Posts Tagged ‘mesothelioma awareness’

Breakthrough Mesothelioma Case

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

On February 13, 2012, the Italian court announced a verdict that may have an impact on people and families around the world who are dealing with mesothelioma. Billionaires Stephan Schidheiny and Jean-Louis de Cartier, key shareholders in the company Eternit, a producer of fiber-reinforced cement, were each sentenced to sixteen years in prison for the failure to comply with safety regulations in their factories’ uses of asbestos. This class action law suit is being touted as the most significant suit yet, because criminal charges were actually placed on the owners who benefited from the profits of the negligent factories.

Invented in the late 19th century, fiber-reinforced cement products, generally containing a mixture of cement and asbestos, has been favored in construction for it’s relatively light weight along with its resistance to fire and water. Production of this material has reduced significantly since the public has been aware of the risks of exposure to friable asbestos.

Prosecutors in the Eternit case claimed that at least 1,800 people died as a result of asbestos-related diseases in the town of Casale Monferrato, where the largest of the company’s factories was located. According to some reports, the company conducted its asbestos disposal in the open, releasing clouds of friable asbestos into the air to settle and collect on the town’s streets. They also gave left-over asbestos to families to use at home. When evidence of the dangers of asbestos began to surface, the company apparently concealed it and continued harmful practices, intending to protect the company profits.

In addition to facing criminal charges, Schidheiny and de Cartier were ordered to pay €95 million (about $126 million US dollars) to families of the victims, as well as large sums to other entities and organizations, including trade unions and the town of Casale. This is a clear victory for asbestos awareness groups and advocates of mesothelioma victim’s rights.

One of the biggest challenges facing groups dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of asbestos is the inconsistency among trading nations in their asbestos laws and regulations. Many workers rights groups, environmental advocates, and asbestos awareness groups are hoping this case will have positive global impact on this issue.

 

Mesothelioma Treatment: Nutrition

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

When undergoing treatment for mesothelioma, nutrition can play a vital role in the outcome of and the quality of life during treatment. Eating foods high in protein, along with fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help prepare the body for the stress of treatments. Unfortunately, mesothelioma patients commonly experience a loss of appetite during mesothelioma treatment due to effects of chemotherapy or the disease itself.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), certain practices can aid in this process. Because tastebuds often change during chemotherapy, foods may lose their former appeal or even become unpleasant. To avoid a loss of nutrients, the ACS suggests trying alternative foods such as plant-based foods like peas and beans that may be more palatable. Limiting certain foods and beverages, such as alcohol and pickled and cured foods, can help as well. The ACS also recommends eating five colorful servings of fruits and vegetables each day, including dark green and deep yellow vegetables, as these contain phytochemicals that are very beneficial nutrients. In addition, maintaining as much physical acidity as possible will aid in overall health and well-being. Finally, cooking large meals and storing plenty of food in the pantry and freezer will help reduce overall work and stress sometimes involved in meal preparation.

Seeking support can also make a big difference. Among the various mesothelioma and asbestos resources, nutritionists can be very helpful for patients who are going through mesothelioma therapy. Nutritionists can help design a specific plan to help prevent malnutrition and muscle and bone wasting. A good nutrition plan may also help patients handle aggressive treatments, fight infection, and maintain the strength and energy needed for a better quality of life during and after treatment. Finally, a support structure of friends and neighbors can be vital to implementing a nutrition plan. If you or someone you love has mesothelioma, don’t be afraid to ask for support for assistance with tasks like shopping and meal preparation. This can provide a way for people who care to offer much needed support.

 

The History of Asbestos

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Although archaeologists have found evidence of asbestos almost 3000 years ago, the first known common uses of asbestos occurred in ancient Greece. The fibers were frequently woven into the clothing made for slaves until the fire resistant properties of the material became known. At that point, asbestos material quickly became regarded almost as valuable as gold. The Greeks also used asbestos fibers in royal clothing, table linens, and insulation for ovens. The ancient Romans were also aware of the material’s properties, using asbestos in construction, head dressings, and in table linens. The Romans would toss soiled napkins into the fire and then remove them to reveal the clean surface. The dangers of asbestos were also documented at this time. In fact, a Roman doctor named Pliny the Elder noted that the slaves who worked in asbestos mines developed a “sickness of the lung” which may well have been mesothelioma.

The history of asbestos shows that uses of asbestos began to decline after the fall of Rome. It was not until the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s that use of asbestos really took off on a global scale. As more factories were opened, asbestos was commonly used as insulation against the high temperatures generated by the steam-powered machines. Asbestos was also used to insulate pipes, turbines, ovens and kilns. As the demand for asbestos increased, more asbestos mines were opened, and by the turn of the century, doctors were reporting illnesses of the lungs in mine workers. However, these early health concerns about the material did not slow its use as asbestos was continuously used as an insulator in the construction of trains, ships, and automobiles. It was also used in housing construction in siding, cement and insulation.

As early as the 1920’s, medical research began to show a link between asbestos and certain types of cancer. Some asbestos manufacturers took actions to hide the truth about mesothelioma-linked materials from public awareness. However, in the 1970’s the dangers of asbestos finally became known to the public, and the U.S., along with many other countries, began to create and enforce regulations that limited the use of asbestos in the interest of public health.

Unfortunately, people who worked in the industries affected by mesothelioma did not find out about their own illness until decades later. Mesothelioma victims often experience no symptoms until decades after their exposure to asbestos. By the time a diagnosis is made, victims of mesothelioma sometimes have only months to live. While taking legal action against negligent companies was initially difficult due to the many years between exposure and symptoms, courts in many states can be sympathetic to the needs of mesothelioma victims and generally supportive of their right to compensation.

 

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.

 

 

MARF Mesothelioma Awareness Day

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

September 26th was National Mesothelioma Awareness Day, and all over the country, groups and organizations planned events to call attention to the disease mesothelioma and pay tribute to its victims. The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation started Mesothelioma Awareness Day in 2004.

According to Maja Belarmic, the foundation’s Director of Outreach, the disease is not getting the attention it deserves because of its rarity. The foundation hopes to raise money to fund research, develop better treatments, and hopefully a cure. Currently, the most effective approved mesothelioma treatment may extend life for an average of three months.

Not only have there been few breakthroughs in the early detection and treatment of mesothelioma, but also the likely cause of mesothelioma, asbestos, is still relatively widespread. According to the foundation, the nation is likely to see an increased rate of cases as a result of the September 2001 collapse of the Twin Towers, which released hundreds of tons of asbestos into the air. While asbestos presents little danger when left undisturbed, when asbestos fibers become friable (released into the air), they can then be inhaled into the lungs, where then can cause great damage depending on the type of asbestos, length and level of exposure and other factors.

While the last four decades have seen regulations with regard to the handling and uses of asbestos, asbestos is not banned in the United States, a fact that has been a point of debate.

In 2007, “Meso Awareness Day” raised over $4 million dollars toward research and treatment of the disease. The day has gained momentum every year since it’s beginning, so this years fundraising is likely to well exceed that amount.

In some cases, victims have developed mesothelioma as a result of working in industries affected by mesothelioma. In these cases, victims are sometimes awarded settlement to help compensate for expensive medical bills, as well the pain and suffering incurred by the victim and their loved ones. To find out more about possible compensation for victims of mesothelioma, visit our Mesothelioma Victim’s Rights page or fill out our online form, and we will be in contact with you as soon as possible.

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.

 

 

Mesothelioma Awareness: Shine a Light Campaign

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Mesothelioma, despite its reputation as a killer, doesn’t receive as much attention as other cancers.  A lot of that has to do with its comparative rarity: In the United States, for example, between seven and 40 people per 1,000,000 population contract the disease.  That’s a rate lower than many other more well-known cancers.  Unfortunately, mesothelioma also has a lower rate of survival than many of those aforementioned diseases.  Thus, it may warrant more attention than it currently gets, if only to raise awareness about how it’s contracted.

According to a recent blog post we came across on the Mesothelioma Resource Center, the Lung Cancer Alliance has put together an event designed to raise awareness about malignant mesothelioma.  The event, called Shine a Light, is an annual vigil conceived to highlight many of the dangers of lung cancer.  Malignant mesothelioma falls into the category of “dangerous lung cancer.”

Earlier, we mentioned raising awareness about how mesothelioma is contracted.  One answer to that is that mesothelioma is often the result of asbestos exposure.  The history of asbestos and its relationship with humans a long one.  Societies from the ancient Greeks all the way up to recent times employed asbestos in a variety of ways.

The uses of asbestos in this century was predominantly centered around the shipbuilding and construction industries.  That’s because asbestos, as a mineral, has excellent fire-retardant and insulation capabilities.  It could be mixed with concrete to increase the strength and lessen the density of the construction material, which lowered construction and transportation costs.  It could also be used as a lightweight insulation material on pipes and around boilers in ships, vessels where weight comes at a very high premium indeed.

Unfortunately, asbestos, when inhaled, can eventually lead to mesothelioma or asbestosis, both of which are devastating diseases.  In addition, mesothelioma has no known cure.

September 26th: Mesothelioma Day

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Mesothelioma is an extremely rare cancer that afflicts somewhere between 7 and 40 people per 1,000,000 population in the United States.  It is most commonly linked to asbestos exposure.  Despite its lethality (the average life expectancy of someone given a mesothelioma diagnosis is often measured in months, and there is no cure for it), since it’s ultimately an exceedingly uncommon disease, not many people are aware of its particulars.  And that’s if they know of the disease at all.

That’s why the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation has designated this upcoming September 26th as Mesothelioma Awareness Day.  According to an article posted on Mesothelioma.com, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation has planned for a video and banner display situated at 10 Rockafeller Plaza.  The display is geared towards informing those who see it with important facts related to the disease, and to its primary cause—asbestos exposure.  (According to the article, asbestos exposure is the cause of 77% of all mesothelioma cases.)

Unfortunately and all too often, those who possess an awareness of mesothelioma are tragically afflicted by it, or know someone who is.  If you or someone you care about is currently struggling with this ravaging, rapidly advancing disease, you might want to consider contacting a law firm that is experienced in handling mesothelioma settlements.  Such a mesothelioma law firm might be able to secure financial compensation, depending on the particulars of the case in question, which might be able to go some ways toward helping defray the costs of treating this disease.

While mesothelioma, unfortunately, has no cure, there are treatments out there that may help extend the life expectancy of its victims, or the quality of life of people suffering from it.  Awareness about it—about its causes, manifestations, symptoms, and what to do about it all—might go some distance toward helping the safety of those at risk to contract it.

Mesothelioma Awareness Day

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

This past Saturday, September 26, was Mesothelioma Awareness Day, and people all over the United States spent the day remembering loved ones who are no longer with us. And others were asked to stop and think about mesothelioma and raise awareness for the need to develop effective treatments for it.

A great article in the KCTribune talked about Olathe, Kansas’ observing of Mesothelioma Awareness Day. A woman quoted in the article lost her husband to mesothelioma in 2006 — he was just 65 years old. He had worked as a truck driver and insulation fabricator for a subsidiary company of Owens-Corning Fiberglas. The woman, along with her son and two daughters, planned to wear T-shirts with a photo of him on Mesothelioma Awareness Day.

The woman stressed that she and her family “want people to stop and think,” and that asbestos is still out there. They don’t want other families to experience what they’ve been through.

Michael Copeland, the mayor of Olathe, made a proclamation that called on all citizens to “help raise public awareness of the disease and the need to develop effective treatments for it.” The proclamation talked about how approximately 3,000 Americans die every year from mesothelioma, and how the “use of asbestos in manufacturing, industry and construction has been recognized as the worst occupational health disaster in U.S. history.”

The Importance of Mesothelioma Awareness

The importance of mesothelioma awareness can’t be stressed enough. Families affected by mesothelioma must deal with tremendous pain, suffering and piling medical bills. There is currently no cure for mesothelioma.

To find out more about mesothelioma, call 1-888-370-0121.