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Articles Posted in Occupations & Asbestos

A New York Supreme Court judge recently handed down a significant ruling in an asbestos cancer lawsuit in favor of a man who claims his former employer caused his terminal cancer by using materials contaminated with deadly carcinogens. The case involved a now deceased victim who claimed that during his time as a roofer, he frequently used products manufactured with asbestos by CertainTeed Corporation and that this was the source of his exposure to the carcinogen which caused his ultimately fatal condition.

CertainTeed Corporation attempted to avoid liability for manufacturing the asbestos-contaminated roofing and construction materials by filing a motion for summary judgement to have the case thrown out of court. The company claimed that they had ceased manufacturing products with asbestos during the victim’s stated dates of employment in which he claimed to have used the asbestos-containing materials.

However, the New York City Supreme Court judge hearing the case noted that CertainTeed could not meet the legal standard to have the case dismissed on such grounds at it could not definitively prove that the plaintiff had not come in contact with asbestos-containing materials that had already been manufactured. In fact, the plaintiff had testified that during projects which lasted significant amounts of time, he used construction materials manufactured by CertainTeed years prior, including over 100 cans of roofing coating known to contain 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.

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.

A former secretary at the Miami-Dade courthouse recently filed an asbestos cancer lawsuit against the county claiming the hazards she was subjected to over the course of her employment are responsible for her medical conditions. As a result of her daily exposure to asbestos and mold, the plaintiff’s asbestos cancer lawsuit claims she was forced to undergo lung-extraction surgery and continues to undergo chemotherapy.

According to her asbestos exposure lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges that she started working at the now 90-year-old courthouse in 1994 before moving to another county building in Doral in 2005, where she also faced unsafe working conditions. The plaintiff contends that despite never being a smoker or in poor health, she developed her stage-two lung cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos and mold.

In 2016, the Miami-Dade County commissioner conducted a study on the courthouse and found that the building had not been inspected since 1988 and that recent tests detected the presence of asbestos in the structure. As a result of the report, the county undertook efforts to abate the courthouse of asbestos, but it remains unclear whether the project has been completed.

Every day, firefighters face danger. Unfortunately, not all of that danger stems from the fires they fight. Some of that peril is in the carcinogens enmeshed in their gear from fighting those fires. In fact, their dirty turnout gear and the time they spend battling fires, absorbing carcinogens, is increasing the risk for cancer and increasing cancer-related deaths in firefighters.

Preventing Asbestos Exposure

But what can fire departments do to help prevent asbestos exposure? They’re already wearing protective gear, but that gear, may have been exposed to clouds of asbestos fibers. When they remove their gear, those fibers can spread. If it’s not handled properly, it can then pose a risk to those around it. Anyone who breathes in the fibers or touches the gear can be at risk.

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.

It’s a favorite pastime of about 44 million Americans – riding all-terrain vehicles or off-roading, as it’s sometimes called. It can be dangerous because of the severe injuries that can happen in a crash. But is there another potential risk?

This study examined the connection between individuals who off-road and asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral in the United States and other countries. After mining, builders often used it in construction until the Environmental Protection Agency banned the toxic material in 1989. Over time, people who inhale asbestos fibers are at risk of mesothelioma, which causes a deadly cancer that has no cure.

This study looked ATV riders and the possibly that off-roading kicked up dust that led to asbestos inhalation. The study focused on California and looked at 15 previous investigations. For individuals in the study with measured asbestos concentrations, speed and riding in a group were commonalities. It was an interesting investigation into the relationship between asbestos and off-roading. More studies looking at this issue in other parts of the country where asbestos is prevalent could be useful.

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