We know asbestos exposure was common among occupations like construction workers, carpenters, oil refinery workers and members of the U.S. military. There is one occupation, however, that is also at risk and doesn’t seem to get as much attention. That occupation is firefighting.
Firefighters risk their lives by entering burning, crumbling buildings and structures. They are the first responders who put it all on the line to extinguish fires and save lives. Many times the buildings they enter were constructed with asbestos and asbestos products. As the fire burns, its high temperature actually causes asbestos fibers in the materials to break down even further. This can distribute the fibers into the air faster.
This is where the main dangers of asbestos exposure and firefighters come into play. It is usually the products inside the burning building that create the biggest hazards – items like roofing materials, insulation, vinyl, shingles, floor tiles that were commonly created with asbestos. The culmination of a burning building with deteriorating asbestos products can endanger rescue workers and firefighters in such situations.
An example of this type of asbestos exposure comes from the clean-up efforts of the 9/11 attacks. Firefighters and rescue workers spent hours at Ground Zero working among dust, smoke and debris that contained asbestos and other harmful particles.… Read the rest
At the Simmons Law Firm, our mesothelioma lawyers are committed to keeping you up-to-date on the latest asbestos and mesothelioma headlines. Here is a brief list of some of the most recent headlines concerning the dangers of asbestos exposure, along with new information about mesothelioma research happening in the United States and throughout the world.
- Asbestos victims react to House vote on H.R 982
On Nov. 13, the House of Representatives voted to approve the Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act, which would make it more difficult for asbestos victims to file lawsuits. Susan Vento (widow of mesothelioma victim Bruce Vento) and Judy Van Ness (widow of U.S. Navy Veteran mesothelioma victim) react to the passing of the bill here.
- Asbestos found at site of massive warehouse blaze
One of Fort Wayne, Indiana’s largest fires occurred at a massive industrial complex on August 19. Because of the known asbestos within the debris of the building, signs were posted that declared, “Danger: Asbestos, Cancer and Lung Disease Hazard.”
- Asbestos to be removed from Jesuit Residence following flooding
Asbestos was found at the Jesuit Residence on Wisconsin Ave. in Milwaukee, WI in October after the building was flooded from a burst pipe. Restoration on the building was set to take place by Belfor Property Restoration, who would perform the asbestos removal according to guidelines set by the Department of Natural Resources, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.
… Read the rest
Low levels of asbestos are present in the air, water and soil. The effects of asbestos exposure become most dangerous, however, when individuals have regular or prolonged exposure to the toxic fibers. This most often occurs at the workplace.
In the past, certain occupations including U.S. Navy members, boilermakers, railroad workers and oil refinery workers were exposed to high levels of asbestos by working with asbestos products on a regular basis. Even though asbestos is not fully banned in the United States today, regulations have decreased the exposures among certain occupations. There are a number of workforces, however, that remain at risk.
Many times firefighters may enter a building that was constructed with asbestos and is on fire, full of debris, or crumbling to the ground. High temperatures can cause asbestos fibers to deteriorate even further, resulting in the decomposition of the fibers and their subsequent release into the air. If firefighters inhale these airborne fibers, they may be at risk for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
Today there are more than 1.3 million construction and building and equipment maintenance workers in the United States. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, approximately two-thirds of asbestos still produced in the U.S.… Read the rest
Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 221-199 to pass the legislation that would deny and delay justice for asbestos victims. The “Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency” (FACT) Act would benefit large asbestos companies by making it more difficult for victims of asbestos to file and win claims.
Many FACT Act opponents reacted to the news of its passing in the House with displeasure.
“I’m deeply disappointed in the vote, but grateful to the Members of Congress who stood up for asbestos victims and their families in opposing legislation that hurts cancer victims,” said Susan Vento, widow of Congressman Bruce Vento, who died from mesothelioma in 2000. “We will continue to oppose this legislation and ensure that it never becomes law.”
The bill also negatively affects U.S. veterans, as they are disproportionately affected by asbestos-related diseases. Approximately 30 percent of all Americans diagnosed with mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos in the military.
“Congress today forced asbestos victims and their families to release private information that will put them at risk of identity theft,” said Judy Van Ness, widow of Naval Veteran Richard L. Van Ness, in a press release. “This delays and could deny badly needed compensation to victims and their families.”
House representatives who were opposed to the bill also spoke out about it’s flaws.… Read the rest
House to Vote Today on Legislation that would Deny, Delay Justice for Asbestos Victims
The U.S. House of Representatives will meet this afternoon to consider the so-called “Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency” Act or House Resolution 982. The asbestos bill is one-sided and would serve to only delay and deny justice to victims of asbestos who have already suffered needlessly at the hands of corporate interests.
The Administration issued a Statement of Policy, or SAP, yesterday opposing the bill because it’s based on the “false assertion that there is endemic fraud” in the asbestos bankruptcy system. Multiple independent studies prove any fraud is negligible.
The SAP also addressed the other concerns with the asbestos bill, including intrusion of privacy and security risks inherent in the legislation’s reporting requirements. It also stated the bill is inherently harmful to veterans as they are disproportionately affected by asbestos-related diseases.
An excerpt of the SAP(PDF) is below.
“The bill’s mandatory reporting and disclosure requirements would threaten asbestos victims’ privacy when they seek payment for injuries from an asbestos bankruptcy trust. Claimants’ sensitive personal information – including their names and exposure histories – would be irretrievably released into the public domain and thus available to parties unrelated to the claims (including insurance companies, prospective employers, lenders, and data collectors). These parties could then use this personal information for purposes entirely unrelated to compensation for asbestos exposure, potentially to the detriment of asbestos victims. The information on this public registry could be used to deny employment, credit, and insurance. Victims would be more vulnerable to identity thieves and other types of predators. These requirements could be particularly harmful to veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States, who have been disproportionately affected by asbestos.”
According to The Hill, the House will start by debating the rule for the asbestos bill, then consider up to three amendments.… Read the rest