Asbestos Fibers Can Move In Soil, Per New Study

A recent study on asbestos shows that tiny asbestos fibers can move through soil and sand. The results of the new study may revolutionize the current strategies used to help prevent asbestos exposure.

Asbestos in soil

The study, led by geologist Jane Willenbring, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, started out by testing the current assumption that asbestos remains locked an unable to move once its buried and capped by soil.

Yes, another researcher in the study, Sanjay Mohanty, of the University of Pennsylvania, found that if organic acids cover asbestos, the fibers can make their through soil and sand, regardless if its been capped. According to Willenbring,

“This is something that can happen in soils, where you have organic acids that are created from plants, fungi and also bacteria. These organic acids can coat the outside of the fibers and actually change the mobility of the fibers.”

Willenberg also explained that study marks the first time that researchers actually put asbestos into soil to test it.

“They [environmentalists] find it in water, and they know where the asbestos is, so they can assume transport. But this is the first time anyone has put a known amount of asbestos in the top of a soil column and actually saw some asbestos coming out.”

The findings of the study were presented this year, in August, at the at the 2016 American Chemical Society meeting, held in Philadelphia. It was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Previously, scientists and researchers spent several years working on the lab part of the study, where they tried to determine if asbestos fibers were able to travel through sand. Their conclusion was that the fibers could not move through sand, but if the sand was coated with organic matter, such as humic or fulvic acid, the fibers could easily move through the sand columns. Willenbring said,

“We found that if we coated these fibers in organic acids, we could actually get the asbestos fibers to move through the soil.”

Apparently, the long, narrow fibers that aren’t tangled together are the ones that can freely move. Researchers pointed out that tangled fibers likely can’t move through soil.

Ongoing Research

Willenbring also indicated that she and her team will continue on with the research, which including coming up with new ideas to keep testing. One proposed idea that Willenbring and her team have, is to come up with a way to regulate organic acid, which could possibly help decrease the movement of asbestos fibers. Another idea could be to find a way to keep plants living, atop the capped piles of soil.

“We could do something else to the piles to affect their geochemistry so we don’t get transport…….If you don’t have plants on the surface of the piles, then you have more erosion of that cap, and eventually, it will just have the same problem again,” Willenbring said.

However, not all soils are created equally, according to Willenbring. What this means is while one strategy may work in one area, it may not work the same in another area that has different soil. The biggest concern is the soil in Libby, Montana—a city once home to one of the biggest asbestos factories, and home to naturally-occurring asbestos.

Libby is also home to a Superfund site, meaning an area that contains an abandoned and hazardous waste site in dire need of need of immediate remediation. Libby is the largest Superfund site in United State history.

“We don’t yet have soil from Libby, but it would be great to get some,” the professor said. “Everyone is worried about Libby, and we are too.”

Additional 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. For additional assistance, contact us toll-free at 800-793-4540.

Death Toll Still Rising 15 Years After 9/11, Asbestos Diseases Expected To Increase

The death toll resulting from the September 11, 2001, attacks in NYC still continue to grow 15 years later, after countless people breathed in excessive amounts of asbestos and other toxins while trying to work in Ground Zero debris, to save as many lives as possible (while risking their own).

fireman asbestos

Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave clearance the“public in these areas [lower Manhattan] are not being exposed to excessive levels of asbestos or other harmful substances,” it seems as if they statement was given prematurely.  EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman even suggested that the air was safe and the water was safe to drink, when in actuality, that was far from the truth.

According to Dr. Crane, leader of Mt. Sinai’s World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP), over 40% of the 65,000 people he treats, who helped during 9/11, are now living with chronic, life-threatening illnesses, including asbestos-related illnesses such as malignant mesothelioma.

“Forty-three percent of these workers and community members are afflicted with chronic, exposure-related conditions…..It’s been steady for at least the last year and a half ― we’re seeing new people here being certified for cancer 10-15 times week.”

According to Pat Morrison of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), mesothelioma in particular is a “certified 9/11-related health condition,” yet, since its latency can last up to 50 years, it’s still not as well-known as other dangerous illnesses. What this means for Ground Zero workers is that the beginnings of the disease are just now starting to surface for some, while others may not realize they’ve developed an asbestos illnesses until decades from now.

Crane indicated that a good number of volunteers who helped out on Ground Zero still haven’t been checked out by doctor, and it could be because they’re not experiencing any asbestos-related symptoms yet. It may also be due to numerous people traveling to Manhattan from out of state, and their primary doctors aren’t looking for asbestos illnesses because they aren’t associating their patients with Ground Zero.  According to Crane,

“There’s still a good chunk of folks out there who responded to the event and most likely have not been seen by anybody yet.”

Sadly, it’s not just 9/11 that’s caused an alarming number of people to develop asbestos illnesses. Firefighters, in particular, have an extremely high rate of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos illnesses. A recent study performed by the OSHA indicated that “firefighters in the study had a rate of mesothelioma two times greater than the rate in the U.S. population as a whole.”

Yet, even with a wealth of information on how dangerous asbestos is, it still remains legal in the U.S. Fortunately, there is now more hope than ever that the known carcinogen will one day be banned, thanks to the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. The Lautenberg Act reforms the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which hasn’t been updated in 40 years. Part of the reform includes giving the EPA more power to test and band dangerous chemicals and substances.

Asbestos was the primary the reason President Obama signed the reform to begin with. According to the president,

“The system was so complex, so burdensome that our country hasn’t even been able to uphold a ban on asbestos –a known carcinogen that kills as many as 10,000 Americans every year. I think a lot of Americans would be shocked by that.”

In the meantime, it’s crucial for anyone who helped out during 9/11 to seek out routine, medical check-ups. Always tell your physician that there’s a possibility that you’ve been exposed to asbestos. This is especially true for anyone who doesn’t live in the New York area.

Additional Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one were 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. 

5 Common Myths Regarding Schools And Asbestos

As school starts back, most parents are concerned with their children studying, getting good grades, and staying safe. Asbestos is one safety issue, however, that not many parents think about when sending their children off to school. While it’s true that asbestos generally isn’t a threat as long as it’s contained, there still remains several myths about the dangerous mineral that anyone with children in schools built prior to the mid 1980s should be aware of.

apple-school-books

Myth #1- There isn’t enough asbestos in school to make kids sick

The truth is there is no safe level of asbestos, especially for children, who breathe quicker than adults. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the “overall evidence” in a number of studies have proven that while chances of developing a life-threatening illness increase each time asbestos exposure occurs, it’s untrue that small amounts of exposure are risk-free.

That being said, schools must always have an asbestos maintenance plan in place, and the buildings must be routinely checked for issues. If any school repairs need to be made, a professional, licensed asbestos professional must be on hand to oversee the project, and parents must always be notified.

Myth #2-  There isn’t asbestos in schools anymore

While that may true for schools that were built recently, school building constructed before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed strict regulations on asbestos use may still contain the dangerous mineral. This includes schools all across the nation, from schools in big cities to schools in small towns. A study by the EPA also indicates that half of the U.S. schools in use today were built during a time in which asbestos use was at its peak.

Myth #3- Asbestos is banned

Ironically, even with a myriad of studies that confirm asbestos is dangerous to health, it still remains legal in the U.S. Even worse, it’s sometimes used in common school supplies, particularly crayons. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that in 2015, the following crayons were found to contain asbestos:

  • Amscan Crayons
  • Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Crayons
  • Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Crayons
  • Saban’s Power Rangers Super Megaforce Crayons

Myth #4- Children aren’t affected by asbestos

In general, elderly people tend to develop asbestos-related illnesses more than any other age group, but that’s generally because diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer can lie dormant for up to 50 years. Furthermore, there are always exceptions to the rule. The youngest known victim of an asbestos-related disease, Sophie Ellis, was just 13 when she was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Myth #5 – Only construction workers and crews working around asbestos at schools are in danger

Again, anyone who inhales asbestos fibers is at risk, regardless of occupation or age. This also includes school teachers. In fact,  the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) states that teachers are twice as likely to develop an asbestos-related illness when compared to other occupations. According to a study performed on educators and asbestos, “none of these persons physically handled the asbestos in the course of his or her employment as a teacher.”

What Can Parents Do?

The easiest way to understand asbestos in schools and the regulations each school must follow is to get involved and remain aware. For more information, see our story, Parents Rights Involving Asbestos In School.

Additional Help and Resources

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Fill out our form to get a free Financial Compensation Packet. You’ll learn about the top mesothelioma lawyers in your area, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file a claim for the asbestos trust funds, and more. If you need additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.

Parents Rights Regarding Asbestos In School

School has officially started back for most kids in the U.S., and many are returning (or starting) to school buildings that were built prior to strict regulations placed on asbestos. This means that children attending schools built before the mid 1980s may be learning in buildings that were constructed with asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). If you’re a parent or caregiver of a child or children who attend an older school, consider the following tips that can help protect your kids, so that they can focus on learning.

school-chalkboard

Keep Yourself Informed

All too often, parents are left in the dark about asbestos rules in schools, although it’s their legal right to know about them and be informed about what’s going on at their child’s school. For example, all parents have the right to any and all asbestos inspection reports associated with their kid’s school. The records should always be accessible to parents, and if not, Alex Formuzis of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) urges parents to press for the information until they receive it. According to Formuzis,

“If those records are not readily accessible from the school’s front office or the school district, I’d urge parents to demand they make they available. Those records are, in many ways, the best evidence of whether or not their children are in the areas of the school where asbestos is present.”

Learn the EPA Guidelines for Asbestos and Schools

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a ton of information regarding school safety and asbestos, including the guidelines that each school must follow. It’s important to learn all you can asbestos, says the president of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), Linda Reinstein. The more knowledge you have about asbestos, the easier it will be understood when your student is at risk of exposure.

“Students, teachers and staff should be protected from asbestos. The fear of the unknown is unimaginable when a child has been exposed at school. With each cough, a parent waits in anguish, wondering if their child will one day be diagnosed with an asbestos-caused disease. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure, as prevention remains the only cure.”

The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) requires that all public and non-profit schools (including charter schools) that were built with any form of asbestos-containing products or materials must:

  • Ensure that an asbestos management plan is always in place and keep a copy of the plan at the school, where the public can inspect it upon request.
  • Provide parents with annual notifications of the asbestos management plan in place for the school year.
  • Alert parents any time a repair is scheduled at the school.
  • Have a designated contact person who makes sure the asbestos management plans are carried out.
  • Perform routine inspections and surveillance (by a certified asbestos professional) on the building, specifically looking for any asbestos issues.

Keep in mind that if asbestos is managed properly by a certified, professional asbestos professional, it’s likely that children in older school buildings are safe. It’s only when friable asbestos is disturbed that it becomes a more serious problem. Friable asbestos can easily crumble and become airborne, and the fibers can be easily inhaled.

If you feel that your child’s school isn’t following the required AHERA laws or if the school is denying access to information on asbestos, contact us for assistance as 800-793-4540. You can also contact the EPA’s asbestos hotline at  800-368-5888 or 202-566-1970 (if you live in the DC area.)

Additional Information and Assistance for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one were 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. 

EPA Pressured To Evaluate Asbestos Under New TSCA Reform

With the reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) recently signed by the Senate, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been under extreme pressure to make good on their promises to investigate and appraise harmful substances that are still legal in the U.S., including asbestos. Numerous people want asbestos at the top of the list to be flagged for evaluation.

asbestos

Bloomberg BNA reports that the EPA is scheduled to review at least 10 chemicals by December 22. The organization must prioritize the substances that are considered the most harmful and known carcinogens. Senator Barbara Boxer, of California, is one of the many people pushing the EPA to include asbestos on its top 10 list. The senator wrote a letter recently, outlining the dangers of asbestos exposure. A portion of the letter read,

“The evidence regarding the dangers of asbestos is overwhelming. As EPA found in its 1989 rule making, “[it] is well-recognized that asbestos is a human carcinogen and is one of the most hazardous substances to which humans are exposed in both occupational and non-occupational settings. ”

The letter also pointed out that, “according to the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), the estimated annual number of asbestos-related disease deaths is nearly 15,000 in the U.S., including nearly 11,000 deaths from lung cancer.”

Yet, despite the in-depth studies, warnings, and danger about asbestos, asbestos remains legal in the U.S. and a number of companies continue to use it. In fact, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that between the years 2014 to 2016, around 8.2 million pounds of raw asbestos was imported into the nation.

Linda Reinstein, co-founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, also expressed her desire to have asbestos evaluated by the EPA as soon as possible. She told Bloomberg that TSCA signing a new law into place that gives EPA more power in dealing with harmful substances, doesn’t mean her organization, or any other asbestos awareness organization for that matter, will walk away from the issue.

“Although TSCA reform was signed into law, it doesn’t mean that any of the sponsors or co-sponsors are going to walk away and ignore implementation.”

Reinstein’s point is an excellent one, according to experts who understand that adding asbestos to the list to be evaluated is just the first step in the process. It could take upwards of several years to go through the regulatory process. If successful, it could mean that all the companies that are still using the dangerous mineral would be forced to remove all asbestos-containing products and materials from its inventory.

About the TSCA Newly Reformed Chemical Safety Rules

Chemical safety laws haven’t been update since 1976, until recently, when the U.S. House gave the final approval earlier this year. Under the outdated laws, around 64,000 chemicals used in the marketplace remained untested by the EPA. The newly reform law now requires that the EPA test all existing and new chemicals for safety, and to determine whether they are safe for humans and the environment.

The EPA has seven years to assess each chemical, and can only take around 20 chemicals at a time. If the chemicals are found unsafe, the laws could change drastically, including stricter state laws. According to Maureen Gorsen, former director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control,

“The impact to the manufacturing sector may be enormous. This will be the largest authorization of new jurisdiction to the US Environmental Protection Agency since the Clean Air Act re-authorization in 1991. Reform has been a long time coming, but it remains to be seen how new safety standards and regulations will be enforced and what changes manufacturers will need to make.”

Additional Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, or asbestos-related cancer, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. We invite you to fill out our form today for a free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information about top mesothelioma lawyers in your area, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file an asbestos trust fund claim, and much more. For additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.

Queens, NY Jail ‘Is Deadly’ With Asbestos, Says Correction Officers

A number of corrections officers at the Queens, New York jail are claiming they’ve been exposed to asbestos, and their superiors aren’t doing anything to help.

asbestos removal tape warning

New York Daily News reports that officers awaiting disciplinary hearings at the Queens Detention Complex were assigned to an unused wing of the jail to basically “do nothing,” while numerous construction workers were removing asbestos in the area. While the construction workers were given masks to wear, the corrections officers had no safety protection at all, and had to stay in the area while asbestos fibers permeated the air.

According to one of the correction officers,

“They want us to sit there while they’re knocking out walls and removing asbestos. These guys got masks on and all this other stuff and you want us to sit there while they’re cutting walls down.”

The construction has been going on for around a week now, per the corrections officer. The construction company even placed a red warning tape around the area that reads, Danger Asbestos, yet, the officers are reportedly surrounded by it with no protection.

Asbestos is a dangerous mineral with microscopic, odorless fibers that permeate throughout the vicinity when disturbed. Once asbestos fibers become airborne, people in the area can easily breathe in the toxic fibers without knowing. The fibers become lodged in the body, and over time, can lead to life-threatening illnesses such as malignant mesothelioma, asbestosis, and asbestos-related lung cancer.

A spokesperson for the Department of Corrections stated that they’e followed all safety procedures and that despite what the corrections officers said, they were never at risk.

“All protocols were immediately followed in this case and the situation was swiftly abated. At no time was an officer exposed or at risk.”

Officials said that it only took one day to remove the asbestos and that nine corrections officers who were on waiting on a disciplinary hearing were asked to watch the area for fires. Yet, the corrections officers disagree. One of the officers said,

“I sign in and go sit in the park. I’m not sitting on the floor with asbestos. When you’re a modified officer it’s like you don’t exist. They have nothing for you to do. You’re not working a post, you’re not doing paperwork, you’re not doing nothing. All they want you to do is watch DVDs all day.”

The officer’s story backs up a June incident that occurred at Rikers Island prison, when a total of 90 officers on modified duty were assigned to sit in a “rubber room” and do nothing while awaiting their disciplinary hearings.

Watch the video below to see footage of the construction area, and the room where the corrections officers sat while construction work was being performed on the jail.

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, contact us 800-793-4540.

 

Feds Investigate Construction Company That Exposed Non-English Speaking Workers To Asbestos

Federal prosecutors recently turned their attention to an Illinois construction company that was fined last year for putting Mexican workers who couldn’t understand English in harm’s way by regularly exposing them to asbestos.

asbestos tiles

FOX News Latino reports that in 2015, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) handed down a hefty fine to construction company, Kehrer Brothers Construction, and its owner Joseh Kehrer, after numerous Latino workers were exposed to high amounts of asbestos. The company was fined $1.8 million for allowing workers to remove asbestos from the former Okawville Grade School without providing them safety training and safety gear.

Along with a hefty fine, Department of Labor (DOL) spokesperson, Rhonda Burke, stated that the owner may also face criminal charges. While federal prosecutors are investigating the incident, OSHA proceedings are place on hold, at least for the the time being.

“The Department of Labor filed an unopposed motion for a stay of proceedings because the U.S. Attorney made the decision to conduct a criminal investigation. So right now, the Department of Labor’s allegations against Kehrer are on hold, while the Justice Department finishes their investigation.”

Clyde Kuehn, defense attorney for Kehrer, confirmed that federal prosecutors, along with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are indeed investigating his client. However, the attorney stated that it’s common routine, although he’s against OSHA’s findings.

“The reason these citations are being contested is that there are some very significant disagreements on the facts of this case. OSHA’s position on the facts is much different from Mr. Kehrer’s position. We’re trying to work toward having an opportunity to lay that out.”

Kuehn also said that the witnesses interviewed were confused as to why OSHA is claiming they removed friable asbestos without safety gear. Apparently, OSHA still hasn’t provided the lawyer with the discovery.

When OSHA announced the fines last year, it stated the Kehrer was guilty of 16 violations, 9 of which were considered willful and 6 considered severe. According to assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, Dr. David Michaels,

“Kehrer Brothers Construction brought non-English speaking workers to the U.S. and knowingly exposed them to asbestos. Kehrer also threatened to fire his employees if they spoke with our investigators. This is outrageous, illegal behavior. We at OSHA will do everything in our power to ensure this employer stops endangering his employees.”

Some of the violations Kehrer was fined for include:

  • Failure to provide basic safety equipment and gear to workers
  • Failure to provide a “decontamination area,” where workers could clean up and remove their asbestos-laden clothing
  • Failure to use wetting methods and other techniques that can reduce the amount of asbestos exposure that workers faced
  • Failure to properly train workers
  • Failure to notify workers they would be working around asbestos
  • Failure to conduct required inspections

So far, the company hasn’t paid any of its fine. If you suspect anyone or any company is in violation of asbestos laws, contact OSHA at 800-321-OSHA (6742). Asbestos exposure has been linked to toxic, life-threatening illnesses, including malignant mesothelioma, asbestosis, and asbestos-related lung cancer. People who may have been exposed to asbestos should seek immediate medical treatment. There are generally no apparent symptoms after inhaling or ingesting asbestos. Symptoms may remain dormant for up to 50 years after exposure.

Additional Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one were 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. If you need additional assistance, feel free to contact us 800-793-4540.

OSHA Hits Wisconsin Shipyard With $1.4M Fine For Continuous Lead, Asbestos Exposure

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) hit a Wisconsin shipyard with $1.4 million in fines after a long history of exposing workers to asbestos, lead, and other toxins.

OSHA Fraser Shipyard

Business Insurance reports that during a recent investigation, OSHA found that Fraser Shipyards Inc., based in Superior, Wisconsin, had 14 health violations after exposing workers to lead levels 20 times the amount of safe limits.

The shipyard also had an additional five violations after failing to provide workers’ training on both asbestos and lead hazards. This marks yet another of the several times the shipyard placed workers in danger of asbestos exposure. In 1993, the shipyard had multiple asbestos violations, followed by similar additional violations in 2000.

The following violations were the most significant found. According to OSHA, Fraser failed to:

  • Identify on-site asbestos
  • Locate on-site asbestos and warn workers
  • Stop workers from performing demolition work, including sawing into asbestos-containing pipes and equipment
  • Conduct the required monitoring to ensure workers were safe
  • Address safety and health hazards

In addition to the violations, it was determined that Fraser knew that the vessel had both lead and asbestos, and this knowledge dated back to 1959 when it arrived to the shipyard. The company also “willfully ignored” the information and continued to allow workers to be exposed to the toxins for numerous year. According to press release provided earlier this week by  Ken Atha, OSHA’s Chicago regional administrator,

“Fraser ignored federal regulations, its own corporate safety manuals and worker concerns. Such behavior is unacceptable. No worker should be put at risk from exposure to hazards that can cause permanent health issues to meet a contract deadline.”

OSHA Area Director Mark Hysell followed up by stating,

“This is a significant case. It’s significant because it deal with health hazards in the workplace like lead, heavy metals, and asbestos.”

President and Chief Operating Officer of the Fraser Industries, James Farkas, responded to the press statement and the violations by denying that the company put its workers at risk. In fact, Farkas not only disagreed with OSHA, but also said that the company quickly acted to protect its employees as soon as the issues were brought up.

“We take the health and safety of our people and our community seriously. We acted to protect our people as soon as we learned of the problems. We strongly disagree with OSHA’s statement that any of the issues were caused or worsened by business or profit motivations.”

Fraser indeed stopped its work when alerted about extremely high levels of lead and other toxins that employees were being exposed to. The company also invested in state-of-the-art safety gear and equipment to help protect workers going forward, including cleaning supplies, air scrubbers, face masks, protective suits, and more. Yet, despite their current efforts to help workers, it may be too late.

Once asbestos is inhaled or ingested, it’s impossible for the body to get rid of all of its tiny, odorless fibers. While some fibers are expelled through sneezing and other bodily functions, others stick in the body, attaching to the lining of major organs, which can ultimately create scarring and tumors, and lead to life-threatening illnesses. Many Fraser workers were reportedly overexposed to asbestos, lead, and other hazardous toxins for numerous years.

Fraser is now seeking to settle with OSHA and discuss the penalties and fees.

Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, or asbestos-related cancer, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Use our free Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool to assist you in finding an experienced mesothelioma attorney in your area. With over $30 billion currently in asbestos trust funds, now is the right time to take the first step in determining what you may qualify for. For additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.

Tennessee Woman Turns Activist After Husband Dies From Mesothelioma

A Hamilton County, Tennessee woman is happy she takes part in an organization that pushed for a new law that may help to ban asbestos completely, but the law didn’t come before she lost her husband to mesothelioma.

Wendy Roberts mesothelioma

The Times Free Press reports that Randy Roberts, a former carpet maker who once worked in areas that were permeated with asbestos fibers, passed away in September 2011 from “The Monster,” the name he gave to his mesothelioma disease. After his death, his widow, Wendy Roberts, vowed to do all could to completely ban asbestos, a naturally-occurring mineral that produces tiny, odorless fibers that can become trapped in the body, leading to life-threatening illnesses.

During his battle with mesothelioma, Randy looked like he may actually get better after his tumors stopped metastasizing in 2010. In fact, despite having to carry an oxygen tank to breathe, he went to the John Stallworth Foundation Golf Tournament that year in Alabama, where he played all 18 holes.

It was only short-lived, however. Within a few months, he was attacked by a tumor so severe that he ended up in the hospital, diagnosed with cardiac arrest. Wendy recounted the early morning when she heard the news.

“I fell into such a dead sleep, I never heard the phone or my sister banging on my window. At 4 p.m., I woke up and got a call from family saying Randy was in cardiac arrest.”

She rushed to his hospital room, but it was too late. She held his hand, and although he had no pulse, she thanked him for the short time they spent together. He was only 56.

Working to Ban Asbestos

Although the hazards of asbestos have been studied in-depth and proven to be toxic to human health, it still isn’t completely banned. This is actually unknown to many people, who believe that since it’s a known carcinogen, it’s illegal. Not quite, at least not yet.

Earlier this year, President Obama signed a bill on dangerous substances, which will give the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) more freedom to one day ban asbestos completely.

After her husband’s death, Wendy joined the  Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), a non-profit organization that aims to spread awareness about asbestos and fight for its complete ban. According to Linda Reinstein, the founder of the organization,

“The ADAO’s goal is to eliminate consumer and occupational exposure to asbestos.”

ADAO’s determination is part of what helped signed the new law into place, which pushes stronger regulations on chemicals found in everyday items. It also gives the EPA much stronger tools to monitor substances, and more power to deregulate harmful chemical and toxins. Per EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy,

“The updated law gives EPA the authorities we need to protect American families from the health effects of dangerous chemicals. And at EPA, we’re excited to get to work putting it into action.”

The EPA is scheduled to start monitoring and reviewing asbestos, formaldehyde, flame retardants, and seven other substances that are commonly found in household items, most of which families using the products are unaware of. For instance, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Action Fund recently found asbestos in several different brands of children’s crayons.

Asbestos Lawsuit

Prior to his death, Randy, along with Wendy, filed a mesothelioma against his former carpet making employer in 2009. Although the company tried to push his asbestos exposure off on other companies, it was ultimately proven that his  disease stemmed from his time working as a carpet maker.

The company eventually settled with the Robert out of court for an unspecified amount. Wendy recalled how each attorney for the defendant apologized to her after the deposition phase of the case.

“After the deposition, each carpet company lawyer walked by me as he left and each said, ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry’ very softly.”

Wendy feels happy that she helped take part in something that may lead to the toxic mineral’s complete ban, but she’s saddened that it didn’t happen years ago, which could have saved her husband’s life.

Help and Assistance 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. There is currently over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who are victims to asbestos-related diseases. Use our free Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool today to find a leading mesothelioma attorney in your area. For additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.

Watchdog Reports Postal Service Workers Exposed To Asbestos, Mold, And More

A government watchdog recently revealed in a report made public on Wednesday that postal workers and customers in certain U.S. postal facilities are continuously being exposed to a number of toxic agents, including asbestos, mold, and more. which may end up racking up close to $20 million in fines. Although the names of the postal facilities investigated weren’t released, the problem is a nationwide issue.

post office asbestos

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Daily Caller reports that 90% of the 20 post offices investigated had numerous potential Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) infractions, which threaten not only the postal workers, but also customers who visit the facilities. According to the report, “Office of Inspector General/United States Post Office,” management at each of the post offices found in violation failed to maintain and upkeep, and lack of regular cleaning.

“Eighteen facilities (90 percent) had potential OSHA building safety and security violations that could result in fines. They included locked or blocked emergency exits, asbestos and mold, improper storage of flammable materials, insect infestation, trip hazards, and exposed electrical outlets and switches.”

Part of the problem, according to the investigation, is that the Postal Service performs periodic inspections on building maintenance and safety, but it fails to regularly inspect buildings for cleanliness and basic repairs that should be done regularly. In turn, these issues seem to have gotten out of control, at least in the post offices included in the investigation.

In addition to finding asbestos, many of the buildings also had other safety issues, including:

  • Broken exterior lights
  • Trash cans and trash can liners on top of retail counters (due to water pooling in the lobby area)
  • Missing ceiling tiles (which can increase the risk of asbestos exposure)
  • Missing floor tiles
  • Water-stained walls
  • Birds and squirrels in the work areas, due to damaged and un-repaired roofs
  • Leaking windows
  • Mold on ceilings and walls
  • Dead insects in light fixtures
  • Exposed electrical outlets
  • Lawn equipment not in its proper place

Although some of the issues are cosmetic in nature, it’s the risk of asbestos exposure that makes this report so important. Asbestos is a naturally-occurring but deadly mineral. Once asbestos fibers are released, they can quickly permeate through the air, causing people to unknowingly inhale and ingest them. It’s literally impossible to know when, if, and how many fibers were ingested/inhaled, as the fibers a tiny, colorless, odorless, and undetectable.

Unfortunately, instead of pledging to take care of the problems, the Postal Service is allegedly fighting the fees associated with dealing with the issues and “questioned the qualifications of personnel who performed the audits.”  For instance, each violation could cost anywhere between $3,000 to $7,000 each, and for the more serious problems, such as asbestos exposure, the fines could reach upwards to $70,000. These fees are in addition to anyone who seeks out an asbestos-related lawsuit.

There are around 300,000 post offices nationwide, and around 25,000 have been around for 100 years. It’s only been a little over 30 years since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforced strict regulations on asbestos use, meaning that a multitude of post offices were constructed during a time when asbestos was widely used in construction materials.

There is a good chance that the majority of older post office facilities are littered with asbestos-containing materials, and if the walls, ceilings, floors, and other areas aren’t properly maintained, asbestos can disrupt and put people at risk for developing life-threatening illnesses such as asbestosis, malignant mesothelioma, and asbestos-related lung cancer.

Additional Help and Resources

If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. There is currently over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who are victims of asbestos-related diseases. Use our free Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool today to find a leading mesothelioma lawyer in your area. For additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.

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