Articles Posted in General Information

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Asbestos:Is it hiding in your home? It is widely known that asbestos, the toxic, naturally forming, fibrous mineral, can be found in building materials such insulation and drywall as well as brake shoes and gaskets. But you might be surprised to know where else asbestos has been… and where it is now. Did you know that asbestos has also been found in grooming bags, kitchen appliances and even a child’s toy box.

hair-styling-tools.jpgUp until the year 2000, asbestos has been used in the manufacturing of hair dryers, curling irons and even baby powder. A photographer actually discovered asbestos fibers being emitted from a blow dryer. He was not photographing the hair dryer. He was drying negatives that he had just developed and noticed a dust on the film that turned out to be asbestos. studies during that time period discovered that asbestos exposure from a hair dryer can be equal to or even greater than exposure from being a bystander to a nearby construction site. Electric curling irons as well as the holders have been manufactured using asbestos. In a curling iron, however, it is significantly less likely that the particles become air born. In the late 70s early 80s, as many as 10 out of every 19 body and baby powders tested at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York were contaminated with asbestos fibers, containing anywhere from 2% to 20%.

kitchen.jpgRefrigerators, dishwashers, stoves and ovens contain asbestos. Although the day to day use rarely creates air born debris, the installation, maintenance and repair can put the entire family (as well as the technician) at risk. Large appliances are typically repaired at home. Smaller appliances such as the Fry-Daddy, toasters, popcorn makers, slow cookers and a plethora of others also contain asbestos. The chance of asbestos being inhaled from these appliances is minimal, but considering the sheer volume of people who own one (or more), even the slightest chance of asbestos exposure should be considered UNACCPETABLE.

drawing.pngIf your child/children used Crayola, Prang or Rose Art crayons to create those adorable drawings that hung on the refrigerator (which also may have contained asbestos), they may possibly have been exposed to asbestos. It was not until the year 2001 that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) determined that the risk, although low, was sufficient to require the manufacturers to find a substitute for the asbestos. In 2007 Planet Toy’s popular CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Fingerprint Examination Kit was determined to be asbestos-containing. Planet Toy’s ended up filing for bankruptcy, but in 2010, the remaining parties in the pending class action litigation were finalizing a settlement that would refund the price of the toy and initiate a recall of the toy. The toy was actually found to be #1 on the list of the top 10 most dangerous toys.

In January of this year, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) posted a new report from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) that detailed asbestos consumption in the United States. Many are not aware that even though the U.S. stopped producing asbestos, we continue to import it in substantial quantity. In 2012 it was estimated that we imported 1,060 metric tons of asbestos. The industry which produces chlorine and sodium hydroxide accounted for approximately 57 percent of consumption. The roofing industry accounted for 47 percent. This leaves 2 percent unaccounted for. Asbestos exposure, in any amount, is not safe. So where is that remaining 2%? (which after just a little bit of math, works out to be over 21 metric tons of asbestos per year) Nobody knows. Is it in your bathroom? Is it lurking in your kitchen? Are your children or nieces and nephews innocently playing with it after you have taken special care to steer them away the typical hazards of sharp or hot objects and electrical current?
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Caution_blank.pngThis product contains ASBESTOS which is known to cause cancer and lung disease. Avoid creating dust. Intentionally removing or tampering with this label is a violation of state law.

That is the minimum that must be stated in the warning label that must be applied to ALL asbestos containing building materials.

Earlier this month, legislators in Washington State House of Representatives passed a law requiring that all products containing asbestos meant to be sold in the United States must be clearly labeled.

Additionally, a bill proposed by Washington State Senators Biling, Ranker, Kohl-Welles, and Kline was also passed 65 – 28. The bill requires that:

A label must be placed in a prominent location adjacent to the product name or description on the exterior of the wrapping and packaging in which the asbestos-containing building material is placed for storage, shipment, and sale.

Effective January 1, 2014, the appropriate labels must be affixed to the designated products. Failure to comply will, at first, likely only result in a warning and the chance to rectify the problem. Subsequent infractions may result in up to a $10,000 .00 fine.

Many consumers are unaware that asbestos containing products are still a major part of the construction industry. Although asbestos is no longer mined in the United States, asbestos is imported, sold and widely used. Asbestos can be found in nearly 3,000 products such as roofing shingles, tiles and siding, spackles and joint compounds, plaster, flooring and insulation…and many more.

Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals that, when made airborne and then inhaled, become toxic. Warning the consumer and any subsequent users of the potential hazards should not only be the law…It should be considered common sense. Every year tens of thousands of people are afflicted with and die from asbestos related diseases. These include (but are not limited to) malignancies of the respiratory and digestive systems as well as non-malignant diseases. The respiratory system malignancies include cancers of the throat (laryngeal & pharyngeal), the lung, and mesothelioma. Malignancies of the digestive system include cancers of the stomach and colon. Non-malignant asbestos related conditions include asbestosis and pleural disease. By 2029, approximately a half million asbestos related deaths (preventable deaths) are anticipated in the United States alone.
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Thumbnail image for illegal dumping_farm-debris_photoblog600.jpgThe act of illegally dumping asbestos has been taking place since the moment certain laws and regulations were enacted and implemented prohibiting the reckless endangerment of innocent bystanders to this potentially toxic and lethal substance.

The Ohio EPA continues to search for the individual or individuals who, in November of 2012, dumped a large amount of asbestos containing pipe insulation on a vacant residential property. The property sits just west of Nature Conservancy property. The piping was most likely part of an old heating system and the illegal dumpers were most likely ignorant thieves looking for scrap metal to sell.

In October of 2012, two New Jersey men dumped 60,000 pounds of asbestos containing debris on an upstate New York farm, a farm that also has wetlands and runs along a river. The owner of the unoccupied land ignored both state and federal laws when he dumped the rubbish that was put through an industrial shredding machine without the asbestos first being removed. When authorities arrived to inspect the site, the dump pile was topped by two children’s bicycles, evidence that the toxic waste was being used a playground. Moreover, it was the owner’s intentions to eventually develop this asbestos laden land into commercial riverfront property.

In mid-2012, an Illinois man was sentenced to ten years for the illegal removal, handling and disposal of asbestos from a Kankakee building. A jury determined that in order to put a few more dollars in his pocket, he completely disregarded the laws put in place to protect the general public from the hazards of asbestos. He stripped dry asbestos from pipes, shoved it in regular unlabeled garbage bags, then proceeded to hap-hazardly dump the over one hundred contaminated bags into an open field. Additionally, the man was also ordered to pay restitution of $47,086 to the EPA for the cleanup of the asbestos
On an international level, Sydney Australia can finally end its hunt for a truck driver that dumped nearly two tonnes of asbestos outside two children’s care centers (pre-schools). It required over $13,000 and three months of clean-up and investigation to locate Dib Hanna. Despite several years of illegal dumping including deadly asbestos, multiple fines and convictions, Hanna was only handed a three month suspended sentence. He was actually quoted as saying “You said last time, you send me to jail. I go home and I keep going my business,” This is hardly the deterrent to future Aussie asbestos dumpers one might have hoped for.

Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals. They have been used commercially in a multitude of products for their heat resistant quality and inexpensive price tag. However, when the fibers become airborne and then inhaled they can be toxic and potentially lethal. Asbestos exposure has been known to cause both malignant and non-malignant disease. The above examples of human stupidity are demonstrative of one of the reasons why regulations and legislation are not sufficient to protect the public from the dangers of asbestos.
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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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bill.jpg New York State Congressman Bill Owens introduced legislation earlier this month (H.R. 204: Common Sense Waiver Act of 2013). This bill was a re-introduction of H.R. 3689 (112th) (Dec 15, 2011). If enacted, it would allow as follows:

… The Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency to waive any emission standard or other requirement under section 112 of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7412) applicable to the control of asbestos emissions in the demolition or renovation of a condemned building for which there is a reasonable expectation of structural failure.

When translated, what this would allow is the dismissal of rules and regulations that were put in place specifically to protect the general population. What it does do is put cost cutting ahead of public health and safety for both the workers and those bystanders unfortunate enough to inhale the potentially deadly dust and debris.

This Bill was drafted in response to the need of various villages or communities to get rid of deteriorating buildings. Specifically, Owens first brought the issue up in 2011 when the former Tavern Arms, also known as Nikki’s Place, collapsed in on itself in downtown Malone, NY. Current regulations basically offer no provisions when a town or village is unable to afford the repair or demolition of a building that contains asbestos. The only recourse is to “let it fall down”. This does not seem like it should be an acceptable option nor is it in the interest of public safety. However, the proposed alternative is equally without “common sense”.

Current Status of the Bill: This bill was assigned to a congressional committee on January 4, 2013, which will consider it before possibly sending it on to the House or Senate as a whole. The chances of it actually being enacted are minimal at best, which means that common sense may actually prevail in this matter.

Asbestos has been proven to cause non-malignant conditions such as asbestosis and pleural disease and malignancies including throat cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, laryngeal cancer, lung cancer and mesothelioma. For this reason, appropriate and necessary regulations have been implemented for the handling of asbestos and asbestos containing products. It would seem to be a LACK of common sense to dismiss those regulations in consideration of the all mighty dollar. Perhaps it would be time better spent determining how to make adhering to those regulations affordable. True common sense and the well-being of each and every individual should never be cost prohibitive.

“Common sense is seeing things as they are; and doing things as they ought to be.”
― Harriet Beecher Stowe

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MARS.jpgCanada’s Jeffery asbestos mine has found a second calling. Scientists from the CSA or Canadian Space Agency have determined that the defunct asbestos mine is an ideal location for a training ground for future Rover missions in the exploration of Mars. Methane gas is prevalent at the site and so practicing the gathering of such gas on the Red Planet is facilitated. Moreover, because methane and water are indicative of life, testing to see if life is feasible on Mars can be conducted. Although not nearly as lucrative as the asbestos producing mine, Ol’ Jeffrey earned a respectable three-quarters of a million dollars in its new-found profession.

Flag-CanadaFlag.jpgCanada was once one of the biggest suppliers of asbestos to the United States. Despite the significant health hazards associated with the use of asbestos, the U.S. continues to import asbestos and asbestos containing products. Now that Canada has turned its last surviving mine into a virtual Mars, who will pick up the slack? Canada’s asbestos export sales totaled about $100 million per year and was primarily to the United States.

flag russian_flag.jpgMaybe Russia: Russia is the number one producer and largest exporter of asbestos. The town of Asbest is home to an asbestos mine nearly half the size of Manhattan Island. Just weeks ago, certain Ukrainian and Russian institutes and academies held an “international scientific conference on chrysotile asbestos to examine all scientific data” in Kiev, Ukraine. The conference was meant specifically to oppose the listing of chrysotile asbestos under the Rotterdam Convention by claiming that the science has not been established to show that chrysotile asbestos is hazardous.

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stethoscope blue.jpgPleural Disease and Asbestosis are the two (2) non-malignant asbestos related conditions. For these two diseases, there are no cures at this time. Treatment is typically palliative care which is treatment that attempts only to reduce the severity of the symptoms, relieving and preventing discomfort and suffering and is not administered as curative medicine. Antimicrobial therapy can be administered if the disease results in an infection; however, drugs are not effective in the treatment of asbestosis or pleural disease. Corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs do not alter the course of the diseases.

Symptoms of asbestosis and pleural disease include the following:

  • Shortness of breath
  • A persistent and productive cough (a cough that expels mucus)
  • Chest tightness
  • Chest pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • A dry, crackling sound in the lungs while breathing in

Aerosol medications and/or oxygen can be administered to appease or mitigate the symptoms. Physical therapies can be implemented such as pounding your chest and back repeatedly with your hands or a device to loosen the mucus from your lungs so that you can cough up the phlegm. You may also sit with your head tilted down, or lay on your stomach with your head down to help drain the mucus from your lungs.

But the most important thing once diagnosed with an asbestos related condition is to prevent the progression of the disease. Avoid any additional exposure to asbestos or any carcinogens and do not smoke. Food, rest, and exercise are essential in maintaining good health which will help mitigate the symptoms of an asbestos related disease. Taking care of your body will inevitably result in better health which will help you to breath easier: Be mindful of good nutrition. A healthy diet consists of a balance of fruits, vegetables and proteins. The proper diet is key in maintaining muscle mass and body functions. Watch your sodium or salt intake Drink lots of fluids– six to eight glasses daily is the recommended amount unless your doctor has instructed otherwise. The average person needs about eight (8) hours of sleep every day. Your body needs this time to recuperate and .mend itself. If you find yourself tiered or fatigued during the day, take short naps An appropriate exercise routine will strengthen both your muscles and your heart and lungs – a critical part of breathing easy.

Maintain cleanliness. Keep yourself and your surroundings free of germs and bacteria. The lungs and lung functions of someone with asbestosis or pleural disease are already impaired. Prevent infection, and avoid the risk of colds and flu. Get flu and pneumonia shots annually which should be administered sometime between September and December.

Asbestosis and Pleural Disease are progressive diseases. It is imperative that you get annual physicals, maintain open communication with your doctor and continually monitor your condition. Individuals who have been diagnosed with a non-malignant asbestos related condition are at an increased risk of developing lung cancer, mesothelioma and other non-pulmonary malignancies such as colon cancer, stomach cancer, laryngeal cancer, pharyngeal cancer and esophageal cancer.
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Cancer-that-Affect-Children.jpgMesothelioma is a disease typically characterized by a very long latency period, 15 – 50 years, and exposure to asbestos. The most common form of exposure is occupational. Additionally, a large study found that people first exposed to asbestos before age 10 were less likely to develop mesothelioma than those who were exposed to the fibers later in life. Accordingly, a diagnosis of mesothelioma in a child is extremely rare.

There are certainly potential risks of asbestos exposure for children:

  • Secondhand exposure from a parent who worked with asbestos.
  • Asbestos in schools
  • Environmental asbestos (breathing the air or playing in/eating contaminated soil)
  • Asbestos in toys such as chalk, crayons and modeling clay

However, the actual percentage of children who have mesothelioma that can link the disease to asbestos exposure is relatively few.

Scientists and medical professionals alike concur that exposure to asbestos during childhood increases the risk of developing an asbestos related disease, such as mesothelioma, later in life. They further agree that almost all cases of mesothelioma can be linked to asbestos exposure, but some simply cannot. The question remains as to what exactly causes mesothelioma to manifest in children before the typical latency period and without the expected exposure to asbestos. Research is ongoing and scientists are analyzing all aspects of the disease. Similarities of the disease in children and adults are the symptoms and responses to treatments. Differences that are being analyzed include the fact that while most adults suffer from pleural mesothelioma, which is located in the lining of the lung, most children that suffer from the disease have peritoneal mesothelioma, which is a cancer in the abdominal cavity lining. Latency period is also a differentiating factor. Researchers are looking beyond the well-known link to asbestos exposure for links to this deadly disease: such as genetic predispositions or exposure to other drugs or chemicals including prenatal exposure to a drug known as isoniazid.

To date, there remains no cure. Children and adults are being stricken with the disease and have a life expectancy of only four (4) to eighteen (18) months. For both children and adults, early detection is of critical importance. Early detection in youths is even more difficult than in adults because it is so uncommon, that it is rarely an initial diagnosis. Additionally, peritoneal mesothelioma, which is the more common in young mesothelioma sufferers, requires significantly more testing to accurately diagnose.

The young and the older should always get regular check-ups. Never ignore symptoms, and speak openly with your doctor of any medical concerns.
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imagesCAU7AC9C.jpgEPA OVERTURNED – October 18, 2012 is the very unhappy anniversary date of the overturn of the U.S. Asbestos Ban and Phase-out Rule (ABPR) which occurred on October 18, 1991. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drafted the rule to control asbestos; a toxic substance. The ABPR laid out a ten year plan to introduce prohibitions on the import, processing, manufacture and distribution of asbestos-containing products. It became effective on August 25, 1989.

The asbestos industry, from the U.S. and Canada pulled out all the stops. Lobbyists, scientists and the masses were sent to the forefront to preserve this money making industry. Unfortunately, they succeeded. In a seminal decision, the Fifth Circuit court vacated the ban, finding that the EPA failed to present “substantial evidence” to justify the ban under Toxic Substance Control Act or TSCA. Despite its acknowledgment that “asbestos is a potential carcinogen at all levels of exposure,” the court attacked the EPA’s action on several fronts. The result was the overturn of the rule, the needless exposure and subsequent death of countless victims. After ten years of research and deliberation, millions of dollars poured into the regulation, and countless hours of work by environmental health officials, all attempts appeal the overturn of the asbestos ban was completely abandoned. The 1991 ruling left room for EPA to reconcile its research in accordance with the court’s reasoning, but no further action was pursued.

In spite of the rule being overturned, certain asbestos-containing products such as flooring felt; rollboard; corrugated, commercial, or specialty paper remain illegal. Many others, however, remain unregulated by the EPA. As a result, the death toll for mesothelioma victims remains between 2,500 and 3,000 per year. According to The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 107,000 people die each year from asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis resulting from occupational exposure.

21 years later, asbestos continues to be imported and used in the United States. Hopefully, Canada’s recent withdrawal of support of the use of asbestos will again begin to accomplish what the ABPR did not; to protect the people by regulating this toxic substance.
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question_blue.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 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 mesothelium has different names in different parts of the body:
Thumbnail image for pleural-mesothelioma.jpg

  • In the chest it is called the pleura. Pleural mesothelioma typically occurs on only one side of the lung and rarely spreads to bone, brain or adrenal glands.
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  • In the belly or abdomen it is called the peritoneum. Peritoneal mesothelioma begins in the abdominal cavity and affects the entire digestive track. This is an uncommonly aggressive cancer that is more likely to spread to lymph nodes.
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  • In the space around the heart it is called the pericardium. Pericardial mesothelioma is the rarest, but the most lethal form of mesothelioma. Because of the heart’s involvement, it is rarely operable.

Tumors of the mesothelium can be benign or they can be cancer. A cancer tumor of the mesothelium is called a malignant mesothelioma, but this is often shortened to just mesothelioma.

There are 4 main types of mesotheliomas based on how the cells look under a microscope.

  1. Epithelioid: This is the most common type. It tends to have a better outlook (prognosis) than the other types.
  2. Sarcomatoid (fibrous): About 1 to 2 out of 10 mesotheliomas are of this type.
  3. Mixed (biphasic): This type has features of both Epithelioid and Sarcomatoid. About 3 to 4 out of 10 mesotheliomas are the mixed type.
  4. Desmoplastic: This is the rarest form of Mesothelioma.

What is Cancer? Now that a definition has been given for Mesothelioma that explains the specific regions of the body that may be affected by this cancer and the types that it can come in, one might be left wondering “what is cancer?” Cancer begins when cells in the body grow out of control. There are many types of cancer, but they all begin in this manner. During one’s youth, normal cells grow or divide at a rate to accommodate growth. After that, cells should only divide to replace damaged or dying cells. Unlike regular cells, cancer cells, instead of dying, grow and divide rapidly and can potentially invade other areas of the body; this is known as metastasis. Cancer usually manifests in tissue and forms tumors, but it can also be in the blood or in the marrow of bones.

Mesothelioma, like any type of cancer, can only be conclusively diagnosed with a biopsy. A biopsy is the removal of a sample of tissue or cells. These cells are then examined under a microscope to determine if they are cancer, and if so, what type. When a whole lump or targeted area is removed surgically, it is called an Excisional biopsy. When just a sample of tissue is removed, the procedure is called an Incisional biopsy (core biopsy). Because it is rare, Mesothelioma is often overlooked and misdiagnosed.

Symptoms of mesothelioma :

Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:

  • chest pain that is caused by a build-up fluid around the lungs.
  • Difficulty breathing and wheezing
  • Persistent cough, usually productive (a cough that produces fluid known as sputum)
  • Blood in the sputum
  • Hoarseness or a change in voice

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Swollen or extended stomach caused by ascites which is a build-up of fluid in the abdomen
  • Abdominal masses
  • Loss of weight and appetite
  • Problems with bowel functions

Symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma include:

  • Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat
  • Loss of weight
  • Persistent cough
  • Chest Pain
  • Shortness of breath

Causes of Mesothelioma: There is very little dispute as to what causes mesothelioma of any type. Asbestos. Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals used commercially for their desirable physical properties. When asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested most are expelled; however some become lodged in the lining of organs associated with the respiratory or digestive systems.

Most asbestos exposure is occupational. This is when someone is exposed to asbestos during, and as a result of, his daily work routine. Because of its resistance to heat and its inexpensive price tag, a variety of industries including construction, automotive and manufacturing made use of this potentially toxic mineral. Asbestos exposure can also take place when someone who has been occupationally exposed brings asbestos fibers home on their clothes or work gear. Family members who wash the asbestos covered clothes or clean up after and tend to the workers asbestos covered gear are also at risk. This is known as secondary exposure. Bystander exposure is when, although not working directly with an asbestos containing product, an individual is exposed because they are in close proximity to a situation where asbestos dust is being created. For example, in a building undergoing construction; in a building that is in a state of dis-repair where asbestos containing ceiling tiles or drywall are deteriorating and creating dust; in a warehouse or clerical or administrative setting where asbestos products are being opened and or used creating asbestos containing dust.

stethoscope blue.jpgTreatment Options – There are factors that must be taken into consideration when evaluating prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options:

  • The stage of the cancer. The stage of the cancer is determined by tumor size, the type of cancer it is and to what extent it has spread. Stages are numbered one through four.
  • The size and location of the tumor.
  • Whether the tumor can be removed completely by surgery.
  • The amount of fluid accumulated in the chest or abdomen.
  • The patient’s age and general health, including lung and heart health.
  • The type of mesothelioma cancer cells and how they look under a microscope.
  • Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred (come back).

Once all the diagnostic information is assessed, it can be determined what treatment options are available. Sometimes the approach is a combination of treatments, and sometimes, because mesothelioma is often diagnosed in its late stages, the only treatment is that which can aid in controlling the cancer and make the patient more comfortable.

Medicinal or chemical Treatment: Chemotherapy is the use of chemicals that kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be used before surgery to shrink the tumor and make the surgery easier, or after surgery to prevent the return of the cancer. Radiation therapy focuses high-energy beams, such as X-rays, to a specific spot or spots on your body. Radiation may reduce signs and symptoms in people with pleural mesothelioma. Radiation therapy is sometimes used after biopsy or surgery to prevent mesothelioma from spreading to the surgical incision.

Surgical Techniques: Surgery is an option in instances where mesothelioma is diagnosed at an early stage. Sometimes it isn’t possible to remove all of the cancer. In those cases, surgery may help to reduce the signs and symptoms caused by mesothelioma spreading in your body. Surgery can decrease fluid buildup, be used to remove the tissue around the lungs or abdomen, remove as much of the cancer as possible – also known as debulking, or to remove a lung and the surrounding tissue which allows higher doses of radiation to be used.

Clinical Trials are experimental treatments that explore new methods of treating mesothelioma. These must be evaluated very carefully and discussed with your doctor.

Psychological Treatment: Dealing with the physical symptoms, which usually include loss of breath, the medical treatment and side effects thereof, the legal questions that arise from a diagnosis of mesothelioma as well as the personal and emotional trauma is all too often an insurmountable amount of stress. This often leads to severe depression, anxiety and feelings of isolation. The psychological ramifications of the disease must also be dealt with.

Legal Rights: Manufacturers were aware that asbestos was dangerous and potentially lethal if inhaled. They continued production of asbestos containing goods without advising of the hazards and with no regard for the safety of the end user. Someone who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma may have a legal right to compensation. It is important to have experienced, effective and aggressive legal representation to protect those rights and seek all recompense allowed by law and within the time-frame dictated by the applicable statute of limitations.

Nearly 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year. There are support groups and resources that can be used to determine what courses of action are right for you and your family. Being properly informed can help make difficult decisions a little easier Continue reading