Posts Tagged ‘asbestos in the news’

The Largest Asbestos Settlement Ever

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

In a recent landmark decision, a Mississippi jury awarded the highest-ever settlement in the history of asbestos related injury cases and mesothelioma settlements. Thomas Brown, Jr., a 48-year-old oil field worker, was awarded $322 million for suffering, expenses and punitive damages. The defendants in the case, Chevron Phillips Chemical and Union Carbide Corporation, allegedly continued putting workers at risk even after the dangers of asbestos exposure were well known.

Brown, working in the oil fields for several years in the 1970’s and 80’s, claims he inhaled asbestos dust on a regular basis when mixing drilling mud that was sold by Chevron Phillips Chemical and manufactured by Union Carbide. He has since developed a serious condition known as asbestosis, a disease that causes lung scarring and may become worse with time. Brown requires oxygen 24 hours a day, limiting his mobility and ability to work. Apparently at issue was Brown’s inability to read the warning labels and signs posted by the company. The companies’ spokespeople vehemently denied the claims and stated that there were plans for an appeal.

Regardless of the eventual outcome of this particular case, the large settlement may send a strong message to companies who are not keenly focused on the health and safety of workers. Prior to this case, the largest settlement, in an amount over $200 million, resulted from a class-action suit that took place in Illinois. The next highest settlement occurred in March of this year, when $90 million was awarded to Charles Gillenwater. Since the first asbestos-related injury case in 1929, hundreds of thousands of people have filed lawsuits against thousands of defendants. But this is the largest known settlement to date.  For more information about victim’s rights, visit our page on mesothelioma victim’s rights.

According to the EPA, exposure to asbestos can be a cause of mesothelioma or lead to other cancers or asbestosis, as in Brown’s case. Exposure to asbestos can be particularly dangerous because of the long latency period of the diseases associated with asbestos exposure. A worker may expose themselves repeatedly for years before any symptoms arise. Once symptoms do arise, for many people the diagnosis is unfortunately terminal. Our mesothelioma articles provide useful information to anyone interested in finding out more about mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases.


Asbestos Exposure: Tornado Clean-Up

Friday, June 17th, 2011

In the wake of this season’s tornados, countless families and businesses are faced with the realities of dealing with demolition and debris removal. Even in normal conditions, asbestos abatement entails a controlled and thorough process. While mesothelioma prevention and asbestos remediation can be expensive, there are resources available for virtually every project. Individuals can work with state-lisenced contractors to properly repair or remove asbestos before the materials are disturbed by demolition or construction. Typically, property owners are very willing to protect themselves and others from possible exposure by taking these important steps in asbestos disposal and the disposal of other hazardous materials. But this may not be the case when the difficult process of disaster clean-up begins.

According to Alabama’, an NBC affliate, in light of disaster, homeowners may be tempted to shrug their shoulders at exposure to asbestos and other harmful materials, despite the possible link to diseases such as mesothelioma. This attitude is understandable, considering the overwhelming task at hand. But regardless of the natural human urge to move forward with disaster recovery, city institutions, contractors and property owners have a responsibility to protect citizens from further harm by additional exposure.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, in these cases, the primary role of FEMA and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is to assist local authorities in determining how best to implement their plans for removal and disposal. They do strongly encourage communities who are considering burying, stockpiling or burning potentially hazardous materials to contact the DEP before moving forward. This is a critical step in mesothelioma prevention and the prevention of other diseases linked to exposure of building materials.

The post-disaster clean-up process will likely be challenging for homeowners, regardless whether they hire contractors or choose to do some of the work on their own. But FEMA offers its support and strongly advises individuals not to clean up potentially contaminated materials without assistance. For assistance: FEMA Disaster Field Office Environmental Liaison Officer, or the Hazardous Materials and Oil Spills National Response Center, 1-800-424-8802.

Asbestos Use Widespread In India

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has been researching the global asbestos trade since 2009. As you are likely well aware, asbestos is the cancer-causing mineral that is a leading cause of mesothelioma, a devastating form of cancer. While asbestos is restricted in most industrialized nations, it is still distributed and somewhat aggressively marketed in developing countries.

In conjunction with BBC’s International News Services, the ICIJ launched an advanced documentation campaign in Brazil, Canada, China, India, Mexico, Russia and the United States to research and distribute information about the asbestos industry. In a new article published through “Dangers in the Dust: Inside the Global Asbestos Trade,” the project’s website, reporters addressed head-on the widespread use of asbestos in Indian construction and manufacturing today.

Sheets of asbestos are cost-effective for use in construction, and entire dusty factories in India are dedicated to producing this highly demanded, yet lethal time bomb of a product. Experts believe the foundation has been laid for an emerging epidemic for illnesses related to asbestos exposure, including mesothelioma and lung cancer, throughout India. The government is aware of these dangers, but it is against politicians’ best interest to interfere with a trade that provides needed materials and jobs in India’s rapidly growing economy. India now maintains the second largest asbestos market worldwide, behind China. Products containing asbestos bear no warning labels, and the lobbyists and activists fighting for change have had little success because the asbestos market legitimately serves the livelihoods of tens of thousands of residents, many of them poor.

Meanwhile, asbestos has been strictly limited or banned in 52 developed nations— its use is completely banned in the European Union. Believe it or not, the mineral is still utilized legally in the United States for the manufacture of designated products including car brakes and gun parts. For more information about asbestos exposure in consumer products and workplaces, and the ways mesothelioma develops via asbestos exposure, consider contacting a qualified  mesothelioma law firm.

Man Pleads Guilty of Dumping Asbestos

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

According to a news story, a man in New Jersey pleaded guilty in a federal case involving asbestos. The 55-year-old man will face up to five years in federal prison as well as a fine of up to $250,000, say federal prosecutors. He’ll be sentenced in January at the U.S. District Court in Utica.

Specifically, the man admitted to obtaining a bogus state permit which allowed the dumping of asbestos. This permit was faxed to many trucking companies that had no idea it wasn’t legitimate. As many as 60 tons of materials contaminated with asbestos wound up being dumped in a field in upstate New York.

Though the man has pleaded guilty, the case is not yet over — federal prosecutors say the man is not the only one responsible for drafting the fake permit. Other co-conspirators “remain under investigation.”

The Danger of Asbestos

Typically found in a fiber-like form, asbestos is a naturally occurring, fire-retardant mineral that was used in building materials like pipes and boilers. Asbestos can be found in the ground all over the world since it’s a metamorphic mineral. Asbestos is dangerous when it’s disturbed — the bundles of fibers it is composed of break into dust clouds of microscopic particles. These particles can enter the air and water or even stick to clothing. When inhaled, asbestos fibers enter the lungs where they cannot be broken down by the body, and after many years, they start to eat away at the lungs and its lining. This can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, along with asbestosis.

Asbestos Exposure

No doubt, residents near the New York field at which 60 tons of asbestos-contaminated materials were dumped have every right to be upset. Asbestos exposure is dangerous and, as mentioned above, can lead to mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer.

If you would like more information about mesothelioma and getting help for it, don’t hesitate to call 1-888-370-0121.

EPA Public Health Emergency in Libby, Montana from Asbestos

Friday, June 19th, 2009

After residents in Libby, Montana were exposed to asbestos from a nearby mine, the Environmental Protection Agency declared a public health emergency this week. Employees working in the mine unknowingly tracked asbestos from the mine to their homes because they were wearing contaminated clothing and shoes.

The EPA’s declaration calls for a clean-up of the town, and it’s estimated it will cost at least $125 million over the next five years to do so. Additionally, federal grant money in the amount of $6 million will be used toward paying for medical care for the estimated 500 people in Libby as well as Troy, Montana who are suffering asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma. The mine is now closed, but over 200 people have died because of asbestos poisoning.

According to a story from the Associated Press, the mine and its processing plants “spewed asbestos” over Libby, Montana for 70 years, “coating homes, schools and ball fields.” The story mentions how many residents now suffer the “coughing, hacking and wheezing of asbestos-related diseases, which have been blamed in more than 200 deaths since the late 1990s.”

The town of Libby, Montana has 2,600 residents, and the Associated Press noted that the town suffers 40 to 80 times the national average in its rate of death from asbestosis.

Asbestos Exposure: A Serious Issue

Asbestos exposure is an extremely serious issue. When disturbed, asbestos’ small fiber particles can become airborne. When this happens, people can inhale the particles into the lungs or stomach, and the body is not able to break them down.

If you or a loved one have been exposed to asbestos and suffer from Mesothelioma, don’t hesitate to seek legal representation to get the compensation  you deserve for your pain and suffering. To find out more information, call 1-888-370-0121.