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Firefighters do an inherently dangerous job protecting life and property from fire and other disasters. But they also face tremendous unseen dangers such as asbestos exposure while working in older buildings. More and more firefighters have grown concerned about repeat exposure and these are a few of the important frequently asked questions and answers.

How Does Asbestos Threaten Firefighters?

Asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma cancer. Firefighters are exposed to it when extinguishing fires. Burning asbestos may release fibers into the air that can be breathed into the lungs and make contact with the skin. It’s important to wear protective breathing gear while combating a blaze at all phases.

Colgate-Palmolive Co. will avoid going to trial in a New Jersey state courtroom as they agree to settle a lawsuit linking asbestos to its talcum-powder.

Carol Schoeniger, a Pennsylvania woman filed a lawsuit against the New York-based company claiming its talcum-powder caused her to develop mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. The financial terms of the settlement have not been made public.

This is not the first claim that talc users have made against the brand. Colgate-Palmolive has resolved 43 cases and is currently facing 170 cases in which accusers allege they were sold asbestos-laced powder.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for iStock-92402940.jpgA drywall manufacturing division of Georgia-Pacific recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy over thousands of asbestos cancer claims against the company, owned by Koch Industries since 2005. Georgia-Pacific’s Bestwall Unit is currently the subject of tens of thousands of lawsuits alleging the company knowingly manufactured drywall products with asbestos but did nothing to inform users of the possible dangers of developing serious health conditions, including mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of lung cancer.

Georgia-Pacific manufactured “mud,” a joint compound used in construction to seal pieces of drywall together or fill in cracks, which contained chrysotile asbestos until 1977, one of the most common forms of the flaky white mineral. While the company claims its total production amounted to only a small fraction of products made with asbestos, it was nonetheless one of the most common types of drywall mud used in past decades, resulting in thousands of cases of exposure.

Asbestos was once commonly used in a variety of industrial and commercial applications for decades by many manufacturers. Although federal regulators did not restrict the use of asbestos until the mid 1970’s, the manufacturers were well aware of the potential hazards of inhaling asbestos fibers. Unfortunately, manufacturers continued to use asbestos in their products and did nothing to warn consumers about the risks.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for iStock-460053679.jpgA McLean County, Indiana jury recently handed down a significant trial verdict for the family who brought suit on behalf of their deceased loved one, claiming the defendants allowed the victim to be exposed to asbestos which eventually lead to his mesothelioma cancer diagnosis. It took the men and women of the jury just one hour of deliberation after a two-week trial to hold Tremco Inc. responsible for the victim’s terminal cancer and awarded his surviving family members $5 million on behalf of the estate.

According to local media reports, the 81-year-old victim passed away in 2012 after a hard-fought battle with mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer commonly affecting the thin lining of tissue surrounding the lungs and abdomen. The plaintiff worked as a window glazier on commercial buildings throughout Central Illinois and northeast Indiana between 1956 and the 1990s, unknowingly using asbestos-contaminated products that would eventually cause his mesothelioma cancer diagnosis.

Attorneys for the plaintiff asserted that the defendant used asbestos in many of the products used by the victim but did not inform him or other workers about the risks involved with asbestos exposure or that it was used in its products. Evidence at trial showed the plaintiff specifically used Tremco’s 440 tape and Mono caulking on construction sites where he installed glass.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for iStock-460053679.jpgMaryland lawmakers recently convened hearings to delve into why potentially tens of thousands of asbestos cancer victims have yet to have their day in court years after developing serious, life-threatening conditions and filing suit to recover much needed compensation. Those meetings primarily focused on courts in Baltimore city, the epicenter of the state’s mesothelioma crisis, where thousands of hardworking men and women developed the rare and deadly lung cancer working in the city’s shipping industry.

According to reporting by the Baltimore Sun, neither side could agree on exactly just how many plaintiffs had delays in their case or for how long. State senator Robert A. “Bobby” Zirkin, Chairman of Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, reportedly called the meeting to try and get to the bottom of whether the city’s court system has made any progress in the past three years in clearing the backlog of claims brought by individuals harmed while working in Baltimore’s ports, shipbuilding centers, and other construction trades.

Representatives from one of Baltimore’s largest and well-known plaintiffs law firms estimated that there could be as many as 22,000 active asbestos injury lawsuits awaiting trial and an additional 7,000 inactive cases in which the plaintiffs reserved their right to file suit if their conditions worsened. While city administrative judges testified that the new system implemented in 2014 was resolving cases at a higher rate than previous years, the backlog could still take decades to clear even with every side fully staffed.

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