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Articles Posted in Asbestos

If you are a firefighter, you know you have a job fraught with risks, but you may not have realized that mesothelioma is one of them. Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive type of cancer associated with asbestos exposure, and firefighters are about twice as likely to develop it than the general population, according to a study completed in 2015 by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Because asbestos was included in many building materials manufactured through the 1980s, you can be exposed to it at fires in people’s homes, local businesses or area industrial sites. As the asbestos filled products burn they break down, dispersing asbestos particles in the air and smoke.

In addition to your exposure at fires, you also can be exposed to asbestos at your fire hall from contamination on tools and gear or the construction materials of the hall itself. Some early firefighting gear was even made with asbestos.

Although the effects of asbestos exposure have been known for decades and the substance has been regulated for nearly as long, a recent EPA change and a steam-pipe explosion have again had people asking: What do I do if I’m exposed to asbestos?

Swallowing or inhaling asbestos fibers over an extended period can lead to asbestosis, mesothelioma or lung cancer. The naturally occurring fibers are heat resistant, which is why they were used as insulation and as a fire retardant for many years.

Although its use has been prevented for decades, the substance still exists in many older homes and structures. It is harmless if left in its original state and becomes dangerous only when it enters the air and is breathed or swallowed.

A New York state jury recently handed down a substantial $7 million verdict in an asbestos cancer lawsuit filed by a former Georgia police officer against a previous employer he worked for in Western New York during the 1970s. According to reports, the award represents one of the largest verdicts in a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit in that particular part of the state with jurors finding the defendant, Jenkins Bros., guilty of negligence.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in Supreme Court of he State of New York, County of Erie, the plaintiff, now living in Atlanta, Georgia as a retired police officer, worked for NY Wire Mills using equipment made by Jenkins Bros. The lawsuit claimed the electrical gaskets made by Jenkins Bros. were manufactured with asbestos and other harmful substances the company knew could cause serious health problems but did not provide any warnings.

By the time the plaintiff started working with the asbestos-laden products manufactured by Jenkins Bros., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had already issued orders about the dangers of asbestos. Unfortunately for the plaintiff, the defendant did nothing to warn him or others that the electrical gaskets contained the deadly asbestos, which caused the victim’s mesothelioma cancer diagnosis.

A Michigan woman recently filed an asbestos cancer lawsuit against more than two dozen defendants alleging her now deceased husband developed mesothelioma as a result of the companies’ use of deadly carcinogens in products used by the victim. Among the defendants named in the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit are American Optical Corporation, Guard-Line Inc. and Lamons Gasket Company, all accused of negligently designing and manufacturing various products that allegedly caused the victim’s death.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court on behalf of the deceased’s estate, the victim suffered from asbestos exposure while serving as a medic in the Vietnam War. and while operating a BP Amoco gas station in Wood River, Michigan. The lawsuit claims the defendants manufactured the asbestos-contaminated products that caused his terminal illness but did nothing to warn him of the health risks.

The lawsuit states that in October 2016, after many years of using the asbestos-laden products produced by the defendants, the victim received a mesothelioma cancer diagnosis and passed away just one month later. The asbestos cancer lawsuit seeks compensatory damages for the victim’s medical bills and pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages to punish the defendants for knowingly producing dangerous products.

A consumer watchdog group recently released a report detailing how several popular brands of various school supplies may contain harmful levels of various toxins, including asbestos, which is known to cause deadly forms of cancer. Specifically, the report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) claims Playskool brand crayons test positive for deadly amounts of asbestos and the group demands the manufacturers pull the products from shelves and send warning letters to parents who may have purchased the supplies for children.

According to the consumer protection report issued by the U.S. PIRG, detailed lab results showed 36-pack Playskool crayons manufactured by Leap Year under license from Hasbro contained asbestos contaminated talc. The group claims the crayons were purchased from a Chicago-area Dollar Tree retail store but the same types of crayons are available from many major retailers and online. Other school supplies tested by U.S. PIRG showed products ranging from markers to water bottles contained disturbing amounts of other known carcinogens.

While talc does not contain asbestos itself, the two are both naturally occurring minerals often found in deposits side by side. Since the 1970s, federal regulations have required talc to be asbestos-free, but if manufacturers and their suppliers do not exercise due care, asbestos can contaminate the talc and put innocent people at risk. Right now, thousands of people across the country have filed lawsuits alleging talc-based products produced by some of the country’s largest corporations caused their mesothelioma cancer diagnosis.

A prominent asbestos researcher recently gave testimony in an asbestos mesothelioma cancer trial claiming that trace amounts of asbestos have been detected in talc sourced from mines in Vermont and Italy used in Johnson & Johnson products. That expert gave his testimony on behalf of a mesothelioma cancer patient who sued Johnson & Johnson over claims the company knew for decades about asbestos contamination in its talc-based products but refrained from placing any warning on product labels.

The case is the sixth such asbestos cancer lawsuit to go to trial against pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson, with some naming its talc supplier Imerys USA as a co-defendant, blaming the company for causing mesothelioma. The plaintiff in this case filed her claim in Los Angeles County Superior court and named, among other defendants, Johnson & Johnson, Chanel, and their supplier Imerys.

Johnson & Johnson faces thousands of other lawsuits across the country by plaintiffs who claim they also developed various forms of cancer related to using talc-based products developed and sold by the company for decades. Recently, a Missouri jury awarded a group of 22 plaintiffs a total of $4.69 billion in compensatory and punitive damages for their asbestos cancer diagnosis that was caused by talc products marketed and sold by Johnson & Johnson. That very same verdict was also upheld by the trial court judge, clearing a major legal hurdle for plaintiffs trying to be made whole again.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), contrary to recent media reports, the agency is moving closer to closing loopholes on the importation and manufacturing of the deadly carcinogen, asbestos. The EPA cited its newly received powers under a bipartisan Obama-era law that gives the agency the authority to impose a new decision making process known as “significant new use rule,” or SNUR, which will create a “regulatory backstop where none existed before.”

Recent reports across the media indicated that the EPA was actually considering pulling back on strengthening federal regulations against the once-commonly used insulation material responsible for thousands of new cases of mesothelioma cancer each year. Specifically, safety experts asserted that the EPA was actually creating a process by which asbestos companies could submit requests for using the carcinogen in ways such as adhesive, roofing material, and floor tile.

The EPA gained this authority under a 2016 amendment to a decades-old chemical safety law that required the agency to periodically review the hazards posed by certain chemicals and toxic substances that could pose a danger to the public. According to an EPA spokesperson, the agency is currently reviewing the status of certain grandfathered exemptions to federal asbestos bans to determine if these methods are still in production, then closing the loopholes to halt any further production.

Justice recently came for the widow of a former auto mechanic who passed away after a battle with mesothelioma brought on by years of exposure to asbestos fibres while working at a large chemical company his estate claimed was responsible for the cancer diagnosis. The settlement came during the middle of a trial in a Philadelphia court, allowing the defendants to end the litigation without having to disclose the terms of the resolution or admit fault for manufacturing the asbestos-contaminated materials that caused the victim to become sick.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, the victim worked in a Gulf Oil Gas Station in South Fork from 1957-1958 performing various auto repairs with asbestos-containing brake shoes. The deceased also worked for chemical company Rohm & Haas from 1959-1997 at its Bristol facility as well as its Bristol and Croydon plants where he was allegedly exposed to asbestos fibers in thermal insulation contained on piping, kettles, boilers, valves, pumps, turbines and other equipment.

Asbestos was once commonly used in a variety of industrial, commercial, and military applications for its heat-resistant and malleable properties as an insulation. Unfortunately for workers and installers, the material is also carcinogenic and directly linked to developing the deadly cancer, mesothelioma.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring, fibrous mineral which was widely used for insulation and fire resistant materials in construction, ship building, and automobile parts. It is a material used due its strength and ability to insulate and resist heat, electricity, and chemical attack.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned some uses of asbestos back in 1973¹. However, it remains inside millions of buildings and homes today. It still continues to be used in some products imported from outside the country, such as clutches for vehicles and brake pads.

Asbestos is fibrous, and when these needle-like particles are dislodged and become airborne, they are inhaled into the lungs, where they become embedded in the lining of the lungs, creating irritation and eventually, cancer. People also can be exposed by swallowing the fibers. Generally, those exposed to asbestos develop cancer within the first 15 years of being first exposed, according to the American Cancer Society².

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued new guidance rules for asbestos as part of the latest updates to the reformed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which could potentially have a large impact on future asbestos production in the United States. The new rules, referred to as significant new use rule (SNUR), would allow the agency to prevent new uses of asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral directly linked to deadly cancers such as mesothelioma.

If adopted, the proposed rule would require the EPA’s approval before any products containing asbestos could be manufactured, imported, or processed in the U.S. and would further grant the agency the authority to prohibit or limit the use of asbestos. While the proposed SNUR is encouraging for many activists, it still remains the first instance the EPA has proposed such an action and those same groups remain skeptical that the agency will follow through with the proposal.

“These actions provide the American people with transparency and an opportunity to comment on how EPA plans to evaluate the ten chemicals undergoing risk evaluation, select studies, and use the best available science to ensure chemicals in the marketplace are safe,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “At the same time, we are moving forward to take important, unprecedented action on asbestos.”

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