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Asbestos-containing make-up continues to be a subject that won’t go away, and it shouldn’t until no traces of this cancer-causing mineral are found in consumer products, especially those geared toward children.

The latest development on this topic once again shined a spotlight on Illinois-based Claire’s Stores – a fashion accessories chain with stores throughout U.S. shopping malls. In February, the watchdog group U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) conducted tests on 15 cosmetic products that contained talc, and were made by four different companies.

Three Claire’s products contained asbestos

A panel of judges for the New Jersey Superior Court’s Appeals Division recently revived a lawsuit brought on behalf of a man who claimed he developed mesothelioma from years of exposure to asbestos in lawn fertilizer made by Scotts. As part of their ruling, the three-judge panel determined that the lower trial court erred when it failed to reverse its order granting summary judgement to the defense after new evidence came to light. With that order, the plaintiff has hope that the trial court will grant it the opportunity to convene a new trial and give the plaintiff a chance to recover the vital compensation necessary to be made whole again.

The case began in July 2012 when a man from Wayne, New Jersey filed suit against Scotts, claiming that from 1967 to 1980 he was repeatedly exposed to asbestos contaminated vermiculite contained in the company’s Turf Builder lawn fertilizer. The mesothelioma cancer lawsuit claimed that the vermiculite Scotts manufactured its Turf Builder with was sourced from a now infamous mine in Libby, Montana, which is the root of hundreds and potentially thousands of other lawsuits against the mine’s former owner.

As the case made its way through the civil lawsuit process, the trial judge hearing the case dismissed the testimony of four expert witnesses for the plaintiff who would have testified to the victim’s claims that Scotts Turf Builder contained asbestos. As a result, the defendants successfully argued a motion for summary judgement in January 2014, which effectively threw out the case and left the plaintiff with limited access to justice.

The Missouri state House of Representatives recently approved legislation that could impact the amount of compensation mesothelioma cancer victims could receive for their claims when filing lawsuits against defendants. With Missouri juries handing down substantial verdicts to plaintiffs harmed by the deadly products developed by asbestos companies, lobbyists for the business and insurance companies have long eyed the state for so-called “tort reform” to limit compensation to plaintiffs.

As part of the effort to limit plaintiffs’ access to justice, the Missouri House approved a bill meant to force mesothelioma plaintiffs to disclose whether or not they have filed administrative claims with asbestos bankruptcy trusts. The Missouri Senate is expected to take up the legislation soon and the state may join a growing list of other states that have already passed these asbestos claims transparency laws promulgated by the likes of pro business and insurance lobbyists like the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Asbestos bankruptcy trusts were created by companies that were no longer solvent but needed a way to release themselves from legal liability in order to qualify for federal bankruptcy protections. Asbestos companies set aside tens of billions of dollars for mesothelioma cancer victims to file administrative claims with and are often seen as a much more expedient way for plaintiffs to receive the compensation they need to pay for vital medical treatment.

Legislation that would limit asbestos lawsuits continues to make the rounds throughout the country with Indiana and Kansas lawmakers being the latest to consider it. Created by conservative organization the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the bill in similar formats has been enacted in 12 other states.

Critics charge that such legislation is unfair to terminally-ill cancer victims who were exposed to the fire-resistant asbestos while on the job. If the bill is enacted, they would not be able to sue a manufacturer after more than 10 years had elapsed since being exposed to asbestos. However, asbestos-related diseases are seldom diagnosed within 10 years of exposure.

Mesothelioma: a usually fatal cancer

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recently convened an expert panel of doctors, researchers, and cancer advocacy experts to review medical literature on mesothelioma studies conducted from 1990 to 2017. The expert panel did so with special interest to survival, disease-free or recurrence-free survival, and quality of life using available evidence and informal consensus to develop evidence-based guideline recommendations on how best to treat pleural mesothelioma.

Pleural mesothelioma is a rare form of lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral once commonly used in a variety of industrial and commercial applications for its heat resistant properties. Mesothelioma can take decades to show symptoms and unfortunately, there is no cure for the cancer that can spread from the thin linings of tissue surrounding the lungs to other vital organs.

The expert panel identified a total of 222 studies from the 27-year time period and developed several evidence-based recommendations developed for diagnosis, staging, chemotherapy, surgical cytoreduction, radiation therapy, and multimodality therapy in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. The expert panel used five guiding questions to help come up with their recommendations, including:

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