YourMesotheliomaLawFirm.com Scholarship: Dangers of Asbestos Exposure. Roman Chavez Kennewick, WA (509)

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1 The history of asbestos use in the U.S: Asbestos consists of a group of minerals that occur naturally in the environment as bundles of fiber that can be separated into thin, durable threads. It dates back to prehistoric times, and has been mined and used commercially in North American since the late 1800 s. During World War II the use of asbestos increased greatly, and has since been used in many industries. In the year 1858, The Johns Company started mining fibrous anthophyllite for use as asbestos insulation at the Ward s Hill quarry in Staten Island, New York The coming of the Industrial Revolution saw an increase in asbestos production and use in North America, with the first commercial asbestos mine opening in 1874 in Quebec. It wasn t until 1918 when the U.S government recognized the risk of asbestos. A reports was released from The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics that showed the abnormally high risk of early death among asbestos workers. A decade later in 1930, the discovery of asbestosis was made by Dr. Merewether, a researcher that published the first clinical examination of hundreds of workers in the asbestos industry. In 1933, asbestosis was first reported in America. The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company found asbestosis in 29 percent of workers in a Johns Manville asbestos factory. More research about asbestosis and the risks of working around asbestos came to light throughout the mid 1900 s. Between 1970 and 1980 regulation on asbestos were revised and strengthen. The Clean Air Act was approved by congress, allowing the Environmental Protections Agency to regulate asbestos as a hazardous air pollutant. The EPA has attempted to phase out asbestos in the U.S, but was overturned but the U.S Court in Today there are many Asbestos laws and regulations. It cans still be found in dozens of products manufactured today, and in industrial work areas around the country. Asbestos exposure linked to mesothelioma: Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that usually affects the thing, protective membrane surrounding the lungs, heart or abdominal cavity. In 1934 researches reported cases of asbestosis and lung cancer in asbestos factories. During this time here were numerous findings and research that linked asbestos exposure to lung cancer. In 1960 the link between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma strengthened. There was a study that confirmed reports that exposure to asbestos causes mesothelioma. This study also included the children and wives of asbestos workers who contracted the disease.

2 There are about 3,000 cases a year in the United States, and most of those are traced to job related asbestos exposure. According to an article in Asbestos.com, 70 80% of all mesothelioma cases are caused by asbestos exposure to work. What has been the response (medical, governmental, legal or otherwise) to revelations about the dangers of asbestos? Thanks to years of research we have come to know that asbestos exposure causes lung cancer and is deathly. This researched helped to shape the future of asbestos regulations in the U.S. Even though this research was out, asbestos related companies ignored the warnings of health risks and continued to sell and install asbestos products without warning workers, or trying to use equally effective materials in place of the asbestos. To help regulate asbestos, Congress passed the 1970 Clean Air Act, which allowed the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate asbestos as a hazardous air pollutant. The following year marked the first successful personal asbestos injury claim in the U.S. A federal courts issued a verdict of $68,000 against asbestos makers to a worker suffering from asbestosis. In 1989 the EPA attempted to phase out asbestos in the U.S, but in 1991 the U.S Court overturned the PA asbestos ban. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (O.S.H.A.) has set some limited workplace exposure limits for asbestos and the EPA banned spay on asbestos insulation as a hazardous material. Image courtesy of asbestos.com

3 I this image, cancer cells fill up the lung. Image courtesy of mesothelioma.com This images shows how asbestos enters the airway into the lungs. I personally interviewed a Certified Industrial Hygienist, who has experience working in asbestos affected areas. Q&A Date: 07/29/2015 Interviewee: J. Stewart, Certified Industrial Hygienist. Years of experience in field: 10 years. Q: Working in asbestos affected areas, what medical steps has your company taken to try and prevent the least amount of asbestos exposures? A: They have provided a more conservative medical monitoring of employees, pre employments physicals, as well as annual physicals. It includes chest x rays, a respiratory fit test and a lung capacity evaluation as well as different blood tests. Q: How do you think the government has responded to asbestos? A: They have tighten regulations on new products. That means that new products cannot be made with asbestos. They also have tighter regulations on the removal of asbestos products. All this is to avoid the least amount of exposure to asbestos. Q: What do you think about the legal side of asbestos issues?

4 A: In my opinion, it is a cyclic response. You may know or understand that there is a latency period in asbestos related diseases. You can track legal actions and claims based on the latency periods. Sources Peters, George A., and Barbara J. Peters. Sourcebook on Asbestos Diseases: Medical, Legal, and Engineering Aspects. Vol. 7. New York: Garland, Print. "Asbestos: Elimination of Asbestos related Diseases." WHO. World Health Organization, 01 July Web. 31 July Meredith, Nancy. "Causes of Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure. Mesothelioma Help. Mesotheliomahelp.org, 11 Feb Web. 31 July Selby, Karen. "Dr. Fontaine How Does the Mesothelioma Cell Type Affect a Patients Treatment Options." Mesothelioma Histology. Asbestos.com, n.d. Web. 31 July 2015.

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