Posts Tagged ‘epa’

Resources for Mesothelioma

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

When facing a diagnosis of mesothelioma, knowing where to turn for information and support can make an enormous difference. While there may be local agencies in your area that provide support related to asbestos exposure or mesothelioma, it is important to understand the role and resources provided by the following agencies.

The EPA

Founded in 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exists to safeguard our nation’s water, air and land. The EPA website contains a wealth of information about the uses of asbestos, laws and regulations regarding asbestos, and guidelines for asbestos disposal.

OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the government agency responsible for promoting workplace safety in order to prevent work-related illness and injury. This branch of the Department of Labor creates regulations and standards for workplace safety. On the OSHA website, you will find information about the industries affected by mesothelioma, the safe handling of asbestos and other useful information and resources.

The NCI

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is the national agency responsible for promoting cancer research, development and training through funding and awareness. The NCI website has information about how asbestos is linked to mesothelioma and the available treatments and therapeutic approaches to mesothelioma (both traditional and cutting edge). The site also has a comprehensive list of resources.

The NIOSH

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) operates to promote research, education and training related to workplace health and safety. On the NIOSH website, you can find numerous articles on the risks and prevention of mesothelioma.

The ATSDR

The purpose of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is to protect the public from environmental hazard. The ATSDR website approaches asbestos and mesothelioma from a public health perspective, with a great overview of asbestos exposure and it’s risks.

Making effective choices begins with being fully informed. For more information about mesothelioma victims rights, click the previous link or fill out our online form.

Asbestos: More Prevalent Than You Think

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Given the overwhelming evidence of asbestos’ harmfulness to human health and its connection to the deadly disease mesothelioma, many United States citizens are under the impression that by now, asbestos has been phased out of most domestically-produced materials. However, many people are not aware that the 1989 EPA ban on many asbestos products was successful appealed and radically altered in 1991 by the U.S. Fifth Court of Appeals.

According to the EPA on this webpage, “Newspaper and magazine articles, Internet information, and currently available (but outdated) documents from the EPA and other federal agencies may contain incorrect statements about an EPA asbestos ban.” As a result, many products produced or imported for use in the U.S. construction industry may still contain asbestos.

So what materials are banned in the U.S.? The Clean Air Act bans the use of most sprayed-on asbestos containing materials using more than 1% asbestos. It also bans preformed and wet-applied asbestos pipe insulation. The Toxic Substances Control Act also bans corrugated paper, commercial paper, rollboard, specialty paper, flooring felt, and any new uses of asbestos. There are many products, however, that were originally scheduled to be phased out by 2008, are no longer banned under TSCA. These include certain asbestos cement materials, asbestos clothing, asbestos transmission materials, roofing felt and roof coatings. The EPA throughly addresses these matters and more in the document entitled, “Asbestos Strategies: Lessons Learned About Managerment and Use of Asbestos,” published in 2003.

And how much asbestos is being used annually in the U.S.? Well, according to the EPA, in 2001, the U. S. imported roughly 13,100 metric tons of asbestos, mostly from Canada. According to one of the report’s graphs showing the uses of asbestos in 2001, the large majority (9,250 metric tons) of asbestos is used in roofing products. This is followed by 2300 tons used in gaskets. Friction products, coatings, compounds, and other products incorporate the remaining 1/20 of uses of asbestos in 2001.

When it comes to the EPA and mesothelioma, the EPA makes clear some troubling factors. First, they note that asbestos is perhaps the most well-researched toxic substance. Second, they admit that not only are the current restrictions likely not sufficient to adequately protect the health of workers and consumers exposed to asbestos, but also the current enforcement of the existing ban is also insufficient. In their clarification of the asbestos ban and phase-out, the EPA advises, “The EPA does NOT track the manufacture, processing, or distribution in commerce of asbestos-containing products. It would be prudent for a consumer or other buyer to inquire as to the presence of asbestos in particular products.” We will be looking further into this topic in future blogs.

Study Highlights DIY Risks of Mesothelioma

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

A recent study in Australia confirmed that without certain precautions, do-it-yourself home renovation in homes build prior to 1980 may lead to increased risk of mesothelioma.

Australia has some of the strictest regulations on the uses of asbestos. In general, Australian workers in industries affected by mesothelioma tend to be well organized and vocal when it comes to protecting their health and safety. Lately, concern has been raised over risks of exposure to asbestos associated with home renovation. Results from a recent study published by researchers at the University of Western Australia provide evidence that the concern may be well warranted.

The study identified the primary source of asbestos in each confirmed mesothelioma case in Western Australia between 1960 and 2008, and analyzed the results for insights into the relative risk of certain activities. The results showed a marked increase since 1980 in the incidence of asbestos exposure through renovation. The study also showed that, in the last 4 years, approximately 36% of women and 9% of men diagnosed with mesothelioma identified home renovation as their primary source of asbestos exposure.

The results of this study are relevant in any part of the world. As homes built before 1980 begin to show signs of wear, they are being renovated more frequently. A large percentage of these homes were built using products that contain asbestos. Demolition, sanding, and drilling can disturb and release toxic dust from hidden asbestos, putting workers and homeowners at risk for developing mesothelioma.

The EPA has guidelines for identifying and addressing asbestos in the home, including information about where asbestos can be found, when it can be a problem, and how to identify materials containing asbestos. The EPA also lists “Asbestos Do’s and Don’t for the Homeowner” that give some valuable guidelines for home repairs, renovations and asbestos disposal.

 

Asbestos, Mesothelioma and the EPA

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

In 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created by an act of Congress to protect the air, land, and water of the United States.  Since then, the responsibilities of the EPA have expanded to include the protection of US citizens from environmental contaminants. One such contaminate is asbestos, a fibrous mineral linked to Mesothelioma and lung cancer. The EPA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), have together created regulations and guidelines to promote safe handling of asbestos and asbestos disposal in industries and homes.

The EPA is responsible for enforcing two laws that impact the uses of asbestos—the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The Nation Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Asbestos (Section 112 of the CAA) identifies who is required to notify local and state agencies prior to demolition, and in some cases, obtain certification and licensing. This is because disturbing materials that contain asbestos may be more dangerous than leaving them alone, as certain types of asbestos only become “friable” (or airborne) when disturbed.

The TSCA addresses both the regulation of asbestos contamination in public and private schools, and the requirements regarding the use of accredited inspectors and abatement contractors when addressing asbestos remediation in schools, and public or commercial buildings.

In addition to the regulation of asbestos use, abatement and remediation, the EPA provides information to the public on the dangers or asbestos and the proper handling of it. For more on asbestos, mesothelioma-linked materials and asbestos-related health infirmities like Mesothelioma, check out the EPA asbestos webpage.  For more information from the EPA about what to do if you think you might have asbestos in your home, click here.  To find out if your state has training and certification programs for asbestos abatement contractors, call the TSCA Assistance HotLine at (202) 554-1404.

 

 

Mesothelioma: Asbestos Contamination

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

The media has given a great deal of attention to various consumer products known to contain asbestos and can cause Mesothelioma. However, few people are aware of the potential dangers of asbestos contamination in other products, such as vermiculite and talc.

Vermiculite is a mineral that expands when heated to a high temperature and is lightweight and resistant to odor and fire, making it desirable for use in a number of products such as insulation. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the large majority (more than 70 percent) of the vermiculite used in products between 1919 and 1990 came from a mine near Libby, Montana. Because there was also a deposit of asbestos in the mine, the vermiculite from the Libby mine became contaminated.

Vermiculite insulation is a loose, pebble-like material that was poured into the wall or attic. It is usually grayish brown or silver-gold, and vermiculite pieces vary in size. The EPA advises that, because of the likelihood of contamination, homeowners whose homes contain vermiculite should assume it contains asbestos and refrain from disturbing the insulation to test it. Read our Vermiculite and Mesothelioma articles to have a better understanding of how Mesothelioma can be associated with Vermiculite.

This may include taking extra precautions when moving around the attic or hiring a contractor to do so. For example, if a contractor must do work in the attic, you may want to consider the possibility that insulation could be transferred to other areas of the house through ducts or by traveling on clothes. For more information, you can read the EPA fact sheet on protecting your family from contaminated vermiculite insulation (or en Español – PDF).

Talc is a mineral that is used in many cosmetic and other consumer products. It is present in talcum powder, facial powders, chalk and some crayons. When broken down to a smooth power, talc becomes absorbent and reduces friction. Unfortunately, like vermiculite, talc can also be contaminated when mined from areas that also contain asbestos. Its wide use in skin products made talc a particular concern in the past because it could be inhaled easily. According to the American Cancer Society, all household talcum products are supposed to now be free of asbestos. This requirement has been in effect since the 1970’s.

If you have other questions concerning exposure to products that may contain or asbestos-related diseases, visit our Mesothelioma and Asbestos FAQ or read our Mesothelioma articles.

Mesothelioma and Asbestos Risk in School

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

In general, children are considered to be at a higher risk for developing mesothelioma. Like adults who have been exposed to asbestos, children who are exposed are unlikely to show any immediate symptoms. However, the younger a child is when they are exposed to high levels of asbestos, the more likely it becomes that they may express symptoms at some point in the future. Depending on the type of asbestos and level of exposure, it can take decades for symptoms to arise. People who were significantly exposed during later adulthood may not live long enough to see any symptoms.

According to the EPA, schools built before the 1980’s may have a stronger possibility of containing asbestos. Asbestos has also been found in some playgrounds where fill materials containing asbestos were donated by a construction company or other construction-related organization. Undisturbed asbestos in good condition is considered less dangerous. The more knowledge a school has about the materials in its facility, the better their chances are of preventing hazardous materials exposure to children and staff.

Consistent with the Asbestos Hazardous Emergency Response Act (AHERA), EPA regulations require schools to designate an asbestos management coordinator. The coordinator manages all activities relating to asbestos. The success of schools’ asbestos management has largely been the result of the knowledge and practices of the coordinator. Every school is also required to have an asbestos management plan, which should include a list of any uses of asbestos in school structures. Concerned parents can contact an administrator and request a copy of the plan. In the interest of making sure that school environments are safe for children, the EPA offers an AHERA Designated Person Self-Study Guide, which has been a primary resource for schools since its release in 1996.

But unfortunately, the potential risk doesn’t stop in school buildings. Recent tests have shown the presence of asbestos in some children’s toys. Between 2007 and 2009, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, or ADAO, conducted a series of tests on a number of household products sold in the U.S. Three laboratories tested more than 250 products, including children’s toys. Certain modeling clays and other imported materials were shown to contain unacceptable levels of asbestos. One of the most notable cases was a popular fingerprint examination kit. The ADAO tests found significant levels of asbestos in a fingerprint dusting powder that was part of the kit.

Mesothelioma prevention begins with being informed. This mesothelioma blog is dedicated to providing useful information to people about the risks of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma prevention. Whether you are a protective parent, school staff member or concerned citizen, we encourage you to explore this blog, our mesothelioma articles and our mesothelioma FAQ. If you need more assistance, please contact us.

 

Dispose of Asbestos Containing Materials

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Asbestos is a naturally-occurring substance made from one of six silicate minerals, which have now been banned due to their link with many health complications, most notably mesothelioma.

Asbestos use has been traced back at least 4,500 years to Finland for strengthening earthenware pots and cooking utensils. The use of asbestos became commonplace between the turn of the 20th century and the late 1970s in industrial capacities. It was also used in brake pads until the mid-1990s.

There are four methods for asbestos disposal; the EPA suggests all methods should be performed by a properly-licensed asbestos abatement company, and any intact asbestos not be touched. Knowing whether a product contains asbestos is not easy unless it’s properly labeled.

The most dangerous method of asbestos removal is dry stripping.  This involves simply removing the asbestos without any amount of moisture. While a simple method, dry stripping can produce a large amount of dust and may release toxins.

High-pressured water removal is a popular method, using the water to force the asbestos away from the people doing the removal. This method is usually reserved for industrial spaces that are hard to reach.

A technique for home asbestos removal is controlled wet stripping, performed by injecting warm water into asbestos with specialized needles. This effectively weighs down the material, which also helps control the amount of dust released.

Another asbestos-removal method is hot stripping. This technique includes the use of a ventilation system along with hot air. By blowing the asbestos fibers with the hot air, any residue can be directed toward a powerful ventilation system.

However, in some cases asbestos material is not removed, but rather encased.

In many countries, asbestos is typically disposed of as hazardous waste in landfill sites. In the United States, OSHA regulations require a sign stating that the hazardous waste or landfill site contains asbestos.

For more information check out our Mesothelioma articles on the laws and regulations concerning asbestos materials.

 

 

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.