This week, the U.S Supreme Court handed down a legal decision that will have a profound impact on Navy veterans diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos from shipboard equipment. The court decided that under maritime law, the companies that manufactured equipment that, though not made with asbestos, relied on aftermarket asbestos-contaminated products to operate properly, had a duty to warn of the dangers that asbestos held. The companies had previously relied upon what is known as a “bare metal defense,” claiming that because they did not deliver a product that contained asbestos, they should not be legally responsible for damages that Navy veterans suffered. Continue reading
Most veterans of America’s Armed Forces who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma were exposed to the asbestos that caused their disease while working in military applications such as shipyards or Navy ships’ boiler rooms. Similarly, non-military people diagnosed with the disease have largely been exposed while on the job, working in high-heat environments or with materials that required strength and fire retardant characteristics. But today there is a new type of mesothelioma victim: people who claim that their asbestos exposure came from common and trusted household items like talc-based baby powder. As a result, members of the U.S. House of Representatives are acting to protect the public from asbestos by considering three different types of legislation. Continue reading
Veterans who have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma are well aware of the insidious nature of asbestos exposure. The mineral was widely used in countless military applications, leaving service men and women vulnerable to various asbestos-related diseases while the manufacturers and distributors who supplied the Armed Forces with these products kept its dangers a secret. Once this information was revealed, the military stopped using asbestos and veterans were able to pursue the manufacturers in court. Now it has come to light that consumers are being victimized in the same way, as its been revealed that consumer products like Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder used asbestos-contaminated talc in their products without alerting the public of its risks. Even more alarming is the fact that the FDA has no authority to do anything about it.
Just as American veterans and other victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases face incredible costs and hardships as a result of asbestos exposure, so too do Canadian citizens. A recent report indicated that the country faces costs of over $2 billion per year treating asbestos-related illnesses, and that tally is a big part of why the country finally moved to officially ban asbestos within its borders at the end of 2018. This made our neighbor to the north the 66th country in the world to ban the use of asbestos, and leaves all eyes on the United States to see whether it will follow suit. Continue reading
Did asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s popular talc baby powder product lead to Ricardo Rimondi malignant mesothelioma? That’s the decision a New Jersey jury is being asked to make in a lawsuit that kicked off this week with riveting testimony from Dr. William Longo, a materials scientist and electron microscope researcher whose main focus of study has been detecting asbestos in a variety of materials. Though Johnson & Johnson’s attorneys attempted to diminish Dr. Longo’s credibility by pointing out that he has made millions by testifying on behalf of asbestos victims, the information that he provided to the jury made clear that the testing method that the consumer giant chose was not sensitive enough to detect the presence of the carcinogen in the popular product. Continue reading
If you’re a veteran who has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, finding the best possible treatment of your disease is one of your primary goals. This is more easily said than done with this rare and fatal form of cancer. There is no single right answer when it comes to mesothelioma, as different tumors have different genetic and cellular profiles. At this point the only way to truly tell whether a treatment approach will work is by actually administering it to the patient and then waiting to see the results, but a new method designed by researchers from the UCLA Johnson Comprehensive Cancer Center will significantly speed that process up without forcing the patient to endure either rising and falling hopes or adverse side effects of taxing treatment protocols.
Just as is true of veterans of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard, many members of the Merchant Marine were exposed to asbestos and later diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. One such seaman was Mason South, who served for nearly forty years and who died in 2015. Before his death Mr. South filed a lawsuit against Chevron Corporation seeking compensation for the damages that he suffered after exposure to asbestos on board the ships of Texaco, a company that Chevron now owns. Continue reading
When a building slated for demolition is found to be contaminated with asbestos, it sets off alarm bells: the risk of mesothelioma from airborne asbestos fibers is real, and special remediation action is required. A stark reminder of this can be seen in the town of Otsego, Michigan, where the demolition of the former Rock Teen Paper Mill’s power plant has just been approved with an eye-popping price tag of nearly $1 million.
When today’s advocates take issue with government actions against controlling asbestos in the United States, they do so because they want to protect future generations from the tragedy of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases that impacted previous generations of Americans. The veterans of America’s military represent an outsized percentage of those afflicted by these illnesses. Those men and women were impacted by exposure to asbestos-contaminated materials without having any knowledge of the dangers that they faced. Today people are aware that asbestos is a danger, but the EPA is fighting against efforts to have the material banned. A group of environmental safety and health advocates have come together to counter their efforts, and have filed a federal lawsuit to force the agency to more robustly investigate the use of the material in the United States. Continue reading
Veterans who have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma know all too well the role that profit motive played in their illness: asbestos companies that placed their continuing profitability over the health of people knowingly put them at risk. Today, those companies are paying for their avarice, forced to pay multi-million dollar settlements and jury awards to those who have been sickened by the carcinogenic material, but their fate has not stopped Canadian companies that are trying to move forward with a new use for asbestos tailings left behind by decades of mining. While these companies argue that their process will clean the environment and bring jobs to a region that’s been hard hit economically, health and safety experts are worried that their work will only prolong the illness trend that has devastated the area.