May 2011 Archives

Mesothelioma Attorneys Continue Look at Nation's Top Asbestos Sites

May 26, 2011

As our mesothelioma attorneys have continued to report, asbestos exposure causes Mesothelioma, one of deadliest forms of cancer. But experts say the cancer can incubate for 30 to 40 years, so patients often don't realize that the root cause of the cancer is that old.

As previously reported on the Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog, there are several sites across the country that have been accused of putting employees at high risk of asbestos exposure. Many handled contaminated vermiculite, a mined material which can contain asbestos. While asbestos was never officially banned in the United States, many businesses have stopped using the known carcinogen.

These blogs are part of a series based on reports by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And those who worked or lived in these areas are at high risk. Former employees who worked at similar sites or did similar work could be at increased risk of a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that develops in the lining of many of the body's internal organs. It is usually caused by exposure to asbestos and by people who have inhaled asbestos dust.

Mesothelioma in New Jersey: The Zonolite Company and W.R. Grace and Company operated a site in Trenton through 1994. According to the CDC, the Mercer County site may have received vermiculite from the Libby, Montana site at any time from 1920-1990.

Libby was the main site from which the company mined its vermiculite and the death rate there was 40 times higher than the rest of Montana and 60 times higher than the United States. If you have lived near or worked at the New Jersey plant, you should speak with a medical professional experienced in handling asbestos related health issues.

Mesothelioma in Pennsylvania: The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry did an exposure evaluation of the former W.R. Grace & Company Site in New Castle, Pa., which is on the western edge of the state. The site operated from 1969 and 1992.

According to U.S. Census data, the population of Lawrence County has steadily declined since 1960. In that year, about 113,000 people lived in the county containing New Castle. By 1990, the population dipped to 96,000. In 2006, that number dropped to 90,000.

Those most affected are people who currently live near the processing site, those who worked there between 1969 and 1992, lived with someone who worked there or lived there during that time period. Asbestos fibers are so small that you can breathe them in and not even know it. They can get trapped in your lungs and cause cancer decades after exposure.

Mesothelioma in Maryland: The W.R. Grace and Zonolite Company operated a vermiculite processing plant in Beltsville from 1966 to the early 1990s, the CDC reports.

The facility exfoliated vermiculite to manufacture insulation, building products, agricultural products and fireproofing material. More than 93,000 tons of vermiculite was processed and shipped out of this site for distribution across the country. Since 1998, Atlantic Transportation Equipment has leased the property to operate a truck maintenance and repair shop.

The closest residential area is about a half mile away from the site and according to 1990 U.S. Census data, 320 people lived within one mile of the site. Officials found that Libby asbestos was detected on the site. Former workers, family members and others living nearby should consult with a doctor to check for possible exposure.

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Mesothelioma Lawyers Look at Some of Nation's Leading Asbestos Exposure Sites

May 18, 2011

850348_traveling_across_the_usa_1.jpgAs our mesothelioma lawyers frequently report, exposure to asbestos is what causes this deadly cancer. But because the incubation period is typically 30 to 40 years, too often patients fail to connect asbestos exposure in the 1960s or 1970s to a cancer diagnosis.

We reported recently on our Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog that asbestos was never officially banned for existing uses in the United States. However, most businesses and products have long since stopped using the known carcinogen. Some of those most at risk including military veterans and those who worked in mills or on construction sites through the 1970s.

For the next few weeks, our mesothelioma attorneys will publish a series of blogs taking a look at some of the nation's most well-known exposure sites, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those who worked in these locations are at high risk. Former employees who worked in similar jobs or on similar job sites may also be at increased risk of a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Mesothelioma in Florida: The Zonolite and W.R. Grace and Company Exfoliation Facility in Tampa is a known location where employees were exposed to dangerous amounts of asbestos, according to the CDC. The site has processed vermiculite since the 1950s and continues to do so today. Deposits of mined vermiculite can be contaminated with naturally occurring asbestos. Much of the nation's contaminated vermiculite came from a mine in Libby Montana, which was active until 1990.

Prior to 1991, the Tampa site processed nearly 50,000 tons of vermiculite from the Libby mine. The U.S. Census reports about 4,600 people lived within one mile of the facility in 1990. Former workers and their family members are encouraged to consult a physician knowledgeable in asbestos-related health issues.

Mesothelioma in New York: Similarly, the CDC reports the Zonolite Company/W.R. Grace Facility in Brutus New York (known as the Weedsport Facility), processed contaminated vermiculite from the Libby mine. The facility operated from 1963 until 1989. A cocoa husk mulch company then operated at the site until 2001. Currently, the facility sits empty.

About 1,200 people lived within a mile of the site, according to the 1990 U.S. Census. Current and former employees of the facility are encouraged to seek medical advice. Future disturbance of the soil or renovations at the facility could further expose workers to dangerous levels of asbestos.

New Jersey Mesothelioma: The Celotex Corporation in Edgewater, Bergen County New Jersey was a gypsum board manufacturer that used vermiculite from the Libby mine. The facility closed in the 1970s. The Zonolite Company, W.R. Grace Facility in Trenton, New Jersey also used vermiculite from the Libby mine and may have exposed workers to unsafe levels of asbestos. The facility closed in 1994.

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Certain Trades at Higher Risk of Asbestos Exposure, Mesothelioma

May 12, 2011

asbestos.JPGAsbestos Exposure.

When it comes to the risk of being diagnosed with mesothelioma, exposure to asbestos is the only known cause in the United States. Determining how and where you were exposed is critical to collecting damages and fighting to ensure the long-term financial well-being of your family.

Contacting an experienced asbestos exposure lawyer or mesothelioma attorney is critical from the earliest stages of such cases. Because a mesothelioma diagnosis often comes 30 or 40 years after exposure, proving such cases is often a complex process. Speaking with an experienced law firm as early as possible is key. While some patients defy the odds, and new treatments are being deployed every year, the average survival after diagnosis is typically only about one year.

The National Cancer Institute reports that each and every one of us are exposed to asbestos at some point in our lives -- it is the length and severity of the exposure that can increase your risk of a mesothelioma diagnosis later in life. However, chronic exposure is not necessary. Some studies have found that exposure for as little as 30 days can result in the development of this deadly form of cancer.

Asbestos has been mined and used commercially in North America since the late 1800s; it was used extensively during World War II. As we reported recently on our Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog, asbestos has never been banned for most U.S. uses, though most manufacturing processes have phased it out because of the known cancer risks and associated liability.

Industries associated with asbestos exposure include:

-Shipbuilding: Asbestos was used to insulate boilers, steam pipes and hot water pipes.

-Automotive Industry: Asbestos was used in brake shoes and clutch pads.

-Building Industry: Asbestos was used in joint compounds, floor tiles, paints and adhesives.

-Mill workers: Many textile mill workers were exposed to asbestos, particularly in New England.

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Steve McQueen Biopic Could Highlight Mesothelioma Issues

May 5, 2011

312598_hollywood_sign_mulholland_dri.jpgThe Huffington Post reports Jeremy Renner may play the lead role in a Steve McQueen biopic.

As our Mesothelioma attorneys reported recently on our Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog, McQueen is one of a number of high-profile celebrities who have died from mesothelioma. In his case, it's been theorized that he may have been exposed to asbestos while serving in the military.

A primary characteristic of mesothelioma is its decades-long latency period. The average victim is not diagnosed with cancer until 30 to 40 years after being exposed to asbestos. The delay can make it difficult for patients to link their illness to exposure in the workplace or while serving in the military in the 1960s or 1970s.

It wasn't until after his stint in the military that he turned to acting in 1952. Through the 1960s and 1970s he was rivaled only by Paul Newman for onscreen cool and good looks.

Remembering victims like Steve McQueen is remembering all mesothelioma victims and the fact that this deadly cancer does not discriminate. McQueen died on Nov. 7, 1980 at the age of 50 after a surgery in Chihuahua, Mexico to remove or reduce several metastatic tumors in his neck and abdomen.

His health problems began in 1978 with a persistent cough. He also began antibiotic treatment without improvement. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1979 and by 1980 the cancer was widespread.

He tried to keep his condition a secret but was outed in a front-page story in the National Enquirer. In July, he traveled to Roasarito Beach for unconventional treatments after doctors in the United States said there was nothing they could do to prolong his life.

There, controversy erupted when he received unorthodox medical treatments from a man who had a revoked orthodontics license. His case also illustrates a secondary tragedy sometimes associated with mesothelioma when unscrupulous medical providers engage in fraud or promise miracle cures.

Later that fall, McQueen traveled to Chihuahua to have a five-pound tumor removed from his abdomen, despite warnings from doctors in the United States that his heart would not survive the surgery. He died of a heart attack one day after a surgery to remove a large tumor from his neck.

In interviews, he said he may have been exposed to asbestos on movie sound stages, but he blamed the illness on massive exposure from removing asbestos from a troop ship during his time in the Marines. McQueen had been potentially exposed to asbestos throughout his life. As a young man, he worked on various construction sites, where asbestos was often used. He worked in shipyards during his time in the Marines, where he worked stripping asbestos insulation from pipes. An avid race car driver, he may also have been exposed when repairing brake linings or while wearing protective helmets and fire suits that contained the material.

Other celebrities who have died from mesothelioma include actor Paul Gleason and musician Warren Zevon.

Jeremy Renner, the actor rumored to portray McQueen, is best known for his role in "The Hurt Locker."

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