If your home was built before about 1996, it could very well have components that contain asbestos. Shocked? It’s true. The Environmental Protection Agency started a phased ban of asbestos-containing products used in residential construction in 1989, but the final phase wasn’t even intended to be completed until 1996.
When people are diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer or another asbestos-related illness, it often comes as a surprise. Cancers caused by the deadly fiber seem like something that only happened in the past, before most asbestos products were banned in the U.S. Surely people aren’t still being diagnosed with these illnesses today.
A 69-year-old Kansas carpenter is dying of heart disease, diabetes and mesothelioma. Doctors say he has only months to live. This week, a jury in Madison County is tasked with determining whether his mesothelioma was caused by his use of drywall joint compounds manufactured by Georgia Pacific -- and whether that company is therefore responsible for his illness.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH, just completed a major study on the risk faced by firefighters of contracting mesothelioma and other cancers. Unfortunately, the study found the group suffers from all forms of cancer at a higher rate than the national average. And, for the first time, the study documented the long-suspected increased risk of mesothelioma among firefighters.
Scripps News recently released the results of an extensive, nationwide investigation into allegations that some victims of illnesses caused by asbestos and other pollutants were experiencing suspicious delays in the payment of their compensation. Surprisingly, the first thing Scripps learned was that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is one of the biggest players in toxic pollution litigation.
When people develop asbestos-related diseases, they typically endure debilitating symptoms, dreadful physical pain and disability. When their diagnosis is mesothelioma or asbestos-lung cancer, they often suffer from mental anguish, as well, because although their diseases are usually due to the negligence or misconduct of a formerly trusted employer, and their treatment options can be very limited.
A Missouri man just filed a potential class-action lawsuit against Empire District Electric Co., seeking medical monitoring after the company allegedly knowingly exposed workers at its Riverton plant to asbestos and other hazardous materials. The case is particularly interesting because the plaintiff is not sick. In fact, no allegations have yet been brought forward claiming any asbestos-related disease or other illness, but the man contends that he and other workers deserve to have their health monitored for those issues.
Five years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a New York City police detective died of respiratory failure caused by exposure to toxic chemical fumes at Ground Zero. Tragically, an unknown number of others who lived near or responded to the emergencies at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, have also died from toxic exposure.
For several years now, there has been an ongoing discussion about the air quality at May Whitney Elementary School in Lake Zurich, prompting the school to look into efforts to improve health safety for the children in the school. Although the school district’s longtime asbestos inspector had been leading the charge in removing potentially harmful materials from the school, recent disapproval of the inspector’s methods prompted a school board meeting recently.
A jury just awarded $5.95 million to a Louisiana man who developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos while working as an electrician at Dow Chemical’s Plaquemine plant, the largest chemical facility in the state. The Dow Chemical Company continues to use asbestos in all of its chemical manufacturing plants in the U.S. and worldwide, despite other companies having abandoned the dangerous practice decades ago.