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According to a recent news article from The Stratford Patch, asbestos has just been discovered in the soil at a major project on Interstate 95 (I-95) in Connecticut. All construction work and roadside maintenance has been suspended while environmental agency workers can assess the scope of the contamination and work on a plan to deal with the toxic asbestos fibers.

constructionsiteAs part of the standard protocol when doing roadside maintenance that involves disturbing the soil, Department of Transportation inspectors will set up air quality monitoring stations and take soil samples to check for the presence of any toxic materials.  This can include asbestos, which was what was found in this case, as well as radon, other radioactive material, as well as any number of types of toxic waste. Continue reading →

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All across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, local towns and school boards are forced to deal with aging school buildings that are in desperate need of repair and asbestos abatement.  While this is not a problem unique to Massachusetts by any means, the area is home to large number of these aging schools and that is resulting in a serious problem.

asbestos-300x225One of these schools is located in Wareham, where the 50-year-old school building is in serious need of repairs. The school is currently undergoing roofing repairs, and the heating system is being replaced.  However, the school board is running into two major problems that are delaying completion of the projects, as discussed in a recent news article form Wicked Local Wareham. Continue reading →

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According to a recent news report from Mesothelioma Research News, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is working on an experimental drug known as GSK3052230 that has been shown to prevent the growth of mesothelioma in mice.  These mice have been implanted with human mesothelioma tumors that are capable of growing in the mice.

rat-1624443The way this investigational drug works is that is prevents tumors from forming or growing by sequestering a particular molecule.  This molecule is named a fibroblast growth factor (FGF) molecule.  Mesothelioma and various other types of tumors use FBF molecules when they are first forming and growing, because the FGF molecule will allow the tumors to grow new blood vessels.  These new blood vessels allow the tumor to get much-needed oxygen and nutrients if they are going to grow larger. Sequestering FGF molecules makes them unavailable to the tumors, which, in turn, will cause the tumor to stop growing. Continue reading →

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According to a recent news article from the Mashpee Enterprise, the board has already issued a $1,500 fine to a local trailer park owner for various environmental violations, but the board is now deciding on whether to raise the fines to the much more significant figure of $125,000.

warningThe problems at the trailer park began when the owner allegedly demolished five mobile homes on his property without obtaining permits.  The reason this is such as serious issue is because older mobile homes contain hazardous material including asbestos, lead, and oil.  In addition to the town, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has also opened a full investigation into whether any contamination has occurred or other environmental damage as a result of the alleged illegal demolition of the five mobile homes. Continue reading →

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Many of the old school buildings across Massachusetts and the rest of the nation are falling into a serious state of disrepair.  We are dealing with buildings that were built around a hundred years ago, and there was not enough money to keep them in good shape over the years.   This is not just a local problem, but one that is occurring everywhere.

old-doors-1446216-mThe problem gets more serious when we realize that most of these buildings were built at a time when asbestos was used heavily during the construction process and now as the buildings are crumbling, we are left with what is known as friable asbestos. Continue reading →

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Many of the homes and other structures in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, especially in Boston, were built at a time when asbestos was heavily used in nearly every part of the construction process.  There is often asbestos in roofing materials, tiles, pipes and pipe insulation, drywall and drywall compound, insulation, and variety of other building materials.

vermiculiteThis asbestos material was deadly to the miners that unearthed the toxic fibers, and it was also deadly to the factory workers who refined the asbestos into building products and the workers who installed the material in homes around the nation. Once the material was safely in place, it was generally considered safe for the residents.  However, once the home was renovated or allowed to fall into a state of even slight disrepair, the dust was capable of being inhaled once again, and that is why many are in danger of asbestos inhalation these days. Continue reading →

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The sad reality is that when a doctor tells their patient that they have malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), they are also usually told that they will not live very long.  While there are various treatment methods used by oncologists, they are often very invasive and even in the best cases will only prolong a patient’s life a relatively short period of time. They are often done at the expense of a patient’s already diminished quality of life.

sea-cucumber-1383224There are a variety of reasons that there are so few effective means to treat malignant mesothelioma, but a lot of it has to do with a lack of research attributable to inadequate funding.  This is because malignant mesothelioma is a relatively rare form of cancer.  It is almost unheard of to occur without the patient being exposed to asbestos, and, even then, we generally see around 2,500 new cases each year in the United States.  While this relative rarity is of no comfort to the victims and their families, the numbers are very small when compared to other forms of cancer.  This means there is no profit in developing a treatment for mesothelioma for the big drug companies, so they do not spend a lot of money on developing a cure. Continue reading →

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According to a recent news article from KCUR News, a class action lawsuit involving 7,500 employees at the old Jackson County Courthouse in Kansas was just settled in the amount of $80 million.  This was a settlement on the eve of trial, as a jury had already been chosen and the case was set to open the following day.

onemilliondollars1-300x199The class action plaintiffs alleged that, while they were working in the old courthouse in 1983, the engineering company that was conducting major renovations caused asbestos dust to be spread throughout the entire building. Continue reading →

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There is no question that exposure to asbestos fibers will often result in the development of malignant mesothelioma.  This can involve malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) when the disease originally starts in a victim’s lungs, or it can involve malignant pericardial mesothelioma when it first occurs in a patient’s chest.  If the cancer is first formed in the victim’s abdomen, the cancer is known as malignant peritoneal mesothelioma.  However, it should be noted that wherever the cancer forms, it can quickly spread to other parts of the body and new tumors can develop.

rubble-1432323-mCompanies in the asbestos industry tried for years to hide this definitively proven medical fact, and were pretty successful, given that it is not well known by the general public.  However, mesothelioma isn’t the only danger of asbestos exposure. Ine of the other medical conditions caused by asbestos is known as asbestosis.

Asbestosis occurs when the deadly asbestos fibers cause a scarring to the tissue inside a patient’s lungs.   Symptoms of asbestosis are similar to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is usually caused by years of smoking.  Like COPD, asbestosis can be treated with medication. Patients are often required to carry an oxygen tank, which is cumbersome, but the alternative is potentially deadly. It’s a condition that requires prompt diagnosis and thorough treatment. Continue reading →

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According to a recent article from E News Park Forest, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, (D-Ill.,) has called on the federal Environmental Protection Agency to give top priority on the list of chemicals it will be reviewing under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.  This act is a reform to the Chemical Substances Control Act of 1976.

senateThe act was signed by President Barack Obama in June of this year. The law gives the EPA authority to regulate chemicals based upon how they affect vulnerable groups of people like small children, older Americans, pregnant women, and industrial workers who are often required to be around potentially hazardous chemicals on a frequent basis. Continue reading →