Daughter who wore dad’s old jacket during the winter develops mesothelioma

As a child, a woman named Heather never though that wearing her father’s old work jacket would one day lead her to developing the toxic illness, mesothelioma, brought about by inhaling asbestos fibers.

Old jacket

“As a kid, I would grab my dad’s coat off the doorknob in our entryway and wear it when I fed my rabbits, or did my chores in the yard,” Heather told the NewStatesman.

“I remember very distinctly, it smelled like my dad, like his cologne or his soap on the rope.It was roomy and warm, like wrapping myself in my dad’s hug. And it was covered in a greyish-white crust from all the drywall he installed and pulled down.”

This “greyish-white crust” from the drywall was actually dust from asbestos. Asbestos is a toxic mineral once used in abundance at construction sites. When asbestos fibers are disturbed, they can easily be inhaled or ingested. The fibers remain in the body for years, leading to malignant DNA mutation.

Heather’s diagnosis of mesothelioma occurred just mere months after she gave birth to a little girl. She was later told she had only a little over a year to live. Her daughter, Lily, was told from an early age about the dangers of asbestos, as her mother has become a staunch advocate for the ban of asbestos in her home country, the UK.

She spends as much time as she can rallying against companies that still use the dangerous asbestos in their products. She also complains to politicians who attempt to stop asbestos regulations.

Although asbestos has not been manufactured in the U.S. since 2002, importing was in the process of declining. But according to the Statesman, President Donald Trump stopped emphasis on banning its imports, and its previous decline is something that originally gave Heather hope that the dangerous mineral would one day be completely banned.

Imports on asbestos reportedly came close to doubling when the Toxic Substances Control Act got a recent overhaul. A Sept. 2017 review by head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, discussed the risks of allowing new asbestos imports in the U.S., but failed to evaluate asbestos materials that are already the country. Now, Heather, who had been meeting with congressmen and senators to raise awareness regarding asbestos-related diseases, thinks that it’s impossible to one day get an absolute all on anything asbestos.

Heather told the Statesman that when she visited the offices of the Congress and Senate to spread awareness and lobby for an asbestos review, she was treated rudely by Republicans and never heard back from them. She stated that Democrats, in the past, were more “thoroughly engaged.”

Even though the UK didn’t decline to increase asbestos regulations, there are numerous buildings and homes in the country that were once built with asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). Heather said she blamed HGTV, a home U.S.-based home improvement channel, for people still developing asbestos illnesses in the UK.

As housing prices soar, more people are reportedly opting to fix up their older homes, which possibly contain asbestos, rather than purchase a new home. Further, many people cannot afford to hire a renovator, and home improvement programs typically do not offer much warning when it comes to asbestos exposure.

However, despite her pessimism that asbestos will never be completely banned, Heather said she will continue to work toward the “global cooperation of asbestos victims.” Yet, she finds it “incredibly disheartening that this blatant favoritism emboldens chemical companies globally because the US, which should be a world leader, is championing their cause,” according to the Statesman.

The Dangers of Second-Hand Asbestos

Heather never worked around asbestos herself, which remains the leading reason that people develop asbestos-related diseases in the first place. However, the family of those who did work around the toxic material are at risk if they come into contact with asbestos with it.

Second-hand asbestos exposure, also referred to as secondary asbestos exposure, occurs when asbestos fibers transfer from someones skin, work tools, hair, or clothing, and onto an unsuspecting victim. In Heather’s case, her father’s old work coat was not left at work, nor was it washed and cleaned prior to bringing it into the family home. The asbestos fibers transferred from his coat and into the Heather’s lungs, just by simply wearing her dad’s coat.

To learn more about asbestos exposure, including second-hand asbestos exposure, refer to our article, Asbestos Exposure.

Additional Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, now is the time to take the first steps in determining what you may be eligible for. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. For additional assistance, contact us toll-free at 800-793-4540.

Scientist says he found asbestos in children’s products, on shelves of popular store in 9 different states: Report

Claire’s cosmetics stores pulled at least 17 products from their shelves last month after a Rhode Island family discovered that their 6-year-old daughter wore children’s makeup that allegedly contained asbestos. In Jan., the store announced that its products were asbestos-free, but a scientist who independently tested numerous products from various Claire’s stores disagrees.

makeup kit

NBC10 reports that the family purchased the makeup kit from a Claire’s store in a Providence mall. However, according to the family of the victim, the problem is not exclusive to Rhode Island alone. After Kristy Weaver became concerned with what was inside the makeup her little girl put on her face, she sent the kit off for analysis at an independent North Carolina laboratory.

“I physically sank,” Warner told NBC10. “I ended up sitting on the ground, just trying to wrap my head around how something like that could end up in our home.”

According to test results, the makeup kit contained tremolite asbestos, a toxic type of asbestos linked with life-threatening illnesses such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and asbestos-related lung cancer.

Warner, worried that other children could be using the same product, enlisted the help of her boss at a law firm, John Deaton, to help her purchase 17 different products from Claire’s in nine different areas of the nation. All 17 kits were sent off for testing. The results were reportedly devastating.

According to a scientist responsible for conducting the tests, Sean Fitzgerald of Scientific Analytical Institute, tremolite asbestos was detected in every single product he tested.

The products in question, according to Forbes, include:

  • Metallic Hot Pink Glitter 48 Piece Makeup Set
  • Pink Glitter Cellphone Makeup Compact
  • Bedazzled Rainbow Heart Makeup Set
  • Rainbow Bedazzled Star Make Up Set
  • Rainbow Glitter Heart Shaped Makeup Set
  • Mint Glitter Make Up Set
  • Rainbow Bedazzled Rectangle Make Up Set
  • Pink Glitter Palette with Eyeshadow & Lip Gloss
  • Ultimate Mega Make Up Set

“The fact that the majority of the products came from the store shelves in the last two weeks means that there are other children being exposed,” Warner added.

Claire’s Responds

After the cosmetics store was confronted with the results, it released a statement on Dec. 22, indicating that for precautionary measures, the kits had been pulled from the shelves.

“As a result of today’s inquiry from WJAR-TV, we have taken the precautionary measure of pulling the items in question from sale, and will be conducting an immediate investigation into the alleged issues,” the statement read.

On Jan. 4, however, Claire’s released another statement after it had its own independent lab testing done. According to cosmetics store, the makeup kits were asbestos-free.

“We are pleased to report that test results received to date from two certified independent labs confirm that the products in question are asbestos free, completely safe and meet all government requirements,” the latest statement read, according to CNBC.

The company stated that the talc used in the makeup kit products were from the pharmaceutical company, Merck KGaA. Merck provided certificates of analysis to both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada, which indicated that their talc contains no asbestos.

“Any report that suggests that the products are not safe is totally false,” a spokesperson for Claire’s reported.

Yet, Fitzgerald told CNBC that regardless of what Claire’s said, he stands by the results he found from his own testing. He said some companies use testing methods that aren’t currently up to today’s standards. Claire’s responded by saying that it asked for the details of the test that Fitzgerald performed, but never received them.

“We only learned of the claims after they went to the press,” the statement from Claire’s read. “We have made multiple requests for Mr. Fitzgerald’s detailed test data, but it has not been provided to us. Mr. Fitzgerald also went to the press in July with claims that testing of cosmetics from Justice showed evidence of asbestos, which Justice refuted after analysis of a third-party ISO-certified testing lab.”

According to Fitzgerald, the law firm Warner works for has the detailed test results, which has been sent over to Claire’s, outlining the the testing methods used. Further, Fitzgerald said that the law firm still has the products that were tested and that Claire’s has not tested those specific products for asbestos.

Claire’s has yet to publicly indicate which labs were used to test the products. The cosmetics company also hasn’t shared the test results results publicly.

Resources and Information for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Fill out our form today to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. For additional assistance, feel free to contact us at 800-793-4540.

Colgate-Palmolive Co. settles asbestos lawsuit over talc powder products

Colgate-Palmolive Co., makers of talcum powder products (among many others products), agreed to settle a lawsuit brought on by a Pennsylvania woman who claimed her usage of their talcum powder products caused her to develop malignant mesothelioma.

personal injury stock photo

The company resolved Carol Schoeniger’s lawsuit in a New Jersey courtroom, likely to avoid undergoing another lengthy trial. The amount awarded to the plaintiff remains private since it was an agreed-upon settlement.

The deal came about as numerous talcum powder users begin to hold businesses such as Colgate-Palmolive and other talcum products makers and distributors accountable for not forewarning them that their body powders contained the toxic mineral, asbestos, which is a known carcinogen linked to deadly diseases, including mesothelioma, asbestos, and asbestos-related lung cancer. The lawsuits declare that some of the companies’ products made with talcum are polluted with asbestos, which can frequently be found in talcum deposits.

Currently, Colgate-Palmolive is facing over 170 cases against them for allegedly selling talc products  laced with asbestos. They’ve said that 43 cases have been rectified this year alone.

In 2015, as reported by the Sacramento Bee, the company once again lost an asbestos-related lawsuit after a California woman with mesothelioma sued the business for not giving warning that their Cashmere Bouquet product contained asbestos–which ultimately led to the plaintiff developing an asbestos-related illness.

In this instance, the company fought the lawsuit and after a two-week trial in a Los Angeles court, they ultimately lost. They were initially required to pay $12.4 million to the plaintiff, but just as the jury convened to discuss adding punitive damages, an agreed upon undisclosed amount was settled upon.

“Colgate was disappointed with the jury’s verdict,” company spokesman Tom DiPiazza later said.

“Defendants manage their litigation in different ways,” Schoeniger’s attorney said earlier this month. “Colgate settles some and tries other.’’

In 2013, in another talc-related lawsuit, a New Jersey jury determined that Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, Inc., a company that distributed talc-related products such as Desert Flower and Old Spice body powder, didn’t warn plaintiff Steven Kaenzig of the risks of asbestos. Similar to Schoeniger, Kaenzig developed mesothelioma. However, Kaenzig’s exposure came second-hand after his father brought asbestos-contaminated talc products from his work and into the family home.

Kaenzig was diagnosed with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma in 2011. Two years later, a jury awarded Kaenzig and his wife, Linda, $1.6 million in damages.

Another giant corporation, Johnson & Johnson, is also facing mounting claims. Currently, the company has over 5,000 pending claims against it popular baby powder product, with many plaintiffs alleging it caused ovarian cancer in women.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), although talc isn’t consideration a carcinogen, there is a possible link to ovarian cancer. The link, according to ACS, is a small one.

Small risks, however, do not mean people won’t develop life-threatening illnesses. For instance, ACS also suggests that there is no safe amount of asbestos exposure. Although it’s more likely for someone to develop a toxic illness such as mesothelioma when large amounts of asbestos are inhaled and/or ingested, the risk is still there and can’t be ruled out simply because it’s minute.

Additional Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. If you need additional assistance, contact us toll-free at 800-793-4540.

Firefighters are training in old building with asbestos

Around 130 North Carolina firefighters were reportedly ordered to train on a building that was constructed with asbestos-containing materials, according to local station, WSOCTV.

fireman asbestos

The stations reports that firefighters trained at an old Sears department store building in Gastonia, where asbestos was found below the roof. The firefighters told local news station that they started training on the roof of the building in Dec. 2016. Almost all of the firefighters in training cut holes in the roof and used sledgehammers to break, which released toxic asbestos fibers into the air.

Gastonia engineers indicated in Aug. 2016 that there was likely asbestos in the old Sears building, yet the firefighters were never made aware of it prior to training. When city officials learned of the asbestos, they changed policies to reflect that all buildings must be inspected before any training can take place. However, officials learned of the asbestos problem months after the training began.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Gastonia Fire Department “did not exercise due diligence to inform firefighters about the presence and location of asbestos containing material prior to conducting training, potentially exposing firefighters to asbestos.”

Subsequently, OSHA fined the city $77,000, which was later reduced to $33,000.

Meanwhile, hundreds of firefighters in the city are now at risk of developing life-threatening illnesses. It’s unclear whether any of the firefighters are planning to pursue an asbestos lawsuit.

Firefighters and Asbestos

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) stated that firefighting is an occupation with one of the highest risks of asbestos exposure. Firefighters enter old buildings frequently and are faced with asbestos, soot, smoke, fumes, and other toxic substances.

NIOSH, along with the the United States Fire Administration (USFA), conducted a study in 2003 and 2010 of over 18,000 current and retired firefighters, which indicated that firefighters are at heightened risk of developing mesothelioma, asbestosis, and asbestos-related lung cancer. Firefighters are also at a heightened risk of developing bladder cancer, leukemia, and kidney cancer.

Asbestos, a natural carcinogen, has microscopic, odorless, fibers that can be easily ingested and inhaled without realizing it. Once these tiny fibers are inside the system, it’s almost impossible for the body to dispel them all. The fibers then attach to linings of the major organs, such as the lungs, stomach, and heart.

Over time, the asbestos fibers become cancerous. With early intervention, victims have the best chance of removing the cancerous tumors. The problem, however, is that symptoms of asbestos illnesses stay dormant for up to 50 years. Once someone notices the symptoms, the disease has generally progressed into its later stages.

firefighters putting out flames

It’s crucial for firefighters and anyone else who may have been exposed to asbestos to get regular medical checkups. Be sure to tell your doctor that you may have had asbestos exposure, otherwise they may fail to run testing, as asbestos diseases are still considered rare in the medical world.

In the meantime, there are certain precautions firefighters should take while on the job, which include:

  • Removing work clothing immediately after work and washing them as as possible
  • Taking a hot shower after removing work clothing
  • Thoroughly washing work gear while still at the fire station (do not take work gear home if possible)
  • Always wearing safety equipment that can help prevent asbestos ingestion and inhalation

For additional information, refer to our article, Asbestos and Firefighters.

Additional Help and Resources for firefighters

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. For additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540. 

Contractor sues state of Montana for reportedly failing to crack down on asbestos violations

An asbestos-disposal contractor in Montana is taking state officials to court for reportedly failing to enforce asbestos violations rules.

asbestos up close

AP reports that Ingraham Environmental of Butte filed an asbestos lawsuit at the state District Court in Silver Bow-Butte County against the city Montana. According to the lawsuit, asbestos-containing-materials (ACMs) were being dumped in Montana landfills illegally. Anyone around the open-air landfills could easily breathe in asbestos fibers, putting them in danger of developing life-threatening illnesses, the lawsuit claimed.

According to the lawsuit, Butte suing due to Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) “failure to manage asbestos waste … both at the level of inspection and at the entry to appropriate landfills, asbestos waste is regularly being dumped in open air in our landfills, endangering landfill workers, transporters, and anyone who breathes air in the area of these dumps.”

Lawyers for the for the Montana DEQ argued that their client wasn’t required to actively pursue and enforce asbestos removal violations. Yet, Doug Ingraham of Ingraham Environmental told The Montana Standard that they had copies of the law books regarding asbestos removal and the state wasn’t do its job to ensure the rules were adhered to.

“We have the laws on the books,” said  Ingraham. “We think the rules protect us, but there’s no enforcement.”

Asbestos has always been a huge issue in Montana. The state of Libby was the site of the most dangerous environmental disasters in the U.S. to date. Libby is home to mines where natural asbestos is found, and in 1919, people began pulling the mineral out of the mines and using it in numerous construction. Mining for asbestos continued for decades, exposing workers to the dangers that come about when inhaling or ingesting asbestos, such as the risk of developing life-threatening illnesses such as mesothelioma or asbestos-related lung cancer.

Eventually, W.R. Grace & Company took over the asbestos mining business, creating a toxic environment that put Libby residents in extreme danger. In 1990, the mine closed, but the dangers of it took decades to contain. In the meantime, the residents of Libby lived around the dangers of asbestos daily. Around 400 Libby residents died from asbestos-related illnesses and thousands more are currently living with diseases caused by asbestos exposure.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Libby is now a Superfund Site, meaning land that has been so contaminated in the U.S. that the EPA named as a “cleanup candidate,” where exhaustive resources go into making the area safe again.

The lawsuit is being handled by Judge Brad Newman. Check back with Mesothelioma Lawyer Center for additional updates.

Additional Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more.

College to pay $2.9M after staff member blows whistle on asbestos problems

Employees at Sonoma State University involved in a asbesto trial will get a share of $2.9 million after a California jury returned a verdict in their favor during a high-profile whistleblower case.

asbestos chrysotile fibers

The Press Democrat reports that 231 staff and faculty members who worked at Stevenson Hall at the school were involved in an asbestos lawsuit that started when one of the employees raised concerns about asbestos. Instead of taking concerns seriously, Craig Dawson, and the California State University Board of Trustees forced the employee, Thomas Sargent, who had worked at the school for 24 years, out of his job. They accused him of creating a “hostile work environment.”

In March, a jury awarded $387,000 to Sargent, and it started a suit that led to other employees’ getting compensated. On Thursday, California judge Nancy Shafer awarded an additional $725,000 to be disbursed to employees who worked inside Stevenson Hall from Stevenson Hall from May 2013 to March 2015.

“We are happy that between the judge and the jury, these violations have been exposed,” said Dustin Collier, lawyer for Sargent, told Press Democrat. “The university can no longer deny their existence. We are hopeful this will be a catalyst for change.”

Judge Nancy Shafer also ordered that administrators at the school reinstate Sargent’s position, along with two years’ worth of back pay.

The school spent over $3 million in legal defense fees in the lawsuit, which, according to Collier, was a “colossal waste of taxpayer money to avoid cleaning asbestos.”

Spokesperson for the California State University system, Toni Molle, wrote in an email the penalties were much larger than the violations, and that this particular area of law is “unsettled,”

“This is an area of the law that is unsettled and there are many unresolved issues that will need to be addressed by the Court of Appeal and possibly, the California Supreme Court. We are optimistic that the appeal will be successful.”

Yet, if it wasn’t for Sargent’s complaints, the school may have never been held responsible for the abundance of asbestos between its walls. The university was built during a time when asbestos was used heavily due to its ease of use, affordability, and resistance to heat and fire.

Asbestos is much less dangerous when it isn’t disturbed, but Sargent pointed out that the school had crumbling flooring, broken ceiling tile, and other areas of concerns that was making the campus dangerous. He said that carcinogenic asbestos fibers were being released in rooms from the crumbling ceiling tile, yet his superiors never took the proper steps to take care of the issue when he raised concerns.

It’s still unclear how the university plans to handle the asbestos issue, but Gina Voight, president of the CSU employees union at Sonoma State, told Press Democrat that an ideal situation would be that school administrators start listening to their employees and others who have concerns, instead of “shutting them out.”

“We would like to see a better response from the university instead of denial and shutting us out,” Voight said. “They need to open doors and welcome change in these old buildings.”

Additional Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. For additional assistance, we’re here to help. Contact us at 800-793-4540.

Asbestos still taking lives of 9/11 firefighters; death toll rises to 32 more people over the past year

On September 11, 2001, 343 members of Fire Department of New York (FDNY) were killed when the twin towers in New York City crumbled down in the most traumatic terrorist attacks experienced in the United States. Yet, over 15 years later, firefighters and others continue to die due to toxic substance exposure during 9/11.

FDNY 911 heroes

FDNY 911 heroes [Photo: NBC/Screenshot]

As the 16th anniversary of the tragic incident approached, New York Daily News reported that an additional 16 former firefighters involved in the 9/11 rescue efforts passed away within the past year. The latest deaths brings the total fatality numbers of FDNY workers during 911 to 159.

Last Thursday, those who lost their lives during 9/11 were honored at the  FDNY headquarters at MetroTech in Brooklyn. Honorees will include firefighters, fire marshals, EMT workers, and civilian workers that lost their lives during 9/11. The event will mark the most addition of names to the wall since 2011. Honorees include:

  • Firefighter Kevin Rooney
  • Retired firefighter Paul Santoro
  • Retired firefighter John Dunn
  • Retired firefighter Joseph O’Toole.
  •  FDNY Marine Engineer Robert Alexander
  • Raymond Alexander

“Dedicated to the memory of those who bravely served this department protecting life and property in the city of New York in the rescue and recovery effort at Manhattan Box 5-5-8087 World Trade Center.”

In addition to firefighters who lost their lives, there are numerous other workers who are suffering the ill effects of asbestos decades later.

“Cleaning asbestos was work nobody wanted to do so it was left to the immigrant workforce, mostly workers from Latin America and Poland,’’ said Edison Severino, Laborers’ Union, Local 78’d business manager.

“By the third day after the attacks, we had these bucket brigades set up bringing out debris…. Business agents were all asking for environmental cleanup workers, and there was no request for documents or paperwork,” Severino told the Los Angeles Times. “People were working double and triple shifts, sleeping for a few hours at a church, then going back to work.”

Help For Those Affected by 9/11

The federal government funds programs for health and wellness for those affected by the 9/11 attacks. The World Trade Center Health Program provides healthcare to those affected by 9/11, and the Victim Compensation Fund provides compensation for victims and their families.

In 2015, former president Barrack Obama signed a bill that would keep the programs in effect until 2020, since more illnesses continue to surface, including victims of asbestos-related illness, including mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer.

As of September 2014, more than more than 30,000 claims have been filed and more than $3 billion has been paid out in compensation.

Ben Chevat, director of the nonprofit watchdog group, Health Watch, told the LA Times that although people understand what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, many aren’t familiar with how many people who still live with devastating illnesses brought about by helping in the aftermath of the disaster.

“People in America know the story of 9/11. What’s really not well known or understood are the challenges facing so many to this day.”

There are likely thousands of people who helped during 9/11 who aren’t aware that they’re eligible for for the health and compensation fund. If you need additional information on how you or a loved one can apply, feel free to contact us at 800-793-4540.

More Help for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. 

These popular movies were filmed while using asbestos, leading to an actor’s death

In 2015, Executive Director Clare Cameron presented “Hollywood and Mesothelioma” at the 5th International Symposium on Lung-Sparing Therapies for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.

It’s a subject that has rarely been explored, as most mesothelioma cases tend to focus on jobs such as construction workers, firefighters, and mechanics. Yet, it’s an important area to explore and it shows how frequently asbestos was once used in Hollywood, including on the sets of some of the world’s most famous movies.

The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz remains of the most iconic movies ever seen on television. Keep in mind, however, that each time you watch the popular movie, you’re watching the actors and actresses being doused in one of the most dangerous carcinogens: asbestos. The Wizard of Oz film set was one of the first to asbestos in its most purest form.

During the “poppy field” scene, Dorothy (played by actress Judy Garland) woke up surrounded what looked like real snow. Yet, the realistic-looking set was actually filled with pure asbestos in chrysotile form.

Further, the Scarecrow’s entire outfit was created with asbestos, as was the Wicked Witch’s broom.

In 1939, when the movie was released, officials had already sent out warning regarding the dangerous effects of asbestos. Film sets continued to use the harmful mineral regardless, due to its affordability and ability to resist heat and fire.

It’s a Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life, filmed in 1964, is still one of the most popular and adored Christmas movies of all time. Of course, being a Christmas movie, film producers had to make sure there was plenty of holiday snow.

Yet, filming the Christmas Eve scene during summer with 90-degree weather made it impossible to use real snow. Film officials first used white-colored snowflakes and other forms of artificial snow, but the actors walking on the fake snow made crunching noises so loud that it affected the sound.

Asbestos was introduced as an alternative replacement after an RKO studio special effects wizard, Russell Sherman, along with his crew, developed a foamite solution. According to TIME, the asbestos-containing solution was “pumped at high pressure through a wind machine” that resulted in the film scene looking like it was covered with beautiful, natural snow.

Film officials used around 6,000 gallons of the fake snow throughout the movie, which clung to the actors’ clothes, hairs, shoes, and skin.

Le Mans

In 1971, Steve McQueen starred in Le Mans, a “24-hour car race in France” film and documentary. The film featured McQueen Speeding through the streets of France, while his son narrated the film. Hollywood Daily Star reports that McQueen wore racing suits created with asbestos.

However, as a teen and young adult, McQueen worked in shipyards where asbestos was heavily used in numerous areas of vessels and in various constructions parts and wiring. The combination of asbestos exposure eventually took the actor’s life. In 1980, passed away from mesothelioma, a life-threatening cancer that develops after exposure to asbestos.

Colorless microscopic asbestos fibers are impossible to detect with the human eye, but easy to inhaled or ingest. Once inside the body, these odorless, tiny fibers stick the the lining of major organs, such as the lungs, heart, and abdomen. Over time, the fibers begin to irritate the lining, and eventually cancerous cell, and then cancerous tumors form in the body.

The Death of Ed Lauter

On October 16, 2013 actor Ed Lauter died of mesothelioma. Later, his family filed a mesothelioma lawsuit against numerous television, manufacturing, automotive, and electric companies, accusing the businesses of negligently providing and using asbestos on TV and film sets that Lauter worked at. CBS, NBC, Blockbuster LLC, Ford Motor Company, General Electric Company, and Union Carbide are among a few of the many companies Lauter’s family sued.

As of 2017, the case is still pending.

Lauter was well-known for his roles in movies and television shows such as The Longest Yard, Seabiscuit, My Blue Heaven, and The Golden Years. He was also referred to as a “profile character” due to his numerous appearances in TV shows and movies.

“Someone once said to me, ‘Eddie, you’re a “turn” actor.’ What’s that? He said, ‘That’s when a story is going along and your character shows up and the story suddenly takes a major turn.’ That’s kind of neat.” Lauter said in a 2003 interview, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Later, a scholarship fund and an Ed Lauter Foundation was created to help young aspiring actors with their education while honoring Lauter’s work.

Additional Information About Asbestos and Mesothelioma

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet.

Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. If you need additional assistance, we invite you contact us at 800-793-4540.

Three occupations associated with asbestos to remember on Labor Day

On September 4, hoards of people across the U.S. will celebrate Labor Day, a holiday that celebrates the work of the trade and labor organizations. Many workers who have turned the U.S. into what it is today did so by risking their lives working around asbestos, a naturally-occurring mineral once used in abundance at numerous job sites.

labor day

Although asbestos was once used in a variety of workplaces, the industrial industry had high amounts of asbestos, resulting in life-threatening illnesses and deaths of millions of workers. Yet, without the determination and strong work ethics of these people, the U.S. wouldn’t have many of the things we take for granted. Consider the following occupations as Labor Day approaches and what lives would have been like if not for these workers.


Running water, toilets, sinks, and faucets are things most people use daily, yet rarely think about. Plumbers were constantly put at risk when working and still are, especially in older houses that were built with asbestos-containing materials. If an old pipe starts rusting or bursts, there is a chance that asbestos fibers will get disrupted. While plumbers repair the pipes, they run the risk of inhaling asbestos. Today, most plumbers take safety measures, but in the past, many plumbers had no idea they were being exposed to asbestos as they were never given warning.

Construction Workers

Do you enjoy having a roof over your head to sleep in at night or building for work or school? Without construction workers, this wouldn’t be possible. Prior to the mid-1980s, homes were built using asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). In fact, between the1 920s and mid-1980s, almost every building constructed had asbestos and ACMS built into them. Even though companies were given warnings regarding the dangers of asbestos, they still allowed construction workers to continue working around life-threatening asbestos fiber.


Almost every American’s life today would be dramatically different if electricians didn’t exist. Electricians are the reason behind the lights we use daily, televisions, appliances, computers, stereos, and more. As with the previously mentioned occupations, electricians were once exposed to asbestos daily, and many still run the risk of coming into contact with the harmful mineral. Wiring insulation was once coated with asbestos due to its ability to resist heat and fire.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA) states that there is absolutely no safe level of asbestos. Granted, a person who is exposed to asbestos on a daily basis has a higher risk of developing a disease when compared to someone who has already been asbestos a few times. However, the risk of developing an asbestos-related disease from inhaling or ingesting a small amount of asbestos is something that can happen.

“There is no “safe” level of asbestos exposure for any type of asbestos fiber.45 Asbestos exposures as short in duration as a few days have caused mesothelioma in humans.Every occupational exposure to asbestos can cause injury of disease; every occupational exposure to asbestos contributes to the risk of getting an asbestos related disease.8 “

Many workers inhaled tiny, microscopic asbestos fibers daily to give us a more convenient life and a reason the celebrate Labor Day. This year, Mesothelioma Lawyer Center asks for the public to pause for a moment on Labor Day to remember those affected by fatal diseases simply because they wanted to work.

Mesothelioma is the most common type of disease associated with asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma occurs when someone ingests or inhales asbestos fibers that get lodged in the body. Over time, the fibers attach to the lining of major organs in the body and start to form cancerous cells.

There is currently no cure for mesothelioma, and its long dormancy period of up to 50 years makes it even more dangerous, as the disease can be in its late stages before people realize they’ve developed it. If you think you’ve been exposed to asbestos, it’s crucial to let your physician known immediately. The earlier treatment starts, the better chances of prolonging survival rate.

Other types of asbestos-related illnesses include asbestosis and asbestos-related lung cancer.

For a list of additional occupations where asbestos was heavily used, read our article, Occupations Associated with Asbestos and Mesothelioma Cancer.

Help for People Affected by Asbestos

If you suffer from mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for a large amount of compensation. Currently, there is over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness. 

Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. If you need additional assistance, we invite you contact us at 800-793-4540.

Five early symptoms of pleural mesothelioma you should look out for

Mesothelioma is a life-threatening illness generally caused by exposure to asbestos. There currently isn’t a cure for the disease, but experts indicate that the earlier treatment starts, the better chances of a prolonged survival rate. One of the issues, however, is that people don’t know the early symptoms of mesothelioma and mistake them for common, minor illnesses. If you or anyone you know were exposed to asbestos, it’s important to understand the earliest signs and symptoms of mesothelioma in order to get a proper diagnosis as soon as possible.

doctor and patient with x-ray

Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of the disease. It occurs when asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested. The fibers are so microscopic that it’s impossible for the body to dispel all of them. These tiny fibers attach to the lining of the lungs and over time, turn into cancerous cells.

Cold or Flu-like Symptoms

Cold and flu-like symptoms are so common that many people never make the connection that it could be caused by asbestos exposure. Further, if even people see a doctor about the symptoms, they generally do not tell their physician that they were exposed to asbestos. However, if you are experiencing these symptoms and you’ve been exposed to asbestos, you should tell your doctor immediately. While it may very well be a cold or the flu, it’s always recommended to talk with medical experts and let them know about asbestos exposure.


Fatigue is also common among many people and doesn’t always indicate an asbestos-related illness. Yet, fatigue associated with mesothelioma doesn’t go away after getting a good night’s sleep. It remains constant but at times can be sporadic. Fatigue symptoms in combination with other symptoms can help physicians get an early diagnosis.


If you experience coughing associated with chest pain, it’s a good idea to contact your doctor and get a medical checkup. Again, coughing is a common occurrence with many people and it’s often overlooked in connection with mesothelioma, but it’s one of the earliest symptoms of the disease.

Chest Pain

Chest pain is also one of the earliest symptoms of mesothelioma, and generally felt right under the ribcage area. The pain can be sporadic, coming and going at infrequent times, but it shouldn’t be ignored no matter how minor it seems.

Voice Hoarseness and Breathlessness

Dry coughing often leads to voice hoarseness and could possibly be accompanied with wheezing. As the disease progresses, it can lead the pressure on the voice box nerve. Breathlessness can accompany coughing and a hoarse voice, and again, these may considered common ailments and people may not make the connection with mesothelioma. Breathlessness associated with mesothelioma tends to occur even when relaxing or lying down in bed.

Keep in mind that mesothelioma is often misdiagnosed with other lung-related illnesses, such as COPD. Always remember to tell your physician if you were ever exposed to asbestos. If your doctor isn’t experienced with asbestos illnesses, consider getting a second medical opinion from a physician who specializes in mesothelioma.

Additional Help and Resources

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and much more. For additional information, contact us at 800-793-4540.

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