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Asbestos in the Workplace

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100 students and faculty exposed to asbestos

December 18, 2009 ( - Injury News, Mesothelioma News)

Legal news for Pennsylvania Mesothelioma attorneys –Bethlehem area vocational technical school students exposed to asbestos at remodeling project,Bethlehem area vocational technical school, asbestos exposure, school authorities.

Bethlehem Township,PA ( – A remodeling project atBethlehemAreaVocational-TechnicalSchool may have exposed as many as 100 students and teachers to asbestos, Tuesday, December 15, 2009, according to the Express Times. An asbestos professional claimed that the concentration of the hazardous asbestos fibers were extremely low.

Several parents at a meeting concerning the matter wanted to know why the students were not alerted that asbestos was present. The district had reportedly been aware of the asbestos three months prior. Parents were outraged that their children were subjected to the materials unknowingly, even though the school was aware of the situation.

At least 100 students and faculty had been working for several months to renovate an old house at3266 Hecktown Road, which was a school-organized project. Teams of students and teachers worked to remove the boiler out of the basement, which contained a thick insulation containing about of 70 percent asbestos.

School authorities only informed the students and faculty later on to not go back to the house due to asbestos. The asbestos professional had found the asbestos after a September research on the house, and then contacted that school district the following week advising that specialists should abate it. He also was not aware that students had been working in the contaminated area until after the asbestos was stirred.

An attorney stated that the school was investigating the situation to determine who was responsible for informing the students and teachers who were exposed. The asbestos consultant did say that exposure would have been low, and that it was improbable that it would cause long term health effects.

However, he was not sure that the students would not become sick from the asbestos exposure. The school district planned to compensate the uninsured students for the cost of X-rays. According to Wikipedia, asbestos, is a natural fibrous crystals, that can mesothelioma, a rare and destructive cancer.

Bridget Hom

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The state Department of Environmental Protection is investigating two construction dump sites for the presence of asbestos

by gabriella souza • • December 11, 2009

At one of those sites, nearImperial Parkway inBonitaSprings, DEP has removed 2,800 tons of fill material containing asbestos since July.

Information on these sites was made public for the first time Thursday.

Posen Construction completed the $12.5 million construction ofImperial Parkway in August 2007. The Michigan-based company also is the contractor on the $25.2 million six-lane widening ofSummerlin Road.

The Summerlin project was delayed two weeks ago, when suspicion first arose that asbestos was being used in the project's fill material. Tests later confirmed asbestos was present in that material. It's uncertain how long the project will be delayed.

The other site - an area where construction companies dump unneeded material - is offVeronica S. Shoemaker Boulevard inFort Myers. Posen, along with other companies, has been known to use the site, said Rhonda Haag, outreach manager for DEP'sFort Myers office.

But DEP isn't assigning blame yet.

Since the asbestos is mixed in with other fill material, DEP has not determined how much asbestos it found, said Sherrill Culliver, environmental manager for DEP'sFort Myers office. And if it can't confirm the presence of more than 260 linear feet of asbestos, DEP can't legally fine anyone for using the cancer-linked material.

Posen officials at their local office offCorkscrew Road in Estero and their headquarters inShelbyTownship,Mich., did not return calls seeking comment.

The company paid a $6,500 fine and the cost of transporting 1,220 linear feet of asbestos discovered at one of its material disposal sites in January 2008. It was using the material for the $15.7 million widening ofAlico Road inSan CarlosPark.

Commissioner Bob Janes said he was not told asbestos had been discovered offImperial Parkway, where an average of 18,200 vehicles traveled daily in 2008.

"I would have liked to have known about it," Janes said. "On the other hand, just as long as they're doing away with it, they're doing their job."

LeeCounty has given Posen 10 days to come up with a plan to remove the asbestos from parts of the project where it was discovered. Those areas include the intersection ofSummerlin Road andCollege Parkway, where a flyover is being built.

Posen - which could face fines of up to $10,00 a day for using material containing asbestos - has hired a state-licensed asbestos consultant, Haag said. That person will report his findings on the amount of asbestos used in the project, as well as its location.

"This is commonly done on other projects," Haag said, noting it was saving taxpayer dollars for Posen to hire the consultant instead ofLeeCounty.

Asbestos combines with rock and other construction material during the mining process, when old water pipes made of asbestos can be struck and crumbled up. The water pipes were filled with concrete and buried farther underground after scientists linked asbestos to lung disease, including cancer.

Les Grove,Tampa area director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said there's no way to say asbestos could affect road workers on the job because it takes years for asbestos exposure to surface.

OffImperial Parkway nearEast Terry Street, the only remnants of the asbestos-tainted material are a few, 6- to 12-foot-high piles of material. Across a wide-open field, homes can be seen in the distance.

The area around the site on Veronica S. Shoemaker is lined with pine trees. The noise of the roadway, where an average of 6,000 vehicles traveled in 2008, is heard in the background. This site is also out in the open.

Crews have taken most of the tainted material to a specialized disposal area nearLake Okeechobee. There, it will be buried in a pit lined with a protective coating and a layer of dirt will be piled on top, Haag said.

DEP has said residents and drivers should not be concerned about the discovery of asbestos, but has recommended avoiding those areas on foot. Asbestos is only lethal when it is crumbled and becomes airborne and most of this material was stabilized in chunks.

The agency was alerted to the presence of asbestos at the site off Imperial last summer by tips phoned into its office.

Those tips continue to be phoned in, Haag said.

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Thousands on hand for big asbestos trial

Published: Dec. 11, 2009 at 11:42 AM


TURIN, Italy, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- The trial of two former executives of a Swiss building firm accused of negligence in 2,200 asbestos-related deaths moved into its second day inItaly Friday.

The two suspects, one a Swiss billionaire and the other aBelgian baron, are being tried in absentia inTurin. They are accused of causing an environmental disaster and failing to take proper safety measures at the cement giant Eternit.

Italian media are calling the case, in which nearly 3,000 people are seeking damages, the "trial of the century," ANSA reported.

Eternit's Swiss owner, Stephan Schmidheiny, 62, who has a defense team of 26 lawyers, and the former managing director, the Belgian baron Louis de Cartier de Marchienne, 88, deny any wrongdoing. If convicted they could each face 12 years in prison.

Thousands showed up for the trial's beginning on Thursday with interest so high it required three courtrooms with hundreds of relatives and journalists watching on videolink.

Outside, demonstrators and relatives of victims who worked at Eternit plants inEurope held placards calling for justice.

Prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello told reporters asbestos dust in the air from roofs, streets and courtyards caused tumors among Eternit staff, their families and people living near the factories and has left around 800 seriously ill.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Health risk prompts asbestos action

Posted Tue Dec 8, 2009 8:34am AEDT

The Maitland City Council is preparing to remove asbestos roofing from its century-old town hall building, due to concerns about the public health risk.

When the work starts early in the new year, council meetings will have to be relocated and it will also be timed to coincide with the school holidays so students at the nearby St Mary's high school are not affected.

Councillors will be asked to approve the work at tonight's meeting and Mayor Peter Blackmore says it will be expensive, but necessary.

"Particularly when it's been highlighted, the dangers of asbestos, and we want to remove any dangers of the people using the town hall," he said.

"At anytime there we can have hundreds of people there in that facility so it's important now that we comply with current regulations."

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Asbestos traces found in carpet underlay

Posted Wed Dec 9, 2009 7:25pm AEDT

carpet underlay

Recycled hessian used to transport asbestos was then used in carpet underlay

The WA Health Department has confirmed the first traces of asbestos in carpet underlay samples taken from aPerth home.

It is believed some underlay manufactured before the early 1970s may have included recycled hessian from bags previously used to transport and store asbestos.

The Department began testing samples from a number of older houses acrossPerth after concerns were raised several years ago.

Asbestos fibres are known to cause several respiratory conditions including asbestosis and mesothelioma.

The Department is warning people who are replacing or removing old carpets to ensure they take appropriate precautions and avoid inhaling any dust.


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Development Company prosecuted after exposing staff to asbestos -

Posted by Editorial Team


The dangers of working with asbestos have been spelt out to public liability insurance companies again after the prosecution of a development firm.

Stonehouse Design and Build, based inPlymouth,Devon, was charged with breaching Regulations 15 and 16 (1)(a) of the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002. It was fined a total of £5,500 and ordered to pay costs of just over £8,000.

Bodmin magistrates court heard how Stonehouse was carrying out renovation work at the former Shark Fin Hotel inCornwall between 2005 and 2006, when asbestos was disturbed.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was told in confidence that the material was not being removed in the appropriate ways, including the illegal disposal of it alongside general waste.

Martin Lee, HSE inspector, said that the dangers of exposure to asbestos cannot be underestimated.

He added that the HSE wants public liability insurance holders to change the way that their employees work so that they do not put their lives at risk when working with asbestos.

The recent 'hidden killer' campaign has been warning contractors about the dangers of working with asbestos, including how best to protect themselves against it and what they should do if they discover the material. ADNFCR-2022-ID-19503601-ADNFCR

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Family Receives Compensation over Railway Worker’s Death

Posted on November 23rd, 2009

by Deon Scott in All News

The family of aUK man who died from the asbestos cancer known as mesothelioma has been awarded one hundred thousand GBP. The man, Dudley Maasz, was a former railway worker who is said to have been exposed to deadly asbestos, which eventually robbed him of his life.

Maasz was seventy four years old when he died from the cancer in 2006, having been diagnosed with it back in 2005. He had worked for Great Western Railways in the 1940s according to reports. BRB, which was formerly known as British Rail, settled the claim out of court.

A lawyer for the family said: “We were able to establish that Mr Maasz death was caused by exposure to asbestos during his employment at theOxford works. Boilers of locomotives were coated with thick asbestos and asbestos was also used over the pipes and cylinders of the engines. As a cleaner and fireman, Mr Maasz would have been exposed to this.”

The victim’s brother stated: “He used to sleep a lot, the pain got worse and worse and eventually he was in bed most of the time. One day I looked at him and thought - my goodness - he was half the size, he’d been eaten away, I felt so sorry for him.”

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UBC: Asbestos on campus not harmful

Hazardous product found in SUB, Hebb Theatre, Totem

By Andrew Hood and Lance Zhou

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

A recentUbysseyinvestigation has discovered that asbestos still exists in buildings on campus, but the university assures that its presence is not harmful.

In recent years, it has been discovered that the inhalation of asbestos can lead to life-threatening diseases such as mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer, or chronic inflammation such as asbestosis. The use of asbestos was banned in the early 1970s due to health effects; however, it is still prevalent in buildings. According to UBC Department of Health, Safety, and Environment’s (HSE) website, “Of the one million square metres of floor area UBC has, approximately 84 per cent contains some form of asbestos-containing material.”

Buildings such as the SUB, the Buchanan buildings, the Hebb buildings,TotemPark, Place Vanier Residence andAcadiaPark are just some of the notable buildings that are known to have asbestos within their architecture.

Cheryl Peters, a researcher of occupational and environmental exposures from CAREX Canada, a group of scientists involved in research towards cancer prevention programs and based in the UBC School of Environmental Health, states that while asbestos exposure is dangerous, the effects are not immediate.

“Asbestos is definitely a deadly carcinogen in the sense that the cancers stemming from its exposure are extremely dangerous. For example, most people who have been exposed to asbestos and are diagnosed with mesothelioma die within a year of the diagnosis. But the effects of exposure might only surface after decades,” said Peters, adding, “It’s only dangerous if it’s exposed and people breathe it in.”

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral characterized by fibrous crystals. There are two categories of asbestos: friable and non-friable. Friable asbestos, the more fragile of the two, can easily be crumbled or powdered by hand. Non-friable asbestos, on the other hand, will not easily shed fibres under normal day-to-day use.

Asbestos was used frequently in construction from the 1940s to the 1980s because of its prized fire-resistant properties, durability and strength. Asbestos was used as an additive to strengthen cement and plastics, essential in creating fireproofing material and for soundproofing. In addition, it was used to manufacture ceiling and floor tiles, adhesives, drywall, plaster and paints.

In a November 8 CTV article on asbestos, it was reported that recent figures from the federal government show that the number of new cases of mesothelioma per year in the country increased 67 per cent over the last 15 years, from 276 to 461. In BC, deaths from asbestos-related diseases have increased as much as 69 per cent between 2002 and now. In 2008,Canada exported 175,000 tonnes of raw chrysotile, a form of asbestos, mostly to developing nations such asIndonesia,Sri Lanka andBangladesh.

HSE assures us that the presence of asbestos in the buildings on campus is not harmful.

“UBC has adopted the regulations of all provincial and federal regulatory agencies as the minimum standard by which asbestos is handled, including Sections 6.1 to 6.32 of the BC Occupational Health and Safety Regulation and Safe Work Practices for Handling Asbestos [WorkSafeBC],” said Guy Champagne, HSE’s asbestos program coordinator.

UBC has been running the Asbestos Management Program, which has been working to control and curtail the threat of asbestos.

“The Asbestos Management Program has established asbestos reduction priorities which include removing the following: asbestos-containing spray insulation; suspended asbestos ceiling tiles; asbestos texture coat ceilings and mechanical insulation,”Champagne said.

According toWorkSafeBC, Sections 6.1 to 6.32 do guarantee the limitation of asbestos exposure in workplace environments through methods of containment or encapsulation in the affected areas. Contrarily, Section 6.71 also deals with the management of asbestos but states, “The employer must ensure that a friable asbestos-containing material in the workplace is controlled by removal, enclosure or encapsulation so as to prevent the release of airborne asbestos fibre.”

The removal of all asbestos-containing material on campus costs upwards of $3 per square foot. During the renovation ofBuchananBuilding A, $41,000 was spent on asbestos abatement alone. To completely rid the campus of asbestos would mean the rebuilding of some 840,000 square metres of floor area around UBC, which could cost millions.

UBC students have mixed feelings about this. Though the risks of asbestos exposure can be fatal, some students on campus seem unfazed by knowledge of asbestos present in classrooms or residences. “As UBC is comprised mostly of ‘old’ buildings, this is hardly surprising,” first-year Science student Angus Lim said.

Other students are more concerned about the issue. Jessica Zhang, a student from the Science One program, said that “Asbestos are carcinogens, and anyone who cares about the potential risk of cancer that is caused by the walls here in UBC should be very concerned.”

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Asbestos cleared at Civic Center

POTSDAMBUILDING: $50,000 removal project finished in basement, courtroom and office





POTSDAM — A handful of asbestos abatement projects at thePotsdamCivicCenter have been completed, according to Village Administrator Michael D. Weil.

Asbestos remediation in the civic center basement, upstairs courtroom and a front office was finished about a week ago, at a cost of about $50,000, Mr. Weil said.

He told trustees Monday that although there is no longer asbestos in the upstairs court, the room is still closed off because repair work must be done on the ceiling.

"It is not suitable to be used as a public facility. It is pretty unsightly," Mr. Weil said.

While asbestos removal was taking place in the civic center courtroom in recent months, weekly village court sessions have been held in the civic center board room on the building's first floor.

"The court is OK down here, but it's not the ideal place to be," Mr. Weil said.

He said the recent completion of asbestos work in parts of the civic center does not mean the entire structure is asbestos-free. He said there still is asbestos material in "various areas," including the basement.

The village has conducted a number of air quality tests, all of which have shown no asbestos fibers in the air.

The most recent round of testing took place last week, Mr. Weil said.

In a memo to employees, he said tests were conducted in the courtroom and the community development area and no signs of asbestos were found.

He said 109 samples were taken earlier this month, including background, environmental and transmission electron microscopy testing capable of specifically identifying asbestos fibers.

The village has undertaken asbestos remediation and abatement projects several times over the years going back to the early 1980s, according to records.

However, the village's most recent asbestos concerns surfaced earlier this year following the death of longtime civic center employee Sharon M. LaDuke. Ms. LaDuke died from mesothelioma, a rare cancer linked to asbestos inhalation.

Ms. LaDuke's family is now suing the village over what it considers to be her wrongful death resulting from an unsafe work environment.

In a related case, the village also is being sued by its former senior court clerk, Shelley A. Warner. Ms. Warner is alleging she was fired from her job because she publicly expressed concerns about asbestos and workplace safety at the civic center.

Village officials denied she was fired because she is a whistle-blower and instead said she was terminated for insubordination.

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COMMENTARY: The Oily Truth about Asbestos

Asbestos Risks Remain All Too Real as Our Oil Consumption Continues

By Dave Latimer

There are a 150 oil refineries in operation in theU.S. that were built before the EPA regulated asbestos use.

Most of us are concerned about the impact that we have on our environment, and many of us are taking the necessary steps to reduce our carbon footprint, like reducing our energy use at home and driving hybrid vehicles. There is a vast array of changes that we could make in an effort to secure a safer future for our environment, but what about protecting ourhealth, too? There is an issue that affects both the environment and our health, and that is our reliance on oil refineries right here in theU.S. Not only do the refineries pollute our air, but they also contain high levels of asbestos, a naturally occurring, but highly toxic, mineral. Previous exposure to asbestos is the only confirmed cause of pleural mesothelioma, also known as asbestos cancer.

There are about 150 operating oil refineries within theUnited States, all constructed before 1976 and the initiation of asbestos usage regulations in the early 1980s by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Prior to these regulations, asbestos was widely used due to its insulating capabilities and was found in a variety of construction materials, including insulation, drywall compound, acoustical plaster, roofing tiles, floor and ceiling tiles and even duct tape. Because the oil refining process requires extremely high temperatures, pipes were generally lined with asbestos-containing insulation.

There are 150 oil refineries in operation in theU.S. that were built before the EPA regulated asbestos use.


Asbestos is not considered dangerous unless it is damaged and subsequently becomes friable. In oil refineries, the most likely cause of damage is a result of aging and corroding pipes, fire, or explosion. If damaged, asbestos fibers can become airborne, putting individuals (such as oil refinery workers) at risk of inhalation. If asbestos fibers are inhaled, their claw-like composition permits them to cling to the pleural lining of the lungs for decades before an afflicted individual may begin to suffer from common mesothelioma cancer symptoms, including chronic cough and breathing difficulties. The latent period associated with this disease is 20 to 50 years, so an individual who was exposed years ago may one day be diagnosed with this fatal disease and not even expect it. Thereare mesothelioma treatment options, but there is no cure, and a diagnosis is essentially a death sentence that could have been avoided had the individual not been exposed to asbestos.

Oil refinery workers are at a heightened risk of developing mesothelioma, and some may have been exposed to asbestos without even understanding the potential health implications. However, it is not only the workers who are at an increased risk. The residents who live nearU.S. refineries also face the risk of asbestos inhalation, especially if there is a fire or explosion. If asbestos fibers become airborne, they can travel to areas nearby via wind currents and may be inhaled by innocent residents and their children.

It is crucial that we recognize not only the environmental impact ofU.S. oil refinery operations, but the health and safety issues as well. Decreasing our reliance on fossil fuel use and closing the oil refineries would protect our environment and ultimately lead to a decrease in occupational asbestos exposure. If fewer people are exposed to asbestos, fewer people will be affected by mesothelioma cancer, and that is one trend that we canall buy into.

DAVE LATIMER represents the Mesothelioma andAsbestosAwarenessCenter, an asbestos health resource site dedicated to spreading knowledge about mesothelioma and the hazards of asbestos exposure.

CONTACT: The Mesothelioma andAsbestosAwarenessCenter

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Architect Dies from Asbestos Exposure

Posted on November 23rd, 2009

by Deon Scott in All News

Read 266 times.

A report from a law firm in theUnited States has detailed how a former architect has died from asbestos cancer, also known as mesothelioma. The man had worked as an architect almost four decades ago, but died just two months after he was diagnosed.

According to the law firm the man was required to be on site at a variety of construction sites as part of his job as an architect, and with asbestos being present at construction sites in many different areas he would have been exposed on a regular basis to this deadly killer.

Asbestos was used in many different applications up until the 1980s, and on construction sites it was used in many different areas, putting construction workers in different trades at risk as well as those in related trades such as architects.

Exposure to asbestos on a longer term basis or at high levels can cause a range of serious health problems, and this includes malignant mesothelioma.

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OSHA fines contractor, workers not protected from asbestos

December 2, 2009 ( - Mesothelioma News,New York City)

Company allows workers to be exposed to asbestos

Legal news for New York Mesothelioma attorneys – OSHA accused contractor of putting workers at risk.

Buffalo, NY ( – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is potentially fining a contracting company hundreds of thousands for failure to prepare their workers for the dangers of working with asbestos laden debris, as reported by The Buffalo News, on December 1, 2009.

The company, Cambria Contracting, withheld information from their workers at the AM&A’s warehouse where the debris contained asbestos, which is a hazardous fibrous dust particles known to cause Mesothelioma- a form of cancer. The company allegedly did not tell their workers about the presence of asbestos, or provide them with the proper safety masks and clothing needed to safely work with the hazardous materials.

The company faces $484,000 in fines from OSHA for the serious violations. OSHA officials reported that there were several workers at the warehouse, which is located onWashington Street, who were not properly trained to work in the potentially dangerous conditions.

OSHA also claimed that theLockport contractor had failed to determine the actual amounts of asbestos that the workers were exposed to while cleaning up debris, in addition to the lack of supervision or direction for handling asbestos at the site. The workers unknowingly removed asbestos-laden debris in such a way that could release it in the air, claimed OSHA authorities.

In order to remove asbestos safely, workers are required to use vacuums with HEPA filters. OSHA charged Cambria Contracting for 11 violations where the company reportedly blatantly disregarded the workers health and safety. OSHA’sNew York regional administrator stated that the company is an experienced asbestos removal company that is aware of the requirements and safety precautions that are necessary for the safety of their workers.

Bridget Hom

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November 9, 2009

All trades can be exposed to asbestos, expert warns

The full impact of asbestos-related exposure inCanada has not been fully felt yet and its eventual reach will not discriminate among construction industry victims, says an expert.

“Unfortunately, asbestos respects no trade,” says Anne Kearse, attorney, Motley Rice LLC. “Whether it is an insulating, electrician or brick layer trade, all can be exposed to asbestos.”

Motley Rice is a leading legal firm in the area of asbestos-related litigation and is a key member of the International Mesothelioma Program based in theU.S.

The Canadian Medical Association recently reported that in addition to miners, construction workers continue to be exposed to asbestos. Among the types of asbestos-related products construction trades still come in contact with are pipe and block insulation, adhesives, fireproofing/acoustical spray, protective clothing, floor tile and cement asbestos pipe.

The Center for Study of Living Standards reports that in 2005, of the 557 Canadian deaths related to occupational disease, 340 deaths (61 per cent) were caused by exposure to asbestos compared to less than 60 a decade earlier.

Mesothelioma is one of two asbestos-related diseases and is almost always cancerous and fatal within one-to-two years of detection. Its high fatality rate is due to the long latency period (15-50 years) of the disease, by the time a case is diagnosed it cannot be treated.Canada’s mesothelioma case peak is not anticipated until 2020.

“Construction workers, however, have the potential for continued exposure during the maintenance, renovation and demolition of buildings that contain asbestos,” says Cancer CareOntario.

The number ofOntario mesothelioma cases in 2006 rose to 177 from just 30 in 1980. During that time the number of mesothelioma incidence rates increased from 0.7 per 100,000 to two per cent per 100,000.

Research indicates that the dangers of asbestos were red-flagged as early as 100 AD. Ancient scribes Strabo and Pliny the Elder mentioned that a sickness seemed to follow those who worked with asbestos. Lung ailments were a common problem then for anyone who quarried asbestos or wove it into cloth. By the early 1900s both Canadian and American labour departments were talking about asbestos-related diseases.

About only one-third ofOntario patients with mesothelioma receive worker’s compensation. Thirty-eight per cent of allOntario mesothelioma victims file a claim with WSIB and 87 per cent of those are accepted, notes Kearse.

“It’s a Schedule Four disease (with WSIB), there is a presumption there that it is a work-related disease and that is a hurdle overcome immediately when someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma,” says Kearse. “It is very under-reported and those who are eligible for workers compensation never file because they don’t realize when they are retired they can file for benefits if they develop asbestos-related disease. If they are deceased, their family is eligible to get compensation.”

The WSIB, Cancer CareOntario, United Steel Workers and Canadian Cancer Society recently launched Occupational Cancer ResearchOntario to help educate both workers and physicians about asbestos-related diseases and to make exposure histories are being documented.

Kearse advises construction stakeholders to preserve and share asbestos related job site information and records.

“As memories fade as we try and go back 30 to 50 years it is so much easier to document it now,” Kearse says. “When someone is ill, they have other things to take care of and the last thing they need is to worry and try figure out is what they were exposed to.”

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Sheet Metal Workers at Risk for Mesothelioma

September 28, 2009. By Brenda Craig


New York,NY: Attorney Joe Belluck regularly represents workers withmesothelioma, a fatal disease found primarily in workers who have been exposed to asbestos on the job. “We have represented many sheet metal workers and it is clear, both anecdotally and now through scientific data, they have an increased risk of dying from mesothelioma,” says Belluck from his office inNew York.

Sheet Metal Workers at Risk for Mesothelioma

Belluck is referring to a new study of 17,345 sheet metal workers published in the August, 2009, issue of theAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine. The study confirms that workers with 20 or more years in the sheet metal trade are at significantly higher risk of dying from asbestos related diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis.

Asbestosis has already been linked to miners, shipyard workers, drywallers and construction workers.

“I think what has tended to happen in the history of asbestosis and asbestosis litigation is there is a case and then another case until you get a critical mass of cases in that occupation,” says Belluck whose firm has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of mesothelioma victims.

“It is really not surprising that sheet metal workers would be in the category of those at risk for asbestosis-related diseases,” Belluck adds. “A lot of the sheet metal work involves heating and ventilation ducting that was insulated with asbestos or used asbestos gaskets or sealing materials between the pieces of sheet metal.”

“Sheet metal workers often work in the ceilings of buildings. They typically would have come into contact with asbestos-containing ceiling tiles or beams coated asbestos for fire protection."

Many of the workers now facing an excruciating death from mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos in the 60s, 70s and 80s before exposure to the deadly potential of asbestosis was completely understood and controlled. Typically, decades pass before the symptoms begin to appear and the diagnosis is made.

That means that many of the victims of asbestos-related lung diseases such as cancer and mesothelioma are in the final stages of life before realize they are sick and dying. Belluck and Fox currently have about half a dozen mesothelioma clients.

“We are fortunate that the in the state ofNew York, the law has given a statutory preference to anyone dying of cancer,” says Belluck. “We usually get trial dates within 6 to 12 months and most of our clients do get some recovery before they pass away and are able to have some peace of mind that their families will be taken care of.”

“Dealing with families who have loved ones who are dying can be very difficult at times,” says Belluck. “But it is also rewarding when we can help our clients at a time when they need it very badly.”

This new study Belluck believes will help many mesothelioma victims get justice for their injuries.

Joe Belluck is a founding partner in the firm of Belluck and Fox. A nationally recognized attorney, Belluck’s practice focuses on absbestos/mesothelioma cases, as well as consumer, environmental and product injury litigation. He has won a number of cases involving lead paint, defective medical products and tobacco. Belluck and Fox have four offices in the state ofNew York.

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Study: Cancer in workers elevated at SRS
9/3/2009 7:41 PM
By MIKE GELLATLY -Staff writer

Those who worked at the Savannah River Site and other parts of the nation's weapons complex are at an elevated risk for developing cancer, according to a new study.

This finding came from a study of older construction workers at four U.S. Department of Energy nuclear weapons complex sites. It found an increased risk of developing cancer for Site workers, especially for construction workers who worked prior to the 1980s.

Conducted at institutions including Duke University and the University of Cincinnati, the study found that trade workers at SRS, Hanford in Washington, Oak Ridge in Tennessee and the Amchitka site in Alaska had significantly elevated asbestos-related cancers.

The study was funded by DOE and was published in the current issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, a medical publication.

DOE established medical screening programs at the four sites starting in 1996. Workers participating in these programs have been followed to determine their vital status and mortality experience through Dec. 31, 2004.

According to the study, 8,976 former construction workers fromHanford, SRS,Oak Ridge andAmchitka were followed using the National Death Index to ascertain vital status and causes of death.

Researchers identified 674 deaths among the overall group - slightly less than expected - but notably a significantly higher death rate among those identified as asbestos workers and insulators. The incident of cancer was elevated at all four sites with the highest rates at SRS.

"Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was significantly elevated among workers at the Savannah River Site," according to the study.

DOE construction workers at these four sites were found to have significantly increased risk of asbestos-related cancers.

The elevated risk was linked to significant past exposure to asbestos, a material widely used in construction and for insulation until the 1970s. The study also noted the elevated risk of mesothelioma and asbestosis was confined to workers first employed at the sites prior to 1980, when use of asbestos would have been more prevalent. Mesothelioma is a cancer that is almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos. It attacks the linings of the throat and lungs.

Researchers said that they were limited in the study by a small scope and recommended that DOE continue similar research.

Contact Mike Gellatly at

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DOE Workers Face Higher Risks for Mesothelioma and Other Cancers


Posted on Friday, August 28, 2009

mesothelioma at nuclear power plantsConstruction workers at four Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear sites have been exposed to asbestos and other dangerous materials that are putting them at significantly higher risk formesothelioma, lung disease, and other cancers according to a new report published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

Working in construction and other trade jobs at nuclear sites can be risky business. Workers are regularly exposed to a number of cancer-causing substances, including asbestos. Since the mid 1990s, the government has been conducting surveillance programs to determine the health risks faced by workers at four DOE sites: Hanford Nuclear Reservation (Richland,Washington), Oak Ridge Reservation (Oak Ridge,Tennessee), Savannah River Site (Aiken,South Carolina), and the Amchitka site (Alaska).

In past studies, researchers have investigated rates of medical conditions such as respiratory disease and hearing loss among these workers. The current study looked at mortality rates among construction and trade workers. It included nearly 9,000 workers from the four DOE nuclear sites. All of the participants filled out a screening questionnaire, and most of them also had a medical exam. Researchers followed-up on the workers’ health status through the end of 2004.

During the study period, 674 of the workers died. Overall, the construction workers had a relatively low mortality compared to the general population, but the authors say this finding could be due to a “health worker effect” (The idea is that, in order to be able to hold a steady job, a person must be generally healthy.)

But when the researchers looked at people in certain types of DOE nuclear site jobs, they saw a spike in death rates. The risk of death was particularly high among asbestos workers/insulators, (93% increased risk), and teamsters (60% higher risk). Construction workers at the nuclear sites faced a much higher than normal risk for lung cancer and mesothelioma, as well as for asbestosis (a lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos fibers). “From our data and other data, asbestos use at the sites was not controlled well, historically,” says John M. Dement, PhD, CIH, Professor in the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine atDukeUniversityMedicalCenter. “Clearly there’s a need for better controls of asbestos exposures at the sites.”

Although he says DOE sites have been making improvements over the past 10 – 15 years to reduce workers’ exposures to toxic substances, much of the asbestos that was in place before the EPA’s ban in the 1970s has not yet been removed. Because mesothelioma and asbestosis have a long latency period, many of the deaths that are occurring today are actually due to exposures from decades ago. “What we’re seeing are the effects of exposure 20 or more years in the past,” says Dr. Dement. He expects to eventually see decreases in asbestosis and mesothelioma cases as asbestos use is phased out, although he says these diseases aren’t likely to disappear anytime soon.

Dr. Dement hopes that the data generated from his research will help DOE sites design programs to assess potential worker exposures, and then put appropriate preventive programs (using ventilation, respirators, and protective clothing) in place.

The focus is not only on prevention, but also on treating workers who are already at risk. The DOE’s surveillance program offers periodic screenings to identify workers who might have been exposed to asbestos and other hazardous substances, and get them the treatment they need. “You’re not going to cure them, but you can reduce the impact from a lot of these diseases,” says Dr. Dement.

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Asbestos Exposure Side Effects and Mesothelioma Symptoms

August 26, 2009

asbestos signAsbestos is often found in older buildings, but it is also in thousands of household items, including children’s toys. The side effects of asbestos exposure usually do not show symptoms until years after exposure; typically 20 to 30 years.

Asbestos exposure usually affects the lungs, but can affect other parts of the body. Below is a list of diseases and conditions, such as breathing problems, asbestosis and mesothelioma / cancer, associated with asbestos exposure. Although there is no cure for asbestos exposure side effects, there are treatments that can extend your life if the problem is caught early. Please contact your doctor if you suspect that you are suffering from any of the side effects of asbestos exposure.

Note: This article was not written by a doctor. Please contact your doctor if you are experiencing any of the following asbestos-related symptoms.

Asbestos Exposure Side Effects & Lungs:

Asbestosis: Asbestosis is scarring of the lungs. When asbestos fibers are inhaled they can get lodged in the lung tissue. Your immune system cannot get rid of them, but will keep trying. Eventually scar tissue is deposited. Scar tissue reduces the lungs’ ability to expand and contract, making it difficult to breathe and causing oxygen deprivation.

Asbestos Pleural Disease: Asbestos pleural disease is similar to asbestosis, but it affects the lining around the lungs, called the pleura, rather than the lung tissue itself. Scar tissue in the pleura also constricts movement of the lungs, reducing lung capacity.

Pleural Mesothelioma: Mesothelioma is the most common type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Pleural mesothelioma is cancer of the lining around the lungs.

Lung Cancer: Although mesothelioma is often confused with lung cancer, there is a distinct difference. Asbestosis exposure can cause cancer of the lung tissue itself, as well as the pleura.

Asbestos Exposure and Cancer:

Mesothelioma: In addition to pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lining around the lungs, asbestos exposure can cause cancer in the lining around other organs, such as the abdominal organs and the heart. This lining is called the mesothelium. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the abdomen and sometimes the testicles. Pericardial mesothelioma affects the heart. Mesothelioma is an extremely painful form of cancer.

Other Cancers: Asbestos exposure can also cause other types of cancer including larynx cancer and kidney cancer.

Asbestos Exposure and the Heart:

Heart Failure: Asbestos exposure’s side effects on the lungs can lead to heart failure. As lung capacity is diminished, the heart works harder to try and deliver more oxygen to the rest of the body.

In pericardial mesothelioma, tumors form and fluid builds up in the lining around the heart causing irregular heartbeat, pain, and eventually heart failure.

Asbestos in Your Home

It is a common misconception that asbestos use has been banned. The Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) issued a rule in 1989 that would have banned and phased out asbestos, but the rule was overturned in 1991.

While it may not be possible to track down every item in your home that contains asbestos, you can find out if the building itself was constructed with materials containing asbestos. You should never try to remove asbestos from your home yourself. To protect your family from asbestos exposure, please read about Checking for Asbestos in Your Home.

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Asbestos Textile Workers Face Increased Chance of Cancer, Study Says

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

By Wade Rawlins

Workers inNorth Carolina textiles mills that used asbestos in manufacturing are at higher risk of lung cancer and other serious illnesses, according to a new study in an international journal on environmental and workplace health. The study, by researchers at Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Nevada, in the current issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine offers further evidence that exposure to chrysotile asbestos in textile manufacturing is associated with an increased risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Researchers tracked 5,770 workers who worked at least one day in one of fourNorth Carolina textile plants that produced asbestos products between 1950 and 1973. They found that the workers’ mortality rate from all causes as well lung cancer and other cancers was significantly higher than expected compared to the national population. They also found that the risk of lung cancer and asbestosis increased in proportion to the estimated exposure to asbestos fibers.

Asbestos is the name of a group of fibrous minerals with long thin fibers. It is a known human carcinogen, according to the World Health Organization, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, linked to lung cancer, mesothelioma and other respiratory illnesses. Its use is now highly regulated. But until the 1970s, asbestos was widely used in manufacturing, particularly for building materials, because of its properties of heat resistance and durability.

The textile plants, which were located in Charlotte, Davidson and Marshville, converted raw asbestos, imported primarily fromCanada, and cotton fibers into yarn and woven materials.

There are two general types of asbestos: amphibole and chrysotile asbestos. And there is some debate among scientists about the relative toxicity of the different forms. Some studies have suggested that amphibole fibers stay in the lungs longer and may be more toxic to humans.

The researchers focused on chrysotile asbestos, which was used in these textile mills to produce yarn and other woven materials. (That’s the same form of asbestos fibers detected in samples taken from theWorldTradeCenter site after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.)

The researchers findings challenge studies that suggest that chrysotile asbestos is safe for use or does not cause mesothelioma.

The researchers reported that mortality rates for lung cancer, and mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs, were all significantly higher than expected. For lung cancer, the mortality rate increased with the length of employment, they said.

The researchers estimated textile workers exposure to asbestos fibers using work records and about 3,600 industrial hygiene measurements taken in the plants byNorth Carolina health department investigators between 1935 and 1986. That helped them estimate fiber concentrations in the air.

One limitation the researchers faced was that mesothelioma was not coded separately as a cause of death by the International Classification of Diseases until 1999. So textile workers who died before that wouldn’t have had that listed as a cause of death. The researchers said the mortality rates for mesothelioma and pleural cancer combined was substantially greater than expected, though imprecise because of the small number coded that way.

Exposure to asbestos usually occurs by breathing air contaminated with microscopic asbestos fibers such as in workplaces that use asbestos. The adverse health effects of the exposure often do not show up for 20 to 30 years.

In 1998, federal environmental regulators banned all new uses of asbestos; established used are still allowed. EPA regulates the release of asbestos from factories and during building demolition or renovation to prevent asbestos from getting into the environment. EPA established regulations that require school systems to inspect for damaged asbestos and to eliminate or reduce the exposure by sealing the asbestos or removing it.

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What hairdressers should know about mesothelioma

By -
Nollywood Glamour |Sun, 21 Jun 2009


Click for Full Image Size


As women clamour to make themselves up and look attractive, it may not occur to them that workers in salons are prone to being infected with diseases as a result of the chemicals and other items that they use, while the beauticians or salon owners smile to the banks.

But it is true that these workers battle life threatening diseases that they may not even be aware of. Specifically, individuals who work in occupations in hair salons like shampoo assistants, nail cosmetologists, and especially hair dressers, who experience unusual physical symptoms in their lungs or stomach should seek medical help as soon as possible.

There have been numerous recorded cases of hairdressers dying of mesothelioma before the age of 60 within the last 30 years, according to a research. The intention is not to scare workers from taking up jobs in the salons but to help them take preventive measures against diseases that will make them spend their earnings in seeking treatment afterwards.

“Asbestos is comprised of minute particles that are usually sealed, or embedded in a solid mass when used as insulation. As time goes on, fibers may break away and become airborne, through the hair dryer vents, and into the surrounding environment”, stated the research findings, adding that the inhalation or swallowing of this dust results in their becoming embedded in tissues of lungs, lung linings, chest cavities, or stomach, with little or no chance of its being released.

The asbestos fibers remain there for decades and their presence in some people becomes cause for a life threatening disease called asbestosis or carcinogenic conditions of lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, or mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is cancer of the chest cavity lining and lung membranes. Like most asbestos-related diseases, it has a latency period of up to 40 years, during which time the victim feels fine. Then, at some point, he or she will notice periods of shortness of breath, usually during exercise. The condition deteriorates until the person can't breathe very well, and the breathing is accompanied with severe chest pain. Unfortunately, by this time, the patient can't rely on surgery; only chemotherapy and radiation may slow the progress of mesothelioma.

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Asbestos Workers Face Increased Risk of Cancer Death


Posted on Thursday, May 28, 2009.

asbestos removalWorkers who have been exposed to asbestos on the job are more likely to die from lung cancers, mesothelioma, and asbestosis, as well as from stomach cancer and stroke, according to one of the longest-running studies of British asbestos workers, published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. On the positive side, more stringent asbestos regulations appear to be reducing the risk of asbestos-related diseases among younger workers.

Since the early part of the 20th century, asbestos-related diseases have been the leading cause of job-related deaths inGreat Britain, and the number of deaths has been on the rise. AlthoughBritain has enacted stricter laws governing the use of industrial asbestos, exposed workers will likely continue to develop deadly cancers in the years to come.

Since 1971, researchers inEngland have been studying British asbestos workers to determine what effects asbestos regulations have had on their health over the long-term. Unlike past occupational research, the current study looked at workers from across various asbestos industries, including asbestos manufacturing, insulation, and removal.

The study included nearly 100,000 asbestos workers (most of them male) who completed surveys and were followed up from 1971 to 2005. When the study began, most of the participants worked in the manufacturing industry. By 2005, the majority worked in asbestos removal.

 “To our knowledge, there is no other occupational study of removal workers; since these comprise the large majority of workers in the modern asbestos industry in Great Britain, information on these workers is particularly valuable,” says lead study author Anne-Helen Harding, PhD, a researcher with the Health & Safety Laboratory in Derbyshire, England.

Asbestos workers overall faced a 41 percent higher risk of death from all causes than the general population, the study found. They were more likely to die from cancers of the lung, peritoneum (abdominal lining), pleura (lung lining), as well as from mesothelioma and asbestosis (lung scarring). Workers in insulation generally faced the highest risk, and asbestos removal workers the second-highest risk for lung cancer, pleural and peritoneal cancers, and mesothelioma.

The study also found a link between occupational asbestos exposure and deaths from stroke and stomach cancer. “Elevated risks of stroke and stomach cancer have been reported previously, but the evidence for a causal association with asbestos exposure is inconclusive,” Dr. Harding says. “Establishing a link with asbestos exposure can be difficult.” It can be hard to distinguish asbestos exposure from other established risk factors for these diseases, such as smoking (more than half of the participants were smokers). Another challenge in establishing a link is the long lag time between asbestos exposure and illness. It can take up to 40 years after exposure for asbestos workers to be diagnosed with cancer.

That long latency period may be why study participants who started work earlier were more likely to die from cancer or lung disease. Workers who were first exposed to asbestos after 1959 faced a lower risk than those who started working earlier. This finding also suggests that more stringent laws, including a 1999 ban on the use of most new asbestos products in theUK, have had some benefit. The phasing out of asbestos-based products is likely to lead to a drop in the incidence of asbestos-related diseases, although these diseases will continue to be diagnosed as workers are exposed to the asbestos that remains in ships, buildings, and other industrial sites, according to Dr. Harding.

Even though occupational asbestos exposures are somewhat different in theUnited States (which has also enacted regulations on asbestos use), the results of this study are still relevant to workers in this country, Dr. Harding says. As asbestos workers continue to be diagnosed with lung cancers and mesothelioma, the risk of occupational asbestos exposure will remain an important issue on both sides of the pond.

Harding AH, Darnton A, Wegerdt J, McElvenny D. Mortality among British asbestos workers undergoing regular medical examinations (1971-2005). Occup Environ Med. 2009 Mar 1. [Epub ahead of print]
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Many Occupations Still Affected by Asbestos Hazards

Firefighters, Plumbers, and Teachers Could Be At Risk

Syracuse,NY 1/09/2009 09:03 PM GMT (TransWorldNews)


Few people realize the danger that asbestos still poses among many occupations. Some believe that asbestos is a problem of the past and is no longer a hazard. They would be surprised to learn however that asbestos can still be found in nearly 80% of structures built prior to 1978.

Asbestos, now known to be toxic, was found in a myriad of construction materials but was most common in insulation, drywall, floor tiles, and many other products. This can present a problem for different occupations who may come in contact with asbestos while doing their job. Some common occupations which present an asbestos hazard are explained below.

Firefighters come in contact with many older asbestos fixtures in damaged homes and other structures. Depending on the material damaged these product's hazard could be actually be exacerbated if they are unstable.

Plumbers/HVAC Technicians
Plumbers and HVAC technicians will likely encounter asbestos while dealing with older piping and ducts, which were commonly insulated with asbestos. Many of these products still exist in homes and other buildings and could possibly present a hazard.

Among the most common structures in which asbestos was used were municipal buildings like schools. Sustained exposure in these buildings to staff, such as teachers can actually be harmed by older asbestos fixtures.

Asbestos exposure has been conclusively linked to the rare cancer mesothelioma. There are few options for mesothelioma treatment and most cases are terminal upon diagnosis. For more information please contact the Mesothelioma andAsbestosAwarenessCenter

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Plumber Died from Exposure to Asbestos

Posted on December 10th, 2008

by Deon Scott

According to a recent report a plumber died as a result of exposure to asbestos, having been exposed to the potentially deadly carcinogenic over the course of his career. Like other high risk tradesmen, the man was said to have been regularly exposed to asbestos in the line of his work, which eventually ended up taking his life.

Alan Howells died at the age of fifty six, and his wife, Anne, said that when he started work as a plumber neither he or she knew about the risks and dangers posed by exposure to asbestos. She said that he died a year after being diagnosed with the deadly asbestos related cancer mesothelioma.

She added that he had started working as a plumber at the age of fifteen, and over the course of his career had been exposed to asbestos on a regular basis, often when mixing cement and using it to install pipes and boilers into homes and buildings.

Although her husband passed away eight years ago, Anne is now one of those in charge of an asbestos support group for families who find themselves in a similar situation. However, she did add that she fears for the safety of her children in case they suffered secondary asbestos exposure from the fibers and dust on her late husband’s clothes and skin.

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Oil refineries are full of asbestos, not just carbon

23 Oct 2008 12:27 PM -by Coby Beck

I received this article about the connection between mesothelioma cancer and oil refineries via email along with a request to share it. As we continue to rely on oil, some will face worse consequences than losing their shirts. The original article is posted below:

If you've been following the widespread coverage related to the upcoming election, you have likely been hearing about the rising cost of energy and the need for alternative sources of energy and fuel. At the surface, it may seem as though the energy debate is solely an economic issue, but when you become aware of the health and safety implications associated with the use ofU.S. oil refineries, it is clear that this is a far bigger issue.

There are 150 operational refineries here in theU.S., all of which were built by 1976. At the time, refinery designers relied on asbestos-containing insulation to line the extensive piping that was necessary to the refinery process. In addition to insulation, asbestos was found in floor and ceiling tiles, as well as roofing tiles and even some brands of duct tape, and no one was really aware of the serious health consequences associated with the use of these asbestos products until the federal government instituted asbestos-usage regulations in the early 1980s. The regulations became necessary after researchers and medical professionals made a connection between asbestos exposure and the onset of respiratory diseases and other illnesses, including mesothelioma, a fatal form of cancer that affects the mesothelioma, or lining of the body's internal organs, specifically the heart, abdomen and lungs.

For oil refinery workers, the threat of these asbestos-related ailments is a very serious concern. Asbestos is not a health threat unless it has been damaged or disturbed and tiny asbestos fibers have become airborne, and when this occurs, workers are at risk of inhalation. If inhaled, the asbestos fibers (which have a claw-like structure) can cling to the pleural lining of the lungs for between 20 and 50 years before the individual may begin to experience common mesothelioma symptoms, such as respiratory difficulties and chest pain. Oil refinery workers are not the only individuals at risk as a result of asbestos use inU.S. refineries: consider the residents who live nearby to an oil refinery as well. If there is a fire or an explosion, asbestos fibers can be transferred to other locations several miles away via wind currents, and nearby residents (including young children) may inhale the errant fibers without ever knowing it.

The threat of mesothelioma (also known as asbestos cancer) is a very serious issue for oil refinery workers. In the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav and Ike, it has become an even bigger issue, as many workers will return to work at flood-damaged refineries where they may be exposed to airborne asbestos. When we consider the health implications of domestic oil refinery operations, in addition to the economic concerns, it becomes obvious that now, more than ever, we must consider alternative sources of energy (wind power, solar power) and other sources of fuel (ethanol). If we eliminate a need for domestic oil, we will no longer need operating refineries, and we will essentially be working towards a decrease in workers who may be exposed to asbestos and will eventually develop mesothelioma cancer and other asbestos-related illnesses.

For additional information regarding the environmental effects ofU.S. oil refineries and asbestos-related disease, please visit the Mesothelioma andAsbestosAwarenessCenter.

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Mortality among sheet metal workers participating in a medical screening program

John Dement, PhD, CIH 1 *, Laura Welch, MD 2, Elizabeth Haile 2, Douglas Myers, PhD 1

1Division of Occupational & Environmental Medicine,DukeUniversityMedicalCenter,Durham,North Carolina
2The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR),Silver Spring,Maryland

email: John Dement (

*Correspondence to John Dement, Division of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Department of Community & Family Medicine,DukeUniversityMedicalCenter,2200 West Main Street, Suite 400,Durham,NC27710.

Funded by:
 National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; Grant Number: 2 U54 OH008307-02



sheet metal worker • construction • trades • mortality • cancer • lung cancer





The Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute Trust (SMOHIT) was formed in 1985 to examine the health hazards of the sheet metal industry in theU.S. andCanada through an asbestos disease screening program. A study of mortality patterns among screening program participants was undertaken.


A cohort of 17,345 individuals with 20 or more years in the trade and who participated in the asbestos disease screening program were followed for vital status and causes of death between 1986 and 2004. Data from the screening program included chest X-ray results by International Labour Office (ILO) criteria and smoking history. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) by cause were generated usingU.S. death rates and Cox proportional hazards models were used to investigate lung cancer risk relative to chest X-ray changes while controlling for smoking.


A significantly reduced SMR of 0.83 (95% CI = 0.80-0.85) was observed for all causes combined. Statistically significant excess mortality was observed for pleural cancers, mesothelioma, and asbestosis in the SMR analyses. Both lung cancer and COPD SMRs increased consistently and strongly with increasing ILO profusion score. In Cox models, which controlled for smoking, increased lung cancer risk was observed among workers with ILO scores of 0/1 (RR = 1.17, 95% CI = 0.89-1.54), with a strong trend for increasing lung cancer risk with increasing ILO profusion score >0/0.


Sheet metal workers are at increased risk for asbestos-related diseases. This study contributes to the literature demonstrating asbestos-related diseases among workers with largely indirect exposures and supports an increased lung cancer risk among workers with low ILO profusion scores. Am. J. Ind. Med. 52:603-613, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Accepted: 21 May 2009

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1002/ajim.20725  About DOI

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