Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Asbestos Exposure: How Risky Is It?

The hazard, exposure, and risks associated with asbestos fibers have been explored and debated for many years. Human evidence suggests an association between exposure to asbestos and asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma, although the lack of consistent information on fiber type, size, and exposure concentrations and duration limit our ability to establish causal relationships between exposure and disease in some cases. While uncertainties remain in our ability to consistently and accurately quantify asbestos risk to humans, progress has been made in characterizing those key factors, namely hazard and exposure, that are critical to an assessment of health risk.

Because asbestos is a natural material, there will always be some background or ambient exposure to humans. Although mining and commercial applications have diminished in some parts of the world, asbestos continues to have commercial applications, and hence, there remains exposure potential from these sources. Chrysotile and amphibole asbestos are the types most commonly used and hence studied experimentally, and it has become increasingly clear that they differ with respect to toxicity and disease potential. This has been demonstrated in animal models, which appear to be reflective of the human situation as well.

Progress on a number of fronts has led to general scientific consensus on the following: (1) amphibole fibers (which tend to be relatively long and thin) are a more potent risk factor for the development of mesothelioma and, to a lesser degree, lung cancer than are chrysotile fibers (which tend to be relatively short and wide); (2) longer, thin fibers are more pathogenic and there appear to be fiber size thresholds below which asbestos fibers do not pose any threat; and (3) those animal studies in which high exposure concentrations resulted in lung overloading are not considered relevant to humans.

Analysis of the epidemiological literature supports some common patterns including:
(1) for occupational and industrial exposures, the weight of evidence does not consistently support causal relationships between asbestos exposure and onset of pulmonary disease, some studies showing associative relationships but others showing no relationship between exposure and disease onset; and (2) chrysotile alone, uncontaminated by other fiber types, particularly amphiboles, does not appear to be a risk factor for mesothelioma, as once thought.

Advances in risk assessment methodology and analytical techniques, together with reevaluation of historical data, reveal that the current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approach for risk assessment of asbestosis is not in step with current scientific consensus, particularly for chrysotile fibers. In recent years, new knowledge about how asbestos risk can be more accurately and quantitatively determined has been generated. There is thus a scientific basis for adoption of these methods by regulatory agencies, including the EPA. While occupational exposures to asbestos remain and should be vigilantly monitored, there appears to be no compelling scientific evidence that ambient exposure to chrysotile asbestos poses a significant health risk.


Monday, October 15, 2007

October has been designated Healthy Lung Month

The smell of burning leaves, an apple pie baking in the oven, or a wood fire in a neighbor's fireplace often evoke memories of special people and experiences from past autumns. While we may be mindful of inhaling deeply to enjoy these scents, we seldom give thought to what happens to the air we breathe in.

We all know we need the oxygen in the air to live, but unless we experience breathing difficulties, most of us rarely think about our lungs at all.

The lungs are complex organs, considered far more complicated than the heart. They not only take the oxygen from the air and send it into the bloodstream for delivery throughout the body, but the lungs filter out substances like dust, pollen, viruses, and bacteria from the air we breathe. They are also responsible for eliminating waste from the bloodstream. It is clear lung health is important, and October has been designated Healthy Lung Month in recognition of this fact.

If all types of lung disease are combined, it is the 3rd highest cause of death in the United States. Over 35 million Americans live with an ongoing lung disease like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Lung disease is the cause of 1 in 7 deaths annually in this country.
Unfortunately, it can be easy to overlook early signs of lung disease. At first, many people simply realize they do not have much energy. But as the lung condition worsens, other symptoms become more apparent. Trouble breathing, shortness of breath, reduced ability to exercise, feeling like you are not getting enough air, a chronic cough, coughing up blood or mucus, or pain when inhaling and exhaling, are among the signs of lung disease.

Common lung conditions include:
* Asthma, which affects 20 million Americans. It causes inflammation and swelling of the airways in the lungs. The narrow airways limits the flow of air in and out of the lungs, causing wheezing, coughing, tightness in the chest, and difficulty breathing.

* COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic obstructive bronchitis. Both conditions cause inflammation of the bronchial tubes that carry air to the lungs. This leads to thickening and scarring of the lining of the bronchial tubes and the production of excess mucus, making breathing difficult. COPD is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States.

* Lung cancer, now the leading cause of cancer deaths in American women, is characterized by the abnormal, uncontrolled growth of malignant lung cells.
These cells invade and destroy normal cells in nearby tissues and can spread to other parts of the body.

Fortunately, the risk of developing lung disease can be reduced. First, if you are a smoker, quit. Whether a smoker or a non-smoker, everyone should try to avoid second-hand smoke.
Second, eating a healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, lowers the risk of cancer. Drinking plenty of water helps to replace moisture lost when we exhale, keeping the lung tissue moist and healthy.
Exercise is also important for healthy lungs, stimulating the blood flow required for the lungs to function optimally.
Lung health also benefits from getting vaccinated against the flu every year. Influenza (and pneumonia, often a complication of the flu), damages lung tissue and leads to a number of adverse health effects.
In addition to the above, avoiding environmental hazards such as asbestos and radon is also important in protecting lung health. Protective clothing and a face mask are required for anyone working in a job that entails exposure to asbestos. Radon in the home can be measured with a test kit to determine if remediation is advised.
The Central Connecticut Health District, serving the towns of Berlin, Newington, Rocky Hill, and Wethersfield, sponsors a number of flu shot clinics where pneumonia shots are also available. The Health District also sells low-cost radon test kits. For further information about flu clinics, radon kits, and other public health concerns, contact the Health District at 860-721-2822 (www.ccthd.org). Specific information about lung health and lung disease is available through the American Lung Association at 1-800-548-8252 (www.lungusa.org) and the National Women's Health Information Center at 1-800-994-9662 or 1-888-220-5446 for the hearing impaired (www.4women.gov).


Mesothelioma sufferer pioneers new hope

Leigh Carlisle, a 27-year-old cancer sufferer who is pioneering new treatment for a deadly asbestos-related form of the illness, mesothelioma, is beginning to beat the disease.

Leigh, who is believed to be the country’s youngest sufferer, has been taking part in clinical trials at Manchester’s Christie Hospital.

Leigh may have contracted the disease after she took a short-cut through a Failsworth factory yard, where asbestos was cut, when she was a schoolgirl.

She may also have breathed in the fibres from clothes of a relative who worked there.

Leigh was diagnosed with the condition, which affects her abdomen, in 2006.

Her treatment includes a drug which knocks out a tumour’s resistance so chemotherapy has a better chance of working.

To Leigh’s delight, doctors told her last week that her lungs and stomach are clear of cancer cells, her lymph nodes have returned to near-normal and the tumours in her abdomen have broken down significantly.

Leigh said: "I was overjoyed at being told there had finally been a breakthrough with my clinical trial for Mesothelioma. I have been scared and often faced doubted that treatment wouldn't prove effective, but my consultant and nursing team at 'The Christie' always provided optimism and great support. I know I have some way to go, but the news on my progress is fantastic and I'm looking forward to getting my energy back during my break from treatment now!"

Leigh's solicitor, Geraldine Coombs, said to Rochdale Online: "I am really pleased for Leigh that she has had such good news about her cancer treatment. The results of the trial sound very exciting. Mesothelioma does not usually respond well to treatment and the trial may give hope to others suffering with mesothelioma. 2,000 people every year in this country are diagnosed with mesothelioma.

"Leigh has been through a very hard time with this illness. Despite that she has been working hard to raise awareness about the dangers of asbestos and raising money for cancer charities which is a great credit to her and does not surprise me having got to know Leigh.

"Asbestos is not a problem that is ‘in the past.’ People are still coming into contact with asbestos today around the world. The campaign in Rochdale to push for the risks of environmental contamination by asbestos is very important."

Save Spodden Valley spokesman Jason Addy commented: "I met Leigh earlier this year. She is an incredible person with a positive outlook on life. To contract this illness at such a young age is a particularly cruel blow. I am sure many will join in our prayers and best wishes for her health.

"It is a stark reminder of how low levels of exposure to asbestos fibre may be so dangerous. That is why it is important that safe, open and accountable decisions are made about the former TBA site.

"Mesothelioma takes decades after exposure to asbestos before its symptoms are presented.

"The late Abdul Chowdry, T&N's former Health & Safety manager, suggested on Radio 4 that disturbing soil on the TBA site could 'unearth a monster'. That certainly was an emotive choice of language from the then serving UK Health and Safety Commissioner.

"As the Independent Atkins Report has acknowledged, there is huge potential for gross contamination of the site.

"We all owe a debt to future generations of Rochdalians to ensure that the Spodden Valley becomes a safe amenity for all.

"When you see Leigh and read about what she has faced this year, it really does bring it home to everyone in Rochdale how important it is to get things right in Spodden Valley."


Firm Probed on Asbestos Claim Billing

NEW YORK (Associated Press) - The Justice Department plans to seek a wider investigation into the billing practices of L. Tersigni Consulting PC, a firm that advised asbestos-injury claimants in several big bankruptcy cases.

The U.S. Trustee's Office, an arm of the department, has already asked the courts overseeing the Chapter 11 cases of Congoleum Corp., Federal-Mogul Global Inc., W.R. Grace & Co. and G-I Holdings Inc. to appoint examiners to investigate allegations that the consulting firm overbilled its clients in those proceedings.

In new court papers, the trustee's office said L. Tersigni Consulting could also have overbilled clients in other cases. The office said it would seek similar investigations "in all asbestos cases in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, in which LTC was employed as a financial adviser."

Representatives of L. Tersigni Consulting couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

The consulting firm's clients were the official committees representing asbestos claimants in major bankruptcy cases.

Since April 2006, the U.S. Trustee's Office and federal prosecutors have looked into allegations that the firm's sole owner and principal, Loreto Tersigni, submitted bills for services that weren't performed. Tersigni died in May.

"The appointment of an independent fiduciary to investigate these serious allegations of fraud and dishonesty related to the affairs of the debtors is both warranted and necessary," the trustee's office said in court papers. An examiner, it added, could help companies that paid the bills discover whether they have "causes of action" against L. Tersigni Consulting.

The trustee's office is still waiting to hear whether the courts overseeing the bankruptcy cases of Congoleum, Federal-Mogul, W.R. Grace and G-I Holdings will appoint examiners.

However, the judge overseeing W.R. Grace's bankruptcy case has questioned whether she should appoint an examiner.

At a hearing in late September, Judge Judith K. Fitzgerald of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., pointed out that the federal government had been conducting a probe into L. Tersigni Consulting's billing practices for more than a year. "I don't know why the estates have to be charged with additional money to do an investigation that may already be complete," Fitzgerald said. "There are creditors in these cases who deserve at some point in time to get whatever little money they're going to get out of these cases and to the extent that this work has already been done, they shouldn't be charged with duplicating that work."

The judge also said money could be saved by appointing one examiner to look at the books and records for all of the bankruptcy cases in which the firm is suspected of overbilling.

At the hearing, Fitzgerald also criticized the trustee's office for requesting an examiner only in recent months when it knew for more than a year that there could have been a billing problem involving L. Tersigni Consulting.

Family raises £1,300 in memory of dad

The family of an Eastbourne man who died of cancer caused by asbestos exposure have raised more than £1,300 in his memory.
Bob Tolley, 67, of Wartling Road, died in September last year after contracting mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer.

His daughter Christine Dennis said, "We raised £1,373 for Mesothelioma Research after organising a charity event in aid of it on behalf of The British Lung Foundation, The Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund and The June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund."

The family held a charity auction, raffle and disco at Eastbourne United Football Club on September 29.

Mrs Dennis said, "My brothers and some of my dad's friends also played a charity golf match earlier in the day at Horam Park Golf Club on the same day.

"We had support from local businesses and retailers who kindly donated prizes for the auction and money donations for the research funds.

"The event was in memory of my dad Bob Tolley who sadly passed away last year from this terrible disease.

"We as a family wanted to do something to raise funds and awareness for the treatment and research into this disease caused by asbestos.

"We are still searching for witnesses who worked with my dad on a firm called Humphreys & Glasgow Ltd.

"We have the help of a solicitor from Manchester who specialises is asbestos cases.

"But at the end of the day it is not about the money, it is about making someone take responsibility for what happened to my dad, who was only just 67 when he died and still actively working for Hotchkiss Ltd, a local firm.

"There are more and more cases of mesothelioma in Eastbourne so it is not confined to large industrial towns, and because of the latency period of the disease, between five to 60 years, it is very hard to find information about companies sufferers previously worked for."

Asbestos was used in thousands of products and buildings all over the world.

But from the 1980s it was realised that the material had a damaging effect on health.

It was not until the mid 1980s that blue and brown asbestos were banned in the UK, and not until November 1999 that white asbestos was finally banned from use.


How is a Mesothelioma Diagnosis Determined?

If you've been exposed to asbestos and suspect that you may have asbestosis or mesothelioma, it's very important that you see a doctor who has experience dealing with asbestos related diseases as soon as possible. The doctor will determine a mesothelioma diagnosis by taking a full medical history and performing a series of diagnostic tests.

One of the reasons that mesothelioma is so deadly is that it is often not diagnosed until it has reached late stage malignancy. New tests and more sensitive instruments have made it possible to get a mesothelioma diagnosis earlier in the progress of the disease. As with most types of cancer, the earlier that it's caught, the more treatment options you'll have. The sooner you have a mesothelioma diagnosis, the sooner treatment can begin. Here's what you can expect if you see a doctor to pursue a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Medical History
The doctor or a nurse will take a complete medical history to determine the symptoms you're experiencing and discover any risk factors. The history will include questions about when and where you might have been exposed to asbestos in the past. Among the symptoms the doctor will be looking for are frequent, painful cough, difficulty breathing and a history of lung function problems like pneumonia, emphysema and bronchitis.

Physical Examination
The doctor will also do a physical examination to discover any symptoms of mesothelioma. The examination will include listening to your breathing and heartbeat, as well as feeling (palpating) your abdomen. Patients with mesothelioma often have fluid buildups, known as effusions, in the tissues and cavities around the heart, lungs or in the abdomen.

X-rays and Imaging Tests
The next step in making a mesothelioma diagnosis is usually a series of chest X-rays. The X-rays may show any thickening of the lung tissues, irregularities in and around the lungs and mineral deposits or calcifications on the lung or pleural tissues. X-rays will also show any fluid buildup around or in the lungs. Any of these can suggest a mesothelioma diagnosis.

The doctor may then order other imaging tests, specifically CT scans and MRI scans. Together, the CT and MRI can help doctors to locate any lesions or tumors, and determine the extent and stage of the cancer. The imaging tests will tell the doctors what they need to know to suggest a course of treatment or further diagnostic testing.

Tissue and Fluid Samples
Your doctor may also want to take samples of fluid from around your lungs, heart or abdomen to determine if there are cancerous cells in it. This is usually done by inserting a needle into your chest cavity and withdrawing a small amount of the fluid for testing. The doctor may also recommend doing this to relieve uncomfortable pressure on the lungs and make breathing easier.

If the X-rays or other images show abnormal areas, your doctor may also want to take a tissue sample to examine for cancerous cells. Getting a sample for biopsy used to invariably involve surgery, but newer methods and equipment make it possible to obtain tissue samples without actually opening your chest. Only your doctor can determine if these methods will be appropriate in your case.

A thoracoscopy is performed with the help of an instrument called a thoracoscope - a telescope like instrument connected to a video camera. The doctor will make a small incision in your chest and insert the thorascoscope through it into your chest cavity. The video camera will allow the doctor to view and examine the tumor without opening your entire chest. He or she can then use a small, specially designed forceps to collect tissue from the tumor for testing. Doctors may also use the occasion of a thoracoscopy to remove fluid surrounding the lungs or pericardium.

Two other methods use similar instruments to obtain tissue samples and view close-ups of tumors and tissue. In a bronchoscopy, the doctor will insert a flexible, lighted tube through your mouth and thread it down through your trachea into the bronchia to find any masses or growths that may indicate pleural mesothelioma. Mediastinoscopy uses a lighted tube that is inserted beneath the sternum and into the chest cavity to view the lymph nodes in that area and examine them for growths abnormal appearance. In both of those procedures, doctors can remove tissue samples for testing.

Surgery is the most invasive method used in determining a mesothelioma diagnosis, but is sometimes the only way to remove a larger sample of the tumor. In some cases, if the cancer is still localized enough, the doctors may remove the entire tumor.


Asbestos disease victim goes to court

VICTIM of asbestos-related cancer has launched a high court legal battle against the government for compensation of up to £200,000.

David Parker (67) has developed malignant mesothelioma, a terminal cancer of the tissues surrounding his lungs, according to a high court writ.

It relates to his job as an executive officer at the Prestwich Unemployment Benefit Office in the Longfield, where he was exposed to deadly asbestos dust and fibres.

Now Mr Parker, of Prenton Way, Walshaw, Bury, is claiming damages from the secretary of state for work and pensions, whom he blames for his condition.

The writ says he developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos when he worked as a civil servant for the secretary of state's predecessors, the Ministry of Labour, between 1967 and 2000.

The office was subdivided with asbestos partitions, which were in poor condition, and between 1978 and 1984 the office underwent major refurbishment, when the partitions were demolished and false ceilings fitted, it is alleged.

Mr Parker says conditions were dreadful, and that it was very dusty, and that asbestos was released into the air as the partitions were demolished. Elsewhere in the building there was asbestos, on the boiler and pipework, and he thinks it likely that this too produced asbestos dust, which he inhaled.

At the end of the refurbishment work, he was given a letter on June 12, 1984, confirming that asbestos had been found inside the office, the writ claims.

It says that he became breathless in June 2006, and then developed chest pain. His condition of malignant mesothelioma was diagnosed in February 2007, and he is undergoing chemotherapy but the writ claims the disease is expected to cut his life short by around 14 years.

Mr Parker accuses the secretary of state of negligence and breach of statutory duty and says this caused his illness. He says there was a failure to provide a safe place or system of work, failure to warn him of the dangers of asbestos, and failure to keep his workplace properly ventilated.


Data affirm benefit of Alimta for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma

Mesothelioma :: Data affirm benefit of Alimta for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma

Data from two large, open- label studies show patients experienced one-year survival rates above 50 per- cent when treated with ALIMTA(R) (pemetrexed for injection) or ALIMTA-based regimens for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) in both a first-line and second-line setting.

The study results affirm important efficacy and safety benefits for Eli Lilly and Company's ALIMTA, the only-known agent to demon- strate a survival benefit in this often difficult-to-treat disease primarily associated with exposure to asbestos.

The data were presented at the 12th World Conference on Lung Cancer.

One of the largest studies undertaken in the treatment of mesothelioma, the triple-arm, open-label, multicenter, first-line study (WCLC Abstract # C5-01) treated patients with ALIMTA as a single agent, while the other two arms evaluated ALIMTA in combination with either cisplatin or carboplatin. All three arms demonstrated clinically similar one-year survival rates (58.6% for ALIMTA alone; 63.1% for ALIMTA+cisplatin, and; 64.0% for ALIMTA+carboplatin). The ALIMTA plus platinum combination arms achieved higher response rates than ALIMTA alone (10.5% for ALIMTA; 26.3% for ALIMTA+cisplatin, and; 21.7% for ALIMTA+carboplatin). All 2,023 patients treated in the first-line setting had a histologic or cytologic diagnosis (pa- tients cells were reviewed under a microscope) of MPM that was not amenable to curative surgery.

An open-label, multicenter study (WCLC Abstract # C5-03), evaluated the results from 988 patients who were treated in a second-line setting for MPM with ALIMTA as a single agent, ALIMTA+cisplatin or ALIMTA+carboplatin after being previously treated with chemotherapy. All three arms demonstrated a significant one-year survival rate (54.7% for ALIMTA alone; 67.9% for ALIMTA+cisplatin, and; 65.5% for ALIMTA+carboplatin). Patients treated with ALIMTA in combination with a platinum-based chemotherapy demonstrated higher response rates (12.1% for ALIMTA; 23.8% for ALIMTA+cisplatin, and; 16.8% for ALIMTA+carboplatin). The most common grade 3/4 toxicities on both studies were leukopenia, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia and anemia.

"The initial clinical trial results for ALIMTA in malignant pleural meso- thelioma were definitely considered a medical breakthrough when they were unveiled just three years ago," said Richard Gaynor, M.D., vice president, cancer research and global oncology platform leader for Lilly. "It is encouraging that these open-label studies show real world patient treatment outcomes that are consistent with those from the controlled clinical research environment. In my opinion, this is clinically meaningful information to the practicing oncologist."

ALIMTA was approved by both the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2004 in combination with cisplatin for the treatment of MPM. To date, ALIMTA has been approved in more than 85 countries in combination with cisplatin for the treatment of MPM.


Senate passes Murray bill to ban asbestos

Sen. Patty Murray has looked into the eyes of too many people who would die from exposure to asbestos.

Thursday, the Senate voted unanimously to pass Murray's ban on the importation of asbestos, which still is found in more than 3,000 consumer products. If approved by the House and not vetoed by the president, the United States will finally join more than 40 other nations that have banned the cancer-causing material.

Lots of tears were shed during Murray's six-year battle to get support for the ban. The Washington Democrat and her staff talked to George Biekkola, a taconite miner from the Michigan Iron Range. They talked to Les Skramsted, who sucked in his lethal dose of asbestos from the vermiculite mine in Libby, Mont. When they, and many others, died, she talked to the widows. Lots of widows, she said.

With an intensity that bordered on obsession, Murray and her staff became experts on asbestos, where it came from and how it killed.

Her schedule shows more than 100 meetings on issues surrounding the ban with labor leaders, lobbyists, lawyers, industry leaders and physicians -- government and civilian -- who were tired of watching their patients die deaths that shouldn't have happened. Murray needed to learn and then to teach.

She met with families in Washington whose homes were insulated with asbestos-tainted vermiculite and listened to their fear of what harm has been done to their families.

She spoke to the children of a brake mechanic from Seattle whose father died of asbestos disease. Her staff had a hard time explaining to the two teenagers why brakes still contained asbestos.

Corporate opposition to Murray's efforts was enormous.

"When you go after an issue like this, you're fighting a lot of big-time money. Lobbyists for manufacturers, the sand and gravel folks, people with commercial interest and a lot of clout fought this," Murray said. "I wasn't surprised that many other (lawmakers) didn't want to get involved because they thought it was impossible."

Early in the fight, the White House did all it could to stymie discussion, let alone passage of the ban. Murray's efforts were a victim of collateral damage from a three-year Republican effort to pass legislation favored by President Bush that would have prevented people injured by exposure to asbestos from suing the companies involved.

For the past seven months, Murray said, she worked closely with Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia. He convinced Republicans of the importance of the ban, she said.

Murray says she's sure it will become law.

"The House leadership said it was waiting for us to act, and I expect them to move quickly," she said. "And, I have not heard a word from the president about vetoing the bill. We worked for months addressing every possible objection and I think the White House would have a very hard time vetoing this."

She said the ban would be the best thing she has accomplished "because it will save lives. Lots of them."

Murray says that two years after her bill is signed into law, there will be no asbestos in hair dryers or brake products or ceiling tiles or 3,000 other imported products.

Among the many demands in the legislation is the banning of the importation, manufacture, processing and distribution of products containing asbestos. It orders the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure asbestos products are off the shelves within two years of the bill's enactment.

It would create a $50 million "Asbestos-Related Disease Research and Treatment Network" of 10 new centers dedicated to finding better treatment, earlier detection and methods of preventing asbestos-related disease.

It says the EPA shall conduct a public education campaign to increase awareness of the dangers posed by products containing or contaminated by asbestos, including in homes and workplaces.


Asbestos expert used in local cases comes under scrutiny

For almost a decade, Dr. Jay T. Segarra was considered the lung disease expert local plaintiffs lawyers called on to testify in their massive asbestos cases.

In the early days, on his way to earning a handsome fortune, Segarra testified as an expert here in Jefferson County for a 1998 Reaud, Morgan & Quinn case against U.S. Steel. The case, Inez Martin et al vs. AC&S et al, is still active and listed on the October docket of the 60th District Court.

After that, Dr. Segarra, a pulmonary specialist, was then used heavily as an expert throughout the late 1990s by Reaud, Provost Umphrey, Brent Coon and other plaintiffs' firms in Jefferson and Orange counties.

But according to a recent New York Times article, things have taken a turn for the worse for Segarra.

Defendants in a large Philadelphia asbestos case have asked the court to exclude testimony from Dr. Segarra because he had not followed "the standards for which he so adamantly advocated."

The Times reported that a defense motion filed last month claimed Dr. Segarra has made more than $10 million as professional witness and has been working with mass screening companies that result in "an astonishing number of would-be plaintiffs with asbestos and/or silicosis - not for any valid medical reason, but solely for profit."

Segarra, 51, lives and works on the Mississippi Gulf coast. The doctor has reportedly participated in almost 40,000 positive diagnoses for asbestos-related illnesses over the past 13 years.

As late as Sept. 1, 2006, Dr. Segarra's name appeared on a plaintiffs' designation as a "Will Call" expert witness in a large asbestos suit filed by Coon in Jefferson County.

And it wasn't just in Southeast Texas that Segarra was considered one of the top experts in asbestos-related diseases. In 2005, a federal judge in Corpus Christi held Dr. Segarra's procedure for diagnosing the illnesses to be the gold standard.

When U.S. District Judge Janis Jack began to question mass screenings that were turning up clients with both asbestosis and silicosis, she relied on Dr. Segarra's expertise.

While asbestosis and silicosis are both lung diseases caused by inhaling dust, asbestos is a mineral that can cause cancer while silica is purified sand used in making glass.

Many pulmonary experts believe it is extremely rare for a patient to have both asbestosis and silicosis. For Judge Jack, a former nurse, the number of clients having both diseases raised a red flag.

Dr. Segarra told Judge Jack that good doctors personally perform physical examinations, discuss patients medical histories, read X-rays and then review and sign their reports. He said the process to determine if a person has asbestos or silicosis can take 60 to 90 minutes.

When Judge Jack ruled that thousands of silicosis claims had been manufactured for money, she pointed to Dr. Segarra as the standard that others should follow.

But the Times states that court records indicate that Dr. Segarra violated his own rules more than 700 times, relying on others for medical histories and exams.

Records from the Claims Resolution Management Corporation, which oversees asbestos claims, show that Dr. Segarra averaged eight positive diagnoses of asbestos-related illnesses per day over the last 13 years. Some days he rendered positive diagnoses for 20 to 50 people, which would not be possible using his own 60 to 90 minutes per exam timeframe.

In March 2006, an NPR segment looked into Judge Jack's ruling and Dr. Segarra's methods. Among those interviewed by Wayne Goodwyn for the story was Coon, who had been in Jack's court on silicosis cases.

Coon told Goodwyn he disagreed with much of Judge Jack's ruling.

"Judge Jack, she's a fine judge," Coon said in the March 6, 2006, segment of All Things Considered. "But I don't think she's very sophisticated about the process. I think this is the first time she'd actually had these complex mass tort cases in her courtroom."

He said that there were some problems with some of the silicosis diagnoses, but that Jack did properly weed those out. Coon went on to say that the screenings save lives by alerting clients to possible lung disease earlier than they might otherwise have known.

Coon said that overall, the screening process is "very good."


Killer asbestos diseases stalk South African mining communities

PRIESKA, South Africa (AFP) — Robert Devenish has resigned himself to an agonising death of asbestos-induced cancer, a silent but cruel killer stalking mining communities in South Africa's Northern Cape province.

"Nobody wants to die suffering, but we don't all have a choice," said the 64-year-old former mine employee who was diagnosed with mesothelioma last December and given months to live.

Mesothelioma is a non-curable cancer of the lung lining that can take up to 40 years from asbestos exposure to develop. It condemns its victims to a painful and breathless end, usually about 18 months after diagnosis.

Devenish is one of tens of thousands of South Africans, most of them in small Northern Cape towns, who contracted asbestos-related diseases (ARDs) -- a hangover from the country's heyday as one of the world's top producers of the substance believed as far back as the 1920s to pose serious health risks.

Asbestos mining stopped in South Africa in the mid-1980s, but people are still being diagnosed with ARDs like mesothelioma and asbestosis on a regular basis, while many more continue to be at risk from unrehabilitated sites.

Several uses for asbestos, once a popular insulator due to its heat resistant properties, have been banned around the world.

And foreign-owned mining companies have in the past six years paid out tens of millions of dollars in settlements from which an estimated 10,000 South African victims of their asbestos extracting activities have benefited so far.

Mesothelioma sufferers like Devenish got 28,000 rand (just over 4,000 dollars, 2,800 euros) each, small comfort for a dying man.

At a time that he should have been welcoming retirement, Devenish is instead packing up house with his wife, Anna, and moving from the remote settlement of Marydale to a smaller home in a bigger town where she can remain after his death.

"The doctors said the life expectancy is between six and 18 months without special treatment," explained Devenish, who is following an expensive but hopefully life-prolonging course of chemotherapy.

Prieska doctor Gideon Smith said his longest surviving mesothelioma patient died two years after being diagnosed. But some are known to have lived for five years.

Smith told AFP he diagnosed five to 10 cases of mesothelioma per year in the town of about 20,000.

"Every time somebody comes to me with a lung ailment, the first thought is asbestos. It is almost always the case," said Smith.

One of his patients, 68-year-old Petrus van Nell, has taken to bed with mesothelioma without much hope of rising from it again.

Like many others, he grew up on asbestos mines and worked as a youngster at crushing stones for pocket money.

"I am short of breath and tired. Extremely tired. I have a lot of pain," Van Nell said as he battled to sit upright in his bed.

In a small house nearby, mesothelioma sufferer Magrieta Esau, 52, is on a permanent course of morphine. She grew up on asbestos mines, later worked on one, and lost both parents to ARDs.

"The asbestos was everywhere, even our homes. But nobody ever warned us," she said. "As children, we played on the asbestos mine heaps. And we were sometimes paid small change for helping to crush the stones.

"I am angry. It is hard to make peace with the fact that the rest of my life will be full of pain."

Studies have put the prevalence of ARDs in Northern Cape mining areas as high as 50 percent of the population.

Yet piles of raw asbestos fibres are still to be found dumped and uncovered, while rehabilitation work has yet to be done on several mine dumps that threaten communities within a 100-kilometre (62-mile) radius with wind contamination.

Some secondary roads in the province contain asbestos fibres visible to the naked eye, and many schools and homes in towns like Prieska still have asbestos in their frames.

"If this was Europe, huge areas would have to be evacuated. They are not safe for people to live in," said lawyer Richard Spoor, who has represented dozens of ARD sufferers in court.

In a provincial budget speech in June, Northern Cape environment minister Pieter Saaiman said rehabilitation of derelict, ownerless asbestos mines was progressing well.

"However, secondary asbestos pollution remains a matter of concern," he said, without proposing a course of action.

Anti-asbestos activist Sol Bosch watched his father die cruelly over three years of the lung disease asbestosis.

Bosch is bitter over what he perceives as mining companies' past callousness and the current government's inertia.

But on a personal level, fear of sharing his father's fate is never far from the surface.

"I am too scared to go for an X-Ray," he said. "I would rather not know."


Asbestos scare at sheltered home

An asbestos alert at sheltered homes in Lowestoft has left elderly and disabled tenants without toilet facilities in their flats for two days.

Environmental health officers halted refurbishment work on the toilets at Hildesley Court on Stradbroke Road when an anonymous tip-off alerted them to the presence of asbestos insulating boards in pipe ducting.

They said contractors working on behalf of building managers Housing 21 had disturbed the dangerous substance, creating airborne fibres which can cause cancer and lung diseases if inhaled.

The bathrooms of 18 flats were immediately sealed, leaving pensioners to face a difficult journey to the toilets at the far end of the ground floor - some even resorting to using buckets in their rooms.

Last night, Housing 21 bosses apologised to tenants and said a specialist asbestos cleaning firm was working to contain the problem and they expected the toilets to reopen today.

Hildesley Court resident Alec Cooper, 92, said he was concerned about the hazardous dust, but more affected by the difficulty of not having a toilet in his first-floor flat.

“I am crippled and I have to go four or five times a night. There are toilets downstairs but I use a bucket during the night.

“It doesn't upset me - I have been in the army so I've roughed it before, but it is the women I worry about.

“The manager and his wife offered to help empty it but I have a walker and if you can't do that for yourself then you might as well stay in bed, and I'm not going to do that.”

An 80-year-old woman, who did not wish to be named, said: “I am very annoyed we have to go all the way to the end of the building. It is very inconvenient.”

A Housing 21 spokesman said a short-term solution to seal any exposed asbestos would be completed today and longer-term work to remove the material would begin “in the next few days”.

“No residents are at risk, but have been offered alternative accommodation either with relatives or in local hotels,” he said.

“Most residents have chosen to stay on the court, but our apologies go to all of them for the disruption and inconvenience caused. We will obviously resolve this problem just as soon as we can, and hope that everybody will be back in their homes by Thursday afternoon.”

Britain banned the import and use of most asbestos products in 1999 because airborne fibres, released if the material is disturbed, can cause mesothelioma - a type of cancer - and other lung diseases.

A Waveney District Council spokesman said: “A prohibition notice was issued because, in the opinion of the environ-mental health officer, the refurbishment work was disturbing asbestos and would present an imminent risk to health.”


EPA refused to warn of asbestos dangers

Congressional investigators will hammer the Environmental Protection Agency in a soon-to-be-released report for its flawed examination and cleanup of hundreds of factories that once processed asbestos-contaminated vermiculite into insulation.

But public health specialists say the investigation ignores an even greater failure: the EPA's refusal to adequately warn millions of homeowners that they may be exposed to cancer-causing asbestos in that insulation.

The Government Accountability Office conducted the investigation for Congress. The report, expected to be made public later this month, will say that the EPA's examination of sites in Spokane, Portland and 264 other communities that processed ore from Libby, Mont., used outdated criteria and underestimated or completely missed the dangers to people who worked there or lived nearby.

But the report will not address the EPA's failure to warn homeowners about the risks they face from the insulation.

"It is unconscionable that EPA would not inform the American public of the danger they live with by having this potentially lethal material in their homes," said Dr. Richard Lemen, former assistant U.S. Surgeon General, and acting director of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

The hazard from exposure to the tremolite asbestos contaminating the vermiculite insulation is well known, Lemen said, "and for EPA to basically keep it a secret from homeowners for all these years is outrageous."

The ore and the finished vermiculite product were sold by W.R. Grace & Co., often under the brand name Zonolite.

It's impossible to know how many homes contain insulation made from the ore. The government and lawyers who have brought a class-action suit against Grace use a formula that calculates the peak years of Zonolite sales, the percentage of the market those sales represented and the number of homes built during that period.

In Washington state, 230,000 to 300,000 homes fall into that matrix, out of as many as 35 million nationwide.

"The EPA knows that people throughout the country continue to encounter this dangerous insulation in their day-to-day activities," said Dr. Aubrey Miller, a U.S. Public Health Service physician.

For eight years, he has worked with the EPA team investigating hazards of the asbestos in the insulation.

"Kids continue to play in it," Miller said. "Workers continue to work in it. Residents continue to be exposed to it and few, if any, have a clue of the hazardous nature of this material.

"For years scientists have documented that the most minor movement, slightest disruption of this Zonolite insulation will unleash millions of fibers into the air. For the child playing in the attic or the cable or telephone installer, or anyone doing renovations, the risks are enormous."

Keven McDermott, manager of EPA's Environmental Services Unit for the Pacific Northwest region, says she continues to get calls asking about the safety of the insulation, seven years after her office did the first analysis of the risks posed by consumer products made with ore from Libby.

"This tells me that as an agency we have not done enough to educate the public about the hazards of Libby vermiculite, especially the insulation," she said. "I feel sick at heart when a young father tells me he just rewired his house, crawling through the vermiculite insulation in his attic day after day, tracking dust and asbestos throughout his home.

"When I explain about the asbestos in Libby vermiculite, there is a stunned silence. He wonders out loud what harm he may have done his family -- and himself.

"We have got to get the word out that they need to take precautions when they work around vermiculite attic insulation."

Almost everything related to the Libby ore and how it's to be dealt with has been mired in a quagmire of national politics, well-funded asbestos industry lobbyists and White House meddling.

The Justice Department has filed serious criminal charges against Grace and seven of its top executives for concealing the dangers of the ore it mined and sold. After two years of postponements, the trial may begin early next year.

In 2002, then-EPA Administrator Christy Todd Whitman agreed with her team of scientists and physicians working in Libby that a "Public Health Emergency" should be declared because of the severe toxicity of the asbestos contamination in the insulation. The declaration would have authorized and provided money for intensified health studies that would quantify the threat from the Libby asbestos, expand the cleanup of the town and the homes, and conduct an extensive publicity campaign to notify homeowners and workers of the dangers from exposure to Zonolite.

Thousands of pages of e-mails, letters and reports document intense efforts from the White House to block the declaration, especially the part that would require the government to tell millions of homeowners that they could be living with a toxic threat in their attic and walls.

In May 2003, EPA said it was launching a "national consumer awareness campaign to provide homeowners with important information on vermiculite attic insulation which may contain asbestos."

It promised extensive television and radio ads, a "blitz" of appearances on national and local news show, the distribution of "tens of thousands" of posters and warning brochures in home improvement stores.

It never happened.

In August, Sen. Max Baucus brought current EPA Administrator Steven Johnson to Libby for a hearing on why EPA headquarters thwarted efforts to institute the emergency declaration. When the Montana Democrat threatened to subpoena the documents showing what happened, Johnson agreed to provide them.

For decades, millions of pounds of the shiny vermiculite ore was shipped from Libby to processing plants throughout North America. High capacity ovens transformed the vermiculite into featherweight, silvery fluff used in scores of consumer and construction products from potting soil to insulation.

Grace documents show that the bulk of residential Zonolite sales were north of a line running from northern California through Denver and St. Louis to Philadelphia. Marketing, production and sales reports obtained by the government show heavy concentrations of Zonolite sold throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, California and in Canada.

Exposure to tremolite asbestos in Libby caused asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer among the miners, their family members and people who lived in town but had no direct connection to the mine.

Hundreds have died and government testing has found that thousands of other people who live or worked near Libby have signs of the disease.

The Seattle P-I disclosed the deaths in Libby eight years ago. Within months government health specialists involved with the victims of the Grace mine insisted that the toxicity of the tremolite that contaminated the vermiculite was alarmingly different, but it continues to fall under the same government regulations and tolerances established for the less lethal chrysotile form of asbestos.

Grace said it stopped producing the insulation in the late 1980s and most of its sites had been sold to other businesses. EPA investigators say the new owners of former processing plants may not have known that tons of asbestos-contaminated waste may have been buried on the property or was clinging to dust-covered rafters.

EPA headquarters told its regional offices to determine how many sites were contaminated. Some regions did elaborate sampling of soil, air and dust. Others did "windshield surveys" without leaving their car. Some regional offices did nothing.

"Based on these evaluations, 19 sites were found to be contaminated ... and needed to be cleaned," the GAO will report. But, it noted, in evaluating the sites EPA used a decades-old "1 percent rule," which said an area was "safe" if the asbestos found didn't exceed 1 percent.

For years many scientists and physicians from EPA and the National Centers for Disease Control were largely ignored by agency chiefs when they argued that that the 1 percent threshold was just an arbitrary number that industry supported.

As to the insulation in homes, EPA has posted a warning on its Web site and produced a pamphlet that will be sent to anyone who asks.

Said Miller, the Public Health Service physician:

"This is not how a public health crisis should be handled."


Next step in effort to reduce radon at school: filters

Tension filled the room at George Whittell High School on Wednesday night, as parents, teachers and administrators gathered for a meeting to discuss the discovery of radon levels exceeding the Environmental Protection Agency action levels at Zephyr Cove Elementary School.

Many parents had made clear they were ready to pull their children out of Zephyr Cove Elementary if they weren't satisfied with what Superintendent Carol Lark had to say about plans to bring down the radon levels.

Radon is a colorless, odorless, naturally-occurring, radioactive gas released from soils that can accumulate to dangerous levels in homes, especially during colder months when windows and doors typically remain closed.

After a presentation on radon by Adrian Howe, radiation physicist with the radiological health sector of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, it was Dirk Roper, the owner of Fallon Heating and Air Conditioning and the certified radon testing and mitigation expert recommended by Nevada state health officials who was able to comfort many of the parents.

"Based on the tests I've done (at Zephyr Cove Elementary), I'd say you're OK," Roper said.

Roper said it's the radon progeny - the radioactive particles into which radon decays - that pose a threat to lung tissue. The radon levels found in several rooms at Zephyr Cove Elementary are above the EPA action levels, but the equivalent levels of radon progeny are not dangerous, Roper said.

Lark outlined the action plans proposed by the district to handle the radon problem. Plan A is to place high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters in every room at Zephyr Cove Elementary. The HEPA filters will help to filter the radon progeny, Roper said.

Once the filters are in place, roughly three weeks, Roper will retest every room at the school to ensure that the equivalent levels of radon progeny are below EPA action levels.

If the levels remain above action levels, then the district will move on to Plan B, which entails installing a pressurized ventilation system under the school, helping to keep the radon from entering the school at all. Plan B would require working with the TRPA, and would take roughly a month to begin, and six to eight weeks to complete. Once operational - Lark estimated early January - each room in the school would again be tested by Roper to ensure that radon and progeny levels are below EPA action levels.

Some parents still expressed concerns that although the progeny levels would be reduced by the HEPA filters, they would do nothing to bring down the actual radon levels.

Radon testing is cheap, and from it one can estimate the level of radon progeny, but not precisely, Roper said. Roper tests not only the radon levels, but also the levels of radon progeny.

Some parents were not convinced, and wondered why Zephyr Cove Elementary couldn't be closed, and students consolidated to Kingsbury Middle School instead.

Other parents, however, seemed comforted by Roper's explanation of the situation, and of the districts plan of action.

"I think the district is moving forward on this," Heather Howell said.

Howell, who has two sons at Zephyr Cove Elementary, had drafted a letter for parents to sign saying that they'd pull their kids out of Zephyr Cove Elementary if the district didn't take swift action on the radon problem.

"I won't be pulling my kids out," Howell said.

Denise Dunt, another Zephyr Cove parent, while pleased with the districts plans, is waiting to see that the plan works.

"I'm excited about this," Dunt said. "I just want to make sure (the filters) are in every room."


Thursday, October 4, 2007

Heavy smoker' dies of cancer, benefactor sues for asbestos exposure

A plant operator for most of his life, Jack Jones sued and received a settlement for his asbestos-related disease. Now deceased, Jones' benefactor is suing for a "different malignant asbestos-related injury." Jones had an "extensive" cigarette smoking history.

Attorney Bryan Blevins of Provost Umphrey filed the lawsuit on behalf of Barbara Jones against the A.O. Smith Corp. and 41 other corporations, claiming the companies knowingly and maliciously manufactured and distributed asbestos-containing products throughout Jefferson County.

The suit was filed with the Jefferson County District Court on Oct. 2, 2007.

The plaintiff's original petition says the 42 defendants entangled in his lawsuit were negligent for failing to adequately test their asbestos-laced products before flooding the market with dangerous goods and warn the consumer of the dangers of asbestos exposure.

Some of the defendants listed in the suit include aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, Viacom and iron supplier Zurn Industries.

In addition, the petition faults Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Corp. (3M Corporation) and American Optical Corp. for producing defective masks that failed to "provide respiratory protection."

Although Jones sued and received a claim while he was alive, the suit says, "Plaintiff now seeks damages against defendants not released in the previous actions pursuant to Pustejovsky v. Rapid-American Corp."

"The court must apply a separate accrual rule in these cases because a single action rule would forbid a second suit and in doing so force the asbestos plaintiff to file premature litigation on speculative claims, which the court in Pustejovsky notes is neither efficient or desirable," the suit said.

Medical documents attached to the suit indicated Jones was "a heavy smoker." He died sometime between the years of 2005 and 2007.

Upon attorney Blevins' request, Dr. J.D. Briton of the Texas Occupational Medicine Institute reviewed Jones' medical history and wrote in the suit that, "It is my current medical opinion that within reasonable medical probability Mr. Jack Jones has pulmonary asbestosis and respiratory impairment."

According to the suit, "Decedent was engaged in the course of his employment as an Operator, and in other various roles and capacities where he was required to work with, and/or around asbestos and asbestos containing products and materials, which caused him to suffer from asbestos-related diseases and other industrial dust diseases caused by breathing the asbestos-containing products."

The plaintiff is suing for physical pain and suffering in the past and future, mental anguish in the past and future, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, disfigurement in the past and future, physical impairment in the past and future, and past and future medical expenses.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court, has been assigned to the case.


Heavy smoking, asbestos exposure 'synergistically' causes lung cancer, suit says

At the request of Provost Umphrey attorney Bryan Blevins, the Texas Occupational Medicine Institute reviewed Clothilde DeJean's medical records and concluded Dejean's "heavy smoking history" combined with asbestos exposure "synergistically" caused her cancer.

DeJean, 77, was allegedly exposed to asbestos while laundering her husband's clothing. She has already sued and received a claim for her asbestos injury, but is suing again for a "different malignant asbestos-related injury."

Acting on DeJean's behalf, Blevins filed suit with the Jefferson County District Court on Sept. 28 against the A.O. Smith Corp. and 43 other corporations, claiming the companies knowingly and maliciously manufactured and distributed asbestos-containing products throughout the county.

The plaintiff's original petition says the 44 defendants entangled in the lawsuit were negligent for failing to adequately test their asbestos-laced products before flooding the market with dangerous goods and warn the consumer of the dangers of asbestos exposure.

Some of the defendants listed in the suit include aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, Viacom and iron supplier Zurn Industries.

According to the medical documents attached to the suit, DeJean's husband was an operator at the Texaco refinery for many years. She was indirectly exposed to asbestos while laundering her husband's clothing and rags from 1945 to 1980.

The documents also note DeJean was exposed to asbestos while working as a custodian at a Mid County school, "which later underwent asbestos abatement."

DeJean, who suffered from diabetes, hyperlipidemia and heart disease, had a "heavy smoking history, the medical documents stated.

"Tobacco is a human carcinogen that significantly increases the risk of lung cancer," the suit said. "Asbestos is also a well-recognized human carcinogen, which acts synergistically with tobacco in increasing the risk for lung cancer. In this case, Ms. Dejean has radiographic evidence of asbestos exposure in the form of asbestos-related pleural disease and pulmonary asbestosis.

"Given the clinical diagnosis of asbestosis, it is my (Dr. Steven Haber) opinion that asbestos played a role in the cause of Ms. Dejean's lung cancer. Based upon the records I have reviewed, it is my opinion that asbestos acted in synergy with tobacco in causing this cancer. My opinions are to a reasonable degree of medical probability."

Although DeJean has sued and already received for her asbestos-related injury, the suit says, "Plaintiff now suffers from a different malignant asbestos-related injury… and seeks damages against defendants not released in the previous actions pursuant to Pustejovsky v. Rapid-American Corp."

"The court must apply a separate accrual rule in these cases because a single action rule would forbid a second suit and in doing so force the asbestos plaintiff to file premature litigation on speculative claims, which the court in Pustejovsky notes is neither efficient or desirable," the suit said.

In addition, the petition faults Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Corp. (3M Corporation) and American Optical Corp. for producing defective masks that failed to "provide respiratory protection."

The plaintiff is suing for physical pain and suffering in the past and future, mental anguish in the past and future, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, disfigurement in the past and future, physical impairment in the past and future, and past and future medical expenses.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.


Asbestos Disease Awareness

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization Unveils Findings of Asbestos in Everyday Products

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization Unveils Findings of Asbestos in Everyday ProductsASBESTOS-PRESS-CONF

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO):

WHO: The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) featuring expert speakers: -- Sean Fitzgerald, President, Scientific Analytical Institute, Inc. -- Richard A. Lemen, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., Former Deputy Director and Acting Director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS (ret.), Rear Admiral, USPHS (ret.) -- Linda Reinstein, Co-Founder and Executive Director, ADAO

Press Conference to Unveil RESEARCH Findings on Products Containing Asbestos ADAO and guest experts will discuss landmark findings from ADAO and the Scientific Analytical Institute that reveal asbestos in everyday products including children's toys, appliances, hardware & household goods and home & garden items.The findings, the first in a series of test results, will include specific product examples, analyses on the dangers of asbestos exposure, and the new, younger profile of asbestos victims.

ADAO has been working with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and other key members of Congress to implement a full ban on asbestos. The occurrence of asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis, is growing out of control. Studies estimate that during the NEXT decade, 100,000 victims in the United States will die of an asbestos related disease annually - equaling 30 deaths per day.

National Press Club Holeman Lounge 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor Washington, DC 20045

Friday, October 5, 2007 10:00 am - 11:00 am EDT

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) Douglas Larkin Office: 703-250-3590 x1245 Mobile: 202-391-1546 doug@AsbestosDiseaseAwareness.org

About Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) was founded by asbestos victims and their families in 2004. ADAO seeks to give asbestos victims a united voice to help ensure that their rights are fairly represented and protected, and raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure and the often deadly asbestos related diseases. ADAO is funded through voluntary contributions and staffed by volunteers. For more information visit www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org.

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