Articles Posted in Community and Charities

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hardhat.jpgAccording to Wikipedia, Labor Day is:

A United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September, that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers. It was first nationally recognized in 1894 to placate unionists following the Pullman Strike. With the decline in union membership, the holiday is generally viewed as a time for barbeques and the end of summer vacations.

This Labor Day, take a moment to remember the workers who were unknowingly exposed to asbestos and those who subsequently lost their lives as a result. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “about 125 million people in the world are exposed to asbestos at the workplace.” 107,000 of them will die.

Occupational exposure or exposure at the workplace is the most common incidence of asbestos exposure. There is also secondary exposure resulting from contact with a second person, usually a spouse, parent or child that brings asbestos home on their clothes and or personal belongings. Finally, bystander exposure is exposure from a nearby location at which asbestos becomes airborne and inhaled even though the exposed person did not work directly with the asbestos or asbestos containing product.

Historically, mining trades posed the highest risk of asbestos exposure. Although asbestos is no longer mined in the United States, not all countries have stopped taking the dangerous mineral from the earth. After taking mining out of the equation, Construction trades pose the greatest risk of asbestos exposure. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), almost one-quarter of worker deaths caused by asbestosis between the years 1990-1999, were in the construction trades, by far the most dangerous industry in terms of asbestos exposure. Additionally, those in trades related to Ship and boat building and repairing, Industrial and miscellaneous chemicals, Railroads, Painters, Powerhouse workers, Floor coverers, Pot tenders, steel mill workers, Refinery workers, Paper mill workers, Tile setters, Brake and clutch manufacturers and Machinists are at considerable risk.
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Microscope ADVANCED_TRINOCULAR_RESEARCH_MICROSCOPE_RMH-4T.pngAccording to the American Cancer Society, malignant mesothelioma is a cancer that starts in the cells that line certain parts of the body, most commonly the lungs and stomach. The disease is predominately a result of exposure to asbestos and kills nearly 3,000 people each year. Because 3,000 is not as staggering as the approximately 200,000 people in the United States that get lung cancer, and more than 159,000 people that die from the disease, funding for research and the necessary attention that would promote public awareness is sometimes difficult to come by. However, there is a dedicated group that vehemently pursue a cure for mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma has no cure at this time. One of the key elements to effective management of the disease is early detection and an accurate prediction of how the cancer will respond to available treatments. Current research includes the search for an ideal biomarker that can aid in the diagnosis of the disease and help predict the effectiveness of various treatments including chemotherapy. A biomarker is a distinct biochemical, genetic, or molecular characteristic or substance that is an indicator of a particular biological condition or process. Obtaining the necessary tissue or tumor samples necessary for a diagnosis is often quite invasive. The majority of research thus far has been of a case-control design to determine diagnostic accuracy of particular molecules. In the past ten years substantial progress has been made in the identification of biomarkers specific to Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. Future research will require the determination of how to integrate the information of the distinguished markers into clinical diagnostic and /or management algorithms.

Some recent studies have focused on the overexpression of the ephrin B2 receptor (EPHB2) in patients with mesothelioma. Ephrin type-B receptor 2 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the EPHB2 gene. In a sampling of 34 different malignant mesothelioma tumors, it was found that the EPHB2 was significantly higher in tumor tissue than in normal peritoneum and not in benign mesothelial cells. Continuing studies focus on determining the following:

  • If by using specific EPHB2 inhibitors it will slow the progression of the disease. Inhibiting growth increased the apoptotic proteins and activity, which is part of the natural self-destruction of cells. Stopping the growth of EPHB2 also decreased the proliferation and invasion of the bad cells, in the laboratory research.
  • If EPHB2 can be used as an effective marker for Malignant mesothelioma. Can EPHB2 be used for early detection and can monitoring the quantity thereof, determine the effectiveness of treatment.

Research is critical to the advancement of treatment and the search for a cure for Malignant Mesothelioma. Research which cannot take place without the requisite funding. Funding that, despite the admirable efforts of various charities, organizations, and dedicated individuals, always seems to be lacking. The Department of Defense Bill finally offers some assistance. The 2014 Defense Appropriations Bill (H.R. 2397), just recently approved by The House, includes funding for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. The program includes the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program in which Mesothelioma is a topic area.

The quest for answers progresses.

The battle continues…
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Asbestos Danger Sign2.jpgNational Asbestos Awareness DAY began in April of 2005 (April 1st to be exact) and has now developed into a week long event filled with information and opportunity. The event was created by and has been sponsored by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO). S.Res. 389 (112th): A resolution designating the first week of April as “National Asbestos Awareness Week” made it official in 2012. The organization and the scheduled events during the week are specifically designed to raise awareness as to the dangers caused by asbestos and offer support to the many who have been stricken with an asbestos related disease.

The ADOA, based out of California, is and has been the largest independent asbestos victims’ organization of its kind in the U.S. since its inception in 2004. Their goals are focused on education, advocacy and community. These are the same concepts embraced and encompassed in the topics addressed during the first seven days of April:

  • 7 Facts for 7 Days
  • Asbestos: What is It?
  • Why is Asbestos Bad for My Health
  • Share Your Story
  • A Statement from the U.S. Surgeon General
  • Progress Towards an International Asbestos Ban
  • Communication, Collaboration, and Action

During this week, the Eighth Annual International Asbestos Awareness Conference will be held in Los Angeles, CA. highlighting similar topics and issues as well as medical advancements in the treatment of Mesothelioma.

Awareness is the first step in the resolution of any problem. Not JUST during this week, but EVERY day, the voices should be heard of the multitude of individuals afflicted with an asbestos related disease. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 27 million American workers were exposed to asbestos on the job between 1940 and 1980. It is estimated that over 200,000 people will die as a result of that exposure before the year 2030. Yet, we continue to import asbestos, we continue to look for ways around the very rules that were implement to ensure the safety of its users and compensation for those stricken with asbestos related diseases continues to diminish.
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The first ever Mesothelioma Awareness Day was started by a group of Mesothelioma Foundation volunteers in 2004, and every subsequent year’s participation has been larger and more widespread. In 2010, Congress officially declared September 26th as National Mesothelioma Awareness Day. Since that time, twelve states have permanently declared September 26th as Mesothelioma Awareness Day. Thirty four (34) cities and countries now recognize this day locally.

What we know:

  • Mesothelioma , or more specifically, malignant mesothelioma is a cancer that starts in the cells that line certain parts of the body, most commonly the lungs and stomach. The lining formed by these cells is called mesothelium. These cells protect organs by making a special fluid that allows the organs to move. For instance, this fluid makes it easier for the lungs to expand and contract during breathing. Mesothelioma also can occur in the heart and testicles.
  • The most common anatomical site for the development of mesothelioma is the pleura (the outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), but it can also arise in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), and the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart), or the tunica vaginalis (a sac that surrounds the testis).
  • Mesothelioma is caused almost exclusively from exposure to asbestosis.
  • Approximately 2,500 to 3,000 people will die from Mesothelioma this year.

MESO AWARENESS.jpgWhat we don’t know... Is how to cure it. This very important day is set aside not only to raise awareness of this tragic asbestos related disease, but also to raise funds for the research needed to help find a cure.

Join the crowd in Rockefeller Center with the Today Show or take your own personal stand. Mesothelioma Awareness Day offer the opportunity to help increase public awareness of mesothelioma and rally support for those battling this deadly disease.
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Steve-McQueen-Posters.jpgBorn Steven Terrance McQueen on March 24th, 1930. Beloved Husband and father. Avid race-car driver, actor, movie and TV Star – Legend, all around Cool Dude and victim of Mesothelioma. He died November 7, 1980.

Best known for his roles in films such as The Sand Pebbles, Bullitt, The Great Escape, The Thomas Crown Affair and, Papillion, Steve McQueen wowed the American population. Nick-named “The King of Cool”, he was the “Bad Boy” that other men wanted to be and women wanted to be with.

McQueen developed a chronic cough in 1978 and had difficulty breathing on a movie set the following year. McQueen barely ran 15 yards during the filming of an action sequence before requesting oxygen assistance. Later in 1979, doctors diagnosed him with mesothelioma. In July of 1980, McQueen traveled to Rosarita Beach, Mexico, to be treated in a clinic by doctors using a variety of very aggressive therapies. He underwent a torturous three-month regimen that involved fetal animal injections, laetrile treatments (controversial drug made from apricot pits), ingestion of over 100 vitamins per day, coffee enemas, massages, and spiritual sessions. In November of 1980, doctors operated to remove cancerous masses from McQueen’s abdomen and neck. McQueen survived the surgery, but he died the next day.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is nearly always attributable to asbestos exposure. Before he died, McQueen traced his mesothelioma diagnosis to asbestos exposure first in the Marine Corp, then to the flame-retardant driving suits he wore so often while racing cars and motorcycles, his lifelong passion.

Steve McQueen was quoted as saying “You see, I don’t believe in that grabbin’ and grabbin’ and stuffin yourself and not givin’ anythin’ or puttin’ it back. ” Even in his death, Steve McQueen gave back. He brought a much needed awareness to the disease and the cause: Exposure to ASBESTOS.

The Warren Zevon “Keep Me In Your Heart” Memorial Tribute will be presented at noon on March 31, 2012, at The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization’s ADAO’s 8th Annual International Asbestos Awareness Conference in Manhattan Beach, California honoring the life of Steve McQueen. Barbara McQueen will accept the award on behalf of her late husband.


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Reyes, Oshea & Coloca, P.A. was recognized in Newsweek’s February 27th & March 5, 2012 double issue as one of the leaders in Asbestos Law.

Asbestos is still a problem today. Florida, with an estimated number of asbestos-related deaths of between 3025-4481 annually is second in the United States only to California with an estimated 4273-5792 asbestos related deaths annually. Asbestos related diseases include Non-malignant diseases such as Asbestosis and Pleural Disease and malignancies such as Esophageal Cancer, Laryngeal Cancer, Colon Cancer, Stomach Cancer, Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma. According to the National Cancer Institute, Approximately 3000 cases of Mesothelioma will be diagnosed in the United States this year. Based on the trend of historical statistics and latency period for asbestos related diseases, this number is expected to peak until 2020.

Angel M. Reyes, Daniel F .O’Shea and Lina Coloca have made it their life’s work to represent and protect the rights of the victims of Asbestos Exposure.

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danger sign lg.jpgFrom as early as the 1930s until as late as the late 1970s asbestos manufacturing companies knowingly allowed countless individuals to be exposed to a potentially lethal fiber; Asbestos. According to OSHA, Asbestos is the name given to a group of six (6) naturally occurring minerals used in certain products, such as building materials and vehicle brakes, to resist heat and corrosion. Still today entering into the year 2012, we continue to search for a way to repair the damage done, and control the damage to the future.

florida-county-map.gifIn Florida, we have reviewed past legislation, amended statutes, cracked down on unconscientious builders who ignore the rules in place to assure the safety of innocent bystanders, acknowledged the need for clean-up and taken action, and justly award compensation to those who have fallen victim to asbestos exposure. And finally, we organize events to bring to light the problem, offer awareness and hope and maybe a CURE.

Thumbnail image for ancient-antique-scroll-on-white-background-israel.jpg2011 Florida Supreme Court justly said Florida’s asbestos litigation reform act violates the constitutional rights of Floridians injured by asbestos products. American Optical Corp. et al. v. Spiewak et al. concluded in a decision that Found That The Law Requiring Plaintiffs To Show “Physical impairment” Before They Could Pursue Asbestos-Related Lawsuits Violates Constitutional Due-Process Rights
Florida Statutes Chapter 469 Asbestos Abatement address clean-up procedures and requires strict precautions be taken to protect those who are literally left in its dust. The Northeast Florida Safety Council and The University of Southern Florida, as well as many other organizations, offer Safety Programs with invaluable instruction.

Three Pinellas County developers connected with SUN VISTA DEVELOPMENT GROUP were found guilty of violating federal environmental laws concerning asbestos disposal from construction sites. the maximum penalty for each guilty count is a $250,000 fine and five years in jail. This is more than just a slap on the wrist and will hopefully send a message loud and clear.

Mayor Judy Paul of Davie made the decision that the asbestos-laden pipes in a closed mobile home park had got to go. Florida has called for at least a $30,000 clean-up to remove the hazardous and toxic pipes, which were once part of a mobile home park that supplied drinking water and served as sewer lines.

A Dade County jury in Florida has awarded Charles Garrison, a victim of mesothelioma $21 million after they determined he was exposed to dangerous asbestos while working at a Georgia Pacific compound.
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OBAMA - HOPE.jpgAs part of The American Jobs Act, Obama has proposed asbestos abatement in our schools. He has made the case that spending money now will pay off later in global productivity and competitiveness. And one of the biggest investments he is proposing is in education. The President recently announced a $447 billion “American Jobs Act” proposal, including a $25 billion investment to modernize at least 35,000 public schools to create jobs while improving classrooms and updating technology needs. States would have three to six months to get the money to the school districts, which would in turn have two years to use it for the modernization projects.

To date, “the don’t move it theory” has been the most widely used means of protecting our children. The EPA’s asbestos program for schools, mandated by the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), and its regulations for schools and other buildings is founded on the principle of “in-place” management of asbestos-containing material (ACM). This approach is designed to prevent asbestos exposure by teaching people to recognize asbestos-containing materials and actively monitor and, where necessary, manage them in place. Removal of ACM is not usually necessary unless the material is severely damaged or will be disturbed by a building demolition or renovation project. Obama’s project will actually include the removal and remodeling of the most needing schools. Certainly a more permanent solution to an ongoing problem.

An ongoing problem that, up until now, has been left to fester until drastic measures must be taken. Such drastic measures were taken by:

  • St. Louis Park Junior and Senior High Schools. In February of this year, students were sent home from both school buildings after officials discovered tiles that had eroded through contact with salt and other particles on people’s shoes.
  • Hilltop Elementary School in Ohio was forced to close their doors in September of this year so workers could get to the building’s roof to reinforce 35 square feet of weakened plaster that is known to contain asbestos. The plaster roofing was weakened during heavy rains that had hit the area over a period of time.
  • A Salem Massachusettes school was also closed last month when while removing a non-functioning chimney at Burke Elementary School, contractors surprisingly uncovered asbestos. The Superintendent closed the school for a day in order to avoid exposure to both students and staff. .
  • Just this week, the Closing of McCombs Middle School in Iowa was tied to a miscommunication among contractors involved in a construction project that led to harmful asbestos particles being released into the air. A library ceiling was removed ahead of schedule, causing officials to clear the school.

school desk.jpgUpon the passing of the jobs bill, money will be allocated to school districts for the improvement and renovation of the 100 largest and “high need” public school districts around the country, benefiting an estimated 35,000 schools.

“Every child deserves a great school, and we can give it to them,” President Obama said this week in Ohio, where he discussed the jobs bill.
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MESO AWARENESS.jpgMesothelioma Awareness Day was started by a group of Meso Foundation volunteers in 2004. Every subsequent year since, on September 26th, the voices that chant their support and the awareness that it generates have grown larger and more widespread. The day was set aside by Congress as a time to raise the public’s awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure. This year, Rockefeller Plaza will be the stage on which the deadly disease will be brought to the fore-front and broadcasted on the Today Show.

September 26th is a day to remember those who have fallen victim to Mesothelioma and the effects of asbestos exposure. It is a day to offer a revitalized hope for those who suffer with the disease today. And it is a day that we focus on the means to find an answer A CURE for those who are stricken with the disease tomorrow.

You too can participate in the effort to CURE MESOTHELIOMA and enhance public awareness of this deadly problem. Join the over 1,000 people who will walk, who will run, who will sponsor and organize fundraisers in the name of MESOTHELIOMA AWARENESS.

WHAT IS MESOTHELIOMA: Mesothelioma, more precisely malignant mesothelioma, is a rare form of cancer that develops from the protective lining that covers many of the body’s internal organs, the mesothelium. It is usually caused by exposure to asbestos. Its most common site is the pleura (outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), but it may also occur in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), the pericardium (a sac that surrounds the heart), or the tunica vaginalis (a sac that surrounds the testis). Nearly three thousand lives are lost to this devastating cancer every year.

Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles, or have been exposed to asbestos dust and fibers in other ways, such as by washing the clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos, or by home renovation using asbestos products. Many companies that manufactured asbestos containing products were aware of the potential harm that could result from the use of their product. As early as the 1920’s up until the mid 1970’s, companies chose to use asbestos without displaying warnings of the potential hazards. These companies share liability. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may have the right to recover damages against those manufacturers.
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