Asbestos News

Rare Disease Day 2014: Join Together for Better Care

rddposter400x600There are more than 6,800 rare diseases that affect an estimated 25-30 million Americans. Although these diseases don’t occur often, they can have serious repercussions for the people living with them. Some rare diseases are hereditary, and others are due to environmental factors.

Mesothelioma: A Rare and Incurable Cancer

Mesothelioma is one of the rare diseases that are related to environmental factors. The only known cause of this deadly disease is exposure to asbestos. There are 3,200 people diagnosed with this aggressive and incurable cancer each year in the United States. Many of those diagnosed are not even aware that they were exposed to asbestos at their jobs or in their day-to-day lives. Symptoms of mesothelioma can take decades to appear. So in many cases, by the time they are diagnosed, victims may not have long to live.

Rare Disease Day, February 28, 2014

Today is Rare Disease Day, a worldwide event that was started in 2008 by EURODIS, a non-governmental alliance of patient organizations and individuals who are active in the rare disease field. Over the last six years, this special day has inspired more than 1,000 events — all with the goal of raising the public and policy makers’ awareness of rare diseases.

According to EURODIS, the day has “notably contributed to the advancement of national plans and policies for rare diseases in a number of countries.” This year’s theme, “Join Together for Better Care,” focuses on bringing everyone with, working in the field of, or creating policies for rare diseases out of isolation to work together in hope and solidarity.

How to Participate in Rare Disease Day

More than 80 countries are expected to participate in Rare Disease Day today. If you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma or another rare disease, here are 6 ways to participate in Rare Disease Day 2014:

  • Become a friend
  • Raise and join your hands
  • Tell your story
  • Download communications material
  • Join the conversation on social media
  • Organize an awareness-raising activity

Substantiation:

  • http://www.rarediseases.org/rare-disease-information/rare-diseases
  • http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/files/Rare_Diseases_FAQs.pdf
  • http://rarediseaseday.org

World Cancer Day 2014: Debunking the Myths about Mesothelioma

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World Cancer Day, celebrated annually on February 4th, unites the world’s population in the fight against cancer. This year’s theme is “Debunking the Myths,” an important need for all types of cancer, including mesothelioma, a deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

There are about 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma each year in the United States. By increasing awareness of this deadly disease and debunking some myths about asbestos and mesothelioma, we can help fight cancer together.

5 Myths about Asbestos and Mesothelioma

  1. No One Uses Asbestos Anymore —It’s Banned
    Asbestos is not banned in the United States. There are strict regulations governing its use, but there are still more than 3,000 consumer products that contain asbestos today.
  2. Lawyers Exaggerate the Dangers of Asbestos
    There is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma can take decades to develop, but the direct connection between asbestos exposure and this deadly disease is well documented.
  3. Mesothelioma Is a Disease of the Elderly
    People under the age of 50 are rarely diagnosed with mesothelioma, but there are confirmed cases of 13-year-old young women with mesothelioma in the United States and abroad.
  4. All Mesothelioma Victims Worked Directly with Asbestos
    Not only are those who worked directly with asbestos-containing products at risk for developing mesothelioma; family members’ secondary exposure puts them at risk as well.
  5. Those Who Worked around Asbestos Knew the Risks
    Until the truth came out in the 1970s, manufacturers hid the dangers of asbestos-containing products from the public and even from those who worked with these products daily.

Read more about these myths and learn six more. You can also sign our online petition to help Ban Asbestos Now.

Make This Your Resolution: Ban Asbestos

There’s always time to make a meaningful resolution. So as the new year gets rolling, why not make a resolution in 2014 to do something that can help yourself and others in the long run? This can be the year that you join the fight to ban asbestos.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral once prized for its strength and ability to resist heat, fire, and chemicals. Asbestos fibers were included in many products to make them more durable and fireproof. Asbestos was also used as an insulating material in many buildings – including homes and schools – in the United States.

Today we know that this “miracle mineral” is not what it seemed. Asbestos is now classified as a cancer-causing substance by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Studies have found that exposure to asbestos increases the risk of mesothelioma, a rare and fatal cancer, as well as other serious diseases.

Despite the dangers of asbestos, the U.S. has not banned this toxic substance even though asbestos bans exist in more than 50 other countries.

Here’s where you come in: Make it your 2014 resolution to help Ban Asbestos Now. Some ways that you can do this include:

Contact Congress: Write a letter to your U.S. Congressman/Congresswoman or U.S. Senator urging them to ban asbestos-containing products.

Get Social: Keep current with the latest updates on this effort by connecting with Ban Asbestos Now! on Facebook and following us on Twitter.

Asbestos is a dangerous substance that should be banned before it can claim more victims. You can make a difference in 2014 by pushing for a ban on asbestos.

Sokolove Law Returns as a Sponsor of VFW National Convention

Approximately 11,000 VFW members and their families are set to converge on July 20-24 in Louisville, Ky.,  as the 114th VFW National Convention kicks off. vfw_sponsor_sign

Events planned include a Health Fair, exhibits, the Gold Star Families Reception, Annual Memorial Service, committee meetings, workshops, and the grand Commander-in-Chief’s and National President’s Reception.

Sokolove Law will return again as a major sponsor of the event. Knowing that the link between veterans and mesothelioma is significant, we’ll spend time at the convention talking to veterans and spreading the word about the dangers of asbestos exposure, the symptoms of mesothelioma, and legal options.

For much of the 20th century, many manufacturers made asbestos-containing products that were used in the construction of U.S. Navy vessels and military bases – even though these companies knew that the material posed terrible health risks to anyone who inhaled it. In fact, approximately one-third of mesothelioma cases have been shown to involve Navy or shipyard exposures.

Sokolove Law thanks veterans for their service, and is committed to helping veterans who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure during their time in the military or thereafter. We’ll be at Booth #114. If you’ll be in Louisville, stop by the booth, meet our team, and pick up helpful resources to better educate yourself or distribute at your post.

Environmental Advocacy Group: Time to Ban Asbestos

Despite widespread public perception to the contrary, asbestos – a deadly carcinogenic mineral – is still legal and still used in the United States.

As Sonya Lunder, senior analyst at the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) writes in a recent EnviroBlog post, this is a tragic and unacceptable situation.

Asbestos killed her grandfather, Roger Thomas Lunder in 2000, decades after he retired from the construction work that led to his exposure. In 1986, he was diagnosed with asbestosis, and for the next 14 years his lungs slowly lost their ability to draw oxygen. “He spent his last years of life tethered to an oxygen tank, fighting the steady anxiety of never drawing a full breath,” she writes. “’It feels like I am drowning,’ he told me. It was a terrible way to end an otherwise peaceful life.”

At the time of Roger Thomas Lunder’s death, there was already evidence that asbestos exposure caused deadly illnesses such as mesothelioma cancer and asbestosis. In 1979, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made a failed first attempt to ban asbestos. The agency tried again in 1986 with more success, but the agency’s victory in obtaining a ban on asbestos-containing materials in automobile brakes, roofing, pipes, and building insulation was short lived. Manufacturers of products made with asbestos sued and in 1991 the ban was overturned.

Lunder notes that while a successful 1989 ban would not have saved her grandfather’s life, it could help save the lives of the estimated 10,000 Americans who die every year of an asbestos-related disease. Today, 54 nations have banned asbestos; the United States is not one of them. Instead, asbestos is still imported into the country. As this blog noted, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that more than 2.3 million pounds (or 1,060 metric tons) of asbestos were imported into the U.S. from Brazil in 2012.

Like so many other Americans who lost a beloved family member to asbestos, Lunder wants not only justice for her grandfather but decisive action from U.S. lawmakers. This is why she, along with the EWG, supports an overhaul of the Chemical Safety Improvement Act, which currently contains no clear path to ban asbestos.

Sokolove Law also supports the fight to ban asbestos. If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us today to learn more about your legal options and to find out if an asbestos attorney can help you.

Asbestos and Accidents Put Construction Workers in Harm’s Way

The tragic death last week of a construction worker at the San Francisco 49ers’ new football stadium highlights the dangers of the construction industry, historically one of the most hazardous of workplaces.

According to CBS Sports, the 63-year-old man was killed by an elevator counterweight as he labored in an elevator shaft at Levi’s Stadium. Well-known hazards such as falls kill hundreds of American construction workers every year, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). But there is another danger on construction sites that is just as deadly to workers — asbestos.

Thought to be a problem of the past, asbestos remains a serious health threat to workers in the construction trades today because it was used in thousands of building products during the 20th century. When asbestos-containing materials such as insulation, fibrous cement, and floor adhesive are cut, sawed, sanded, or otherwise disturbed, microscopic asbestos fibers are released into the air where they can be inhaled or swallowed if safety standards are not enforced.

Exposure to asbestos is the cause of mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer. Although its use has been restricted, asbestos remains legal in the United States and certain products still contain it. As this blog noted, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that 2.3 million pounds (or 1,060 metric tons) of asbestos were imported into the U.S. from Brazil in 2012. Forty-one percent of the imported asbestos went into roofing materials.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and believe you were exposed to asbestos, you may be entitled to financial compensation. To learn more about your legal options including filing an asbestos lawsuit, contact Sokolove Law for a free case evaluation.

New Haven Courthouse Project Sets off Asbestos Exposure Fears

Workers were understandably upset when large trash bags surrounded by red tape that read “Dangerous asbestos hazard” showed up on the stairs they use daily to get into the Superior Courthouse in New Haven, Conn.

The bags held asbestos-containing debris from a renovation project going on at the building, according to local news station WTNH. There were also similar bags sitting just above a courthouse sidewalk.

Courthouse workers said they wanted to know why they were not informed about the asbestos removal and if their health could be at risk. Exposure to airborne asbestos in any amount can cause mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer, as well as other serious illnesses.

Unscrupulous contractors and business owners have been known to improperly remove asbestos to save on the considerable cost of asbestos abatement, as this blog recently noted.

Thankfully for the workers and pedestrians who came close to the bags of asbestos-laden debris, this project does not pose a health risk because the asbestos being removed is contained within other materials and cannot become airborne. “We’re doing everything a hundred percent the way it’s supposed to be done,” a supervisor on the project told WTNH.

If you or a loved one were exposed to asbestos and later diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may want to take legal action against those companies whose asbestos-containing products put your health in danger. A successful asbestos lawsuit can help pay medical bills and ensure your family’s financial security. Contact Sokolove Law today for a free consultation and to learn if an asbestos lawyer can help.

Asbestos in 50% of Campuses in N.J. School District

Asbestos tops a long list of structural problems faced by the New Jersey school district of Hamilton Township at every one of its schools, according to the regional website NJ.com.

Roughly half of the district’s 24 schools contain asbestos in their tiles or in the piping running through their classrooms and hallways, notes an article in the Trentonian.

Asbestos was used widely in school construction, due to its low cost, durability, and fire-proofing properties. But the inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause malignant mesothelioma, an incurable cancer.

In a report, the architecture firm of Fraytak Veisz Hopkins Duthie found that Hamilton’s schools have serious safety issues beyond the potential risks posed by asbestos. Of the 24 schools in the district, only three received A grades. Fourteen received B’s or C’s, five were given D’s, and there was one F.

Apparently, the low grades are the result of a policy of neglect that’s been in force since 2010. It was that year the school district was forced to slash its budget by $16 million, said the school board president Jeff Hewitson. “When you balance a budget and have to rob Peter to pay Paul, unfortunately facilities went by the wayside,” he told NJ.com.

The report calls for some big fix-ups — which could incur massive abatement costs, even before any improvements can take place. School renovations in older buildings need to be properly handled to avoid putting children and teachers at risk of asbestos exposure, as this blog recently noted.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by exposure to asbestos, you have rights. Contact Sokolove Law today for a free case evaluation and to learn if an asbestos attorney can help you.

Renovations Trigger Asbestos Removal at Ohio Schools

Exposure to asbestos is not just a matter of concern for people working in construction and the other building trades. It is also a source of worry for anyone who could potentially come into contact with the deadly mineral, including teachers and students.

Asbestos was widely used in the construction of U.S. schools until it was phased out in the 1970s as its health risks became public knowledge. But in many older schools across the country, asbestos still lingers in classrooms and other areas. Asbestos building materials found in schools may include:

• Insulation and fireproofing

• Piping and ducts

• Ceiling and wall tiles

For school boards, asbestos represents both a health and cost issue as they try to determine how best to handle the toxic material during school renovation or demolition projects.

This is the situation the Brecksville-Broadview School Board in Ohio is facing right now. As reported on the local news site Brecksville Patch, the school board is considering two measures that would remove asbestos from a local elementary school and middle school at a cost of $120,000.

The two upcoming renovation projects involve new lighting and a complete ceiling overhaul at the elementary school, and tile replacement at the middle school. The law requires that school districts remove any asbestos prior to renovation or demolition.

“Many of the schools built in the 1950s used asbestos as a building material,” said the district’s business manger. “Often when any renovations occur the asbestos has got to go.”

The need for careful asbestos abatement is clear. If inhaled, asbestos fibers become embedded in the lungs and other internal organs. The resulting scarring is linked to devastating health problems including mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other asbestos-related diseases.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another disease caused by asbestos exposure, an experienced asbestos law firm can help you fight for justice and compensation. Contact Sokolove Law today for a free consultation to learn if an asbestos attorney can help you.

Quebec Prepares for Post-Mining Future

Canada’s asbestos era really does appear to be over, as a key asbestos mining region plans for a different economic base.

The mayor of Thetford Mines, Quebec, is calling on the government to help his municipality transition to a “post-asbestos” economy. Thetford Mines was founded in 1876 after large asbestos deposits were found in the area. According to a story in Montreal’s The Gazette, about 100 local miners were thrown out of work when the nearby Lac d’amiante (Lake Asbestos) mine in St-Joseph-de-Coleraine closed in 2011. The mayor believes the Quebec government has a “duty” to move quickly to support the region.

Recently, the government promised to commit $50 million (in Canadian currency) to “support economic diversification efforts” in Thetford Mines and the nearby community of Asbestos. The sum was originally earmarked towards a loan to fund the reopening of Canada’s last major asbestos mine, the Winnipeg Free Press reported in March. But the mine will remain shuttered.

Nevertheless, Canada has yet to enact a complete ban on the mineral — although asbestos causes serious illnesses, such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma cancer. Similarly, the United States has yet to join the more than 50 nations who have already enacted a complete ban on asbestos. As this blog noted, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency came close to implementing a ban in 1989, but the industry frustrated the attempt with a court challenge. 

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related condition, you may be entitled to financial compensation. To learn more about your legal options, please contact us for a free case evaluation. Mesothelioma attorneys have helped victims recover lost wages and medical costs.