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December 2013 Archives

Pennsylvania high court: workers' comp doesn't apply to asbestos

Here in Illinois and in most states, virtually all workplace injuries and occupational diseases are handled through the workers’ compensation system, which has special rules. Workers who develop job-related illnesses or injuries are covered by workers’ comp regardless of whether their employers were negligent. Balancing that is the “exclusivity rule,” which means these cases must be handled through workers’ comp; workers can’t sue for negligence.

Even people who never worked with asbestos can be victims of it

When people think of asbestos victims, they often assume they worked for years in industries where asbestos-laden products were commonly used. It is true that certain industries exposed workers to asbestos more than others -- railroad and shipyard workers, welders, plumbers, pipe fitters, boiler mechanics and construction workers, for example. Any occupation where workers would be installing, wearing or working around insulation or insulated products turned out to be high-risk. The reason asbestos was once so popular was its remarkable insulating properties.

Watchdog: NY Times' asbestos litigation claims 'irresponsible'

Media Matters for America, a not-for-profit organization created to monitor and correct inaccurate media reports, took major exception to a Dec. 2 column in the New York Times. The column criticized Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy of New York for having recently filed a lawsuit against 70 asbestos companies potentially responsible for the lung cancer she made public in June. Since McCarthy is a longtime smoker, the writer attacked the eight-term House representative’s lawsuit as evidence that “asbestos litigation is a giant scam.”

Long-term worker study indicates silica dust causes lung cancer

The fact that microscopic asbestos fibers caused mesothelioma and asbestos-lung cancer may have come as a shock generations ago, but scientists and safety regulators have known for decades that other airborne particulates carry the same risk. With substantial profits to be gained through the use of these products, however, there continues to be resistance to regulation -- or even to appropriate safety measures being taken.

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