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Smokers with Asbestosis have Increased Risk of Developing Lung Cancer

Smokers with a history of asbestos exposure have an increased chance to develop lung cancer if they have a lung condition known as asbestosis, a recent study says.

However, giving up smoking following long-term exposure to asbestos can significantly decrease the chance of developing asbestos-related cancer, according to the study.

“The interaction between smoking, asbestos exposure and asbestosis and their effect on risk of lung cancer are partly understood,” said Dr. S Markowitz, the professor of occupational & environmental medicine with the Earth and Environmental Sciences School at Queens College, NY City, said during a press release.

The study has been published online on 12th April in the American Journal of Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine. For the research, scientists went through the medical records of nearly 2000 asbestos workers and approximately 54000 other workers without any history of asbestos exposure.

“We discovered that all the individual risk factors were linked to the increased chance to develop lung cancer. However, combination of the 2 risk factors poses an extra risk and the blend of all the three factors could increase the risk by 37 times,” Markowitz said.

Nonsmokers with a history of exposure to asbestos had death rates more than 5 times when compared with the individuals in the other group. When asbestos exposure combines with smoking, lung cancer death rate is 28 times more, according to the researchers.

Asbestosis – a scarring of lungs resulted by the breathing of fibres of asbestos – increases the risk, the researchers say. According to the study, the lung cancer death rates are 37 times more for smokers who have asbestosis.

However, lung cancer death rates could be reduced significantly if asbestos workers stop smoking. In the initial decade after giving up, lung cancer death rates reduced from 177 per 10000 to 90 per 10000 among those who quit smoking.

“The study provides clear evidence that exposure to asbestos can cause lung cancer through various mechanisms. The important thing is that we also found that giving up smoking significantly reduces the risk of contracting lung cancer,” Markowitz said.

The authors of the study informed that their discoveries were incomplete by the reality that the smoking status of men and their asbestosis were evaluated just once and that a few of the workers in the control group (group of workers without asbestos exposure) also could’ve had some unknown asbestos exposure.


Mesothelioma Victim’s Widow Fights for Justice

A factory worker’s widow has started a legal battle for compensation in an asbestos-related case. Her husband – a Black Country plant worker – died recently after developing an industrial disease caused by inhalation of lethal asbestos fibers.

Ralph E Owen, of Toys Ln, Halesowen, was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, a deadly cancer caused by inhalation of asbestos fibres, in a hospital in 2011 October. The man succumbed to the disease on 21st March when he was 61 years old.

Coroner Robin Balmain heard an inquest on 28th March and ruled that Owen’s death was caused by an industrial illness.

Realizing that he would die soon, Suspicious Owen started his own investigation into the conditions at 2 companies where he’d worked – Reliance Plating & Heat Treatment, from 1968 to 1976, and Archibald Kenrick & Sons, from 1984 and 1985. Reliance Plating is located in Wolverhampton and Archibald is located in W. Bromwich.

Owen’s widow Susan is now continuing the investigation to find out the truth with the assistance of a law firm that has office in Birmingham. Susan is 50 years old. Owen married her just one year ago.

Susan is now requesting her husband’s former colleagues who could provide her with additional details regarding how her husband came in touch with dangerous asbestos.

“Ralph’s mesothelioma diagnosis was a huge blow to both of us, denying us the future that we had planned together. Though I win the case, I know that won’t bring back my husband. However, Ralph wanted me to go ahead with the battle for justice,” she said.

“Before his tragic and early death, Mr. Ralph had been able to give us some valuable information regarding the working conditions at the 2 factories. Both the plants are no longer functioning,” Susan’s attorney said.

Reliance made electroplated steel tubes and used huge degreasing tanks for their production process. According to Ralph, the company used asbestos in the tanks because of its heat-resistant quality. Ralph had to crawl under the tanks where asbestos dust was often present on the floor, according to Susan’s attorney.

And, when working with Archibald, Ralph had jobs in the company’s powder coating factory. Ralph had told that old pipework in that factory contained asbestos. The pipework, when rattled with heat, sent asbestos dust clouds into the surroundings, the lawyer said.

For helping Susan, we would like to hear from Ralph’s colleagues who can provide us further details regarding how he inhaled asbestos fibers during his work, the attorney said.


3 Plead Guilty to Violating Asbestos Regulations

Rudy Buendia, Patrick Bowman and Joseph Cuellar all pleaded guilty to a felony count of violating the NESHAP (National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants) regulations regarding the carcinogenic material.

Under the contract with the federal prosecutors, Cuellar and Bowman are facing 27 months in federal prison while Buendia is facing 24 months. They will be sentenced on 3rd June by Judge Lawrence O’Neill.

All the 3 would be eligible to be released once they complete serving 85% of the sentences they receive. The 3 men will remain free, awaiting sentencing.

Rudy Buendia, Patrick Bowman and Joseph Cuellar are 50, 46 and 73 years old respectively.

The 3 men were in vital supervisory positions with company called Firm Build. They allegedly used 9 high school students to get rid of asbestos material from Automotive Training Centre located at Castle Commerce Centre from 2005 September to 2006 March in order to cut corners on one renovation project.

Benjamin Wagner, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of CA, said convictions of the trio send an obvious message.

“Exposing subcontractors and children at a work site to cancer-causing asbestos without taking any safety precautions, and that also for cutting corners and making profits, is far more than reckless – it’s criminal,” said Wagner.

Wagner said the guilty pleas by the trio will stand as a clear warning that whoever neglects environmental regulations for saving money would definitely be prosecuted and face imprisonement.

Though the federal proceedings against the 3 defendants are likely to close, they are facing state charges now in the Superior Court in Merced County.

“We don’t have the intention to dismiss the case right now,” said Larry Morse, the Merced District Attorney, when asked regarding the settlement of the federal case. Morse said the trio’s federal court convictions confirm certain important facts that we’ve accused from the very beginning of the case and our investigation.

The offices of Ralph Temple and Kirk McAllister, the lawyers represented Bowman and Buendia, did not respond to the calls seeking comment.

Douglas Foster, the lawyer represented Cuellar, told his client could’ve faced substantially more time had the case been gone for trial.

As instructed by the defendants, the students removed asbestos, a known carcinogen, without using any protective equipment and taking any safety measures, the court documents indicate. Asbestos-related cancer could take several decades to appear.


Hotel Fined for Exposing Customers to Asbestos

Customers at a hotel in Folkestone (England) could have inhaled asbestos fibers and dust at the time of renovation work, according to a recent report.

It took place during the transformation of the Pavilion wing of Britannia Grand Burstin Hotel in Folkestone Harbour between Feb 2010 and July 2010.

While the renovation work on the wing was being performed, Britannia Grand’ restaurant was open – even though its bosses were aware of the fact that potentially deadly asbestos material was present in the work site.

The hotel was issued a fine of £160,000 after it admitted guilty to the charges of violating safety regulations intended to reduce the risk of public being exposed to toxic dust and fibres of asbestos. In the United Kingdom, Britannia owns 35 hotels.

A Canterbury Crown Court Judge criticized the hotel for breaking the authorized procedure of hiring licensed firms for removing the cancer-causing material. Instead, the hotel used its own in-house employees who were not at all experienced in the job. None of those staff members had been given any specialist training either for recognizing the threat.

Judge Hon. Simon James presided over the case. He was told that prior to the beginning of the work, the hotel had asked a report which indicated the chance of presence of asbestos material in the building. However, Britannia Grand failed to order for a detailed probe into the hazards before asking the work to begin on the building. The hotel was planning to build 53 additional bed rooms.

It was just a few weeks later that the dangerous material was found and specialists were brought in for dealing with the risk. But, by then, diners and workers had been exposed to and possibly inhaled dangerous particles of asbestos.

Mark Balysz, with the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), informed the court that the prosecution was after a probe and potential asbestos exposure to the hotel customers and staff.

“All through the construction job, the restaurant that situates on the ground floor was opened and this means the lobby was shared by the construction workers and guests,” Balysz said.

Balysz said that asbestos-linked diseases topped in year 2010 – with 2300 cases. “And most of them were fatal,” Balsyz said.

“Inhaling asbestos dust and fibres can cause severe damage to the human lungs and it could cause cancer as well. Asbestos-related cancer has no cure,” he said.


OSHA Cites Greater Portland PAL for Asbestos Violations

The Oregon (OR) Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has recently cited the nonoperational Police Activities League (PAL) of Greater Portland for 3 health violations, following the asbestos finding in 2 restrooms in the Police Activities League youth centre in E. Portland.

The citations, initially reported yesterday (April 1, 2013) by the newsgroup “The Skanner”, came from a complaint that had been filed with the occupational safety agency on 5th November – more than 3 months before the PAL folded beneath the financial duress and provided the youth centre to Portland’s Boys and Girls Clubs.

Compliance officers were sent by OSHA to the Police Activities League Bud Monnes Centre on Northeast 172 Ave on 18th December as response to a complaint filed on 5th November by a staff member that roof was leaking upon the light fixtures. The complaint also stated that the ceiling contained dangerous asbestos material.

Asbestos is a substance known to cause cancer. The material is made up of small, microscopic fibers. These tiny fibers can become airborne when asbestos is damaged, broken or disturbed. Airborne asbestos fibres could be breathed in by anyone passing through the area. Inhalation of asbestos fibres can cause serious respiratory disorders and/or fatal diseases including cancer later.

The officers did not find any leaks. However, the asbestos investigation by the OSHA was finished last month. The investigation found 2 serious violations in connection with the asbestos discovered in the deteriorated ceiling tiles in the restrooms for girls and a staff restroom and closet.

A media which visited the youth centre located at Glisan Street and 172nd Ave 2 months ago – during its initial week as Boys and Girls Club – the door of the restroom for men was bent as well as cracked. Additionally, the white tiles held brown stains, including close to a fire alarm. The parking lot’s parking signs was disabled and had dropped their poles, the media report indicates.

One of the reliable benefactors of PAL was the Portland City. Since year 2008, the Portland city has provided US$368,000 to PAL, even as workers and parents at the at-risk youth program complained that the facility at East Portland was dangerous as it was crumbling and leaking.

Now the Boys and Girls Clubs say the youth centre is highly worn out and that they might simply tear it down and construct a new one.


Montgomery Couple Sues 15 Companies over Pulmonary Asbestosis

A man from Montgomery County who is allegedly suffering from asbestosis which he developed after working with various asbestos products has filed a lawsuit recently in the state court. William Filandino is 92 years old. The suit was filed by William Filandino and Edith, Filandino’s wife who is residing in Bridgeport, Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court on 21st March. 15 companies have been named as defendants in the case.

Philadelphia lawyer Edward Nass filed the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs. The suit says William Filandino was diagnosed on 14th February, 2013 with a disease called pulmonary asbestosis. The diseases can cause pulmonary impairment as well as disability.

The plaintiffs allege that Mr. Filandino was exposed by the defendants to dangerous asbestos material during his career with Nicolet Industries. He had worked as a shipper, spray painter, utility man and dryer as part of his employment.

The suit says Filandino was also exposed to the cancer causing mineral while carrying out home renovation works and automobile maintenance works. He had also worked as a saw cutter, machinist and laborer during his career, the lawsuit states.

Filandino had served in the U.S. Marine Corporation between 1943 and 1945, the suit says.

“Investigation and discovery are continuing still regarding whether Filandino has been exposed to the carcinogenic substance in some other occupational or non-occupational settings,” the complaint says.

Each day, more than 1 million individuals in the United States go to a place of work where they are exposed to substantial amounts of toxic asbestos, the OSHA (Occupational Safety & Heal Administration) says. Asbestos is actually a strong fibrous material occurring in the nature. Due to its durability, resistance to corrosion, heat, fire and electricity, flexibility, low cost, and many other excellent properties, asbestos was extensively utilized in a number of industries as well as occupations for many decades. However, much before the popularity of asbestos was peaked, it became associated with several health issues. Over these years, numerous workers have developed terminal asbestos-linked illnesses such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural plaques, colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers etc.

Asbestos Corp. Ltd; Bell Asbestos Mines Limited; Certain-Teed Corporation; DAP; Drever Group; Honeywell International; Foster Wheeler Corporation; IPA Systems; Keeler Boiler Company; Metro Life Insurance Company; Pep Boys; Weinstein Supply Company; and Union Carbide Corporation are the companies cited as defendants in the lawsuit.


Company says it wasn’t paid for Asbestos Abatement and Building Demolition

New Orleans, Louisiana – A demolition firm in the area claims that it was not paid for the works it conducted as part of a demolition project for a local high school. The works include general demolition, asbestos abatement, and removal of bricks containing asbestos and contaminated drain coverage service, according to the company.

Bayou General Contractors has filed a suit against M3A Architecture, Jacobs Project Management and the insurers of these companies. The lawsuit was filed on 30th November in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans.

According to the demolition company, the defendant companies owe it an amount of US$153,692 and $5,068 for each service provided by it for the tearing down of Francis W Gregory Jr. High School.

Demolition of a building that contains asbestos is a time-consuming as well as expensive job. Before demolishing such a building, all the asbestos materials have to be removed first. Otherwise, there is a chance for asbestos to be disturbed or broken and its deadly fibers to become airborne. If asbestos fibers are released into the air, it could be breathed in easily. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can create severe respiratory disorder and several terminal diseases including lung cancer, malignant mesothelioma and asbestosis.

The defendant companies allegedly breached the contract by failing to give payment for the work done by Bayou General.

Breach of contract is a sort of civil wrong which occurs when a binding contract is not honored by a party or more parties involved in the agreement by non-performance or interfering with the performance of the other party. Failing to carry out any term of an agreement, oral or written, without a genuine legal excuse could be termed as a breach of contract. In the United States, breach of contract is perhaps the most common causes of court cases filed for damages. The punishment issued for breach of contract may differ depending on the rules in each jurisdiction, and also based on the type of agreement involved.

The demolition company is asking for compensation for the $158,761 it is owed and any other recovery to which it is entitled under law.

Law firm Pius Obioha and Associated attorney Michael Harris is representing the plaintiff in the case.

The case will be presided over by Lloyd J. Medley, the judge for the 41st Judicial Civil Court, ‘D’ Division, in Orleans Parish, LA.


Man Develops Lung Cancer because of Workplace Exposure to Asbestos, Lawsuit Says

One more suit has been appended to the long list of asbestos cases in the docket of St. Clair County.

Leonard Freed and Monica Freed has filed a lawsuit over asbestos exposure in the County Court. The plaintiffs don’t specify where they reside. Barry Julian and Randy Gori of Edwardsville-based Julian & Associates are representing the plaintiffs.

The complaint was filed on 20th February. It alleges that 69 defendant corporations caused Mr. Leonard developed terminal lung cancer as a result of his regular exposure to products containing asbestos all through his career.

According to the suit, Leonard worked: as the helper of an electrician and an apprentice for electrical company Dan House between 1965 and 1966, for FL Power & Light between 1967 and 1996; as a helper with Fort Myers factory between 1967 and 1968; with Homestead-based Turkey Point Factory between 1968 and 1971; as an instructor and apprentice mechanic for control specs; and as a senior technician between 1971 and 1992, the complaint says.

The defendant companies should’ve known regarding the hazardous impacts of asbestos exposure, but totally failed to give proper caution and care for the safety of the plaintiff and other workers, the lawsuit alleges.

Because of the asbestos-related diseases the plaintiff developed, he became disfigured and disabled, incurred medical expenses and suffered enormous mental anguish and physical pain, the suit says. Additionally, Leonard became prevented from going ahead with his usual course of service and, thus, lost huge amount of money which would have otherwise accrued to him, according to the suit.

The 7-count lawsuit is asking for exemplary damages of $150000 or more, compensatory damages of $100000 or more, unspecified punitive damages in order to punish the defendant companies for all their illegal activities, and a judgement of $100000 or more. The plaintiffs are also seeking costs and any other relief to which they could be entitled.

If you or a loved one has an asbestos-linked disease, you may seriously think about contacting an expert asbestos attorney at once. Such cases are very time sensitive. Therefore, only a knowledgeable and experienced attorney can help you determine whether to pursue a suit against the parties who are responsible for your asbestos exposure. Asbestos attorneys generally work on contingency basis, which means you have to pay fees only if the lawyer wins the case for you.


Dumped Asbestos Found Near Childcare Centers in Ultimo

The Sydney city is asking for assistance from the public for locating the person who dumped 2 tons or more asbestos material, in broad sunshine, outside of 2 childcare centers. On December 14, 2012 (Friday), at around 4 PM, a load of the cancer-causing mineral was illicitly dumped from a truck in Ultimo (Wattle Lane), close to a playground located in the McKee St Reserve and in between 2 local childcare centers.

Probes into the dumping incident by the Sydney City have discovered that the truck was a white colored Daihatsu Delta.

A passerby informed the city about the asbestos sheeting found on the street. 2 childcare centers – the Magic Pudding and the KU Wattle Ln Children’s Center – were located just 2 meters away from this street. The spot of dumping was nearly 2 blocks away from the waste management depot of the Sydney city. The city council has released the CCTV camera footage which showed a truck passing through the Wattle Ln.

“The videotape we’ve been able to get through our probes shows that a truck firstly driving down the lane, sussing the material out, and sort of scouting,” the city officials said.

“Then it’s done the chunk, driven down the very same street with a tray up, the rear tailgate open. It went over 2 speed bumps. Then it finally dumped that load at around 4 PM,” according to the city.

It’s really difficult to realize how anybody can do such things, says Gary Harding, the Director of the City Operations for Sydney.

The vehicle’s number plat was hidden with a cloth. However, Harding hopes that certain other features they noticed about the truck will help them find out and catch the culprit.

“There were some obvious scratches on that truck. A bar which was welded across its tray is not a standard feature on a truck like that. In addition, there have been some damages to the truck’s side,” Harding says.

Luckily, a spectator instantly reported that incident then. Toxic debris specialists reached on the site quickly and they cleaned up that area. Everything was cleared off within just 2 days. The council spent approximately $13000 for cleaning up the dangerous waste.

A spokesman for the council said the city hadn’t been able to identify the truck driver. However, he said, someone would hopefully recognize the truck using the footage.

If located and caught, the culprit can expect a fine of $1 million, in addition to imprisonment of up to 7 years.


3 Admit Guilty to Exposing Students to Asbestos

Joseph Cuellar, of Fresno; Rudolph Buendia, of Planada; Patrick Bowman, of Los Banos, have admitted guilty to breaching federal asbestos regulations. Cuellar, Buendia and Bowman are 73, 50 and 46 years old respectively.

According to their indictments, Cuellar was working as the administrative manager of a company called Firm Build. Bowman was the president of that firm and Buendia was the site supervisor of one of its construction projects when the firm operated a renovation and demolition project at former Castle Air Force Base located northeast of Atwater, California.

They had to transform Bldg. 325 into a training centre for Merced County Education Board. For carrying out that work, the trio hired local students from Merced Workplace Learning Academy, according to Benjamin Wagner, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of California.

Court documents show that the students as well as the employees removed nearly 1000 linear ft. of piping insulation and tank insulation and disposed them of. All these 3 company executives were aware of the fact that they contained asbestos – a highly regulated substance in the United States.

For performing the task, the employees or the students were not given adequate protective equipment such as full-face masks, Tyvek suits, footwear coverings, caps, hair hoods and gloves. The employees and students were not asked to take any protective measures either – like wetting the materials containing asbestos, sealing asbestos waste in secure polythene bags etc. By failing to do such things, the 3 executives violated federal safety regulations, the court documents indicate.

Asbestos material became airborne at the time of illegal removal of the substance, according to federal prosecutors.

The careless handling of asbestos removal project exposed the employees of Firm Build, the students of Workplace Learning Academy, and other subcontractors on the site and their workers to toxic fibers of the material, according to the government.

Wagner said exposing young students to dangerous asbestos in order to reduce costs and save money is criminal. “It is much more than reckless – it’s criminal,” Wagner said.

He said the guilty pleas by the defendants is a clear warning that whoever choose to disregard environmental regulations for making profit will be sued and prosecuted. “They will face imprisonment,” Wagner said.

The trio will be sentenced on 3rd June by United States federal Judge Lawrence O’Neill. All the three face imprisonment of 2 years or more.