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Global Asbestos Awareness Week Begins Today

Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution designating April 1-7, 2014 as Global Asbestos Awareness Week. This week is an opportunity to spread awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure and educate the public that asbestos, a recognized human carcinogen by multiple health agencies, has not been fully banned in the United States.

Linda Reinstein, President of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, kicked off the week by sharing her own story and an info graphic that details the history of asbestos in the United States.

In 2003, Linda’s husband Alan was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a disease caused by asbestos exposure with no cure.

The Reinstein family, like most American families, trusted that other entities, private and public, would do their part to protect the environment and avoid actions that would harm human life. Sadly, that was not the case, and over the next three years Linda and her young daughter watched as Alan slowly died from a preventable disease.

Alan’s mesothelioma diagnosis motivated Linda to co-found the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization in 2004. ADAO, a non-profit organization, supports asbestos victims and advocates on Capitol Hill for policies that will prevent asbestos exposure and hopefully lead to a total asbestos ban in the United States.

As part of her continuing efforts, she and Dr. Richard Lemen, Co-Chair of ADAO’s science advisory board, have released an infographic that details the deadly history of asbestos exposure. It includes facts such as “Every day 30 Americans die from preventable asbestos-caused diseases. That’s the equivalent of 6 basketball teams disappearing form the court every day.”

Check out the info graphic here >>>

The Simmons Firm is proud to support ADAO as a 2014 Platinum Sponsor. Today, we would like to recognize the difference the Reinstein Family has made in the asbestos and mesothelioma community through ADAO. This year ADAO celebrates its 10 year anniversary and through its legacy the memory of Alan and all those lost to asbestos-related diseases live on.

Simmons GAAW Sponsor Logo




Click to read GAAW’s Day 1 “Asbestos: Legal and Lethal in the USA” >>>

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Asbestos and Mesothelioma News Wrap Up: March 2014

At the Simmons Firm, our mesothelioma lawyers are committed to providing you with the latest asbestos and mesothelioma news to keep you up to date. Below is a short list of some of the most recent news stories covering asbestos exposure, mesothelioma research and other news from throughout the United States and the world.

  • Novel cancer vaccine may benefit meso patients.Novel Cancer Vaccine Holds Promise Against Certain Cancers Including Mesothelioma
    Researchers are looking to a new approach to cancer immunotherapy for a new and cost-effective weapon against some of the most deadly tumors, including ovarian cancer, mesothelioma and pancreatic cancer. Immunotherapy is designed to induce the immune system to attack cancer cells.
  • Asbestos Poisoning Victims Want Yale Honor Revoked
    Many victims of asbestos exposure in Italy are joining together to urge Yale University to revoke an honorary degree given to Stephan Schmidheiny, former owner of Swiss construction company Eternit. After receiving the honorary degree in 1996, Schmidheiny was later convicted of negligence in approximately 2,000 asbestos-related deaths.
  • Former SMU Student Sentenced to Federal Prison for Exposing Day Laborers to Asbestos
    A former student of Southern Methodist University in Texas will spend a year in federal prison for violating the Clean Air Act and exposing workers to asbestos. The man hired two day laborers to remove asbestos from a building his father’s company owned.

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Simmons Firm Congratulates 2014 Asbestos Awareness Conference Award Winners

The 10th annual ADAO International Asbestos Awareness Conference is scheduled from April 4 to 6, 2014. The conference will feature more than 30 prominent experts and asbestos victims from around the world who will present the latest medical advancements pertaining to mesothelioma treatment, disease prevention and global advocacy.

At the conference, ADAO will honor a select group of individuals, who include:

  • Congressman Henry Waxman, recipient of the Tribute of Hope Award for his constant commitment to public health and safety.
  • Dr. David Egilman, posthumous recipient of the Dr. Irving Selikoff Lifetime Achievement Award honoring his dedication to increasing asbestos awareness and advocacy for asbestos-related diseases.
  • Bill Ravanesi, recipient of the Tribute of Inspiration Award for his efforts to protect workers’ rights and pursue justice for asbestos victims and their loved ones.
  • Jannelle Bedel, recipient of the Alan Reinstein Award for her dedication to mesothelioma education, advocacy and support before losing her battle with mesothelioma in 2013.
  • Lou Williams, recipient of the Alan Reinstein Award for her commitment to mesothelioma education, support and advocacy to numerous mesothelioma patients.
  • Heather Von St. James, recipient of the Alan Reinstein Award for her dedication to mesothelioma education, advocacy and support.
  • Dr. Ken Takahashi, recipient of the Dr. Irving Selikoff Lifetime Achievement Award for his commitment to raising asbestos awareness, eradicating disease and supporting ADAO.
  • Congressman Bruce Vento, posthumous recipient of the Warren Zevon “Keep Me in Your Heart” Memorial Tribute for her many years of service as a legislator and public advocate.
  • National Association for the Defense of Asbestos Victims (Andeva), recipient of the Tribute of Unity Award for its national and international efforts to protect public health and ban asbestos.

The Simmons Firm would like to congratulate all of the above honorees for their dedication to mesothelioma and asbestos awareness. The effort to end mesothelioma and asbestos exposure takes commitment from countless individuals like those listed above, and along with patients and victims of mesothelioma, we thank you.

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Asbestos and Mesothelioma News Wrap Up: February 2014

The mesothelioma lawyers at the Simmons Law Firm are dedicated to keeping you updated on the latest asbestos and mesothelioma news. Below is a short list of some of the most recent news headlines covering the dangers of asbestos exposure, along with new information about mesothelioma research from throughout the United States and the world.

  • Read mesotheliomat newsBiomass cited by EPA for handling of asbestos in Ohio
    Biomass has been cited by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the improper handling of asbestos at one of its buildings. During former inspections, the EPA discovered the company wasn’t properly disposing of asbestos-containing materials and was dumping the materials in an open-air container.
  • Revolutionary Toronto cancer treatment gives asbestos victims new life
    Two doctors in Toronto have teamed up to develop a new treatment technique that has doubled survival times in patients with mesothelioma. Their research was published last month and drew attention from around the world. According to the doctors, Mayo Clinic will soon attempt to use their treatment method.
  • Health program for asbestos victims expanded
    A pilot program that offers home assistance, mileage reimbursements for medical travel and other services to victims of asbestos exposure has been expanded to cover 18 additional counties in Montana, Idaho and Washington state. When it was established under the Affordable Care Act, the program was originally only available to people in Lincoln and Flathead counties.

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OSHA Updates Regulations to Protect Workers from Asbestos

Recently the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) expanded and updated its Asbestos Fact Sheet. Within the Fact Sheet, the agency also discussed its various standards and regulations for protecting workers from dangerous asbestos exposure.

The sheet states that occupations working with asbestos-containing flooring materials (in the general industry) are protected by three OSHA Asbestos standards: 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1910.1001 (general industry), 29 CFR 1915.1001 (shipyards) and 29 CFR 1926.1101 (construction).

Worker Protections

In an effort to protect general industry workers from asbestos exposure, the regulations contain the following worker protections:

  • Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL): The PEL for asbestos is 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter of air as an eight-hour time-weighted average (TWA). The excursion limit (EL, also known as the maximum exposure allowable for each individual over a short period) is 1.0 asbestos fibers per cubic centimeter over a 30-minute period. It is the employer’s responsibility to make sure workers are not exposed above these limits.
  • Assessment: Workplaces covered by the above standards should be assessed to determine if asbestos is present or if the job duties will release asbestos fibers into the air.
  • Monitoring: Regular monitoring should be conducted to determine if asbestos exposure is at or above PEL or EL for workers who are or could be exposed to asbestos. If the exposure is above PEL or EL levels, it is the employer’s responsibility to use proper engineering controls and work practices to keep exposure at or below PEL or EL levels. In circumstances where engineering controls cannot keep the exposure at or below PEL or EL levels, the employer must provide proper respiratory protection to meet the PEL.
  • Hazard communication and demarcation: Employers must provide warning signs with specified language in areas that have asbestos exposure above the PEL or EL levels. No smoking, drinking or eating is allowed in these areas and proper personal protective equipment (PPE) must be provided.
  • Decontamination and lunch areas: These areas should be kept separate. To avoid contamination, proper hygiene must be provided to workers exposed to PEL before they can enter these areas.
  • Training: Initial and annual training must be provided to workers exposed to PEL in a format and language they can understand. Workers responsible for housekeeping in areas of PEL should also receive the training.
  • Medical surveillance: Medical examinations must be provided to workers who experience exposures at or above the PEL.
  • Records: Records should be maintained for all asbestos exposure for at least 30 years. Medical surveillance records should be maintained for the duration of an employee’s employment plus an additional 30 years following. Training records must be kept for at least one year following the initial date of employment.

OSHA regulations strive to protect workers in the shipyard, construction and general industry from toxic exposure to asbestos. Learn more about these regulations or asbestos exposure now.

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