Articles Tagged with asbestos exposure Boston

While most people in the United States are now aware of the dangers of asbestos, many do not really know what it is or where it came from.  First of all, asbestos in a pure form is not a man- made substance.  It is actually considered a naturally occurring mineral that is comprised of six distinct silica elements.  There are various different types of asbestos, but their differences primarily involve the different minerals and other elements that are attached to the asbestos.

to sign a contractIt has been used for thousands of years, as it has a natural ability to resist heat, fire, caustic chemicals and electricity.  However, it wasn’t until the mid 1850s that asbestos-laden products were being produced in vast quantities.  With the need for all that raw asbestos came the need for major mining operations, and that need was filled by a firm called W.R. Grace and Co.  This was technically called a vermiculite mine, but, in reality, vermiculite was laden with asbestos at that time, even though the company said it was a safe alternative to asbestos when they knew it wasn’t. Continue reading

While companies in the asbestos industry worked hard for more than a century to keep the fact that asbestos exposure causes malignant mesothelioma from the general public, this is not the only serious and potentially deadly illness asbestos exposure can cause. One of the lesser known, but still fairly common asbestos related illnesses is known as asbestosis.

asbestosAsbestosis occurs when the deadly fibers are inhaled and become embedded in the lungs. These fibers are very sharp and can cut and scratch the tissue lining the lungs.  Over time, these cuts can form scar tissue that gets progressively thicker as it keeps opening and healing time and time again. Once this scar tissue is allowed to build, it can obstruct the victim’s airway making it very difficult to breath.  This causes chronic shortness of breath and other serious medical conditions.  Asbestosis is similar to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is seen most often in smokers.  While a victim can be treated and will likely have to use an oxygen tank, it is not curable and can be deadly. Continue reading

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

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

According to a recent news feature from the Dorchester Reporter, a major construction project at University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston) will not likely be ready when school starts next month.  The reason for this is because asbestos discoveries have seriously delayed the process.

asbestosThe project involving moving all utility infrastructure located on the Columbia Point section of the UMass Boston campus to another location as part of an effort to improve the campus. While performing scheduled demolition work last December, inspectors located what they suspected to be asbestos.  After their discovery, the called in a certified asbestos abatement firm to collect soil samples and send them to a hazardous materials testing laboratory to confirm the presence of the deadly asbestos fibers. Continue reading

When we think about exposure to asbestos and the risk of mesothelioma, we might think the most at risk are those who work in the trades: The construction workers, the painters, the ship builders, the auto mechanics. openpitmine

Certainly, those groups see higher rates than others, particularly when they worked in the 50s, 60s and 70s, when asbestos was still commonplace in so many building materials and products. But as a new study has shown, the group with the highest rate of mesothelioma deaths in the world is in West Australia. Specifically, indigenous West Australians have the highest mortality rate for malignant mesothelioma in the world.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and terminal type of cancer that develops years after exposure to asbestos fibers, breathed into the lungs and scarring the delicate tissue lining of either the lungs or stomach. In most cases, illness and diagnosis occur many years – even decades – after exposure.  Continue reading