Harvard undergrad housing gets remodeled with ‘asbestos everywhere’

Several of Harvard College’s decades-old undergraduate housing buildings are getting makeovers, but the buildings were created during a time when using asbestos was the the norm. Administrators claim it’s not a concern, even though studies have confirmed that there is no safe level of asbestos.

Harvard

The Harvard Crimson, a daily college newspaper, reports that the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ Senior Director of Facilities Operations, Zachary M. Gingo, said asbestos was found not only in the housing, but also in some of the libraries and office buildings. Yet, he assured that the asbestos will not be dangerous unless it becomes friable, meaning dry and crumbled.

“Harvard takes every precaution to ensure that that does not happen on campus, employing specific maintenance protocols to avoid the damage or disturbance of potentially asbestos-containing materials,” Gingo wrote in an email.

Gingo didn’t specifically provide the names of the student housing buildings that had asbestos, but the student newspaper indicated that the buildings built before 1970 that haven’t had major renovations include:

  • Adams House
  • Eliot House
  • Kirkland House
  • Lowell House
  • Parts of the Pforzheimer House and Cabot House

Faculty Dean of Adams House, Sean Palfrey, agreed with Gingo, and said that as long as the asbestos was contained, there wouldn’t be health risks.

“There’s asbestos hidden away in all older buildings, but whenever found during work, the official team comes in and takes it out safely. That’s a fact of life, and as long as everyone is aware it could be there, the response is well-established.”

Is Asbestos Ever Safe?

While it’s true that chance of developing an asbestos-related illness is a lot slimmer when safety precautions are taken, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) stated there is no safe level of asbestos, period.

“There is no “safe” level of asbestos exposure for any type of asbestos fiber. Asbestos exposures as short in duration as a few days have caused mesothelioma in humans.”

Anyone who works around asbestos needs to be professionally trained to contain asbestos successfully, not only for themselves, but for students, staff and anyone else who is in the vicinity. When asbestos fibers become airborne, they can travel in air, and people can inhale/ingest them without knowledge. Since the fibers are microscopic, odorless, and colorless, it’s impossible to see them with the naked eye.

Once asbestos has been inhaled or ingested, the body cannot dispel all of them. Over time, these fibers can attach themselves to the lining of major organs and cause scarring. The scarring can eventually lead to life-threatening illnesses such as malignant mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, and asbestosis.

For information about asbestos and the responsibility of school workers to keep student and staff informed of any abatement procedures or construction work involving asbestos, feel free to contact us at 800-793-4540.

Additional Help and Resources

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. 

Couple files asbestos lawsuit after being forced to live apart

An Upper East Side New York City couple claim they’ve had to live separably for two years due to asbestos from a neighbor’s renovation seeping into their upscale NYC apartment home.

home renovation asbestos

The New York Post reports that two years ago, Edward and Marisa Greason moved in with a respective elderly parent after their Sutton Place apartment home became covered in asbestos dust and lead-containing paint dust. After spotting the dangerous dust, they wanted out of their apartment immediately. They grabbed as many belongings as they could and left their beloved home. They haven’t lived there since and haven’t lived together since.

“All our Christmas ornaments from 2014 are still in the living room. It’s been a strain. We are living in overnight bags in two separate places,” said Edward Greason.

Exposure to asbestos has been proven to lead to a heightened risk of developing toxic, life-threatening illnesses, such as mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer.

The couple hired an asbestos attorney, who ordered at least six scientific tests to examine the dust particles in the apartment home. The tests concluded that asbestos was indeed present in the dust; dust that continues to this day to seep into the couple’s home via vents and cracks in the walls.

The apartment was officially  “rendered uninhabitable” and the Greasons are now seeking damages against their upstairs neighbor, who started a large-scale renovation that caused the couple’s walls to crack and leak in asbestos, and caused asbestos dust to move into their apartment via the air ducts. The couple also named Global Group Industries Corporation in the lawsuit, the company that carried out the six-month renovation, as well as architect Jim Thomas.

According to court documents, the construction workers “gutted” the neighbor’s upstairs apartment and tore out walls and floors that contained asbestos. They’re accused of failing to properly cover the materials and failing to follow asbestos guidelines while working. Prior to the lawsuit, Edward Greason complained to the the co-op board, and was reportedly told that he was overreacting and should just “wipe the dust off with a wet towel.”

A spokesperson for the building returned The Post‘s requests for comment, and insinuated that the Gleason family’s lawsuit was too weak to be successful.

“We dispute strenuously any environmental problems in our building. We point out that plaintiffs started this lawsuit months ago and have not pushed it forward, which to us is some indication of its lack of strength.”

The Greasons are seeking an unspecified amount for damages, but their ultimate goal is to force the defendants to pay all expenses for a thorough and environmental cleaning of their apartment.

Additional Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims

If you’ve been injured by asbestos, keep in mind that there is a good chance that you’ll qualify for considerable compensation. Remember to fill out our from to get your free Financial Compensation Packet, with information on asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers in your area. If you have questions or need additional assistance, feel free to contact us at 800-793-4540. 

New Ohio Law Protects Firefighters With Mesothelioma

A new legislation pieced, signed into law on January 4 in Ohio, gives hopes to firefighters with mesothelioma and a number of other types of cancers.

fireman asbestos

The Michael Louis Palumbo Jr. Act, signed into law by Ohio Governor John Kasich, classifies mesothelioma as a occupational disease for firefighters. The new law allows firefighters with mesothelioma to file a compensation claims with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Ohio joins around 30 other states that have already classified mesothelioma as an occupational disease for firefighters.

The new law came into place based on Louis Palumbo Jr.’s battle with mesothelioma. Palumbo, a former firefighter, fought to have other firefighters covered should they develop mesothelioma as well.

“It’s going to protect them and their families through several different avenues to get the benefits right away that they deserve.” said Palumbo. “I’m glad there is a law protecting firefighters. I’m extremely honored the law bears my name.”

Doug Stern of the Ohio Association of Professional Firefighters (OAPFF), said that they’ve been fighting to get the law passed for a long time. It not only covers firefighters who develop mesothelioma, but also firefighters with different types of cancers that developed because of occupational hazards, including brain, colon, lung, and prostate cancer.

“Mesothelioma was one of those things we knew was there, but we needed a bill that was a little more general than that,” Stern told FOX 8 News in Ohio. “It’s been 32 years to get to this point, and this bill is probably the biggest thing we’ve been able to pass. These cancers are job-related to firefighters.”

As with most new laws, however, there are certain requirements for eligibility. For instance, firefighters must have a least six years of job duties that exposed them to asbestos. Additionally, if firefighters have been off duty for 20 years or more, they are disqualified. This is big barrier since it can take at least 20 years for mesothelioma to surface.

There is also an age limit. Former firefighters ages 70 and older aren’t included in the new law, and those who develop cancer due to different reasons aside from occupational exposure are disqualified. Stern understands that there are hurdles with the new law, but states that the focus is to make it be as effective as possible.

“I think we’re always looking at how to make the law better,” said Stern. “Like any law, it will take adjustments and tweaks moving forward. The goal is doing what’s best for the greatest amount of folks.”

Additional Help and Resources for Mesothelioma Victims

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. For additional assistance, you are welcome to call us at 800-793-4540.

Asbestos Discovered In North Carolina Neighborhood

Numerous people in a Davidson, North Carolina, neighborhood are concerned after learning is asbestos has been permeating the air they breathe, and possibly for a long time.

asbestos up close

WCNC reports that North Carolina state officials said that asbestos was getting into the neighborhood from an old shingles factory that’s no longer in use. One of the residents in the neighborhood, Joanne Archie, said she’s certain asbestos is all over, and can be seen when it rains.

“When it rains you can see clay looking mud, so it’s here. I know it’s here.”

Another resident, Amer Raja, stated that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) knew that asbestos was in the area.

“The EPA had a full disclosure about asbestos being in our front yard, back yard,” Raja said. “Just concerned about my 2-year-old son.”

According to the state, asbestos was first discovered after rainfall made a slope erode on the Carolina Asbestos Company property, resulting in rain water contaminated with asbestos flowing into the residential area.

Fortunately, officials have stepped in to take action, yet it’s received with mixed reactions. While Raja is glad something is being done and hopes for a quick resolution, Archie stated that it should have happened a long time ago.

“A little too late. It should have been done long ago,” Archie said.

A common misconception about asbestos-related diseases is that it only develops after years of exposure to asbestos. While it’s true that someone working around asbestos for 20 years has a higher chance of developing a disease when compared to someone who encounters the mineral for a few years, the unfortunate fact is that no amount of asbestos is safe.

When asbestos is inhaled or ingested, its tiny fibers become lodged in the body. While some of the fibers are released through common bodily functions such as coughing or sneezing, it’s impossible to get rid of them all. Over time, the fibers attach the linings of major organs and turn cancerous. The longer they remain in the system, the more difficult it becomes to treat.

Children are just as susceptible to asbestos-related diseases as adults are. Some studies indicate that children are at a heightened risk of developing asbestos illnesses due to their breathing patterns. By all accounts, it’s fair for Raja to be worried about his two-year-old.

If there’s a chance you’ve been exposed to asbestos, it’s important to seek medical care as soon as possible. Although there is currently no cure for asbestos-related illnesses, there are a number of treatment options available.

Additional Help and Resources

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. For additional assistance, contact us 800-793-4540.

Asbestos Settlement For Kansas City Victims Reached At $80M

Former Kansas City government employees settled an asbestos lawsuit for $80 million against Jackson County, Missouri, and Kansas City-based U.S. Engineering, just one month before the trial was scheduled to start.

Signing settlement papers

The Kansas City Star reports that the lawsuit was filed by over 7,000 peopled who’d been in the Kansas City courthouse, including jail inmates, lawyers, jurors, and more. The $80 million will ensure that the plaintiffs have the access and means to ongoing medical screenings and evaluations that specifically look for asbestos-related illnesses.

The class-action lawsuit was filed in 2015 by former Kansas City workers, Jeanne Morgan and David Elsea, who wanted nothing more than to receive medical care and screenings for life. They’re both frightened by the possibility that they’re in danger of developing mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer that strikes after people have been exposed to asbestos.

Thousands of others who were in the courthouse for at least 80 hours (a qualification to join the lawsuit) followed suit. Anyone who was (and can prove) that they were in the Kansas City courthouse for at least 80 hours, between the years of 1986 and 2007, is eligible for free medical screenings, X-rays, evaluations, and blood screenings for life.

Asbestos in the Courthouse

For two years during the 1980s, U.S. Engineering made a number of renovations to the Jackson County courthouse, and they used asbestos-containing materials to complete the project. Asbestos dust and residue literally scattered everywhere during the renovations, even seeping through the vents as workers cut through asbestos-containing pipes.

Further, workers would carry old, asbestos-containing parts and materials down an an old elevator to take it to the dumpster, and leave behind toxic asbestos fibers all over the building. Not only did the workers fail to use masks or gloves while working, but there were absolutely no signs placed anywhere that warned others about the dangers.

U.S. Engineering defended itself, stating that regulations were always followed, even when they were shown proof.

“Integrity and safety have always been at the heart of our 123-year-old, family-owned business, and we will not waiver from our commitment to these fundamental values,” CEO of U.S. Engineering Co. Holdings Tyler Nottberg said.

Morgan testified that she’d see particles of asbestos dust all over the places, including paperwork on desks.

“The particles would be … all over the papers. The dust from their boots and their work shoes was on the stairway and in the hallways,” Morgan said.

Morgan’s co-worker,  Nancy Lopez, died at age 56 in 2010. Her cause of death: malignant mesothelioma. Her family won $10.4 million during a 2011 settlement with Jackson County and U.S. Engineering. Lopez’s death greatly frightened a number of people who either worked in the courthouse or spent time there.

Air testing performed on the courthouse in 2010 indicated that it’s now safe and asbestos-free.

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, contact us at 800-793-4540.

The Benefits of Getting Active for Mesothelioma Patients

Exercise benefits are well known and documented, but traditional wisdom says that anyone who is sick should rest and avoid vigorous activity. For people living with mesothelioma and other types of cancer, that traditional advice has been turned on its head. While someone going through treatments for cancer may not be able to do workouts that re too extreme, an appropriate amount of physical activity is actually beneficial.

Research is proving that exercise for people with cancer can help reduce pain, increase energy and fight fatigue, boost mood, improve mobility, manage side effects of treatment, and generally improve outcomes and quality of life. If you are living with mesothelioma, talk to your doctor or oncologist about how you could be more active and what your limitations are.

man riding bicycle

Safe Exercise Now Recommended for Cancer Patients

The American College of Sports Medicine created an expert panel to discuss and release guidelines for exercise for patients undergoing cancer treatment or having completed treatment. The 13 experts on the panel concluded that the basic guideline for people living with cancer is to avoid inactivity. What that means more specifically depends on each patient’s unique needs, abilities, and limitations, but in general, cancer patients should be getting some amount of physical exercise.

The panel came to its conclusion by reviewing research that demonstrates cancer patients get a number of benefits from being active. Those who get the most benefits are patients who have completed treatment. The benefits are numerous, but all come together to impact patients in the most meaningful way, by improving quality of life.

The guidelines released by the panel include more specific recommendations for particular types of cancer for which there is the most information. The panel emphasizes that workouts need to be modified based on the limitations and risks for each patient. For instance, in men with prostate cancer, hormone treatments can cause bones to become weaker, so the risks of fractures need to be considered when planning exercise. There are no specific guidelines for mesothelioma patients, but any cancer patient can work with their doctors, physical therapists, and other experts to create a safe and effective exercise plan.

Exercise and Strength Training Improve Fitness and Muscle Condition

As with healthy people, being active is important for overall fitness and strength. Regular exercise improves cardiovascular health, builds muscle and reduces age-related muscle loss, strengthens bones, and reduces the risks of many chronic health conditions, like diabetes and heart disease. Mesothelioma patients are at risk for suffering from loss of fitness and muscle mass from being inactive. Even a little bit of exercise, like regular walks can help maintain fitness and reduce muscle loss.

Exercise is a Mood Booster

Another great reason to get active while battling cancer is that exercise is proven to boost mood, reducing feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. Living with mesothelioma puts patients at risk for experiencing these negative emotions, even to a debilitating degree. Exercise is not a cure, but it can help patients find a healthy way to cope with these feelings and to redirect focus to something more positive, like getting fit, being out with friends, and feeling stronger and in more control of their bodies.

Activity Fights Fatigue

Fatigue is a very common side effect of cancer treatments and a symptom of many types of cancer. Most patients report lacking energy and some even experience severe fatigue. Exercise is proven to boost energy and limit fatigue in cancer patients. According to research, patients who exercise to some degree experience between 40 and 50 percent less fatigue than those who are inactive. It can be difficult to get up and try exercise when feeling so fatigued, but the benefits of doing so are real.

Exercise Stimulates Appetite

Many mesothelioma patients will suffer from a loss of appetite. This can be caused by the cancer itself, but also be treatments like chemotherapy. Nausea is a common side effect, which leads to appetite loss and even weight loss and malnutrition. Being active is proven to stimulate appetite, which can help cancer patients feel motivated to eat more and to put weight back on.

Being Active Improves Mobility

Pain, like fatigue, is a common complaint of people living with mesothelioma. As with fatigue, pain can make getting up and being active a challenge, but the pay offs are significant. Regular exercise can reduce pain, improve flexibility and help patients get more mobile. With greater mobility, a patient can get up more often, engage in normal activities more, and take care of daily chores with less assistance, which in turn gives a patient a greater sense of control.

Exercising Reduces Symptoms of Chemotherapy

Most cancer patients will undergo chemotherapy for treatment. It is one of the most effective ways to shrink tumors, but it also causes a number of side effects that range from mild to debilitating. Studies have found that moderate exercise can significantly reduce those side effects. One study, for example, found that neuropathy, the shooting pains that chemotherapy may cause, is reduced by gentle exercise.

Exercise Improves Quality of Life

One of the most important things about getting more exercise as a cancer patient is improving quality of life. Often the main measure of success in treating patients for cancer is survival time or remission. While this is important, more health care workers are starting to focus on quality of life as an equally important measurement. With exercise mesothelioma patients can enjoy less pain and fatigue, more mobility, a better appetite, an improved mood, a greater sense of control over life, and the ability to get out more and feel less isolated.

Work with an Expert and with Your Medical Team

There are so many great benefits of getting exercise if you are living with mesothelioma or another type of cancer, but there are risks too. It is crucial that you talk to your doctors before you try any type of activity, no matter how gentle it may seem. Your doctors can tell you what types of exercise would be best, what your limitations are, and can even recommend a trainer or physical therapist to work with for the best results. Some hospitals or cancer treatments centers may even have these experts on staff to help patients use exercise as part of treatment. When you’re ready to feel better while living with cancer, you are ready to start getting active.

New Study Shows How Powerful Chemotherapy Is

A recent study carried about by researchers from Wayne State University School of Medicine confirms just how powerful chemotherapy can be for mesothelioma patients.

chemotherapy drugs

The study combined information with the Medicare claims database, along with data from  the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) in order to determine survival rate for patients who underwent chemotherapy for cancer. Age, gender, and health factors were taken into account during the study. The findings showed what numerous medical experts have said all along: chemotherapy has the ability to prolong survival rates significantly.

Not only are survival rates extended, but with a combination of other traditional therapies, chemotherapy can extend survival rate even further. According to Jennifer Lynn Beebe-Dimmer, the lead researcher in the story, the study is the first of its kind.

“None of the previous studies considered chemotherapy usage in their analyses. We also established that surgery is associated with improved OS, and that chemotherapy modified the effects of surgery.”

According to the research findings, close half of all patients (both male and female) who were given chemotherapy as treatment survived at least a year after their initial diagnosis. In addition, patients who received a combination of surgery and chemotherapy survived at least 16 months. The most common form of chemotherapy medications included Cisplatin combined with pemetrexed.

The study included more than 1,600 patients, one of the largest of its kind in terms of mesothelioma treatment patterns.

“Previous clinical trials of mesothelioma have included up to only a few hundred patients, typically derived from a single clinical center or a small geographic region,” wrote Beebe-Dimmer.

About Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy. quite simply, is the use of certain medication to kill and destroy cancer cells. Cancer cells grow more quickly than any other type of cell, and chemotherapy medications prevents them from their quick dividing.

Physicians typically administer chemotherapy in various ways and at various times, depending on the patient and the stage of mesothelioma. The most common ways include:

  • Prior to surgery and/or radiation therapy, in order to shrink cancerous tumors
  • After surgery and/or radiation therapy, to destroy any remaining cancerous cells
  • For recurrent cancer
  • For metastatic cancer (cancer that spreads throughout other body parts)

Mesothelioma patients may get one chemotherapy medication, but it’s common for doctors to prescribe more than chemotherapy drug. The type and amount will depend upon a number of factors, including:

  • The tumor size and location
  • The stage of mesothelioma
  • Patient age and health
  • The side effects the patient experiences
  • Prior cancer treatments

Since chemotherapy side effects can be extremely harsh, doctors usually refrain from having patients take the medication(s) daily. Instead, it’s usually administered during cycle periods determined by the physician. Chemotherapy medications can be administered intravenously (IV) in a hospital setting, a doctor’s office, and at clinics. Chemotherapy drugs can also be taken orally at home. Sometimes, chemotherapy ointment can be applied at home as well, while in other instances, a physician will recommend injected chemotherapy (a shot) into an arm, leg, or stomach.

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. 

Can Exercise Reduce Chemotherapy Side Effects?

Chemotherapy is a popular treatment option for mesothelioma, but as with most other cancer treatment, it can come with painful side effects. Exercise is beneficial for everyone, but can it help ease the harsh side effects of chemotherapy? A seven-year study shows that it can with moderation and a standardized program.

running shoes

Researchers at the University of Rochester’s Wilmot Cancer Institute carried out the study with a regime called the “Exercise for Cancer Patients (EXCAP) program,” specifically geared towards cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. The preliminary results of the study indicated that patients who exercised experienced a reduction in peripheral neuropathy pain, one of the painful side effects of chemotherapy.

Peripheral neuropathy, when associated with chemotherapy, is actually induced when taking chemotherapy medications. Known as chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), the condition is marked by tingling and weakness in the hands and feet, cold sensitivity, a burning feeling, and numbness. It can become so severe that it can hinder daily activities, such as walking, cleaning, cooking, and typing.

The popular chemotherapy drugs, cisplatin and carboplatin, in particular, cause CIPN, and in turn, were the primary focus of the study. More than 300 cancer patients participated in the study, which included breaking the group into those who participated in a 6-week talking program and those who didn’t. According to a press release on the study, “The exercisers reported significantly fewer symptoms of neuropathy…and the effects of exercise seemed to be most beneficial for older patients.”

The exercise program used in the study is known as the EXCAP, a regulated program designed specifically for cancer patients. It includes a walking routine and resistance training, which starts out slowly, but increases in intensity and frequency as the program progresses. Since each patient needs their doctor’s approval prior to starting, the exercises are individualized to meet each person’s strength, health, and fitness level.

For example, a patient in decent physical shape could start the program at a moderate level, while incorporating elliptical machine use into the weekly exercise regime. Someone with a low fitness level, on the other hand, would start off with light, brisk walking for 15 minutes per day. If the patient is having balance or dizziness problems, walking may be replaced with stationary bike riding or another physical activity.

More Exercise Programs for Mesothelioma Patients

Since the results of the study were so positive, more and more cancer centers are now offering their own exercise programs for cancer patients. EXCAP creator Karen Mustian, Ph.D. wrote that when the program started, there was a lot of criticism and doubt. But now that the medical community sees the results, the concept of chemotherapy patients exercising in moderation is spreading like wildfire.

“Twelve years ago when we started this work a lot of people said it was not safe for most cancer patients to exercise. Now we know it can be safe when done correctly, and that it has measurable benefits. But more exercise isn’t always better for patients who are going through chemo — so it’s important to continue our work and find a way to personalize exercise in a way that will help each individual.”

Additional Resources and Assistance for Mesothelioma Patients

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. 

Animal Therapy: How Pets Can Help Mesothelioma Patients

Pets have a way of bringing out the best in people, but for those living with mesothelioma or any other cancer, the benefits of being around animals can help reduce stress, alleviate symptom pain, and much more.

Golden retriever

What is Animal Therapy?

Throughout history, animals have been a part of human lives, assisting them and offering close companionship. The first instance of pets for therapeutic purposes dates back to the 1800s, when “founder of modern nursing,” Florence Nightingale, observed small children (who lived in mental health facilities) showing markedly reduced anxiety after spending time with animals.

Animal therapy, also known as pet therapy, continued to evolve, including a number of experiments and projects conducted by scientists and organization, including a 1977 project by the Delta Society (Pet Partners), an organization that dedicates its time to helping improve human health with the assistance of therapy animals. Today, animal therapy is widespread, used across the nation and many parts of the world.

How Does Pet Therapy Work?

According to the Mayo Clinic, pet therapy can include both animal-assisted therapy services and animal-assisted activities. Animal-assisted therapy services is conducted by qualified professionals who dogs and other service animals to help people better cope with invasive illnesses such as mesothelioma. Animal-assisted activities serve a more general purpose of providing a mesothelioma patient with comfort and companionship.

The Cancer Treatment Centers of America wrote that per Cynthia Ingram, Animal Therapy Coordinator at Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Midwestern Regional Medical Center, studies have shown a marked difference after patients started animal therapy.

“Studies have shown that having a therapy dog in a hospital may lower anxiety and depression. Therapy dogs can provide for a sense of comfort and overall well-being, and present a more home-like atmosphere.”

Benefits of Animal Therapy for Mesothelioma Patients

Other benefits of animal therapy include:

  • A decrease in the need for pain medication
  • Decreased feeling of anxiety and isolation
  • Increase in positive tactile sensation
  • Reduction of risk for heart attack, stroke
  • Increase in focus and attention
  • Decrease in fatigue

Risks of Animal Therapy

While there are many proven benefits of animal therapy, there are also risks to be aware. The risks may not apply to every patient, but it’s important to understand each one before making the decision to start animal therapy.

  • Animal behavior problems: Therapy pets are screened and trained, but just like people, they may sometimes have behavior issues that can be off-putting to patients
  • Diseases: Disease transmission from pet to human is extremely small, but there still is a tiny risk that it can occur
  • Fear of animals: Some people fear animals. If the patient has a deep fear of dogs, then animal therapy likely isn’t an ideal choice

Where to Find Animal Therapy

The first step in finding animal therapy for a mesothelioma patient is with a cancer center. If you need assistance finding a nearby cancer center that offers pet therapy, feel free contact us. Likewise, you can also try asking your physician. A number of cancer centers offer comprehensive pet therapy programs, including Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center’s pet therapy program, Siteman Cancer Center’s TOUCH program, and Memorial Sloan Kettering’s canine therapy program.

Additional Help and Resources for Mesothelioma 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, contact us at 800-793-4540.

California Companies May Be Liable For Second-Hand Asbestos Illnesses

A new ruling by the California Supreme Court mandates that companies that used asbestos materials at job sites, will remain liable for any family member of a worker who develops an illness dues to second-hand asbestos exposure.

younger and older woman talking

The Los Angeles Times reports that in an unanimous decision last Thursday, the California Supreme Court decided that if anyone in the family home develops an asbestos-related disease due to a job site, the company the must pay. Goodwin Liu, an an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California, wrote that employers have to take “reasonable care” to ensure workers aren’t bringing home asbestos, which can affect anyone in the household.

“To be sure, there are other persons who may have reason to believe they were exposed to significant quantities of asbestos by repeatedly spending time in an enclosed space with an asbestos worker — for example, a regular carpool companion,” Liu wrote.

Even though it’s been over 20 years since asbestos was phased out of the majority of job sites in the U.S., the lawsuits don’t seem to be slowing down, and may likely pick up steam. This is due to the long latency period of asbestos-related illnesses, such as malignant mesothelioma and asbestosis. For instance, it may have been decades since someone came into contact with asbestos, but it could take up to 50 years before a diagnosis is made. Symptoms can lie hidden for years and years, making a diagnosis difficult.

Examples of Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure Lawsuits

The following lawsuits helped bring about the California Superior Court’s decision to hold companies liable for second-hand asbestos diseases:

In 2008,  Lynne Haver was diagnosed with mesothelioma. She died a year later. Her children filed a lawsuit against their father’s former company, Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, where he worked from 1972 to 1974. Part of his job included working with and around asbestos-containing pipes and other product. The lawsuit alleged that Haver developed mesothelioma after her husband came home daily with asbestos fibers embedded in his hair, skin, and on his clothes.

Johnny Blaine Kesner Jr. was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2011. In 2014, at the age of 53, his passed away due to complications of the disease. Prior to his death, he filed a lawsuit against Pneumo Abex LLC, a Virginia-based brake manufacturing company where his uncle once worked. For several years during the 1970s, Kesner spent around three nights per week at his uncle’s house, where he came into contact with asbestos via his uncle’s clothing.

Dangers of Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure

Second-hand asbestos exposure can affect people the same way as if they worked around asbestos themselves. When asbestos fibers are transferred from one person to another, the microscopic, odorless fibers are inhaled and become lodged in the body. While some fibers are excreted through sneezing and other bodily functions, it’s impossible to rid the body of all of the tiny fibers.

Asbestos fibers attach to the linings of major organs, and over time, can damage the system and create cancerous tumors. The tumors can result in severe, life-threatening asbestos diseases, none of which are curable (at present). Had employers provided showers and locker rooms for workers to change clothes in, most of the second-hand asbestos exposure cases likely wouldn’t have happened. Instead, spouses and children were needlessly put at risk when it could have been easily prevented.

The new ruling will likely spur additional second-hand asbestos lawsuits in California.

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. 

FREE Financial Compensation Packet

Free Next Day Shipping
There is a time limit - ACT NOW
  • Info on the leading mesothelioma lawyers in your area
  • Learn how to get paid in 90 days
  • File for your share of $30 billion in trust funds
    • BBB Accredited Business
    • BBB Accredited Business A+
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.