_ap_ufes{"success":true,"siteUrl":"friableasbestos.com","urls":{"Home":"http://friableasbestos.com","Category":"http://friableasbestos.com/category/current-asbestos-news/","Archive":"http://friableasbestos.com/2015/04/","Post":"http://friableasbestos.com/asbestos-firms-ready-to-fight-silvers-slanted-legal-system/","Page":"http://friableasbestos.com/effect-asbestos-mesothelioma/","Nav_menu_item":"http://friableasbestos.com/69/"}}_ap_ufee

September 22, 2018

Asbestos imports rising in Canada despite health warnings

Despite rising fears of asbestos-related illnesses, imports of products containing asbestos show little sign of slowing.

According to Statistics Canada figures, imports of asbestos-related items rose to $6-million last year from $4.9-million in 2013. The bulk of these goods consisted of asbestos brake linings and pads, which hit $3.6-million in imports in 2014, a seven-year high. Other imports included raw asbestos, friction materials and some items containing crocidolite, which is considered the most dangerous form of asbestos.

More Related to this Story

The dollar amounts may not seem like a lot of money given Canada’s overall trade, but in terms of brake pads that translates into hundreds of thousands entering the Canadian market each year. The World Health Organization and other agencies have said that all forms of asbestos are carcinogenic and the best way to eliminate asbestos-related diseases is to stop using it.

Asbestos is by far the top on-the-job killer in Canada, accounting for almost 5,000 death claims since 1996. Many victims die of mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer, though it may take 20 to 50 years after exposures to materialize. And yet Canada continues to allow imports and exports of asbestos, unlike other dozens of countries such as Australia, Japan, Sweden and Britain, which have imposed a ban.

Canada has imported more than $100-million in asbestos brake pad and linings in the past decade. In total, more than $250-million in imports of asbestos and asbestos-containing products entered the country between 2004 and 2014. Canada was also one of the world’s largest exporters of asbestos, though raw shipments stopped in 2011 after the last mines closed. Last year, this country exported $1.8-million worth of asbestos products.

A key concern about the brake pads centres on mechanics, who often use air hoses to clean car parts while replacing them, putting dangerous dust in the air. In the past decade, 61 claims for the deaths of auto, truck and bus mechanics stemming from asbestos-related diseases have been approved, according to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada.

Brake mechanics, along with construction workers and shipyard workers, are among those most at risk of exposure to asbestos at work, according to the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. A tally by Carex Canada, a research project funded by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, showed 4,300 people in auto repair and maintenance are exposed to asbestos in the workplace.

The federal government has long maintained a policy of “controlled use” of the mineral and Health Canada says that as long as the fibres are enclosed or tightly bound, there is no significant health risk. It’s difficult to ensure, though, that fibres stay tightly bound as materials wear out.

“It’s hard to quantify the risk, but with a known carcinogen that’s associated with cancers at extremely low levels of exposure, I just don’t think you can be too cautious on this. And it’s not like there isn’t a viable alternative. There are other brake pads out there,” says Paul Demers, a University of Toronto professor in public health and director at the Occupational Cancer Research Centre at Cancer Care Ontario.

Canada’s two main opposition parties want to see the end of asbestos use in Canada.

“We need to develop a comprehensive strategy to phase out the use of dangerous materials, especially asbestos,” Liberal MP Geoff Regan said, adding that his party wants a ban of all asbestos use in Canada. “When it comes to brake pads, there’s really no need to have these products in Canada since our manufacturers have largely replaced asbestos with safer alternatives. I can’t imagine that Canadian drivers would accept the idea that these products are being used in their cars, if they were really fully aware of the situation.”

Mr. Regan wants to see more education on the dangers of asbestos, a national registry of federal public buildings with asbestos and more monitoring of asbestos-related diseases in Canada.

Ending the use of asbestos brake pads “is an excellent place to start because brake shoes are one thing that a lot of home handymen, backyard mechanics can do on their own, so therefore you are exposing people outside the industrial setting and into the residential setting. There’s unnecessary risk,” said NDP MP Pat Martin, who has been calling for a ban for nearly two decades.

A couple of U.S. states have passed laws restricting use of brake pads with asbestos and momentum is building to limit their use among manufacturers and in imports.

That effort is going national. On Jan. 21, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Environmental Council of the States, the Brake Manufacturers Council and other industry stakeholders that will limit the use of asbestos (along with copper and other elements) in all brake pads including imports, said Bill Hanvey, executive director of the Brake Manufacturers Council, in an interview.

“We’re trying to make sure we have a level playing field because asbestos is a cheaper ingredient and the North American manufacturers have eliminated asbestos from their formulations many years ago and substituted more expensive materials to avoid using asbestos,” said Mr. Hanvey, who is based near Raleigh, N.C., and is also senior vice-president of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association.

“We want to make sure we’re not put at a competitive disadvantage by the importation of products that contain asbestos.”

Safer, made-in-Canada alternatives to asbestos are available, though they cost more. Rick Jamieson is president and chief executive officer of Guelph, Ont.-based ABS Friction, an asbestos-free brake-pad factory. He wants to see a complete asbestos ban in Canada.

“We would like to see the same legislation [as some U.S. states] so that it’s a level playing field across North America and that Canada doesn’t end up a dumping ground for asbestos brake pads,” he said. “Because if they’re going to ban them in the U.S., they’re going to go somewhere.”

Marc Brazeau, president and CEO of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada, said workers’ safety is a top priority and that the organization would not object to a ban provided the industry was given sufficient notice. “If there is a phase-out period and an opportunity for companies to react, I’m very optimistic and confident that our industry would react in an appropriate way,” he said.

Concern over brake pads has prompted Ontario’s Ministry of Labour to issue a warning. Asbestos “in aftermarket replacement brake pads poses an increased risk of asbestos-related disease for auto brake mechanics,” the ministry said in a 2013 alert.

It noted that the presence of asbestos in aftermarket brake pads “poses an increased risk of exposure to hazardous concentrations of asbestos dust during the maintenance and repair of asbestos-containing friction materials for auto brake mechanics.” It recommended employers “only use brake pads that do not contain asbestos.”

In an e-mail to the Globe, the ministry said it is “aware of and continues to be concerned about the hazard, and we are looking into what more can be done to ensure the safety of workers.”

Health Canada’s website still says asbestos poses health risks “only when fibres are present in the air that people breathe.” It does not say that all forms of asbestos are a known carcinogen nor that even low levels of exposure can be dangerous. When asked last November if it plans to revise its website, last updated in October, 2012, a spokesperson said in an e-mail that “there are no plans to update it as the health risks to asbestos have not changed and there’s nothing to add at this point.”

The department said asbestos brake pads do not pose a significant health risk to consumers. Regarding the risks to mechanics’ health in working with asbestos brake pads, Health Canada said “in the workplace, exposure associated with the use of brake pads containing asbestos could occur during installation, removal, and inspection processes if fibres become airborne.”

Continued imports of asbestos brake pads is a concern, given that most garages and body shops aren’t unionized, and subject to little regulatory oversight, says Jim Brophy, adjunct professor of sociology at the University of Windsor and former director of the Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers in Windsor and Sarnia.

“Why would we be importing it especially into operations like brakes, where the very nature of brakes is that there is a wearing down of the pad. It’s endemic to the design of the thing.”

He’s critical of Health Canada’s message that asbestos doesn’t pose a big risk if fibres don’t become airborne. “That doesn’t talk about the real world. They don’t put asbestos in a bottle and leave it on the shelves. People are actually grinding it, they’re tearing it off, they’re blowing it around. This is what you do with brake shoes and other products that have asbestos (such as pipes).”

View original post here – 

Asbestos imports rising in Canada despite health warnings

Asbestos at federal building was a surprise to electrician

Ottawa electrician Denis Lapointe says he was exposed to asbestos and other toxins at work for 16 years, and only recently learned the full extent of his potential exposure after filing access to information requests.

The 54-year-old licensed electrician and former public servant had a right to know he was working around hazardous substances.

Now he wonders how many other workers at the Canada Revenue Agency buildings at 875 Heron Rd. may have been inadvertently exposed to asbestos.

Lapointe worked for the CRA from 1992 to 2008 and over that time, the Heron Road taxation facility accommodated thousands of workers.

His job involved drilling and pulling wires through walls, floors and ceilings. He says since he didn’t know he could be disturbing asbestos all those years — his fellow workers wouldn’t have known either.

“I was exposed and I wasn’t properly protected, and here I was walking through this place, using air hoses and whatnot and blowing it to other people, so I have a conscience…That eats me up,” says Lapointe.

Lapointe has obtained documents that show the asbestos contamination was and continues to be present on all floors of the building where he worked. Lapointe says he had to get the reports through access to information requests.

Denis St. Jean, the national health and safety officer for the Public Service Alliance of Canada, says Lapointe should have been informed of the dangers in his workplace.

“Since 1986 the Canada Labour Code applies. There should have been at least some risk assessments on whether or not these buildings have asbestos containing materials … so they can have readily available that information for their workers,” St. Jean says.

A 2014 consultant's report found the CRA building at 875 Heron Rd. would need to remove asbestos containing materials and debris in order to comply with federal regulations. (Julie Ireton/CBC)A 2014 consultant’s report found the CRA building at 875 Heron Rd. would need to remove asbestos containing materials …Poll question

On mobile?Click here to vote on whether employers should have to tell their employees about asbestos or not.

Years of asbestos reports

Decades of asbestos assessment reports for 875 Heron Rd. show contamination in certain areas that would be of concern to tradespeople or maintenance workers.

A consultant’s report from October 2014 reads: “Based on the findings of the reassessment, the facility is not in compliance. In order to bring the subject facility into compliance with applicable regulations, GEC [the consultant] recommends repair and or removal of damaged ACMs [asbestos containing materials] as well as asbestos-containing debris.”

It is not clear what policy or code the building does not comply with.

Public Works and Government Services Canada owns the building.

In a statement, the department says it “proceeds regularly with assessments of all building conditions including asbestos-containing materials. This report pertaining to 875 Heron Rd. is part of our regular due diligence, to ensure that the building conditions comply with all codes and regulations.”

The department says there are only small amounts of asbestos in remote areas of the building. But as a tradesperson, Lapointe assesses it differently.

– DATABASE: 16 carcinogens in Canadian workplaces

“It’s everywhere. It lines all kinds of piping, it lines ventilation piping, it’s in plaster, it’s in grout that finishes the walls, it’s in the cement where you’re chipping, and the tiles. It’s identified everywhere,” he says.

Bob Kingston, a health and safety expert and national president of the Agriculture Union, a component of the country’s biggest public service union, says the federal government is too often allowed to get away with safety breaches.

“In the federal public service they just say we’re working on it and that’s good enough. They come back every year, and as long as they have some report saying they’re working on it everything is fine,” Kingston says.

Lapointe sent for health testing in 1998

For years, Lapointe, a non-smoker, has suffered from poor health and breathing problems, although he has not been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease. He’s been searching for answers from his former employer – CRA – as well as other departments, including Public Works and Health Canada.

He’s trying to figure out what he was exposed to in the workplace and what could be making him sick. He knows the latency for asbestos-related disease can be 10 to 40 years.

During Lapointe’s sleuthing, he says he discovered correspondence showing his employer knew he’d potentially been exposed to asbestos as far back as 1998, when he and three other electricians were sent for chest X-rays and pulmonary tests.

The letter from CRA to Health Canada reads: “There is a possibility that in performing their duties over the past few years that one or all of them could have been inadvertently exposed to asbestos-containing material.”

Lapointe says he wasn’t told about the potential asbestos exposure. He thought he was tested because of chemical exposure in the building.

Denis Lapointe filed access to information requests to try to find out what he might have been exposed to in the workplace, which may have led to health problems. (Julie Ireton/CBC)Denis Lapointe filed access to information requests to try to find out what he might have been exposed to in the …“What other reason would there have been? I can’t say what I thought then because I really didn’t know. Just the fact I wasn’t being provided [the information] is a pretty good start that I wasn’t supposed to know.”

Lapointe says he was never given the results of those medical tests, but documents he’s received show he was diagnosed with pulmonary restrictions on several occasions. The testing stopped in 2004 without explanation, he says.

“They never told me there was any concerns,” he says.

Labour Canada now investigating

Lapointe’s concerns about the building and his health issues have now led to an investigation by the federal Labour Department.

A health and safety officer is now looking into asbestos, air quality and other potential safety issues. Lapointe and two other workers filed joint grievances detailing their health concerns and took their issues to the Public Service Labour Relations Board.

Occupational health and safety specialist Laura Lozanski says in her experience there’s a lack of enforcement and political will when it comes to protecting workers.

The former nurse who oversees occupational health for the Canadian Association of University Teachers says this case raises serious issues.

“Workers have the right to go into a workplace and expect their workplace to be safe. That’s the law,” she says.

Also Read

More – 

Asbestos at federal building was a surprise to electrician

Bungendore family face ruin after their horrific Fluffy discovery

Eddie Casey and his partner Dale Freestone with their children Grace Casey, 1, and Leon Casey, 3, outside their home in Bungendore which contains Mr Fluffy asbestos.

Eddie Casey and his partner Dale Freestone with their children Grace Casey, 1, and Leon Casey, 3, outside their home in Bungendore which contains Mr Fluffy asbestos. Photo: Melissa Adams

Canberra couple Eddie Casey and Dale Freestone were well aware of Mr Fluffy asbestos when it came time for them to buy a home in August.

That’s why they hired a licensed asbestos assessor from Canberra to fully check the small Bungendore cottage in which they wanted to raise their two children.

When the report came back, all clear for signs of Mr Fluffy’s distinctive loose amosite asbestos, the sale proceeded and the couple crossed the NSW border from their rented Garran home to start enjoying country life with Leon, 3, Grace, 1.

That’s why a letter last month from WorkCover NSW informing them their new cottage contained Mr Fluffy came as an almighty shock.

“I thought it was a mistake in the paperwork,” said Eddie, a 25-year-old landscape architecture student at the University of Canberra.

He asked the Palerang Council to check its records and hired another A-class licensed asbestos assessor from Canberra, Robson Environmental, to urgently test the house.

Devastatingly for the family, council records confirmed that the home had tested positive for Mr Fluffy during a voluntary dust sampling program conducted by the Queanbeyan City Council in 1999.

The Robson report further confirmed amosite in the hallway and master bedroom and in visible patches stuck to the timber joists under a second layer of non-asbestos insulation in the ceiling.

Mr Casey and Ms Freestone are now receiving legal advice.

The couple have found another rental home in Bungendore and are moving out of their cottage.

They are also facing financial ruin, having scraped together the money for the deposit on their home. Now they face rent and all associated costs while paying back a mortgage on a house in which they can no longer live.

The family have decided to come out publicly to illustrate the complete lack of a safety net for Mr Fluffy-affected homes in NSW. They note that if they had bought a similar home back in Canberra, they would be entitled to immediate financial help worth $14,000 and be offered a buyback of their property – almost certainly at the price they paid.

John Barilaro, the NSW Nationals member for Monaro and a member of the NSW Joint Select Committee on Loose Fill Asbestos, said this family’s case was a “worst nightmare” of NSW Mr Fluffy discoveries.

But Mr Barilaro expressed confidence that the NSW Government was poised to financially help affected families consistent with the aid rolled out by the ACT government – $10,000 for each family and $2000 per dependent child.

Given the urgency of the Mr Fluffy crisis, the committee was also bringing forward its reporting date from February to just before Christmas.

Mr Casey said: “Although we have a very uncertain new year ahead of us, it is important the NSW government provide us with the same immediate financial assistance as ACT Fluffy residents, as it would go some way to helping us regather ourselves and look forward to Christmas as a family.

“Long term, we want the NSW Government to announce the same outcome as ACT residents, for the buy-back and demolition of all Fluffy-affected houses.”

It is still unclear how many homes are affected by Mr Fluffy across NSW, apart from the 11 homes confirmed in Queanbeyan, one in Yass and one in Bungendore. NSW WorkCover is continuing to offer free assessments to suspect homes.

Read original article:  

Bungendore family face ruin after their horrific Fluffy discovery

Cancer from asbestos caused by more than one cell mutation

Cancer from asbestos caused by more than one cell mutation

[ Back to EurekAlert! ]

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

3-Dec-2014

[

| E-mail

]


Share Share

Contact: Shane Canning
shane.canning@biomedcentral.com
44-203-192-2243
BioMed Central
@biomedcentral


Cancer from asbestos caused by more than one cell mutation

It has been a long held belief that tumors arising from exposure to asbestos are caused by mutations in one cell, which then produces multiple clones. This hypothesis is challenged by new research published in the open access Journal of Translational Medicine, which suggests it is caused by mutations in multiple cells.

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the mesothelium – the protective lining that covers the internal organs, such as the lungs, the heart and the abdominal cavity. It is estimated that malignant mesothelioma affects up to 3,200 people in the USA each year, most of whom die within a year of diagnosis. The primary cause of this cancer is exposure to asbestos, which used to be used in building construction. The inhalation of asbestos fibers causes inflammation that can cause mutations in cells even after 30-50 years of dormancy.

Most cancers are thought to be monoclonal, where all the cells in a tumor can be traced back to a mutation in a single cell. Researchers from University of Hawaii Cancer Center set out to investigate whether this was the case with malignant mesothelioma, or if it was polyclonal in which the tumor is the result of the growth of two or more mutant distinct cells.

During early development of the female embryo one of the two X chromosomes becomes inactivated and this inactivation is passed on to all subsequent cells. By tracing this inactivated X using a process called HUMARA assay it is possible to determine whether or not a cancer is monoclonal.

In this study, 16 samples from 14 tumor biopsies from women with mesothelioma had a HUMARA assay performed on them. These were compared to control DNA samples from a healthy male and female, and a known monoclonal cell line. The samples provided insight into the origin of the tumors and they were found to be polyclonal.

Lead researcher, Michele Carbone from University of Hawaii, says: “Our study indicates that malignant mesothelioma is the result of polyclonal tumors, a finding that has implications for our understanding of the disease and the clinic. For example, patients that have their tumors removed at the early stages of this type of cancer will most often go on to have a recurrence in spite of the appearance of the eradication of malignant mesothelioma. This new insight helps us understand why that may be.”

These findings have implications for future research, especially with the advent of genomic medicine in the treatment of tumors. These results suggest that future approaches should target polyclonal cancerous cells with different types of mutations rather than a single monoclonal cell.

Michele Carbone says: “Our findings underscore the need to attack simultaneously several different molecular targets to try to eliminate the different malignant mesothelioma cell clones, as each clone may carry its own distinct set of molecular alterations.”

###

Media Contact

Shane Canning

Media Manger

BioMed Central

T: +44 (0)20 3192 2243

M: +44 (0)78 2598 4543

E: shane.canning@biomedcentral.com

For queries outside of UK office hours contact:

Stacey Wong

Director of Communication and External Affairs

University of Hawai’i Cancer Center

T: +1- 808-356-5753

M: +1- 860-805-2472

E: swong@cc.hawaii.edu

Notes to editor:

1. Research

Evaluation of Clonal Origin of Malignant Mesothelioma

Sabahattin Comertpay, Sandra Pastorino, Mika Tanji, Rosanna Mezzapelle, Oriana Strianese, Andrea Napolitano, Francine Baumann, Tracey Weigel, Joseph Friedberd, Paul Sugarbaker, Thomas Kruasz, Ena Wang, Amy Powers, Giovanni Gaudino, Shreya Kanodia, Harvey Pass, Barbara Parsons, Haining Yang and Michele Carbone

Journal of Translational Medicine 2014, 12:301

For a copy of the research article during the embargo period please contact Shane Canning (shane.canning@biomedcentral.com)

After embargo, article available at journal website here:
http://www.translational-medicine.com/content/12/1/301

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central’s open access policy.

2. Journal of Translational Medicine is an open access journal publishing articles focusing on information derived from human experimentation so as to optimise the communication between basic and clinical science.

3. BioMed Central is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector. http://www.biomedcentral.com

4. About The UH Cancer Center

The UH Cancer Center is one of 68 research institutions designated by the National Cancer Institute. Affiliated with the University of Hawai`i at Manoa, the center is dedicated to eliminating cancer through research, education, and improved patient care. Learn more at http://www.uhcancercenter.org. Like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UHCancerCenter. Follow us on Twitter @UHCancerCenter.


[ Back to EurekAlert! ]

[

| E-mail


Share Share

]


AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.




View original post here:  

Cancer from asbestos caused by more than one cell mutation

Families of tragic Aston University workers win cancer payout

Aston University has
awarded compensation to the families of two former workers who died after contracting asbestos-related cancer.

Valerie White and Robert Burns both worked in the Biological Sciences department at the university in the 1960s, 70s and 80s where the pipes in the basement were lagged with the killer dust.

Asbestos insulation boards were cut up on site whilst Mr Burns, who died aged 75, was present.

The dad-of-two worked as a research laboratory technician and had relocated to Cockermouth, in Cumbria, where he died in September 2010 from Mesothelioma, a cancer in the lining of the lung caused by exposure to asbestos.

Mrs White, a former secretary from Wylde Green, Sutton Coldfield, also contracted the disease and died in October, 2009, aged just 52.

Both victims’ families launched legal action through Birmingham-based solicitors Irwin Mitchell, who secured an undisclosed payout.

Mrs White’s widower Christopher, 61, said: “Valerie’s illness came as such as shock to us and it was heart breaking to see her in pain and watch her strength slowly deteriorate at such a young age, knowing that ultimately there was no cure to the disease.

“Since Valerie died we have been determined to secure justice for her death and we are relieved that our legal team’s persistence paid off having now secured a settlement from Aston University.

“We hope that this will act as a reminder to employers to protect their workers from exposure to asbestos, so other families do not have to watch their loved ones endure so much pain and suffering.”

Jane was married to Robert for 42 years and met him when they both worked in the Biological Sciences department at Aston University. She said: “It was devastating to watch my husband go through so much pain in the final years of his life.

“The fact that he became so ill just from going to work every day is still hard to accept. I am at a complete loss since the death of my soul-mate, which has left a void in my life that has not eased with the passing of time.

“The last four years since Bob’s death have been a terrible ordeal and I am very glad that the case is now over and the university have had to pay for the suffering they caused, although no amount of money can make up for Bob’s suffering or my loss.

“Our daughters and grandchildren miss him as I do and he will never be replaced in their hearts or mine.”

An Aston University spokesman said: “We are pleased that a settlement has now been reached on these two cases, which relate to an earlier chapter in the history of the university.”

Visit site – 

Families of tragic Aston University workers win cancer payout

Asbestos Attorney Recognized by Super Lawyers’ 2014 Edition

Asbestos Attorney Amber Long

Asbestos Attorney Amber Long

NEW YORK, New York (PRWEB) September 30, 2014

Asbestos attorney Amber R. Long, an associate at Levy Konigsberg LLP (“LK”), a nationally-recognized mesothelioma law firm, has been selected to the Super Lawyers 2014 New York Metro Rising Stars list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor.

Amber joined LK in 2006 and, initially, worked in the firm’s national asbestos litigation department. She represented mesothelioma and lung cancer victims in lawsuits filed around the country including in Delaware, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Louisiana. Recently, she has joined the firm’s New York City asbestos litigation department.

Amber takes pride in representing hard working men and women suffering from debilitating and often deadly cancer as a result of their exposure to asbestos. She is highly skilled in all aspects of asbestos litigation from the initial client meeting through trial and appellate practice.

In addition to her asbestos experience, Amber assisted in the litigation of three cases in the Southern District of New York against tobacco companies on behalf of the families of people who began smoking as children, struggled to quit smoking, and eventually died of lung cancer. In the course of this litigation, Amber and LK partner, Jerome Block, obtained multimillion dollar verdicts on behalf of two separate families against Brown & Williamson (successor to American Tobacco Company) (1) and Philip Morris USA, Inc (2).

Amber is a member of several professional associations, including the American Association for Justice, the New York State Bar Association, and the New York City Bar Association. She is admitted to practice law in New York, New Jersey, before the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York and for the District of Connecticut, and before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Amber earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Cornell University in 2002. In 2005, she graduated magna cum laude from Brooklyn Law School.

Levy Konigsberg LLP has been representing mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer victims for more than 25 years.

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

(1) Eileen A. Clinton, on behalf of herself and as administratrix of the estate of William A. Champagne, Jr., vs. Brown & Williamson Holdings, Inc., as successor by merger to American Tobacco Company, and Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 05 Civ. 9907 (CS) (LMS) (S.D.N.Y);

(2) Florence Mulholland, on behalf of herself and as administratrix of the estate of David Mulholland, vs. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 05 Civ. 9908 (CS) (S.D.N.Y).


Continued here:

Asbestos Attorney Recognized by Super Lawyers’ 2014 Edition

Manufacturer's Lonely Quest To Open Asbestos Claims Files Gains Strength

The American philosopher William James once observed that real scientific breakthroughs are achieved by “the born geniuses” who “let themselves be worried and fascinated” by exceptions to widely held theories about how the world works. They chase down explanations, he said, until the conventional wisdom is upset.

Something similar may be happening with asbestos litigation. A manufacturer’s stubborn crusade to open up the records of thousands of claims in asbestos cases has drawn the support of big names like Ford and Aetna, as they join in the effort to uncover evidence that lawyers have been gaming the multibillion-dollar system with conflicting stories about how their clients got sick.

The evidence is all there, in hundreds of thousands of claim forms and lawsuits filed by people seeking tens of billions of dollars for asbestos-related diseases. But plaintiff lawyers have mounted a fierce effort to keep most of those records sealed, in defiance of the normal presumption that court proceedings should be open to the public.

A bankruptcy judge in Charlotte, N.C. today is scheduled to hear arguments on motions by Aetna, Ford, Volkswagen, Honeywell and other companies to make public evidence Garlock Sealing Technologies uncovered in its bankruptcy. (Legal Newsline, a publication funded by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, has a similar case on appeal in federal court.)

In a January ruling, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge George R. Hodges slashed the asbestos liability of Garlock, an EnPro Industries unit, by $1 billion to to $125 million, citing evidence that lawyers had withheld information about their clients’ exposure to other asbestos products in order to pry larger settlements from Garlock.

(Photo credit: jasleen_kaur)

Ford, in a filing earlier this month, said Hodge’s “findings of widespread and demonstrable misconduct by asbestos claimants” and their attorneys suggest there’s valuable evidence in the sealed files that the automaker could use to defend itself. Volkswagen, in a filing earlier this week, said “it is nearly impossible for asbestos defendants to uncover the type of misrepresentation exposed in this proceeding without judicial intervention.”

If the companies are successful, they might finally unravel a pattern of misrepresentation in asbestos litigation that has cost companies billions of dollars and driven many of them into bankruptcy. Defense lawyers say the asbestos-lawsuit business is built upon the secrecy of plaintiff records, since only the lawyers representing asbestos claimants know all the different stories they’ve told in legal proceedings against different companies. (For one egregious example, see my story from 2006.) If those stories can be pulled together into a single file – as a Texas judge a few years ago did to uncover a massive fraud involving silicosis claims – then companies might have a better shot at limiting payouts to people who have already collected for their disease.

All the companies are seeking Rule 2019 filings, so named after the provision of the federal bankruptcy code that requires lawyers to identify clients who have claims against a bankrupt company. They say they need the 2019s to match up people who filed prior asbestos claims against lists of people suing them, so they can uncover evidence those plaintiffs had told conflicting stories about how they got sick.

This is a standard defense in tort law, which requires plaintiffs to prove that a company’s products were a “substantial factor” in causing their illness. As companies that made clearly dangerous products like asbestos pipe insulation have gone bankrupt, plaintiff lawyers have targeted companies like Garlock and Ford who sold products such as gaskets and brake pads that are unlikely to have made anyone sick. To help their clients win, they advise them to remember working only with the products of the company they are suing, even if they have previously made equally exclusive claims against other companies.

Normally 2019 filings are public like any other judicial record, but asbestos lawyers in the early 2000s convinced judges to seal their filings for a variety of reasons. Chief among them: The records might reveal confidential “commercial information,” such as fee arrangements, that would hurt their business. Not only would potential clients be able to play one law firm off against another for lower fees, but the records might reveal fee-splitting arrangements that violate ethics rules in most states. Lawyers are not supposed to get fees for referring clients unless they do significant legal work on the case, but the practice is common in the industry where lawyers draw in clients with TV and Internet ads and then hand them off to firms that focus on litigation and settlement.

The lawyers also said the filings contained confidential medical information, but that argument is undermined by the fact they freely supplied the information for years before seeking to seal 2019 records, and plaintiffs must make all the same information public when they sue.

“A lot of firms simply responded” by filing public 2019 forms with medical information in the early days, said S. Todd Brown, an associate professor at State University of New York Buffalo Law School and expert on asbestos bankruptcy trusts. “It wasn’t until later, after the litigation really got into full swing, that the current approach (of sealing records) became more common. Now everything is filed under seal and you have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get access to it.”

The plaintiff lawyers had an ally in Judge Judith Fitzgerald, since retired to private practice, who oversaw a number of high-profile bankruptcies including Pittsburgh Corning, Armstrong World Industries, Federal-Mogul and Combustion Engineering. She allowed the lawyers to submit their 2019 filings on CDs, to be held by the court and released only on a judge’s order.

Not many people asked for the records until Garlock was driven into bankruptcy in 2010 by the escalating demands of asbestos plaintiff lawyers. The company had been settling asbestos claims for small amounts for years because its products contained a type of asbestos believed to be 1/1000th as dangerous as the long-fiber amphibole asbestos in insulation, and it was sealed in plastic. A plaintiff who took such a case to trial would have a hard time establishing the legal level of proof to win any damages. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a $500,000 jury verdict against Garlock on this basis in 2011, saying that to blame a pipefitter’s mesothelioma on Garlock gaskets would “be akin to saying that one who pours a bucket of water into the ocean has substantially contributed to the ocean’s volume.”

As solvent defendants went bankrupt, however, plaintiff lawyers started targeting companies like Garlock and demanding far more money to settle claims than they had before. Garlock’s attorneys figured their best defense might be to obtain evidence of other exposures, which would be contained in the 2019 filings and related paperwork filed with trusts bankrupt companies established to pay asbestos claims. But they hit a brick wall.

See the original article here – 

Manufacturer's Lonely Quest To Open Asbestos Claims Files Gains Strength

Manufacturer's Lonely Quest To Open Asbestos Claims Files Gains Strength

The American philosopher William James once observed that real scientific breakthroughs are achieved by “the born geniuses” who “let themselves be worried and fascinated” by exceptions to widely held theories about how the world works. They chase down explanations, he said, until the conventional wisdom is upset.

Something similar may be happening with asbestos litigation. A manufacturer’s stubborn crusade to open up the records of thousands of claims in asbestos cases has drawn the support of big names like Ford and Aetna, as they join in the effort to uncover evidence that lawyers have been gaming the multibillion-dollar system with conflicting stories about how their clients got sick.

The evidence is all there, in hundreds of thousands of claim forms and lawsuits filed by people seeking tens of billions of dollars for asbestos-related diseases. But plaintiff lawyers have mounted a fierce effort to keep most of those records sealed, in defiance of the normal presumption that court proceedings should be open to the public.

A bankruptcy judge in Charlotte, N.C. today is scheduled to hear arguments on motions by Aetna, Ford, Volkswagen, Honeywell and other companies to make public evidence Garlock Sealing Technologies uncovered in its bankruptcy. (Legal Newsline, a publication funded by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, has a similar case on appeal in federal court.)

In a January ruling, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge George R. Hodges slashed the asbestos liability of Garlock, an EnPro Industries unit, by $1 billion to to $125 million, citing evidence that lawyers had withheld information about their clients’ exposure to other asbestos products in order to pry larger settlements from Garlock.

(Photo credit: jasleen_kaur)

Ford, in a filing earlier this month, said Hodge’s “findings of widespread and demonstrable misconduct by asbestos claimants” and their attorneys suggest there’s valuable evidence in the sealed files that the automaker could use to defend itself. Volkswagen, in a filing earlier this week, said “it is nearly impossible for asbestos defendants to uncover the type of misrepresentation exposed in this proceeding without judicial intervention.”

If the companies are successful, they might finally unravel a pattern of misrepresentation in asbestos litigation that has cost companies billions of dollars and driven many of them into bankruptcy. Defense lawyers say the asbestos-lawsuit business is built upon the secrecy of plaintiff records, since only the lawyers representing asbestos claimants know all the different stories they’ve told in legal proceedings against different companies. (For one egregious example, see my story from 2006.) If those stories can be pulled together into a single file – as a Texas judge a few years ago did to uncover a massive fraud involving silicosis claims – then companies might have a better shot at limiting payouts to people who have already collected for their disease.

All the companies are seeking Rule 2019 filings, so named after the provision of the federal bankruptcy code that requires lawyers to identify clients who have claims against a bankrupt company. They say they need the 2019s to match up people who filed prior asbestos claims against lists of people suing them, so they can uncover evidence those plaintiffs had told conflicting stories about how they got sick.

This is a standard defense in tort law, which requires plaintiffs to prove that a company’s products were a “substantial factor” in causing their illness. As companies that made clearly dangerous products like asbestos pipe insulation have gone bankrupt, plaintiff lawyers have targeted companies like Garlock and Ford who sold products such as gaskets and brake pads that are unlikely to have made anyone sick. To help their clients win, they advise them to remember working only with the products of the company they are suing, even if they have previously made equally exclusive claims against other companies.

Normally 2019 filings are public like any other judicial record, but asbestos lawyers in the early 2000s convinced judges to seal their filings for a variety of reasons. Chief among them: The records might reveal confidential “commercial information,” such as fee arrangements, that would hurt their business. Not only would potential clients be able to play one law firm off against another for lower fees, but the records might reveal fee-splitting arrangements that violate ethics rules in most states. Lawyers are not supposed to get fees for referring clients unless they do significant legal work on the case, but the practice is common in the industry where lawyers draw in clients with TV and Internet ads and then hand them off to firms that focus on litigation and settlement.

The lawyers also said the filings contained confidential medical information, but that argument is undermined by the fact they freely supplied the information for years before seeking to seal 2019 records, and plaintiffs must make all the same information public when they sue.

“A lot of firms simply responded” by filing public 2019 forms with medical information in the early days, said S. Todd Brown, an associate professor at State University of New York Buffalo Law School and expert on asbestos bankruptcy trusts. “It wasn’t until later, after the litigation really got into full swing, that the current approach (of sealing records) became more common. Now everything is filed under seal and you have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get access to it.”

The plaintiff lawyers had an ally in Judge Judith Fitzgerald, since retired to private practice, who oversaw a number of high-profile bankruptcies including Pittsburgh Corning, Armstrong World Industries, Federal-Mogul and Combustion Engineering. She allowed the lawyers to submit their 2019 filings on CDs, to be held by the court and released only on a judge’s order.

Not many people asked for the records until Garlock was driven into bankruptcy in 2010 by the escalating demands of asbestos plaintiff lawyers. The company had been settling asbestos claims for small amounts for years because its products contained a type of asbestos believed to be 1/1000th as dangerous as the long-fiber amphibole asbestos in insulation, and it was sealed in plastic. A plaintiff who took such a case to trial would have a hard time establishing the legal level of proof to win any damages. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a $500,000 jury verdict against Garlock on this basis in 2011, saying that to blame a pipefitter’s mesothelioma on Garlock gaskets would “be akin to saying that one who pours a bucket of water into the ocean has substantially contributed to the ocean’s volume.”

As solvent defendants went bankrupt, however, plaintiff lawyers started targeting companies like Garlock and demanding far more money to settle claims than they had before. Garlock’s attorneys figured their best defense might be to obtain evidence of other exposures, which would be contained in the 2019 filings and related paperwork filed with trusts bankrupt companies established to pay asbestos claims. But they hit a brick wall.

Credit:

Manufacturer's Lonely Quest To Open Asbestos Claims Files Gains Strength

Tenth Annual ADAO Asbestos Awareness Conference Features Prominent Experts including Acting U.S. Surgeon General

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), the largest independent non-profit organization in the U.S. which combines education, advocacy, and community support, is hosting its 10th Annual International Asbestos Awareness Conference Saturday, April 5 & 6, 2014, with activities planned throughout the weekend. The international conference provides education and outreach to families, employers/employees and scientists on a global scale as part of ADAO’s continuing effort to educate the public about the dangers of asbestos, ban its use, and encourage research efforts to improve treatment options.

WHAT: ADAO’s 10th Annual International Asbestos Awareness Conference: “Where Knowledge and Action Unite”

WHEN: Conference – Saturday, April 5, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Awards and Recognition Dinner, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Performance by Jordan Zevon, ADAO National Spokesperson

Unity and Remembrance Brunch – Sunday, April 6, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

WHERE:
Crystal Gateway Marriott
1700 Jefferson Davis Highway
Arlington, VA 22202

WHY: To share information and provide support to those affected by asbestos-related diseases, including survivors, families and physicians. Prominent physicians, scientists, safety and health directors and survivors are presenting up-to-date information about the status of asbestos in the United States and worldwide.

WHO: 30+ Esteemed Speakers, Courageous Patients and Esteemed Volunteers, Public Service Leaders, Doctors, and Supporters dedicated to preventing asbestos-caused diseases.

2014 Asbestos Awareness Conference Keynote Speakers Include:

  • Saturday: Rear Admiral (RADM) Boris Lushniak, Acting U.S. Surgeon General
  • Sunday: Sue Vento, Widow of the late Congressman Bruce Vento
  • Sunday: Heather Von St. James, Mesothelioma Patient

Marilyn Amento, Mesothelioma Widow; Brad Black, MD, Center for Asbestos and Related Disease; Michael Bradley, Mesothelioma Patient; Jill Cagle, Mesothelioma Widow; Barbara Catlin, M.Ac; Barry Castleman, ScD; Ellen Costa, Mesothelioma Patient; David Egilman, MD, Brown University Family Medicine; Arthur Frank, MD, PhD, Drexel University School of Public Health; Fernanda Giannasi, Associação Brasileira dos Expostos ao Amianto (ABREA); Marc Hindry, Association Nationale de Défense des Victimes de l’Amiante (ANDEVA); Sinem Kankotan, Turkish Delegate; Richard Lemen, PhD, MSPH, Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS (ret.), Rear Admiral, USPHS (ret.); Rear Admiral Boris Lushniak, Acting U.S. Surgeon General (Keynote Speaker); Steven Markowitz, MD, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, CCHE, Queens College; Jim Melius, MD, Laborers’ International Union of North America; Captain Aubrey K. Miller, M.D., M.P.H., National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH); Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH; Christine Oliver, MD, MPH, MS, FACPM, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital; Ellen Patton, Mesothelioma Patient; Pierre Pluta, Association Nationale de Défense des Victimes de l’Amiante (ANDEVA); Bill Ravanesi, MPH, Health Care Without Harm; Linda Reinstein, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) Co-Founder; Barry Robson, Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia (ADFA); Joachim Rosler, MD University of Cologne, Germany; Ann Samuelson, Asbestos Victim; Ken Takahashi, MD, PhD, Occupational Health University of Occupational and Environmental Health (UOEH); Lisa Rahe Thompson, Asbestos Victim; Susan Vento, Widow of Congressman Bruce Vento (Keynote Speaker); Heather Von St James, Mesothelioma Patient (Keynote Speaker); Yvonne Waterman, PhD, LLM, Waterman Legal Consultancy; Congressman Henry Waxman * by Video; James Webber, PhD; Christopher P. Weis, Ph.D., DABT, National Institute for Environmental Health Science (NIEHS); Heather White, Environmental Working Group; Lou Williams, Mesothelioma Patient; Jordan Zevon, ADAO National Spokesperson & Musician; Paul Zygielbaum, Mesothelioma Patient

About the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) was founded by asbestos victims and their families in 2004. ADAO is the largest non-profit in the U.S. dedicated to providing asbestos victims and concerned citizens with a united voice through our education, advocacy, and community initiatives. ADAO seeks to raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure, advocate for an asbestos ban, and protect asbestos victims’ civil rights. For more information, visit www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org.

Contact:

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO)

Kim Cecchini

Media Relations

202-391-5205


Kim@asbestosdiseaseawareness.org

View post: 

Tenth Annual ADAO Asbestos Awareness Conference Features Prominent Experts including Acting U.S. Surgeon General

Deadly asbestos fibres continue their ripple effect

Deadly asbestos fibres continue their ripple effect

WA News

Date

Leanne Nicholson

Asbestos led to the removal of Wittenoom's status as a town in 2007.

Asbestos led to the removal of Wittenoom’s status as a town in WA in 2007.

Asbestos may have been banned from Australian manufacturing since the mid-1980s but the effects continue to be felt beyond the initial victims and decades after the prohibition of the deadly fibres.

The Asbestos Narratives, released by Southern Cross University, considered the social and psychological impacts of the asbestos disease and, of all groups facing challenges, the disease had a greater impact on women.

“Women are likely to form a significant proportion of the emerging third wave of exposure to asbestos and may suffer considerable hardship as a result,” project leader and the university’s director of Regional Initiative for Social Innovation and Research, Associate Professor Rick van der Zwan said.

“The medical effects of this disease are well researched, but little has been known about the social, psychological and economic implications for those diagnosed, their carers and their families.

Advertisement

Taken from:  

Deadly asbestos fibres continue their ripple effect