February 20, 2019

If You Were Exposed to, or Harmed by, ASBESTOS or ASBESTOS-CONTAINING Products Made, Distributed or Sold by THE …

WILMINGTON, Del. , March 31, 2015 /CNW/ — The following statement is being issued regarding In re The Flintkote Company and Flintkote Mines Limited, Case No. 04-11300 (MFW) (Jointly Administered).

TYPES OF PRODUCTS: During the 1930s to the 1980s, some products sold by The Flintkote Company and Flintkote Mines Limited (the “Debtors“) contained asbestos. These products could have included floor tile, roofing shingles, joint compound, fiber pipe, liquid products, cement board, cement siding, cement pipe, asphalt and other products.

Persons or entities exposed to, or harmed by, the Debtors’ asbestos or asbestos-containing products may have personal injury, wrongful death or other claims against the Debtors.  You do not need to (i) have been diagnosed, (ii) have symptoms, or (iii) be impaired to be affected by the Plan (defined below).

If you believe you may have been exposed to, or harmed by the Debtors’ products, you may be entitled to vote on confirmation of the Plan.  You should carefully read this notice and the important documents located at http://www.flintkotebankruptcy.com.

PLAN OF REORGANIZATION: The Debtors filed for bankruptcy in 2004. On February 9, 2015 , the Debtors filed a modified joint plan of reorganization (the “Plan“) with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware (the “Bankruptcy Court“).  The Plan includes the terms of a settlement reached between the Debtors and their former indirect parent company, Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited (“ITCAN“). The Plan has been jointly proposed by the Debtors, the Asbestos Claimants Committee and the Future Claimants Representative (collectively, the “Plan Proponents“).  As background, the Plan is a modified version of a bankruptcy plan on which Debtors previously solicited votes in 2008 and 2009, and which was confirmed by the Bankruptcy Court on December 21, 2012 (the “Prior Plan“).

A document describing how the Plan differs from the Prior Plan (the “Disclosure Statement Supplement“), which the Bankruptcy Court approved on March 17, 2015 , a copy of the Plan itself and related voting materials (a “Resolicitation Package“), has been mailed to known holders of claims against the Debtors or the claimants’ lawyers.

THE TRUST: The Plan provides for a trust to be established to pay eligible asbestos personal injury claims against the Debtors (the “Trust“). The Plan provides that all current and future holders of asbestos personal injury claims will be forever prohibited from asserting claims directly against the Debtors and other parties protected under the Plan, including ITCAN.  Such claimants can receive money only from the Trust. The Plan and the Disclosure Statement Supplement contain important additional details and are available at http://www.flintkotebankruptcy.com.

SUPPLEMENTAL SETTLEMENT BAR ORDER: Under the Plan, ITCAN will also obtain protection from certain claims by a settlement bar order, which is described more particularly in the Plan and Disclosure Statement Supplement.

VOTING PROCEDURES: The Bankruptcy Court has issued an order describing who can vote on the Plan, how to vote, and how votes will be counted. The Disclosure Statement Supplement has information that will help you decide whether and how to vote on the Plan if you are entitled to do so.  Votes cast on the Prior Plan will be counted as votes on the Plan, unless a holder changes such vote. If you voted on the Prior Plan and do not wish to change your vote, you do not need to submit a ballot.  If you did not vote on the Prior Plan, you may obtain and cast a ballot, which would be subject to the Plan Proponents’ right to object. To be counted, a completed ballot must be received by the Voting Agent at the address below by 4:00 p.m. (prevailing Eastern time) on June 2 , 2015.  Any ballot received after that deadline will not be counted.

Proof of an asbestos personal injury or wrongful death claim does not need to be filed with the Bankruptcy Court. Special procedures have been established for holders of asbestos personal injury and wrongful death claims to vote on the Plan. Lawyers for holders of these claims may vote on the Plan on behalf of their clients if authorized by their client. If you are unsure whether your lawyer is authorized to vote on your behalf, please contact your lawyer.

THE HEARING TO CONFIRM THE PLAN: A hearing to confirm the Plan will be held before the Honorable Mary F. Walrath, United States Bankruptcy Judge, at the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware , 824 Market Street, 5th Floor, Wilmington, Delaware 19801, commencing on August 10, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. (prevailing Eastern time).

OBJECTING TO THE PLAN: Parties may only object to the changes between the Prior Plan and the Plan, and objections must be submitted in writing and received by July 8, 2015 to be considered.  All objections must comply with the requirements in the notice of the Confirmation Hearing, available at http://www.flintkotebankruptcy.com.

HOW TO OBTAIN DOCUMENTS: If you would like additional information about the Plan, Disclosure Statement Supplement and other Trust-related documents (including copies of the Plan, Disclosure Statement Supplement and other Trust-related documents), you may contact the Debtors’ Voting Agent at (800) 290-0537, visit http://www.flintkotebankruptcy.com, or write to The Flintkote Company and Flintkote Mines Limited, c/o GCG, P.O. Box 10127, Dublin, Ohio 43017-3127.


To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/if-you-were-exposed-to-or-harmed-by-asbestos-or-asbestos-containing-products-made-distributed-or-sold-by-the-flintkote-company-or-flintkote-mines-limited-please-read-this-notice-of-voting-rights-and-hearing-to-consider-whether-300057267.html



Christina Craige, Sidley Austin LLP, 213-896-6000

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If You Were Exposed to, or Harmed by, ASBESTOS or ASBESTOS-CONTAINING Products Made, Distributed or Sold by THE …

Mesothelioma in southern Nevada likely result of asbestos in environment

Malignant mesothelioma has been found at higher than expected levels in women and in individuals younger than 55 years old in the southern Nevada counties of Clark and Nye, likewise in the same region carcinogenic mineral fibers including actinolite asbestos, erionite, winchite, magnesioriebeckite and richterite were discovered. These data, published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, the official journal of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, suggest that these elevated numbers of malignant mesothelioma cases are linked to environmental exposure of carcinogenic mineral fibers.

Malignant mesothelioma is a fatal cancer associated with asbestos exposure that develops on the outer linings of the lungs. The 3-year survival rate is only 8% and there are limited therapeutic options. The incidence of malignant mesothelioma is higher in locations with known industrial and occupational exposure and for similar reasons the incidence is higher in men, with a male to female ratio of 4:1 to 8:1. The latency period for is 30-50 years so those diagnosed from occupational exposure are usually in their seventies whereas those diagnosed younger than 55 are rarely associated with occupational exposure. Asbestos is a commercial and regulatory term applied to six mineral fibers historically mined for industrial use. Naturally occurring asbestos is a term used to describe fibrous minerals that were not used commercially and therefore were not called asbestos and their use was and still is not regulated. Like asbestos, these naturally occurring fibers are natural components of rocks and soils and a potential source of exposure especially if these fibers become airborne through natural erosion or human activities producing dust.

Researchers from Hawaii, Nevada, and Pennsylvania examined malignant mesothelioma mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control by gender, age group, state, and counties for the period 1999-2010. The two southern Nevada counties of Clark and Nye were grouped together and the proportion of women and those younger than 55 years old in these two southern counties were compared to those in all other Nevada counties grouped together as well as the rest of the United States.

The male to female ratio of malignant mesothelioma in all Nevada counties excluding Clarke and Nye was 6.33:1, but in Clarke and Nye counties it was statistically lower at 2.69:1 (p=0.0468), which could not be explained by population demographics, as these were the same. The percentage of individuals younger than 55 was significantly higher in the southern Nevada counties compared to the remainder of the US counties (11.28% vs 6.21%, p=0.0249). Tremolite and actinolite, both members of the asbestos family, as well as erionite, winchite, richterite, and magnesioriebeckite are present in southern Nevada and all have been linked to cancer in humans.

The authors acknowledge that women and children can be exposed to fibrous minerals as a result of their husband’s or father’s occupational exposure when bringing these fibers home on their clothes. However, the authors conclude “in southern Nevada there are no major asbestos industries, thus this seems an unlikely hypothesis. Instead, the presence of asbestos and other fibers in the environment of Clark and Nye Counties, where a lower M:F sex ratio and an increased proportion of malignant mesothelioma are seen in young individuals, suggests that some of these malignant mesotheliomas are caused by environmental exposure which can happen when human activities and natural processes such as wind or water release fibers in the air.”

Michele Carbone, senior author on the study, states “further research is needed, including epidemiological, geological, mineralogical and health-based personal exposure studies in order to characterize the residential and occupational history of the malignant mesothelioma cases we studied, to highlight the highest risk areas within Clark and Nye counties, to identify the type of fibrous minerals and their precise distribution throughout Nevada, and to identify the activities responsible for the release of fibers in the air, which may be the cause of some of the malignant mesothelioma in this region.”

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The above story is based on materials provided by International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Mesothelioma in southern Nevada likely result of asbestos in environment

Forgotten asbestos mine sickens Indian villagers

RORO VILLAGE, India (AP) — Asbestos waste spills in a gray gash down the flank of a lush green hill above tribal villages that are home to thousands in eastern India. Three decades after the mines were abandoned, nothing has been done to remove the enormous, hazardous piles of broken rocks and powdery dust left behind.

In Roro Village and nearby settlements, people who never worked in the mines are dying of lung disease. Yet in a country that treats asbestos as a savior that provides cheap building materials for the poor, no one knows the true number and few care to ask.

“I feel weak, drained all the time,” Baleman Sundi gasped, pushing the words out before she lost her breath. “But I must work.” The 65-year-old paused, inhaled. “I don’t have a choice.” Another gasp. “I have to eat.”

Sundi and 17 others from a clutch of impoverished villages near the abandoned hilltop mines were diagnosed in 2012 with asbestosis, a fatal lung disease. One has since died. Tens of thousands more, some of them former mine workers, remain untested and at risk. Asbestos makes up as much as 14.3 percent of the soil around Roro Village, analysis of samples gathered by The Associated Press showed.

Few have done anything to help people such as Sundi. The villagers have no money for doctors or medical treatment, and cannot afford to move.

Neither the government nor the Indian company that ran the mines from 1963 to 1983 has made any move to clean up the estimated 700,000 tons of asbestos tailings left scattered across several kilometers (miles) of hilly mining area.

The mine’s operator, Hyderabad Asbestos Cement Products Ltd., nowadays known as HIL Ltd., says it has done nothing illegal.

“The company had followed all rules and procedures for closure of a mine and had complied with the provisions of the law, as in force in 1983,” it said in a statement released to the AP.

Sundi and the others are suing in the country’s environmental court for cleanup, compensation and a fund for future victims of asbestos-related disease. If they win, the case would set precedents for workplace safety and corporate liability, subjects often ignored or dismissed in developing India.

“There will be justice only if we win,” Sundi rasped. “Whoever did this must pay.”

India placed a moratorium on asbestos mining in 1986, acknowledging that the fibrous mineral was hazardous to the miners.

But that was the government’s last decision curtailing the spread of asbestos. It has since embraced the mineral as a cheap building material. Today India is the world’s fastest-growing market for asbestos.

In the last five years, India’s asbestos imports shot up 300 percent. The government helps the $2 billion asbestos manufacturing industry with low tariffs on imports. It has also blocked asbestos from being listed as a hazardous substance under the international Rotterdam Convention governing how dangerous chemicals are handled.

The country keeps no statistics on how many people have been sickened or died from exposure to the mineral, which industry and many government officials insist is safe when mixed with cement.

Western scientists strongly disagree.

The World Health Organization and more than 50 countries, including the United States and all of Europe, say it should be banned in all forms. Asbestos fibers lodge in the lungs and cause many diseases. The International Labor Organization estimates 100,000 people die every year from workplace exposure, and experts believe thousands more die from exposure elsewhere.

“My greatest concern is what will happen in India. It’s a slow-moving disaster, and this is only the beginning,” said Philip Landrigan, a New York epidemiologist who heads the Rome-based Collegium Ramazzini, which pioneered the field of occupational health worldwide.

“The epidemic will go largely unrecognized,” he said. Eventually, “it’s going to end up costing India billions of dollars.”

From the top of Roro Hill, a small boy leaped out to slide down the cascade of fluffy grey dust. A few villagers followed, nudging a herd of cows and goats. Huge clouds billowed in their wake.

The villagers often ignore the warnings from visiting doctors and activists to stay away from the waste. Many don’t believe the asbestos, which looks like regular rocks and dirt, could be dangerous. Others are more fatalistic, noting they hardly have a choice.

“What can we do? This is our land,” said 56-year-old Jema Sundi, diagnosed with asbestosis though she never went into the mines. “We tell the children, don’t go there. But they are children, you cannot control them.”

She then noticed her 4-year-old nephew Vijay, his tiny body covered with chalky white streaks, shrinking into himself as if trying to disappear. “You went up there today again?” she exclaimed.

Vijay, lowering his head, attempted a half-smile.

When Hyderabad Asbestos first began mining in Jharkhand in 1963, India was in its second decade of independence and attempting to industrialize. Most services and industries were nationalized, but some heavy industries and mining were opened to private companies, many of which operated opaquely.

Hydrabad Asbestos employed about 1,500 people in the asbestos mines. Most were tribal villagers eager to participate in the country’s development. But for them that development never arrived.

Kalyan Bansingh, lead plaintiff in the court case, worked more than a decade building scaffolding inside newly blasted mining caverns. Like many laborers across India, he took to chewing an unrefined sugar product called jaggery in the misguided belief that airborne fibers would adhere to the sticky bolus and stay out of his lungs.

Sometimes the company provided the jaggery along with his $2 weekly salary, but it never offered him protective masks or clothing, he said.

Bansingh regrets the job, even if it was the only paid work he ever had. “I can’t run or walk long distances. I am breathless with just a few steps,” the muscular 70-year-old said.

HIL said it followed strict health and safety policies, and that “no health or environmental damage was reported during the mine operations.” The company did not address whether it had ever sent anyone to check on the villagers’ health since the mines closed. Villagers told AP they were never been invited for a company-sponsored checkup after 1983.

The fact that Bansingh and the other plaintiffs ever had the opportunity for a diagnosis was extremely rare. Like most people in villages at the foot of Roro Hill, they cannot read or write. They live in makeshift homes of hard-packed mud, thatched roofs and tidily swept dirt floors.

“The idea that the environment, something that has always provided and been taken for granted, could be causing them harm is a notion that just doesn’t occur to them,” said T.K. Joshi, a doctor who heads India’s only university department specializing in occupational health. “And unfortunately, most Indian doctors are not trained to ask the right questions.”

Because X-rays and detailed patient interviews are rare in rural India, experts say most Indians who suffer or have died from an asbestos-related disease were likely misdiagnosed with tuberculosis, food poisoning or other illnesses common across India.

Now India’s largest asbestos-manufacturing company, HIL had revenue of about $160 million for 2013-14, while spending about $72 million on imports of asbestos from countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan and Brazil. It plans to scale back manufacturing asbestos-cement products, but the decision was not made for environmental or health concerns.

According to its annual report, the company is diversifying because the “closure of certain mines across the world has resulted in increased dependency on limited sources.”

Shutting down asbestos mines is a dirty and costly business. There is also the danger of releasing more fibers into the air just by disturbing waste or breaking down old materials. Hundreds of millions have been spent in the United States alone cleaning old asbestos mines in states including California and Montana.

The samples collected by AP and tested by California-based laboratory EMSL Analytical Inc. showed the soil around Roro Village was between 4.1 and 14.3 percent asbestos.

“It’s heartbreaking. Kids are playing on it. People are stirring it up. You don’t have to inhale much to put a cap on your life,” said Richard Fuller, CEO of the Blacksmith Institute, a New York-based watchdog that estimates 50,000 people could be at risk.

Other, smaller asbestos mines in states including Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh have also been left in a state of neglect similar to Roro’s, mining activists say.

Activists, medical workers and lawyers have described an almost Kafkaesque effort to hold the government and company accountable over the past decade, with both declaring the mine closed and subject settled long ago.

At the time the mines were open, Jharkhand state didn’t even exist. The land was part of a wider Bihar state, with its capital and official paperwork held in a different city. Neither state has been able to produce the 30-year-old documents pertaining to the mine’s closure.

“As far as environmental issues are concerned, we have already dealt with it,” Jharkhand state’s Mining Secretary Arun, who uses only one name, told AP.

In 2012, an activist group selected 150 Roro-area villagers for chest X-rays. The X-ray plates were examined by Dr. V. Murlidhar, an occupational health specialist, who confirmed 18 had the tell-tale honeycomb pattern of opaqueness that denotes asbestosis.

The results were neither surprising nor unique, he said. “More cases are likely” because asbestosis usually develops over decades of exposure, he said.

Across all of India, only 30 people have ever received marginal compensation — through out-of-court settlements — for asbestos-related disease out of hundreds of thousands of workers who have handled asbestos since the 1960s or lived near mines or manufacturing plants.

Lawyer Krishnendu Mukherjee, who is spearheading the case, has high hopes for a judgment that awards the plaintiffs and future claimants with generous compensation.

A strong verdict, he said, “sends a very strong message out to companies like HIL Ltd. that it’s not permissible to simply leave a mine, a factory, whatever it is, in a state of abandonment without looking at the repercussions on the local population or on the workers.”


Follow Katy Daigle on Twitter at http://twitter.com/katydaigle


Forgotten asbestos mine sickens Indian villagers

Westwood in No 10 asbestos protest

Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood attempted to deliver asbestos as a Christmas present to David Cameron – and told him to have sympathy because “he lost a child”.

The 73-year-old was at Downing Street with her businessman son Joseph Corre to campaign about the alleged health risks linked to fracking.

Mr Corre, whose impresario father Malcolm McLaren died of cancer due to asbestos, and his mother warned that the controversial hydraulic fracturing technique of extracting oil and gas could become “the next asbestos or thalidomide”.

They turned up outside the gates of Downing Street with another protester dressed as Santa Claus wearing a gas mask to deliver a box of asbestos – but police did not allow the “present” through.

Asked if she expected the Prime Minister to listen to their message, Ms Westwood said: “Will David Cameron listen to us? He lost a child, he must have some sympathy, and he’s not connecting the dots.”

Instead of the box of asbestos, Westwood and her son delivered “independent medical reports” on the consequences of fracking.

“They link very clearly the chemicals used in fracking industry to some really horrible, serious illnesses,” 47-year-old Mr Corre said.

“Birth defects in children, horrible cancers, skin diseases, rashes, nosebleeds, stunted growth, all kinds of things.

“We are lucky to have this information in advance from the terrible situation that his happening right now in the United States.

“We have the opportunity now, and I hope David Cameron takes it, to put an end to what could be something quite disastrous for the UK.

“David Cameron has no democratic mandate to be pushing this through on to the British people. This is something the entire country is going to start waking up to.”

The protest came after New York state governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration announced yesterday that it would ban fracking after a report concluded that it poses potential health risks.

Mr Corre said that his inspiration for taking a stance against fracking was his father’s death from cancer aged 64.

“He died a really horrible death. It was quite something and I wouldn’t want to wish that on to anybody or anybody’s family.”

The protesters claimed that chief scientific adviser Professor Sir Mark Walport warned in his annual report that the Government has not given proper consideration to the potential health risks of fracking.

But Sir Mark denied that the view that fracking could be the next asbestos or thalidomide should be attributed to him.

Rather, it was the view of another author, Andy Stirling, who contributed an evidence document to the annual report.

Sir Mark said: “With regard to fracking, the hydraulic fracturing of shale to obtain natural gas and oil, I fully endorse the report of the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

“Of course, methane is a fossil fuel, but as long as it is burned efficiently and fugitive emissions of methane gas are minimised, it is a less harmful fossil fuel than coal and oil, and is an important way-station on the global journey towards low-carbon energy.

“The scientific evidence is clear that any environmental or geological risks can be managed effectively in the UK as long as operational best practices are implemented and enforced through effective regulation.”

Downing Street declined to respond to Ms Westwood’s comments about Mr Cameron’s son.

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Westwood in No 10 asbestos protest

If You Have Been Injured by Asbestos, Please Read this Notice of Voting Rights.

WILMINGTON, Del. , Oct. 27, 2014 /CNW/ — The following statement is being issued regarding the In re Specialty Products Holding Corp. matter (Case No. 10-11780 (PJW) (Bankr. D. Del. 2010).

A Joint Plan of Reorganization (“Plan”) has been filed to reorganize Specialty Products Holding Corp. (formerly known as RPM, Inc.), Bondex International, Inc., Republic Powdered Metals, Inc., and NMBFiL, Inc. (formerly known as Bondo Corporation) (collectively, “Debtors”) in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware (“Bankruptcy Court”). 

Persons or entities with asbestos related personal injury claims against any of the Debtors may vote to accept or reject the Plan by December 2 , 2014. 

A detailed document describing the Plan, called the Disclosure Statement, was approved by the Bankruptcy Court on October 20 , 2014.  The Disclosure Statement, a copy of the Plan itself and voting materials have been sent to known holders of asbestos related personal injury claims against the Debtors or to their lawyers. 

Important Plan Provisions Regarding Asbestos Related Claims

The Plan proposes establishing a trust to resolve all asbestos personal injury claims against the Debtors.  Persons and entities with asbestos personal injury or related claims will be forever barred from asserting their claims against the Debtors or other parties specified in the Plan. If the Plan is approved by the Court, all current and future holders of asbestos personal injury claims against the Debtors can request and receive money only from the trust.  You should read the Plan and Disclosure Statement carefully for details about how the Plan, if approved, will affect your rights.

Voting Procedures

The Bankruptcy Court has issued an order describing how to vote on the Plan and the Disclosure Statement contains information that will help you decide how to vote.  Your legal rights will be affected if the Plan is approved.  For a vote to be counted, a ballot must be received at the address indicated on the ballot form by 5:00 p.m., Eastern time , on December 2, 2014 .

Under the procedures approved by the Bankruptcy Court, lawyers for holders of asbestos claims may vote on the Plan on behalf of their clients, if authorized by the client.  If you are unsure whether your lawyer is authorized to vote on your behalf, please contact your lawyer.

How to Obtain Documents

Copies of the Disclosure Statement, which includes the Plan, the voting materials, and the notice of the hearing to consider confirmation of the Plan may be obtained by visiting the following websites:  www.deb.uscourts.gov and www.loganandco.com.  You may also obtain copies of these documents by sending a request, in writing, to Logan & Company, Inc., 546 Valley Road, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043 (Attn:SPHC Voting Department) or by calling 1-866-692-2119.

Confirmation Hearing

A hearing to consider confirmation of the Plan has been scheduled for December 10, 2014 at 3:30 pm ET in Courtroom 4B at the United States District Court for the District of Delaware , J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building, located at 844 North King Street, 4th Floor, Wilmington, Delaware 19801. You may attend the Hearing but are not required to do so.

Objecting to the Plan

If you want to object to the Plan, you must file and serve a written objection on or before 5:00 p.m. ET , on December 2, 2014 .  All objections must comply with the requirements in the notice of the Confirmation Hearing.

For more information and to obtain a copy of the Plan, Disclosure Statement and Voting Materials,

Visit:  www.deb.uscourts.gov OR www.loganandco.com.

Write: Logan & Company, Inc., 546 Valley Road,

Upper Montclair, NJ 07043

(Attn:SPHC Voting Department)

Call:  1-866-692-2119

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/if-you-have-been-injured-by-asbestos-please-read-this-notice-of-voting-rights-531684759.html



Dan Prieto, Jones Day, 1.214.969.4515

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If You Have Been Injured by Asbestos, Please Read this Notice of Voting Rights.

Asbestos testing closes 2 Ocean View schools through Tuesday

Asbestos testing closes 2 Ocean View schools through Tuesday

Two Ocean View School District elementary campuses will be closed through Tuesday while the district conducts tests to determine whether there is evidence of potentially dangerous asbestos inside the Huntington Beach classrooms.

The district’s asbestos reports from the past several years show there is debris in the ceiling tiles at Oak View and Hope View elementary schools. With that in mind, and after complaints from parents about how asbestos has been handled during a construction project, the district decided to temporarily close the schools for further testing, officials said.

Parents were notified last week that testing would take place over the weekend and classes would be canceled Monday and Tuesday.



  • Topics

  • Elementary Schools

  • Middle Schools
  • MapMaps
  • Huntington Beach, CA, United States

  • “In our abundance of caution, we have decided to temporarily close as we wait for the additional test results to be completed and that they have confirmed that no asbestos is present and that there is no risk,” Hope View Principal Carrie Haskin wrote in a letter to parents.

    “We want to assure parents once reports come back that things are safe and their kids are returning to a healthy environment,” said district Assistant Supt. Roni Ellis.

    The district will continue to conduct testing on weekends until all classrooms at all 11 schools have been reviewed, Supt. Gustavo Balderas wrote in a letter to the community. No other schools are scheduled to be closed for testing.

    Parents became aware of the asbestos issue last month when district Trustee John Briscoe filed a complaint with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health after learning the material was being removed from several district schools during a modernization effort that began in July.

    Asbestos is a mineral fiber that until the 1970s was used in building products and insulation materials. Asbestos fibers from such materials can be released into the air during demolition work, repairs or remodeling. Inhaling high levels of asbestos can increase the risk of lung disease, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    Though the district maintains that the schools are safe for students, more than 100 people, mostly parents and teachers, attended a community meeting last week to voice their concerns.

    “I have been assured by the hired professional architects, contractors, abatement contractors, construction management and environmental testing companies that the schools are safe,” Balderas wrote. “I have been provided closure reports showing no airborne asbestos after [it] was abated.”

    Still, the district is investigating whether contractors continued to remove asbestos after the school year began in September, possibly putting students at three elementary campuses — Hope View, Oak View and Lake View — in contact with the dust. Cal/OSHA began its own investigation last week, officials said.

    The district will host a special board meeting at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday at the Marine View Middle School gym, 5682 Tilburg Drive, to discuss the school closures.

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    Asbestos testing closes 2 Ocean View schools through Tuesday

    Asbestos Mesothelioma Legal Advice is Available at New Website InjuryLawyerFree.com

    We know that Asbestos Mesothelioma lawyers are expert in this field. They are highly experienced and knowledgeable about this

    Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) September 19, 2014

    InjuryLawyerFree.com, a website that is designed to help people get free asbestos mesothelioma legal advice, has just launched its new and easy-to-navigate site.

    As a spokesperson for the website noted, there is a definite need for a website like http://www.InjuryLawyerFree.com. Over 2,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed annually in the United States, and many of the people who are dealing with this serious illness are unsure of what they should do, or where they can turn for legal assistance.

    This is where InjuryLawyerFree.com can help: by helping people who have been exposed to asbestos get a mesothelioma free claim evaluation, as well as find a reputable and caring asbestos mesothelioma lawyer who can assist them.

    “An expert asbestos mesothelioma lawyer can help us how to win the case,” the spokesperson said, adding that very few law firms have expert mesothelioma attorneys for asbestos cases.

    “We know that Asbestos Mesothelioma lawyers are expert in this field. They are highly experienced and knowledgeable about this.”

    Once it has been confirmed that the client has mesothelioma, a lawyer who is experienced with asbestos can find out where the asbestos exposure took place, set the recovery fees for the victim, file the case in court, provide guidelines for the payment from the mesothelioma lawsuit settlements, and collect all of the necessary documents so the client will be compensated.

    InjuryLawyerFree.com also offers in-depth information about mesothelioma, and asbestos exposure, and who is at high risk for developing this serious health condition. It also provides helpful insight about mesothelioma class action lawsuits. For example, for people who might be curious about the usual amount of the lawsuit settlements, an article on the website explains that there is no clear or definite answer. In the United States, the average amount of the settlements is usually between 30 to 40 percent of the recovery fee.

    Anybody who would like to learn more about InjuryLawyerFree.com is welcome to visit the new website; there, they can read about asbestos exposure and mesothelioma, and how they can get a free evaluation of their claim.

    About InjuryLawyerFree.com:

    InjuryLawyerFree.com is a new website dedicated to help people getting legal advice for their personal injuries as well as providing a claim evaluation at no cost nor obligations. For more information, please visit http://www.injurylawyerfree.com/asbestos-mesothelioma-lawyers-attorneys/


    Asbestos Mesothelioma Legal Advice is Available at New Website InjuryLawyerFree.com

    James Hardie Q1 profit slides 80 pct, warns of slower US recovery

    * FX changes on asbestos compensation claims hit profit

    * US housing market improving slower than expected

    * Company’s FY 2015 outlook below analyst forecasts (Adds profit detail, shares, housing market outlook)

    SYDNEY, Aug 15 (Reuters) – Australia’s James Hardie Industries PLC , the world’s biggest fibre cement products maker, said on Friday its first-quarter earnings tumbled and warned full-year profit will fall short of analyst expectations as the U.S. housing market recovers more slowly than it previously anticipated.

    The firm, which generates two-thirds of its revenue in the United States and Europe, saw its Sydney-listed shares slump after it said net profit for the first quarter of its fiscal year skidded 80 percent. The earnings drop was mainly because of unfavourable changes in exchange rates as the company pays compensation for claims of health damage from historic use of asbestos in products.

    Net profit for the three months to June 30 fell to $28.9 million compared to $142.2 million a year ago. Not including asbestos adjustments, gross profit grew 11 percent to $140 million, while revenue rose 12 percent to $416.8 million.

    But the company, which supplies products like cladding for the outside walls of houses, presented a more muted outlook on the recovery in the U.S. housing construction market than it gave when it reported results for the previous fiscal year three months ago.

    In Sydney James Hardie shares fell as much as 7.5 percent to touch four-month lows. By 0011 GMT the stock had recovered slightly, trading 6.8 percent lower at A$13.08.

    In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, the company said while the U.S. market was improving, with housing starts in the first quarter up 4 percent from a year earlier, the improvement was at “a more moderate level than originally assumed for the year”.

    “Recent flattening in housing activity has created some uncertainty about the pace of the recovery in the short-term,” the statement said. “Although U.S. housing activity has been improving for some time, market conditions remain somewhat uncertain and some input costs remain volatile.”

    James Hardie noted analysts have forecast it will post operating profit excluding asbestos compensation costs of between $226 million and $261 million for the full financial year. But the company said it expects the result to be in the range of $205 million to $235 million, compared with $197.2 million for the previous year.

    (1 US dollar = 1.0733 Australian dollar) (Reporting By Byron Kaye and Jane Wardell; Editing by Chris Reese and Kenneth Maxwell)

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    James Hardie Q1 profit slides 80 pct, warns of slower US recovery

    Hazards of asbestos use still hound poor Asian countries

    Vaishali, India — In most of Asia, asbestos is still being actively pushed as a product that benefits the poor, despite research data from various reputable health organizations concluding that it can cause serious health problems.

    The International Labor Organization (ILO), World Health Organization (WHO), medical researchers, and more than 50 countries say the mineral should be banned; asbestos fibers lodge in the lungs, and cause disease. ILO estimates 100,000 people die from workplace exposure every year.

    WORKING WITH ‘HAZARDOUS’ ASBESTOS (AP) — A worker covers his face with a handkerchief to serve as protection from the hazards of handling asbestos sheets at a factory in Bhojpur, Bihar, India in this Nov. 23, 2013 photo. Scientists and medical experts overwhelmingly agree that inhaling any form of asbestos can lead to deadly diseases, but the Indian asbestos lobby say the risks are overblown.

    But industry executives at the 2013 asbestos conference in New Delhi said the risks are overblown.

    Instead, they described their business as a form of social welfare for hundreds of thousands of impoverished Indians still living in flimsy, mud-and-thatch huts.

    “We’re here not only to run our businesses, but also to serve the nation,” India’s Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers Association Director Abhaya Shankar.

    Umesh Kumar, a roadside vendor in Bihar’s capital Patna (around 70 kilometers from Vaishali), has long known there are health hazards to the 3-by-1-meter (10-by-3-foot) asbestos cement sheets he sells for 600 rupees ($10) each. But he doesn’t guide customers to the 800 rupee tin or fiberglass alternatives.

    “This is a country of poor people, and for less money, they can have a roof over their heads,” he said.

    Yet there are some poor Indians trying to keep asbestos out of their communities.

    In the farming village of Vaishali, residents became outraged by the construction of an asbestos factory in their backyard. They had learned about the dangers of asbestos from a school boy’s science textbooks, and worried that asbestos fibers would blow into their tiny thatch homes. Their children, they said, could contract lung diseases most Indian doctors would never test for, let alone treat.

    Durable and heat-resistant, asbestos was long a favorite insulation material in the West.

    Medical experts say inhaling any form of asbestos can lead to deadly diseases 20 to 40 years later, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis, or the scarring of the lungs.

    Dozens of countries, including Japan, Argentina, and all European Union nations, have banned it entirely. Others, like the United States (US), have severely curtailed its use.

    “All types of asbestos fiber are causally implicated in the development of various diseases and premature death,” the Societies of Epidemiology said in a 2012 position statement.

    Russia now provides most asbestos in the world market. Meanwhile, rich nations are suffering health and economic consequences from past use.

    American businesses have paid out at least $1.3 billion in the largest collection of personal injury lawsuits in US legal history. Billions have been spent stripping asbestos from buildings in the West.

    The two-day asbestos conference in December was billed as scientific, though organizers admitted they had no new research. Many of the speakers are regulars at asbestos conferences in the developing world.

    One could say they’ve gone back in time to defend asbestos.

    The Indian lobby’s website refers to 1998 WHO guidelines for controlled use of chrysotile, but skips updated WHO advice from 2007, suggesting that all asbestos be banned. Its executive director, John Nicodemus, dismissed the WHO update as “scaremongering.”


    Hazards of asbestos use still hound poor Asian countries

    Asbestos going strong in developing world, where industry glosses over scientific consensus

    The executives mingled over tea and sugar cookies, and the chatter was upbeat. Their industry, they said at the conference in the Indian capital, saves lives and brings roofs, walls and pipes to some of the world’s poorest people.

    The industry’s wonder product, though, is one whose very name evokes the opposite: asbestos. A largely outlawed scourge to the developed world, it is still going strong in the developing one, and killing tens of thousands of people each year.

    “We’re here not only to run our businesses, but to also serve the nation,” said Abhaya Shankar, a director of India’s Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers Association.

    In India, the world’s biggest asbestos importer, it’s a $2 billion industry with double-digit annual growth, at least 100 manufacturing plants and some 300,000 jobs.

    The International Labor Organization, World Health Organization, the wider medical community and more than 50 countries say the mineral should be banned. Asbestos fibers lodge in the lungs and cause many diseases. The ILO estimates 100,000 people die every year from workplace exposure, and experts believe thousands more die from exposure outside the workplace.

    The asbestos executives who gathered in the ballroom of a luxury New Delhi hotel wanted to knock down those concerns. The risks are overblown, many said, and scientists and officials from rich Western nations who cite copious research showing it causes cancer are distorting the facts.

    More than two-thirds of India’s 1.2 billion people live in poverty on less than $1.25 a day, including hundreds of millions still in makeshift rural dwellings that offer little protection from insects, harsh weather and roaming predators such as tigers and leopards.

    “These are huge numbers. We’re talking about millions of people,” Shankar said. “So there is a lot of latent demand.”

    Yet there are some poor Indians trying to keep asbestos out of their communities, even as the government supports the industry by lowering import duties and using asbestos in construction of subsidized housing.

    “People outside of India, they must be wondering what kind of fools we are,” said Ajit Kumar Singh from the Indian Red Cross Society. “They don’t use it. They must wonder why we would.”


    In the ancient farming village of Vaishali, in impoverished Bihar state, the first word about the dangers of asbestos came from chemistry and biology textbooks that a boy in a neighboring town brought home from school, according to villagers interviewed by The Associated Press.

    A company was proposing an asbestos plant in the village of 1,500 people located about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) east of New Delhi.

    The villagers worried that asbestos fibers could blow from the factory across their wheat, rice and potato fields and into their tiny mud-and-thatch homes. Their children, they said, could contract lung diseases most Indian doctors would never test for, let alone treat. Neither India nor any of its 29 states keep statistics on how many people might be affected by asbestos.

    The people of Vaishali began protesting in January 2011. They objected that the structure would be closer to their homes than the legal limit of 500 meters (1,640 feet). Still, bricks were laid, temporary management offices were built and a hulking skeleton of steel beams went up across the tree-studded landscape.

    The villagers circulated a petition demanding the factory be halted. But in December 2012, its permit was renewed, inciting more than 6,000 people from the region to rally on a main road, blocking traffic for 11 hours. They gave speeches and chanted “Asbestos causes cancer.”

    Amid the chaos, a few dozen villagers took matters into their own hands, pulling down the partially built factory, brick by brick.

    “It was a moment of desperation. No one was listening to us,” said a villager involved in the demolition, a teacher who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from the company. “There was no other way for us to express our outrage.”

    Within four hours, the factory and offices were demolished: bricks, beams, pipes and asbestos roofing, all torn down. The steel frame was the only remnant left standing.

    “Still, we did not feel triumphant,” the teacher said. “We knew it wasn’t over.”

    They were right. The company filed lawsuits, still pending, against several villagers, alleging vandalism and theft.


    Durable and heat-resistant, asbestos was long a favorite insulation material in the West, but has also been used in everything from shoes and dental fillings to fireproofing sprays, brake linings and ceiling tiles.

    Scientists and medical experts overwhelmingly agree that inhaling any form of asbestos can lead to deadly diseases including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis, or the scarring of the lungs. Exposure may also lead to other debilitating ailments, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

    About 125 million people worldwide are exposed to asbestos at work each year, the WHO says. Because the disease typically takes 20 to 40 years to manifest, workers can go through their careers without realizing they are getting sick.

    Dozens of countries including Japan, South Korea, Argentina, Saudi Arabia and all European Union nations have banned asbestos entirely. Others including the United States have severely curtailed its use.

    Most asbestos on the world market today comes from Russia. Brazil, Kazakhstan and China also export, though some have been reviewing their positions.

    Canada’s Quebec province was the world’s biggest asbestos producer for much of the 20th century. It got out of the business in 2012, after a new provincial government questioned why it was mining and exporting a material its own citizens shunned.

    Asia is the biggest market. India last year imported $235 million worth of the stuff, or about half of the global trade.

    The global asbestos lobby says the mineral has been unfairly maligned by Western nations that used it irresponsibly. It also says one of the six forms of asbestos is safe: chrysotile, or white asbestos, which accounts for more than 95 percent of all asbestos used since 1900, and all of what’s used today.

    “Chrysotile you can eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner!” said Kanat Kapbayel of Kazakhstan’s United Minerals and a board member of the International Chrysotile Association.

    Chrysotile is a serpentine mineral, meaning its fibers are curly and more flexible than the other more jagged and sharp forms called amphiboles. The lobby and its supporters say this distinction makes all the difference.

    A vast majority of experts in science and medicine reject this.

    “A rigorous review of the epidemiological evidence confirms that all types of asbestos fiber are causally implicated in the development of various diseases and premature death,” the Joint Policy Committee of the Societies of Epidemiology said in a 2012 position statement.

    Squeezed out of the industrialized world, the asbestos industry is trying to build up new markets and has created lobbying organizations to help it sell asbestos to poor countries, particularly in Asia, it said.


    Developed nations are still reckoning with health and economic consequences from past asbestos use.

    American businesses have paid out at least $1.3 billion in the largest and longest-running collection of personal injury lawsuits in U.S. legal history, according to a 2012 report by the California-based Rand research corporation. Two years ago, an Italian court sentenced two businessmen from Swiss building material maker Eternit AG to 16 years in prison for negligence leading to more than 2,000 asbestos-related deaths. Billions of dollars have been spent stripping asbestos from buildings in the U.S. and Europe.

    Arun Saraf, the Indian asbestos association’s chairman, said India has learned from the West’s mistakes.

    He said the lobby’s 15 member companies maintain the strictest safety standards in their factories. That includes limiting airborne dust, properly disposing of waste and insisting employees wear safety masks, gloves and protective clothing.

    The vast majority of asbestos used in India is mixed with cement and poured into molds for corrugated roof sheets, wall panels or pipes. Fibers can be released when the sheets are sawed or hammered, and when wear and weather break them down. Scientists say those released fibers are just as dangerous as the raw mineral.

    AP journalists who visited a working factory and a shuttered one in Bihar found both had dumped broken sheets and raw material in fields or uncovered pits within the factory premises. Workers without any safety gear were seen handling the broken sheets at both factories. The working factory was operated by Ramco Industries Ltd., while the other owned by Nibhi Industries Pvt. Ltd. was supplying materials to UAL Industries Ltd.

    Saraf, who is also UAL’s managing director, said the materials left strewn across the factory grounds were meant to be pulverized and recycled into new roofing sheets, and were no more dangerous than the final product as the asbestos had already been mixed with cement.

    He said Nibhi was not an association member, but “I have been informed that Nibhi workers are provided with all the personal protective equipment.”

    Some employees of Ramco’s working factory said they were satisfied that asbestos was safe, and were delighted by the benefits of steady work. But several former employees of both factories said they were given masks only on inspection days, and rarely if ever had medical checkups. None was aware that going home with asbestos fibers on their clothing or hair could put their families at risk.

    Ramco CEO Prem Shanker said all employees working in areas where asbestos was kept unmixed were given safety equipment and regular medical checkups that were reviewed by government authorities. “Ramco has consistently gone the extra mile to ensure a safe working environment,” he said. AP was not given permission to visit these indoor areas.

    Indian customers like the asbestos sheets because they’re sturdy, heat resistant and quieter in the rain than tin or fiberglass. But most of all, they’re cheap.

    Umesh Kumar, a roadside vendor in Bihar’s capital of Patna, sells precut 3-by-1 meter (10-by-3 foot) asbestos cement sheets for 600 rupees ($10) each. A tin or a fiberglass sheet of similar strength costs 800 rupees.

    “I’ve known it’s a health hazard for about 10 years, but what can we do? This is a country of poor people, and for less money they can have a roof over their heads,” Kumar said.

    “These people are not aware” of the health risks, he said. But as sellers of asbestos sheets wanting to stay in business, “we’re not able to tell them much.”


    The two-day asbestos conference in December was billed as scientific. But organizers said they had no new research.

    One could say they’ve gone back in time to defend their products.

    The Indian asbestos lobby’s website refers to 1998 WHO guidelines for controlled use of chrysotile, but skips updated WHO advice from 2007 suggesting that all asbestos be banned. The lobby also ignores the ILO’s 2006 recommendation to ban asbestos, and refers only to its 1996 suggestion of strict regulations.

    When asked why the association ignored the most recent advice, its executive director, John Nicodemus, waved his hand dismissively. “The WHO is scaremongering,” he said.

    Many of the speakers are regulars at asbestos conferences around the world, including in Brazil, Thailand, Malaysia, Ukraine and Indonesia.

    American Robert Nolan, who heads a New York-based organization called Environmental Studies International, told the Indian delegates that “a ban is a little like a taboo in a primitive society,” and that those who ban asbestos are “not looking at the facts.”

    David Bernstein, an American-born toxicologist based in Geneva, said that although chrysotile can cause disease if inhaled in large quantities or for prolonged periods, so could any tiny particle. He has published dozens of chrysotile-friendly studies and consulted for the Quebec-based Chrysotile Institute, which lost its Canadian government funding and shut down in 2012.

    When asked by an audience member about funding for his research, he said some has come from chrysotile interests without elaborating on how much. A short-term study generally costs about $500,000, he said, and a long-term research project can cost up to about $4 million.

    He presented an animated video demonstrating how one special kind of human blood cell called a macrophage can engulf a squiggly white asbestos fiber, dissolve it in acid and carry it out of the lungs. He said his research concludes that smaller doses for shorter periods “produce no fibrosis.”

    “We have defense mechanisms. Our lungs are remarkable,” Bernstein said. To suffer any health problems, “you have to live long enough.”

    Other researchers have drawn different conclusions. Their studies indicate that most chrysotile isn’t eliminated but ends up in the membrane lining the lungs, where the rare malignancy mesothelioma develops and chews through the chest wall, leading to excruciating death.

    Research such as Bernstein’s frustrates retired U.S. Assistant Surgeon General Dr. Richard Lemen, who has studied asbestos since 1970 and first advocated a chrysotile ban in 1976.

    “His presentation is pretty slick, and when he puts it on animation mode, people think: ‘Wow, he must know what he’s talking about,'” Lemen said by telephone from Atlanta. But Bernstein or Nolan “would get shot down if they stood up and talked about their research” at a legitimate scientific conference, he said.

    Debate has ended for richer countries, but that has not stopped asbestos use in poorer ones, Lemen said.

    “I’ve been saying the same thing over and over for 40 years. You feel like Sisyphus rolling the stone up the hill, and it comes back down.”


    Research conducted around the world has not convinced some Indian officials, who say there is not enough evidence to prove a link between chrysotile and disease in India.

    Gopal Krishna, an activist with the Ban Asbestos India, calls this argument “ridiculous.”

    “Are they saying Indian people’s lungs are different than people’s in the West?”

    The permit for the asbestos plant in Vaishali was canceled by Bihar’s chief minister last year after prolonged agitation, but some in his government still rejected that the mineral is hazardous.

    “From the scientific information I have received, there is no direct health hazard with asbestos production,” said Dipak Kumar Singh, who until recently was Bihar’s environment secretary and oversaw industrial zones at the same time. He’s now in charge of water management.

    The state health secretary, Deepak Kumar, disagreed.

    “It’s not safe,” he said. “Of course it can affect the health system, create a burden for us all and especially the poor.”

    India in 1986 placed a moratorium on licensing any new asbestos mining, but has never banned use of the mineral despite two Supreme Court rulings ordering lawmakers to bring the law in line with ILO standards.

    Last year, an Indian delegation traveled to Geneva to join Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Zimbabwe and Vietnam in opposing the listing of chrysotile as a hazardous chemical under the international Rotterdam Convention, which governs the labeling and trade of dangerous chemicals. Without unanimous support among the convention’s 154 members, the effort to list chrysotile failed again.

    An Indian Labor Ministry advisory committee set up in 2012 to give a recommendation on asbestos has yet to release a report. The Health Ministry has said asbestos is harmful, but that it has no power to do anything about it. The Environment Ministry continues to approve new factories even as it says asbestos may be phased out.

    The position of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new government is unclear, but during 12 years as chief minister of Gujarat state, Modi oversaw a boom in asbestos manufacturing and in the asbestos-laden ship-breaking industry.

    Meanwhile, village-level resistance continues. Vaishali sparked other protests, including in the nearby district of Bhojpur.

    “We’ll start a people’s revolution if we have to,” said blacksmith Dharmatma Sharma, founder of a local environmental group.

    “Many people are not aware of the effects, especially the illiterate,” said Madan Prasad Gupta, a village leader in Bhojpur, while sipping tea with other villagers at the roadside tea shop he built decades ago when he had no idea what asbestos was.

    Over his head: a broken, crumbling asbestos cement roof.


    Follow Katy Daigle on Twitter at http://twitter.com/katydaigle


    Asbestos going strong in developing world, where industry glosses over scientific consensus