Most Americans assume that asbestos, the mineral that causes malignant mesothelioma, was banned in the U.S. years ago. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The United States lags behind dozens of developed countries that have completely banned the material’s use, including our neighbor to the north, Canada. The carcinogenic material is still in use, though in a much more limited way, in the chemical industry, in construction materials, and in other applications including brake pads. It is also still in place from when it was more widely used. What this means for Americans is that they are constantly at risk for exposure, whether they are mechanics responsible for grinding or replacing imported brake pads that are still being made using asbestos, teachers exposed to asbestos insulation in the school buildings in which they teach, or construction workers renovating homes built with asbestos-contaminated materials. read more
Current Mesothelioma News
A jury in New Jersey has been tasked with deciding whether Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder is responsible for Ricardo Rimondi’s malignant mesothelioma, and this week they heard testimony from an expert witness who said that the company chose an insufficient method of testing whether their product was contaminated with asbestos. According to Dr. William Longo, the testing method that the company chose was akin to looking for a needle in a haystack, and there were far superior methods available to ensure consumer safety. read more
There are few things more frustrating for a person diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma than hearing that the treatment they’ve been put through has not worked. Whether it’s one of the FDA-approved chemotherapy drugs, a new immunotherapy drug, or some other form of treatment, when it is administered to a mesothelioma patient it takes a significant amount of time to determine whether it is going to work on the patient – and if it hasn’t then it is valuable time lost. Researchers from the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have created an answer to this challenge in the form of a new technology that creates “organoids” — miniature tumors grown directly from cells surgically removed from the patient’s tumor, on which the various medications can be simultaneously tested to determine whether they will be effective or not.
Mesothelioma is a condition that has an extremely long latency period. As a result, it is impossible for a person who has been exposed to asbestos to know whether or not they will eventually be diagnosed with the disease, or when. It is on this premise that the New York Court of Appeals ruled against a motion filed by Chevron Corporation. The company had argued that a seaman diagnosed with the disease should not be able to seek compensation for his damages because of a release he had signed years earlier, following a different asbestos exposure case. The court disagreed. read more
Demolition of a building that’s no longer needed should be a relatively simple project, but when that building is contaminated with asbestos, fear of mesothelioma raises the stakes – and the price tag. In Otsego, Michigan, the situation surrounding the former Rock Teen Paper Mill became so complex that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had to be called in. After assessing the situation, the agency has indicated that the structure is too unstable for normal remediation and removal, and as a result of the special approach that will be needed, the project is going to cost about $1 million. This is twice what it would have cost normally, but still well worth it to protect both workers and those who may come in close proximity to the building.
Advocates working to prevent future cases of malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases took aggressive legal action this week, filing a federal lawsuit challenging a recent decision made by the Environmental Protection Agency. The decision involves the agency’s decision to permit companies using asbestos in their products to evade reporting requirements based on a loophole. The group is also taking issue with the EPA’s assertion that it knows all that it needs to about asbestos usage. read more
In the face of skyrocketing rates of malignant mesothelioma in the Quebec regions were asbestos mining once dominated the economy, you would think that residents would be grateful that the material was banned. Instead, politicians and business owners are searching for new ways to monetize the carcinogenic material, relying on the government exemption of existing asbestos residue from the ban, and paying little heed to the warnings being expressed by safety and health experts. read more
Firefighters are among the professionals who are most at risk for malignant mesothelioma, so it would be reasonable to expect their management to take extra precautions when it comes to safety and protecting them from asbestos. Unfortunately, recent news investigations have revealed that the exact opposite has been true of the San Diego Fire Department for at least the last 15 years: NBC7 in San Diego recently uncovered documentation showing that despite the department having long been aware that its training facility was contaminated with asbestos, it continued to use it, continually subjecting first responders to dangerous levels of asbestos exposure.
Asbestos is the mineral that causes malignant mesothelioma, asbestosis, asbestos-related lung cancer and many other serious and fatal illnesses: the material has caused heartache all over the world. As lawmakers ban and restrict the material and create regulations for how it is to be handled or disposed of, a group of researchers from New Zealand are working towards an innovative method of eliminating asbestos that is already in place, relying on the plant world to assist in the process. read more