1 why should I care about MESOTHELIOMA?... or, what do I need to know about occupational exposure to asbestos and how it causes cancer? MESO-FIRM Local interest in local safety
2 danger asbestos... because mesothelioma (and other asbestos-related diseases) Some of will kill your FRIENDS... and most of us don t even know what mesothelioma is! 3 If that seems a melodramatic, we apologize. But, given that one out of every 125 American men over the age 50 who die this year will do so as the result of an asbestos-related disease, we re serious about this and want to get your attention. Asbestos kills thousands more people than skin cancer each year, and nearly as many as are killed with firearms. Asbestos diseases overwhelmingly affect older men. That s why we re here. To tell you about this epidemic and help find the resources you and your friends or family will need.
3 They never told us how dangerous asbestos exposure could be. Thank God for Richard Dodd and his law firm. They kept digging and now, the work they ve done will help keep us safe. ~ John Fisher Retired steelworker from Alcoa s Rockdale Operations IMPORTANT NOTICE for those who have received asbestos settlements in the past: Texas law now allows those who develop asbestos-related cancers (mesothelioma, lung, gastrointestinal or throat cancer) the have a new claim even if they settled claims for asbestosis or lung plaque in the past. If you are less than pleased with your past non-cancer representation and are now faced Just last year, Cappolino cancer, call us for professional indodd Krebs LLP won a critical sight. ruling in Texas that gives injured Alcoa workers their day in court.
4 Industry knew...if you have enjoyed a good life while working with asbestos products, why not die from it? 1966 Bendix Corporation letter... just as certain as death and taxes is the fact that if you inhale asbestos dust you get asbestosis National Gypsum Memo but chose hide, conceal and deceive Today, it s common knowledge that exposure to asbestos can have some ugly and long-lasting effects, but, up until the 1970s, such wasn t the case. In fact, few who toiled in the heat of America s aluminum smelters like Alcoa Rockdale, Alcoa Point Comfor, Reynolds Gregory, or any of the thousands of other workplace sources of asbestos exposure had any idea that they were being exposed to the powerful carcinogen every day.
5 sworn testimony of Dr. Thomas Bonney, Alcoa s lead industrial hygienist (Sept. 2003) Q: In the 1950s, did you or anyone at ALCOA Rockdale tell the employees working around asbestos-containing products that there were articles in the literature linking cancer to asbestos exposure? A: I did not personally tell them, but we certainly sent copies of the digest... to all the plants. Q: Did that digest go to the actual workers in the potroom, the people in the plant working around asbestos? A: We wouldn t bore them with that. Q: I m sorry, what? A: We wouldn t bore them with that, the information in the digest... As told by the anguishes of today, workers had no idea that their sweaty work clothes were saturated with asbestos-contaminated dust and they were taking that dust home to expose their wives and children. Through extensive and tireless research, we now know that America s industrial concerns knew about the hazards of asbestos and had known since early in the century. They just didn t share that knowledge with employees who worked with it, nor with the families who bought asbestos products and used them in their homes. Not only are we violating the existing regulations concerning clothing by not providing such clothing and laundering it, but we are also failing to protect our employees and the families of our employees from asbestos exposure Exxon memo
6 What is mesothelioma? Simply put, mesothelioma, which is commonly referred to as asbestos cancer, is an aggressive lung cancer caused primarily by the inhalation of microscopic asbestos fibers. The disease attacks the mesothelium, a protective, two-layered membrane that covers the internal organs of the body including the lungs, heart and abdominal organs. Between these layers, the cells produce fluid, which allows easy movement of the heart and lungs within the chest cavity. The layer that covers the lungs is called the pleura, and the layer that covers the heart is called the pericardium. The peritoneum lines the abdominal cavity. Mesothelium also lines our reproductive organs. Mesothelioma can affect any of these cells, but is usually seen in the pleural or peritoneal mesothelium. The most commonly diagnosed form of this cancer is pleural mesothelioma. Mesothelioma takes anywhere from 20 to 50 years to develop, which is why older men are usually the victims. However, a few recent cases involv- KEEP THIS INFORMATION MOST CONFIDENTIAL By the late 1940s, asbestos manufacturers, industries that used significant amounts of asbestos in their operations and their insurance companies all acknowledged at least to themselves that asbestos caused lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. Rather than adopt safety standards, switch to safer products or protect their employees, these companies went to extraordinary lengths to hide the truth about asbestos from workers, the public and the press. Worker health was not actively monitored, and decisive information on the dangers of asbestos was held secret. In some cases, companies interfered with and even rewrote scientific study results, restricted key information on asbestos hazards to management while keeping it from
7 workers, and deliberately failed to label or altered labels on products. A 1949 Exxon document illustrates the point. The document lists the diseases from asbestos exposure under the banner, COMPANY CONFI- DENTIAL: Not For Publication In Present Form. Asbestos diseases are latent, taking decades to appear after initial exposure. This latency period allowed companies to use workers for decades, knowing they were being injured or perhaps even killed by their work, yet also knowing that the men and women on the job would have no warning that they might die from the job exposure. For companies like Alcoa, Exxon, Union Carbide, DuPont, and Dow, withholding this information was relatively simple workers would not ordinarily think of asbestos risks and concealing information was a very effective way to continue production and reduce compensation payouts. As a memo from Johns-Manville s medical director to corporate headquarters described it,... this disease is irreversible and permanent so that eventually compensation will be paid to each of these men. But, as long as the man is not disabled it is felt that he should not be told of his condition so that ing September 11th World Trade Center first responders and clean-up crews show that high concentrations of asbestos may cause the disease much more rapidly. Who Gets Mesothelioma? Because of their work history, men between the ages of 50 and 70 who were employed in asbestos-laden environments are the most affected. Because asbestos is microscopic, identifying an asbestos-laden environment is not easy, sometimes requiring hours of professional research. Though women have a lower rate of the disease, cases of second-hand exposure has prompted increased diagnoses. Occupations most associated with mesothelioma are workers at aluminum smelters, shipyards and rail roads. There are many less obvious occupations like drywall or home remodelers. For instance, actor Steve McQueen, musician Warren Zevon, Jordan Hamilton, Pres. Jimmy Carter s press secretary, each died from mesothelioma.
8 Sometimes, professional insight and research are required to identify exposure sites. In some instances, entire towns have been adversely affected by the presence of asbestos fibers in the air. For example, in Libby, Montana site of a former vermiculite asbestos mine hundreds have died of mesothelioma and it s not over. the Effects of mesothelioma The invasion of the mesothelium is devastating. Like with any cancer, the devil is in the details. Mesothelioma, in general, is a very painful disease because it is he can live and work in peace and the company can benefit by his many years of experience. In other words, American companies knew for decades that exposure to asbestos could kill their employees, the people who live in the communities around their plants and their customers. Their own internal memos betray the depth of their knowledge yet, instead of moving to protect their employees, their families and the rest of us, they deliberately chose to keep us in the dark. Companies like Alcoa and W.R. Grace were well aware of the dangers of exposure to asbestos in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
9 Despite this, despite medical research that documented confirmed links between exposure and dangerous cancers, despite a host of state and federal regulations designed to protect workers and the general public, these companies neglected to take even the simplest safeguards and even denied knowledge of the dangers until the mid 1990s. An ongoing epidemic - and why you should pay attention to it It can take 20 years or longer for symptoms of mesothelioma to appear. Since many of these companies neglected to protect their employees or the general public as late as the early 1990s, there is good reason to believe that the number of annual asbestosrelated deaths in this country has not peaked, nor will it for another decade or more. The vast majority of the victims are men over the age of 50. But, the wives and children of these people could also have suffered heavy exposure to asbestos and many are unaware of the threat. Further, the disease is very difficult to diagnose, only one of the reasons a mesothelioma usually not diagnosed until it's in an advanced stage. For this reason, the symptoms are typically quite serious. Many diagnosis are made after death and it is believed that mesothelioma has killed many without being named the culprit. such deaths are usually blamed on pneumonia or other lung cancers. In general, victims of mesothelioma die within 18 months of diagnosis. Early diagnosis is important. Annual checkups are recommended for those with heavy exposure. A physician can help with questions regarding personal help. Much progress has been made through research and trials. Techniques involving visible tumor removal and then killing the hidden affected cells. Chemotherapy wash is now being used after tumor removal. Hope is essential. Who's to Blame? Employer and manufacturers chose not to warn of the dangers and chose not to protect employees. This senseless American tragedy is the result of GREED. Though the dangerous properties of asbestos and asbestos products have been known for
10 decades, the race for corporate profits was run with heads turned away from worker safety. It wasn't until public awareness of the dangers were revealed in the 1970s that many employers began cutting back on the use of asbestos products and began providing protection like respirators. As unbelievable as it may seem, many companies including Alcoa, Exxon, Dow Chemical and Union Carbide had to be regulated into protecting their workers and workers families. diagnosis is called a death sentence. However, early detection grants victims of mesothelioma cancer a greater range of options. Finally, while most people are aware of the threats tobacco poses, few know about the result of exposure to asbestos... and some companies would just as soon keep it that way. And this is why it is important to raise awareness of the long term dangers of exposure to asbestos. For more information, visit
11 If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestos-related lung cancer, please give us a call. We can help you find the resources you need to fight this painful and expensive disease., J.cDtic.e). D. M ebs, Law Pra A. ykerr (In Full Time n a y R tor-law C. doc odd, L. D. A d Richar wn, P.C. o r B. W ig a Cr polino, P.C. p a C. R y th o im T CERTIFIED BOARD LAW JURY TRIAL PERSONAL IN W LA L IA TR L AND CIVI N SPECIALIZATIO CY D OF LEGAL TRIAL ADVOCA TEXAS BOAR L BOARD OF TE NATIONA CA VO AD CIVIL TRIAL Cappolino Dodd Krebs LLP is a civil trial litigation law firm. We are litigators and skilled advocates, focusing on complex personal injury cases involving asbestos poisoning, birth injuries (cerebral palsy), dangerous drugs, truck wrecks, car wrecks and defective products. Our skilled civil trial litigation and personal injury attorneys have more than 95 years of combined experience. We pride ourselves on customer service, resourcefulness, knowledge of the law, and attention to detail. The members of our firm actively aspire to champion for the rights of individuals, families and small businesses with the goal of achieving a successfulrecovery or settlement. Cameron and Port Lavaca MESO-FIRM
12 IF YOU VE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH MESOTHELIOMA We can help you find the resources you need and will work as hard for your family as you do. we want to help! Local interest in local safety MESO-FIRM
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