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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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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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Asbestos and Mesothelioma News Wrap Up: January 2014

At the Simmons Law Firm, our mesothelioma lawyers are committed to keeping you up-to-date on the latest asbestos and mesothelioma headlines. Below is a short list of some of the most recent headlines concerning the dangers of asbestos exposure, along with new information about mesothelioma research from throughout the United States and the world.

  • Read asbestos news from Simmons Firm.Canyon Building fined $10,500 for asbestos violations
    In Tucson, Arizona, construction workers were exposed to asbestos when their employer directed them to remove pipes from a job site so another contractor would not have access to the valuable copper. A state investigation revealed the exposure. Canyon Building and Design was fined $10,500 by the Industrial Commission of Arizona.
  • Enzyme found in pineapples may make mesothelioma treatment more effective, study finds
    A recent study found positive results associated with the effect of an enzyme in pineapple, called bromelain, on mesothelioma patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Specific findings revealed that bromelain significantly broke down (autophagy) and triggered cell death (apoptosis) among the mesothelioma cells in mesothelioma patients.
  • June Breit and Jocelyn Farrar Outstanding Nurse Award
    The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation introduces an award named in memory of two women and nursing professionals who died from mesothelioma. Individuals can nominate an individual in the nursing profession who “exhibits an optimistic, determined and generous spirit reflective of both June and Jocelyn.” The award will be presented at The Meso Foundation’s Awards Dinner on March 6, 2014 as part of the mesothelioma symposium.

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Potentially Harmful Chemical Leaks into West Virginia Water Supply

A massive chemical spill contaminated Elk River in West Virginia on Thursday, Jan. 9. The contamination affected the water supply of hundreds of thousands of people, or 16 percent of the state population, near Charleston.

Water contamination in West Virginia.The facility responsible for the leak notified officials about the chemical leak around noon. Residents weren’t informed to avoid using the water until 6 p.m. that day.

Officials declared there were few regulations at the site of the spill and limited details are known about the chemical that leaked into the water supply. Furthermore, the spill shed light on the regulatory gaps within the chemical control laws of the United States. Because of this, officials say they are considering making changes to the current regulations.

“There’s no excuse for it,” said West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin in a CNN article. “We need to do what we can to see that this kind of incident never happens again.”

The chemical that contaminated Elk River is known as MCHM. It is used to treat coal to reduce the amount of ash. The chemical leak occurred at a facility owned by Freedom Industries, a company that supplies products for the coal-mining industry.

West Virginia’s poison control director Elizabeth Scharman told CNN the chemical had not been tested. This points to an important question – is the chemical harmful? According to a 2005 fact sheet about MCHM filed with the West Virginia environmental officials, if a large spill of MCHM occurs, runoff should be prevented from “entering drains, sewers or streams.”

While little is known about MCHM, 300,000 people in nine counties were notified of the contamination. As much as 7,500 gallons of the chemical leaked out of a storage tank, flowed over a concrete wall surrounding the tank, seeped into the soil and entered the water supply.

It is unknown whether any laws were broken when the chemical spill occurred, but officials are looking into the matter. According to many area residents, the leak was associated with a “licorice” smell. Some residents noticed the smell as early as December, weeks before the chemical leak was identified by Freedom Industries and reported to officials.

The most recent inspection of the facility took place in 2010, when a state environmental inspector was called to the site after complaints about odor. Before that, the last inspection took place in 1991.

Earlier this week, the Huffington Post reported that Freedom Industries has filed for bankruptcy. Whether the courts will allow the bankruptcy to proceed has yet to be determined.

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