth by 50% and shrinking tumor mass by 53%. On the other hand, lab rats treated with cisplatin reduced tumor size by 12%, a significantly smaller impact than Ptac2S but still positive treatment option. The results of Ptac2S treatments from the Italian study reinforce previous research showing the drug to be 12 times more effective at fighting certain cancer cells than cisplatin.

powerplant.jpgAn asbestos cancer lawsuit brought by a 73-year-old former Duke Energy technician recently went to trial in Spartanburg, South Carolina. In this case, the mesothelioma plaintiff alleges that the defendants, several energy equipment manufacturers, utilized asbestos-tainted products that caused the plaintiff’s cancer. The plaintiff alleges that although his employer, Duke Energy, took proactive steps to mitigate the risk of mesothelioma and other serious diseases, the defendants, Fisher Controls International LLC and Crosby Controls International LLC, supplied asbestos-tainted gaskets for pipe valves.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff began working for Duke Energy in 1979 as a pipefitter in its various nuclear facilities in South Carolina before retiring as an ultrasonic quality control inspector in 2003. The plaintiff claims he suffered from asbestos exposure during final inspections of gaskets and pipe valves. The plaintiff’s start date at the facility is of particular importance in the trial, as asbestos has been heavily regulated and designated a known carcinogen since the mid-1970s.

As is often the case in asbestos cancer lawsuits, the defendants claim that although the plaintiff’s mesothelioma was most likely caused by asbestos exposure, the dangerously designed and manufactured products were not the cause of the disease. The counterclaims are an all too common example of the lengths many powerful asbestos manufacturers often go to avoid taking responsibility for producing such dangerous products, knowing all the while doing so put innocent people at risk.

talcumpowderasbestoscontamination.jpgA retail chain popular with teenaged girls recently pulled one of its makeup products off the shelves over reports the cosmetic contained dangerous amounts of asbestos, a carcinogenic mineral known to cause the deadly lung cancer mesothelioma. While the company denied its Just Shine Shimmer Powder contained asbestos, Justice Stores none the less pulled the product out of what it characterized as an abundance of caution towards its customers.

The sudden move came after a local ABC media outlet in Durham, North Carolina sent several samples of Just Shine powder for analysis to Scientific Analytical Institute in Greensboro to determine if there were any ingredients not listed on the label. According to the report, the Director of Research and Analytical Services deemed the results to be shocking after discovering the potentially deadly substance in a child’s cosmetic product.

In addition to asbestos, the analysis contained Barium, Chromium, Lead, and Selenium. Speaking about the asbestos-laced makeup in an interview with ABC11, the Director of Research and Analytical Services told reporters “I would treat it like a deadly poison, because it is.” He went on to note “In this powder designed for children, they could die an untimely death in their thirties or forties because of the exposure to asbestos in this product.”

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