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.

Plumbers

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.

Electricians

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

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.

Coughing

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.

Yellow pigment in plants, vegetables, found to kill mesothelioma cells

A yellow pigment found  in chamomile tea, celery, oranges, grapefruit and parsley could end up being one of the latest treatments for mesothelioma.

chamomile tea

According to a number of studies, including research by doctors at the University of Rome, natural pigment found in the aforementioned vegetables and plants have proven to work as an anti-cancer agent and antioxidant agent. Known as apigenen (API), the yellowish pigment was tested against cancerous mesothelioma cells.

Results showed that API stopped cancerous cell survival rate and promoted cancerous cell death. Researchers who studied mice that were treated with API determined that the mice survived twice as long as the control mice who did not get treated with API.

“We demonstrated for the first time that API treatment was able to inhibit the growth of MM cell lines in vivo,” lead researcher Dr. Laura Masuelli wrote. “Overall, we demonstrated that Apigenin inhibited in vitro and in vivo malignant mesothelioma cells growth by targeting different signaling pathways and inducing apoptosis.”

The mice were injected with API directly into the abdomen. Not only did the treatment increase their survival rate but it also improved their condition. The mice that were studied had peritoneal mesothelioma, a common type of asbestos-related cancer, which is marked by cancerous cells building up around the lining of the abdominal cavity.

As of today, the most effective treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma still remains hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), combined with cytoreductive surgery. Scientists who researched API believe that adding it to traditional cancer treatment will help patients live longer and fend off their illness better.

Cons of API

Although API benefits have been proven, there are also a few drawbacks that should be taken into consideration. For instance, API can cause cell division, activate certain enzymes, and possibly increase percentage of cells “measurable by the sub-G1 assay.”

Regardless, the significant survival rate of the lab mice shows that API benefits may make it a possible treatment option for mesothelioma patients in the future.

“Overall, when comparing the survival of mice upon treatment, it was observed that API treatment prolonged mice median survival time as compared to the vehicle treatment,” Masuelli wrote. “Our results indicated that API specifically interfered with intraperitoneally transplanted [malignant mesothelioma] cell growth.”

THOUSANDS of children’s quad bikes (ATVs) found to contain asbestos!

A popular brand of brand of children’s quad bikes were recalled after it was determined that the vehicles were built with asbestos-containing parts.

Quad Bike

ABC Online reports that several brands of the Polaris youth quad bicycle, which was sold after December 31st, 2003, have been recalled. Product Safety Australia said on Monday that many parts of the bikes could contain asbestos, including the front and rear brake shoes, the front brake pad, the rear brake shoe, and the heat shield washer.

Models affected by asbestos and included in the recall include:

  • Ace 150
  • Outlaw 50, 90 and 110
  • Scrambler 50 and 90
  • Sportsman 90 and 110
  • Predator 50 and 90
  • Sawtooth 200

Expert stated that children who own one of the aforementioned Polaris bikes can still ride them. However, absolutely no repairs should be done on the bikes because it may disrupt asbestos. Any repairs should be done by licensed professional who understands how to dispose asbestos materials and parts properly.

Owners of the vehicles can contact their nearest authorized Polaris dealer, where they can have any parts that may contain asbestos replaced with asbestos- free parts, at no charge. The Ace 150 vehicles can also be repaired free of charge. However owners must wait until the gaskets need to be serviced.

According to Alan Collins, country manager of Polaris Australia, the company had third-party testing done on the vehicles, which identified traces of a besos. He claims that the risk of asbestos exposure is extremely low.

“The research and very extensive testing that we’ve had completed … has come back that there were no asbestos fibers picked up in the air through the use of those vehicles,” Mr Collins told the ABC. “It’s an extremely low probability that those fibres could’ve been in the air and could’ve damaged the operator of the vehicle or anybody nearby to them.”

Yet, it’s important to remember that according to numerous organizations that have researched and understand the dangers of asbestos, such as the American Cancer Society, there is simply no safe levels of asbestos exposure. Running the risk of possibly coming into contact with asbestos should be thought about thoroughly before allowing a child to ride the vehicle.

For now, the quad bikes are not being sold anymore while the company investigates. Collins said that the company is investigating the cause of the contaminated asbestos and working hard to determine how it happened and which source sent in asbestos-containing parts.

“We are working very diligently at the moment to understand how this has happened and … to ensure there can be no repeats of it in future.”

For more information, contact the Polaris Customer Service Department on 1-800- 982- 593 or visit www.polarisindustries.com.au

Help for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to 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 toll-free at 800-793-4540.

New study links doll clothing factory to asbestos exposure, mesothelioma

A recent study in Italy connected several women who died from mesothelioma to asbestos-containing doll-making factories.

dolls clothing

According to a report published in the April issue of Italian medical journal La Medicina del Lavoro, three cases of pleural mesothelioma were found in women who once made doll clothing in factories. An autopsy performed on one the women, whose original cause of death was listed as unknown, was changed to reflect that she had a high amount of asbestos in her system. The medical examiner’s office used electron microscopy to examine the woman’s chest area.

Lead researcher of the study, Pietrogino Barbieri, wrote that until now, all three women’s deaths were listed as unknown, but all three likely died from excessive asbestos exposure.

“The three cases of mesothelioma in doll production workers suggest that also in this restricted manufacturing sector had occurred an occupational asbestos exposure, which is up to now unknown and isn’t due only to the use of sewing or ironing machines.”

Asbestos in Doll Manufacturing in the U.S.

Asbestos in doll manufacturing in the United States remains poorly researched. Primarily, scientists have researched other types of manufacturing facilities, such as textile plants, chemical plants, and automobile manufacturing centers.

Most of the manufacturing facilities that have been researched were places where men were primarily employed. As of today, men make up the overwhelming majority of people diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases.

Fortunately, the United States no longer has manufacturing centers that use asbestos when making clothing. However, this remains an ongoing problem in developing nations. Countries such as Italy banned asbestos from being imported and exported into the country in 2005. The study was performed on women who worked in the doll clothing factories before the ban took place.

Until now, doll clothing making wasn’t connected with asbestos exposure and asbestos-related deaths.

Women’s Asbestos Exposure

Discovering how women develop mesothelioma remains an ongoing problem, according to Barbieri. The researcher stated that when women are exposed to asbestos, the primary cause is usually attributed to environmental exposure.

“Mesotheliomas in women with no apparent occupational asbestos exposure are normally referred to life or family environmental exposure. Moreover, it is known that occupational asbestos exposure in women is difficult to recognize.”

There are numerous ways that women develop mesothelioma and other asbestos illnesses due to occupational exposure. For instance, classrooms at both public and private schools were once constructed with asbestos materials. Many of the schools are still open today.

Although school districts are supposed to take strict precautions when dealing with schools that were built with asbestos, this doesn’t always guarantee that teachers and even students are completely safe. There have been a number of teachers who died from asbestos complications that were linked back to asbestos in cork boards, walls, and other parts of the school.

Many experts agree that more research is needed into female-dominated occupations, especially manufacturing plants where the employees were primarily female.

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.

State of Detroit hires contractor with federal asbestos charges against him

Only one month after federal prosecutors charged an asbestos contractor for breaking laws and putting his workers at risk, the state of Detroit hired him to tear down abandoned homes in the city.

Asbestos worker

Detroit Free Press reports that demolition contractor Jesse Brown is accused of not only exposing his workers to asbestos, but also children who live in the Southwest section of Detroit where he worked. Since 2014, Brown and his company,  Brown Environmental Construction, have demolished more than 30 properties in Detroit, which resulted in $40,000 in DEQ fines for various asbestos violations. Brown’s violations are some of the highest ever among contractors in the city.

In 2016, Brown tore down another 256 buildings, that cost a little over $2 million, before he was finally suspended him in July of that year. The suspension came after DEQ violation notices indicated that he tore down 13 buildings in June without following the proper asbestos abatement and containment laws. Brown was reportedly so careless that the Detroit fire department had to intervene and wet down piles of rubbish and debris before asbestos became airborne.

Despite repeated violations recorded by the DEQ, Nick Schroeck, a law professor at Wayne State University, said that the city continued to use Brown’s services regardless. The law professor said it shows issues with city officials who have “a real problem with oversight.”

“Why has there been this really horrible lack of oversight on the part of the city?”

According to Brown’s lawyer, Brown said he thought that his subcontractors took care of the asbestos abatement. The contractor wants to continue working, despite having a previous suspension for violations in 2015. Brown’s two suspensions ended up costing around $2.5 million in business.

The troubles, however, began two years earlier in 2013, when Brown and his company started a job at Wendell Holmes Elementary School in southwest Detroit. They were asked to remove asbestos from the school before a scheduled demolition, but according to Brown, illegal scrappers broke in and ripped metals out of the school, leaving behind piles of asbestos dust. He said the boiler room had asbestos dust at least a feet deep. Children were playing around the school, potentially exposed to asbestos.

Prosecutors say that regardless, Brown still exposed his workers to asbestos when he continued on with the job. In November 2013, Brown settled with the DEQ and paid a $20,000 penalty. He also agreed to comply with asbestos and air quality laws, but by 2014, prosecutors filed a criminal complaint against Brown for his careless job at the school. He signed a plea deal and ended up with two years on probation. He also surrendered his asbestos abatement license and promised not to do any abatement work while on probation.

By 2016, he was back to work but it wasn’t long before he was given DEQ violations for the 13 buildings. He was finally required to stop all work. He now claims he can’t even afford car insurance to get back and forth to work.

Help and Resources for Asbestos 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.

Wife blames mesothelioma on washing husband’s clothes for 30 years

The wife of a former electrician filed a lawsuit against her husband’s past employers after she developed mesothelioma. She claimed that she washed his “asbestos covered overalls” for around 30 years, which led to her mesothelioma diagnosis.

asbestos up close

In February 2016, 64-year-old Lynda Coates, of Newcastle, England, was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Her husband, David, who died in 2002, worked around asbestos for 30 years. Coates said that she would wash his clothes daily, never realizing she putting her life at risk.

“My mesothelioma diagnosis came completely out of the blue for me and I was even more shocked when I found out it may have been caused by inhaling asbestos dust and fibers my husband brought home on his overalls,” Linda said.

David worked for numerous companies during his career as an electrician, and a number of times at industrial sites. Some of the companies included  Bailey and Co Ltd, N.E.I. Parsons Ltd, and Woolman Ltd. Linda said she would wash his clothes each day so that they would be clean for him when returning to work.

Linda, along with her mesothelioma law team, is now seeking information about as to whether is was known that asbestos was part of the working conditions, and she’s looking for others who worked alongside her husband. Companies who knowingly exposed to others to asbestos at the workplace without warning could be liable for the damages incurred as a result.

“Linda was just trying to care for her husband and family but has now been given the devastating diagnosis,” said her asbestos lawyer. “We know from our experience that many employers knew about the risks of asbestos but sadly too many did not do enough to protect their workers from the substance or inform them of the dangers it posed to their health, and the health of their families who may be exposed through dust on their work clothing.

Second-hand asbestos reportedly caused Linda to develop mesothelioma. Despite popular belief that asbestos diseases attack only those who work around the dangerous fibers, anyone exposed to it, no matter how large or small, are at risk of developing life-threatening illnesses. The number of people who develop mesothelioma via second-hand exposure is still small when compared to those who develop the disease due to occupational exposure, but more and more states are beginning to recognize that there’s liability involved.

For example, in 2016, the California Supreme Court ruled that companies that exposed workers to asbestos are liable if the asbestos caused second-hand exposure to family members or others who lived in their home.

Ways Second-Hand Exposure Occurs

Although it may hard to imagine that microscopic fibers can make their way to transfer from one person to another and cause damage, there are actually multiple ways it can happen, including:

  • As in Coates’ case, asbestos can transfer from clothing to another unsuspecting person
  • Asbestos transfer from skin, hair, and nails
  • Living in an area where demolition or construction work disrupts asbestos

Help for Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to 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.

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

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