Friday, April 11, 2008

Lawsuit claims "CSI" toy kits contain asbestos

A California asbestos awareness group sued CBS Corp, a toy maker and several retailers on Friday, claiming they sold toy crime-scene kits based on the hit CBS series "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" that contained the cancer-causing substance.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that laboratory tests revealed the fingerprint dusting powder in the kits contained "substantial quantities of tremolite asbestos ... one of the most lethal forms of asbestos."

New York-based manufacturer Planet Toys Inc pulled the kits from the market late last year over the group's claims but said that multiple tests had shown no traces of asbestos.
The company said on its Web site it had issued a "stop sale" on all "CSI" fingerprint kits "until further information can be ascertained as to the discrepancy between our respective test findings."

The nonprofit Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization said the defendants, including Planet Toys, failed to warn consumers the kits contained a hazardous material, as required under state law.

The group seeks a court order to stop sales of the kits unless they carry the warning and to require the companies to allow purchasers to return the kits for a full refund, as well as civil penalties.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Myth: Asbestos a Thing of the Past

According to an article on deaths from mesothelioma/asbestos, each year, 10,000 Americans die -- often quite painfully - due to asbestos-related illnesses. Because it takes between 10 and 50 years for symptoms to emerge, these numbers are expected to climb through 2018.

"People think asbestos is a thing of the past," said Harbut, M.D., co-director of the National Center for Vermiculite and Asbestos-Related Cancers, at the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, adding that inhaling or swallowing asbestos fibers permanently penetrates the lungs and other tissue, causing cancer and other respiratory diseases. "I wish it were."

This weekend Harbut is increasing awareness regarding early detection at The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization's fourth annual Asbestos Awareness Day Conference in Detroit.
His goal is to educate and provide outreach to those impacted by exposure. Scheduled events include a musical performance by Jordan Zevon, son of legendary rock musician Warren Zevon, who died of an asbestos-related illness in 2003.

At 10:30 a.m. today, participants will join people around the globe in celebrating the memory of those who died of related diseases with a candlelight ceremony and brunch at the Detroit Marriot Renaissance Center.

"There's a place you can go to find out if you are at high risk for developing asbestos cancers - and get some help," Harbut said. "Karmanos is generally thought to be at the forefront of asbestos research."

Harbut's research team is recognized for discovering two early tumor markers for asbestos-related disease, as revealed through a blood test.

"Early detection helps people live longer and less painfully -- and hopefully less tragically for the family," Harbut said. "It can take a very brief exposure to be affected. There's no such thing as a safe level of exposure."

Between 4,000 and 8,000 new cases of mesothelioma are discovered in the United States each year. Asbestos is the only known cause. According to Harbut, it's the smallest percentage of asbestos-related cancers. Tens of thousands of others are expected to die of lung cancer, asbestosis and other related illnesses.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mouse Model for Mesothelioma Reproduces Human Disease

According to an article on mesothelioma research, scientists have established a mouse model for human malignant mesothelioma that will provide valuable insight into cancer development and progression along with new directions for design of therapeutic strategies. The research, published by Cell Press in the March issue of Cancer Cell, may eventually lead to a substantially improved outlook for patients with this devastating disease.

Chemotherapy can sometimes lead to improvement of overall survival but there is no cure for malignant mesothelioma and patients often succumb from the disease within a year of diagnosis. "There is an urgent need for experimental models of malignant mesothelioma that can be used to not only study the onset and progression of the disease, but also to serve as a model to select new combination therapies and targeted agents," says study leader, Dr. Anton Berns, from The Netherlands Cancer Institute.

In humans, malignant mesothelioma has been associated with genetic lesions that result in the loss of Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) and genetic lesions affecting RB and P53 pathways. Dr. Berns' team investigated whether a range of conditional single or compound mutations in the Nf2, p53 and Rb pathways within the mesothelial lining of the thoracic cavity would cause malignant mesothelioma in mice.

The researchers found that the vast majority of mice with conditional Nf2;Ink4a/Arf and Nf2;p53 mutations developed MM after a short latency period. The mouse malignant mesothelioma tumors, which could be followed noninvasively through the use of bioluminescence imaging, closely resembled human MM. Interestingly, Nf2;Ink4a/Arf knockout mice had a more invasive cancer when compared with Nf2;p53 knockout mice. The researchers went on to show that the loss of Ink4a makes a substantial contribution to the poor clinical outcome of murine malignant mesothelioma.

These results describe an excellent model system for investigating the molecular mechanisms that underlie malignant mesothelioma . "Our mouse models should be suitable to further dissect pathways critically important in mesothelioma development and progression and serve as invaluable tools to test new intervention strategies," concludes Dr. Berns. "We have also derived a series of cell lines that reproduce the disease when grafted into the thoracic cavity. These may also facilitate design of better MM therapies."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Useful asbestos website

The Department of Health and Human Services has a useful website with a great deal of information regarding asbestos, including what it is, types of asbestos exposure, health effects, what you can do if you’re exposed to it, FAQs, info on lung cancer and mesothelioma, plus a variety of links to other valuable resources.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

W.R. Grace on verge of making legal history

According to an editorial on the Wall Street Journal’s website on asbestos and mesothelioma, W.R. Grace is on the verge of making legal history with a trial proceeding that could alter the federal asbestos bankruptcy landscape forever.

A building materials company, W.R. Grace was among the firms swept up in a second round of asbestos litigation in the late 1990s. Having chewed their way through asbestos manufacturers, trial lawyers went after companies that had only a marginal asbestos link. By blanketing these firms with an avalanche of claims they recruited, the tort bar pushed at least 30 of these second-tier players into bankruptcy.

The company entered Chapter 11 with some 120,000 pending claims. But Judge Fitzgerald allowed it to send a medical questionnaire to those plaintiffs, and to request proof of a claim. Some 35,000 didn't bother to finish that process.

The vast majority of asbestos claims are bogus. The plaintiffs lawyers know it, which is why, instead of trying to defend these claims, they've fought every attempt by Grace to examine them. Now that they've lost that battle, they argue that because Grace settled such claims in the past, they should continue to pay them going forward.

If Judge Fitzgerald does discount most of these claims, it could mark the beginning of the end of the bankruptcy racket. Other judges will find it difficult to ignore the evidence and procedures here. As important, trial lawyers might be reluctant to push more companies (in asbestos or other mass torts) into bankruptcy court if they think false claims may be exposed.

This clean-up would obviously come too late for the dozens of companies that have already surrendered to asbestos trusts now run by the tort bar. But it's encouraging that courts are finally investigating sham asbestos claims. It's never too late for real justice.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Mesothelioma Q & A

Here is a short version of a Q & A from the National Cancer Institute’s website, with some useful answers to questions readers may have about mesothelioma, asbestos and health-related risks...

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer in which malignant (cancerous) cells are found in the mesothelium, a protective sac that covers most of the body’s internal organs. Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles.

1. What is the mesothelium?
The mesothelium is a membrane that covers and protects most of the internal organs of the body. It is composed of two layers of cells: One layer immediately surrounds the organ; the other forms a sac around it. The mesothelium produces a lubricating fluid that is released between these layers, allowing moving organs (such as the beating heart and the expanding and contracting lungs) to glide easily against adjacent structures.

2. What is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma (cancer of the mesothelium) is a disease in which cells of the mesothelium become abnormal and divide without control or order. They can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs. Cancer cells can also metastasize (spread) from their original site to other parts of the body.

3. How common is mesothelioma?
Although reported incidence rates have increased in the past 20 years, mesothelioma is still a relatively rare cancer. About 2,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States each year. Mesothelioma occurs more often in men than in women and risk increases with age, but this disease can appear in either men or women at any age.

4. What are the risk factors for mesothelioma?
Working with asbestos is the major risk factor for mesothelioma. A history of asbestos exposure at work is reported in about 70 percent to 80 percent of all cases. However, mesothelioma has been reported in some individuals without any known exposure to asbestos. Smoking does not appear to increase the risk of mesothelioma. However, the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure significantly increases a person’s risk of developing cancer of the air passageways in the lung.

5. Who is at increased risk for developing mesothelioma?
Initially, the risks associated with asbestos exposure were not known. However, an increased risk of developing mesothelioma was later found among shipyard workers, people who work in asbestos mines and mills, producers of asbestos products, workers in the heating and construction industries, and other tradespeople.

Today, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets limits for acceptable levels of asbestos exposure in the workplace. People who work with asbestos wear personal protective equipment to lower their risk of exposure. The risk of asbestos-related disease increases with heavier exposure to asbestos and longer exposure time. However, some individuals with only brief exposures have developed mesothelioma.

On the other hand, not all workers who are heavily exposed develop asbestos-related diseases. There is some evidence that family members and others living with asbestos workers have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma, and possibly other asbestos-related diseases.

6. What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?
Symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until 30 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. Shortness of breath and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleura are often symptoms of pleural mesothelioma. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include weight loss and abdominal pain and swelling due to a buildup of fluid in the abdomen. Other symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may include bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever.

If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face. These symptoms may be caused by mesothelioma or by other, less serious conditions. It is important to see a doctor about any of these symptoms. Only a doctor can make a diagnosis.

7. How is mesothelioma diagnosed?
Diagnosing mesothelioma is often difficult, because the symptoms are similar to those of a number of other conditions. Diagnosis begins with a review of the patient’s medical history, including any history of asbestos exposure. A complete physical examination may be performed, including x-rays of the chest or abdomen and lung function tests. A CT (or CAT) scan or an MRI may also be useful. A biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis of mesothelioma.

8. How is mesothelioma treated?
Treatment for mesothelioma depends on the location of the cancer, the stage of the disease, and the patient’s age and general health. Standard treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Sometimes, these treatments are combined.

9. Are new treatments for mesothelioma being studied?
Yes. Because mesothelioma is very hard to control, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is sponsoring clinical trials (research studies with people) that are designed to find new treatments and better ways to use current treatments. Before any new treatment can be recommended for general use, doctors conduct clinical trials to find out whether the treatment is safe for patients and effective against the disease. Participation in clinical trials is an important treatment option for many patients with mesothelioma.

If you, a coworker or a family member has been exposed to asbestos, contact the law firm of LEVY PHILLIPS & KONIGSBERG, LLP. LPK has been a pioneer in representing victims of asbestos exposure, and is one of the nation’s premier law firms in the areas of toxic torts, product liability, personal injury, and discrimination law.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Asbestos Exposure Slows Hurricane Katrina Cleanup

Cleanup from Hurricane Katrina continues to be slow because of possible asbestos exposure. In a New Orleans parish, officials have determined to use a controlled burn rather than to demolish and move debris to a landfill, which could increase the potential for asbestos contamination.

Because of the large number of asbestos-contaminated buildings and debris still sitting in a New Orleans parish from Hurricane Katrina, a controlled cleanup burn will occur. Three years after the hurricane hit New Orleans, officials are unable to demolish several buildings for fear that asbestos dust will contaminate surrounding areas. Instead, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a controlled burn of the wreckage in a specially designed incinerator, which will occur while air quality is monitored.

Asbestos is a highly toxic mineral that was used in the construction of homes, schools, universities, government buildings and office buildings. The mineral was used because of its resistance to heat and fire damage as well as its strength, however, it was discovered that the inhalation of asbestos fibers and dust was highly toxic to individuals and can cause asbestosis and mesothelioma cancer.

It can take years and even decades for those affected by mesothelioma to know they have been afflicted with the incurable illness. Mesothelioma is not only often misdiagnosed but when it is not caught early enough, there is no possibility to postpone or cure the disease. Those who suspect they have been exposed to asbestos should contact a mesothelioma doctor to learn about treatments. Additionally, it is advisable to consult a mesothelioma attorney for information on how to file mesothelioma litigation.

In the New Orleans parish, officials have determined to burn three asbestos contaminated buildings by using an incinerator known as an "air curtain destructor." In addition to this the EPA will be monitoring the air quality of the burn to ensure that there is no toxic.

Similar to mesothelioma is a disease known as Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF), which is a rare skin disorder associated with patients of kidney disease who are receiving gadolinium dye during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) tests. NSF causes a victim's skin to swell, thicken and eventually harden. The skin also forms swollen red scabs, which can be painful. Also, because of the skins hardening, specifically around the limb's joints, it may become difficult for a victim to function on their own.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Inspiring letter from cancer survivor

Here’s an excerpt from an inspiring letter, and valuable advice, from a Mesothelioma survivor. Read the entire letter here.

Dear Fellow Cancer Patient:

I'm Dick Bloch. In March, 1978 I was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and given 3 months to live by an outstanding doctor. I am now healthy, cancer free, and devoting myself along with my wife, Annette, to helping the next person with cancer have the best chance of beating it. I'm not saying you can have the same success I did, but if you try, you have a chance.

The biggest and the hardest single thing that you will be required to do in the entire battle is to make up your mind to really fight it. You must, on your own, make the commitment that you will do everything in your power to fight your disease. No exceptions. Nothing halfway. Nothing for the sake of ease or convenience. Everything! Nothing short of it. When you have done this, you have accomplished the most difficult thing you will have to accomplish throughout your entire treatment. And I don't care how serious or how minor you are led to believe your cancer is.

Remember, once you have made the commitment, everything else is relatively easy. There will be pleasant experiences. There will be unpleasant experiences. But I can promise you it is not as difficult as making the decision to make the commitment.

Call the Cancer Hot Line at 800-433-0464 to request a copy of Fighting Cancer and to ask for a list of institutions that provide a multidisciplinary second opinion..All of this and much more is yours for the asking.

There is a saying that it takes 6 things to beat cancer. First is the best possible medical treatment. Second is the best possible medical treatment. Third, fourth and fifth are the best medical treatment. Sixth is a positive mental attitude. Without all 6, you don't have a chance. But look at it in that perspective and relative importance. A positive mental attitude is not burying your head in the sand and saying' "I'm going to get well." It is doing everything within your power in addition to medicine to help yourself recover.

That "everything" is to thoroughly read and digest the book, "Fighting Cancer" that you received by calling 800-433-0464. It is written in plain English to help you understand your disease and do everything in your power to help you fight it. The last chapter is a check list.

Fighting cancer is not a simple matter of thinking positively, wishing it away and saying, "Hey, doc, cure me." It is a matter of knowledge. It is a matter of educating yourself about every detail and mustering all your resources. Use every drop of energy in an organized fashion to constructively concentrate on getting rid of cancer. Most cancers can be successfully treated, but generally you have only one chance. If you miss that first chance, if you don't do everything in your power, often there is no second chance.

This is why no cancer patient can afford the luxury of looking back and saying, "I wish I would have...." Never look back. Concentrate on this moment forward and do everything in your power. There is no downside risk. Now you may have a chance.

Good Luck & God Bless You,

Dick Bloch

If you, a coworker or a family member has been exposed to asbestos, contact the law firm of LEVY PHILLIPS & KONIGSBERG, LLP. LPK has been a pioneer in representing victims of asbestos exposure, and is one of the nation’s premier law firms in the areas of toxic torts, product liability, personal injury, and discrimination law.

Friday, February 01, 2008

$15.3 million award in meso lawsuit

According to an article on mesothelioma at, a man was paid a $15.3 million award in an asbestos-related lawsuit:

A Baltimore jury ordered a sealant company yesterday to pay a 73-year-old man $15.3 million after determining that he developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos-containing products made by the company, the plaintiff's lawyer said.

George J. Linkus worked at Key Highway Shipyard from 1952 to 1959, said his lawyer, David L. Palmer.

In 1954, Linkus moved to the machine shop and worked on lining valves using rope made by the defendant, John Crane Inc.

The jury found that the rope used by Linkus contained asbestos, Palmer said.
Mesothelioma is a cancer directly linked to asbestos. Yesterday's verdict concluded a three-week trial.


If you, a coworker or a family member has been exposed to asbestos, contact the law firm of LEVY PHILLIPS & KONIGSBERG, LLP. LPK has been a pioneer in representing victims of asbestos exposure, and is one of the nation’s premier law firms in the areas of toxic torts, product liability, personal injury, and discrimination law.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

First-Time Federal Funding for Mesothelioma Research

According to a recent press release on mesothelioma research, the Department of Defense (DoD) Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program was appropriated $50 million in the Defense Appropriations Bill that the President signed in mid-November.

The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) is excited to announce that, for the first time, mesothelioma will be included as a research priority within the DoD's Medical Research Program, to begin February 2008. As a candidate research area within the program, mesothelioma investigators are eligible to compete for funding through the program's 2008 grant cycle.

"The Meso Foundation has been working with fifteen senators, led bySenator Max Baucus (D-MT), advocating the federal government to respond to the mesothelioma crisis through a commitment of new federal research dollars," said Chris Hahn, Executive Director of The Meso Foundation. "Our advocacy efforts in this area for the past several years finally paid off."

Federal medical research projects must be of clear scientific merit and have direct relevance to military health. Military relevance is a key feature of the Investigator-Initiated award, a connection that will not be difficult for mesothelioma researchers to establish for their grant applications.

There is a long history of asbestos exposure in military service, and a significant elevated risk of mesothelioma in the military population. In fact, approximately one third of mesothelioma cases have been shown to involve Navy and shipyard exposures. Given the long latency of the disease, even if exposures are reduced, mesothelioma will continue to affect the veteran and military population for decades to come.

This funding opportunity can serve as a vital resource to the mesocommunity and is another crucial step toward advancing the research andtreatment of mesothelioma. The Meso Foundation strongly encouragesmesothelioma investigators to consider submitting applications for fundingin 2008, as the interest and engagement shown by the community will likelybe a factor in whether mesothelioma is included as a candidate in future years.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Par unit buys licensing rights for malignant mesothelioma drug

Par Pharmaceutical Companies Inc.'s (NYSE:PRX) proprietary products division said Tuesday it has acquired the exclusive licensing and commercialization rights to Onconase from Alfacell Corp. (NASDAQ:ACEL)

Onconase is a drug used in the treatment of inoperable malignant mesothelioma currently in Phase III development.

Under the terms of the agreement, Par's Strativa Pharmaceuticals unit will make an initial payment of $5 million to Alfacell. It will also pay an additional $30 million upon approval of the drug by the Food and Drug Administration.

Alfacell will retain the right to co-promote Onconase in the future and is also entitled to royalty payments from sales, as well as possible milestone payments of an undisclosed amount.

Alfacell is a Bloomfield, N.J.-based pharmaceutical company. Its stock closed Monday at $1.75.

Par is a Woodcliff Lake, N.J.-based pharmaceutical company. Its stock closed Monday at $20.97.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Jury Awards $9 million to New York Mesothelioma Victims

On December 17, 2007, a New York City jury awarded a total of $9 million to compensate two New York City mesothelioma victims and their wives for damages caused by asbestos exposure. The two cases (Rosenberg and Casale) were joined for a single trial in New York County Supreme Court. The mesothelioma law firm representing both families is Levy Phillips & Konigsberg, LLP ("LPK") whom have represented New York families affected by mesothelioma for more than two decades.

The jury verdicts in these cases are being viewed as ground-breaking by mesothelioma trial attorneys, as the verdicts were handed down against companies against whom no jury verdicts had ever been returned in the long history of asbestos exposure litigation in New York City.

The case of Joel and Sharon Rosenberg v. Alpha Wire Company, et. al, Index No. 106697/06 involved the asbestos exposure that Mr. Rosenberg sustained as the result of working as a life-long electrician in New York with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers ("IBEW"), Local 3. The jury awarded $3 million for Mr. Rosenberg's pain and suffering and $1 million to Mrs. Rosenberg for loss of services and society. Mr. Rosenberg developed mesothelioma during his retirement while living in New Jersey. He died at the age of sixty-four.

The Casale case (Joseph and Dolores Casale, Index No. 104299/06), involved the asbestos exposure of Mr. Casale during his career as a steam fitter (also known as pipe fitter) in New York. The jury awarded a total of 5 million dollars in the Casale case: 1.5 million for Mr. Casale's pain and suffering up to the date of the verdict; 1.5 million for Mr. Casale's future pain and suffering; 1 million for Mrs. Casale's loss of service and society up to the date of the verdict; and 1 million for Mrs. Casale's future loss of service and society.

In the Casale case, the New York jury returned a verdict in favor of the Casales against a manufacturer of valves, as well as a manufacturer of steam traps. This represents the first verdicts involving valves and steam traps in the history of asbestos exposure litigation in New York, and is reportedly the first asbestos verdict in the nation involving the use of steam traps.

The LPK mesothelioma trial attorneys that obtained the verdicts in these cases were Jerome H. Block, Patrick J. Timmins and Holly C. Peterson. These mesothelioma trial attorneys at LPK (the attorneys for the Rosenberg and Casale families) have won numerous other landmark jury verdicts in the course of more than 25 years of representing New York mesothelioma victims.

For more information about this mesothelioma trial, LPK's mesothelioma trial attorneys, or for more information about mesothelioma and asbestos exposure, please call the mesothelioma attorneys at Levy, Phillips & Konigsberg LLP at 800-MESO-LAW or 212-605-6200, visit or complete the email form on this page. You will also find informative medical and legal information about New York and New Jersey mesothelioma and asbestos exposure at

Mesothelioma Treatment Options

Mesothelioma Treatment Options

Here’s a very informative article on treatment options for malignant mesothelioma:

Treatment of malignant mesothelioma can be very difficult for a wide variety of reasons. First and foremost, mesothelioma can be difficult to correctly diagnose and may not show up in a patient for decades. This can create problems for treatment because with mesothelioma, as with all cancers, treatment is more difficult the longer the disease has been allowed to progress.

In addition to the difficulties created by delayed treatment of mesothelioma, the disease often does not respond to traditional cancer treatments, further complicating treatment. Also, the organs that are involved in mesothelioma cannot be partially or wholly removed usually, which means that surgical options can be extremely limited. Lastly, the fact that the majority of mesothelioma patients are men of advanced age, usually over 50, means that some more radical treatment approaches cannot be used because of declining health due to old age.

All of this means that even newly diagnosed mesothelioma patients sometimes are given a very bad chance of recovery by their doctors. Statistics are hard to come by, but British scientists suggest that 10% of newly diagnosed mesothelioma patients will live for at least three more years; Only 5% will live five years or longer. For patients in the first stage, 50% live for at least two more years. However doctors can be mistaken, and a diagnosis of mesothelioma is in no way always tantamount to a death sentence. Famed scientist Stephen Jay Gould lived with peritoneal mesothelioma for nearly 20 years. He eventually died from a different type of cancer.

There are four stages of malignant mesothelioma, which measure how far the disease has progressed. How a patient's mesothelioma is treated depends largely on which stage he or she is in when the disease is found.Patients with Stage I or milder Stage II mesothelioma are generally offered one or more of the conventional cancer treatments: surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Treatment Options:

For early-stage patients, surgery for mesothelioma aims to cure the disease by literally cutting the cancer out of the patient's body. The most common type of surgery for pleural mesothelioma is a pleurectomy/decortication, which is where doctors remove all or part of the tissues lining the lungs and chest cavity.

Radiation and Chemotherapy
In addition to or instead of surgery, doctors may offer an early-stage mesothelioma patient chemotherapy, radiation or both. Radiation and chemotherapy are designed to kill the cancer cells without killing the patient.

Unfortunately, in order to kill the cancerous cells, these treatments often kill healthy cells as well. This is why cancer patients often lose their hair, have trouble eating and feel generally weak and sick during treatment. Doctors who prescribe chemotherapy or radiation may also suggest dietary supplements or other measures to control these symptoms.

Chemotherapy gives patients a drug designed to attack the cancer cells as they divide. The drug is swallowed or injected into the bloodstream regularly over a period of weeks or months, in cycles that give a patient some recovery time in between treatments. Patients can live at home and just go into a doctor's office for the treatment; sometimes, they can even have the treatments at home.

Radiation therapy seeks to kill the cancer cells with high-energy rays of radiation, such as x-rays, that stop them from growing. With external-beam radiation, patients will be subjected to directed rays of radiation directed as specific parts of the body affected by cancer. This treatment lasts about 30 minutes a day and is given in the exact same way each day over a period of weeks.

If you, a coworker or a family member has been exposed to asbestos, contact the law firm of LEVY PHILLIPS & KONIGSBERG, LLP. LPK has been a pioneer in representing victims of asbestos exposure, and is one of the nation’s premier law firms in the areas of toxic torts, product liability, personal injury, and discrimination law.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Asbestos turns up in toys, children's clay and other products

Asbestos turns up in toys, children's clay and other products

According to an article on asbestos, the substance that can cause malignant mesothelioma was found in toys and children’s clay.

Asbestos has been found in a variety of consumer products, including one of this season's biggest-selling Christmas toys, according to the nation's largest asbestos victims’ organizations.
The CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit, two brands of children's play clay, powdered cleanser, roof sealers, duct tapes, window glazing, spackling paste and small appliances were among the products in which asbestos was found by at least two of three labs hired by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization.

The group, which was created in 2004 by asbestos victims and their families, spent more than $165,000 to have government-certified laboratories examine hundreds of consumer products over 18 months to determine whether asbestos was present.

The product that is of greatest concerns to some public health experts is the fingerprint kit, which is a huge seller, according to sales personnel interviewed by the Seattle P-I.

The kit, made in China, is one of several items licensed by CBS after its popular "CSI" science-crime shows. This model has an extensive array of plastic tools, inks and three types of very fine powders -- white, black and glow-in-the-dark. The analysis done for the victim's organization found high levels of two types of asbestos in the white and the glow powder.

Physicians are especially concerned because of the significant likelihood of children breathing in asbestos fibers as they hunt for fingerprints and use a soft-bristled brush to move the powder around.

CBS Consumer Products responded quickly when told of the reported contamination.
"We've asked our licensee to immediately conduct an independent test in the U.S. for asbestos. If the toy is determined to be unsafe, then we will insist that the licensee remove it from the market," a statement from a CBS spokesman said.

The manufacturer and distributor -- Planet Toys in New York City -- said in an e-mail that it frequently inspects the plants in China that make the CSI toys. "We respect anyone's right to test our products and should their or our future tests reveal anything unacceptable, we'll of course take swift action to remove contaminated products from the market."

Another product the labs said contained asbestos was Art Skills' Clay Bucket, where asbestos was found in six colors of clay.

The Pennsylvania-based family business uses clay from Thailand and, Jennifer Hogan said, produces "a safe and hazard-free product" which has "passed all toxicology tests required to conform to applicable United States safety standards."

Hogan says her firm appreciates the seriousness of the organization's concerns "and will pursue vigorously any evidence of hazardous substances in our products."

The laboratories reported asbestos in Scotch High Performance Duct Tape and its All Weather Duct Tape, both of which are manufactured in Canada, according to 3M.

"3M has a policy against using asbestos in our products," said Jackie Berry, a corporate spokeswoman, "and we don't use asbestos in our duct tape."

The labs also said asbestos was found in numerous tests of DAP Crack Shot Spackling Paste and DAP's 33 Window Glazing.

David Fuller, vice president of marketing for DAP, said "neither product contains asbestos. As a responsible company, DAP has been, and will continue to be, in regular contact with our suppliers and will routinely review information and regulations relevant to ensuring the safety and efficacy of our products."

Paul Zygielbaum, a survivor of mesothelioma, and his wife, Michelle, proposed tests of products readily available on U.S. store shelves. "Our reasoning was that, while the continuing legality of asbestos doesn't seem to cause public outrage, the actual, unsuspected presence of asbestos in everyday products might do so," said Zygielbaum, who managed the testing.

After reporting its findings at a news conference in Washington on Wednesday morning, the organization says it will submit its testing information to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the EPA.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Asbestos in the Workplace: The Occupational Time Bomb

A blog posting on asbestos in the workplace asserts that there are entire classes of workers who have been put in danger without even knowing it.

Contrary to popular belief, asbestos when left alone, poses little threat to human inhalation though those asbestos containing materials should be replaced as a rule. However it is when it is damaged by heat, weather, or other force which renders it “friable,” when it is most dangerous.

When the asbestos fibers become loosened or otherwise disturbed by any number of factors they become airborne and inhaled.

Occupational hazards are the most common origin of asbestos related health complications. Duties which engage asbestos materials are those who are the most likely to disturb the particles and inhale them. This can happen in a myriad of occupational situations but is most common in shipyards, construction sites, and some areas of manufacturing.

Asbestos related diseases, such as the lung cancer mesothelioma, are incredibly painful and debilitating ailments, in which in the absence of a cure the body will eventually asphyxiate itself. Often the symptoms of asbestos related respiratory complications will not appear for several years, even decades after an exposure.
This can lead many to be unaware of the causal relationship between a prior occupational exposure and the reality that they now have to deal with.

It is important that if you have been exposed to asbestos, or think you may have been exposed while working in one of the above or related industries that you seek the assistance of a physician. There are medical, emotional, and legal support structures already in place to assist victims of occupational asbestos exposure. Early detection of the disease is the primary variable which can increase treatment and quality of life management options.

If you, a coworker or a family member has been exposed to asbestos, contact the law firm of LEVY PHILLIPS & KONIGSBERG, LLP. LPK has been a pioneer in representing victims of asbestos exposure, and is one of the nation’s premier law firms in the areas of toxic torts, product liability, personal injury, and discrimination law.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Benefit Concert for Asbestos Disease Awareness and Research Funds

According to an article on asbestos disease awareness, a concert will be held on December 8th,, Presented by Jones House Music, to Be Held at Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez, CA – Featuring Tributes from Jordan Zevon and Other Well-Known Artists.


Friends of Warren Zevon Featuring:
-- Jordan Zevon, Warren Zevon's son and ADAO National Spokesperson whose debut album is scheduled for release in early 2008 on New West Records
-- Mike Campbell and The Dirty Knobs, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitar player with The Heartbreakers; performed on Zevon's Grammy winning album, the Wind
-- Kenny Edwards, co-founder of the Stone Poneys with Linda Ronstadt and Bryndle with Karla Bonoff; recorded numerous Zevon songs and performed on Zevon's Excitable Boy album
-- Matt Cartsonis, multi-instrumentalist and composer for film, television and various commercials; performed in Zevon's final tour
-- Phil Cody, singer and songwriter; toured with Zevon in the 1990's
-- Plus - up and coming young artists: Crosby Loggins and Paul Cartwright and Friends


Tribute Concert to Warren Zevon, who was taken in 2003 by the asbestos cancer, mesothelioma. Presented by Jones House Music, the concert will include songs from a myriad of performers who played with Zevon in various settings, including for his final album, The Wind, which earned two posthumous Grammy Awards in 2004 for Best Rock Performance By A Group or Duo for "Disorder in the House" along with longtime friend Bruce Springsteen, and Best Contemporary Folk album.

Warren Zevon's legendary career includes over 18 albums, 2 gold records, 1 platinum record, 2 Grammy awards, an honorary presidential award from NARAS, and numerous Songwriter of The Year Awards from publications like Rolling Stone Magazine. His biggest hit, "Werewolves of London" continues to make critic lists as one of the best Rock songs of all time.

Funds will be used to support the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF). The occurrence of asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis, is growing out of control. Studies estimate that during the next decade, 100,000 victims in the United States will die of an asbestos related disease - equaling 30 deaths per day.

Tickets are $35 and are available starting November 5 at or at the Maverick Saloon

Thursday, November 01, 2007

$250,000 pledged for mesothelioma research

According to an article on mesothelioma research, a study on the cause of mesothelioma — a rare, as-yet-incurable cancer — among some Iron Range miners has been given a financial boost.
A $250,000 appropriation that would help pay for medical examinations of miners as part of a University of Minnesota and state Department of Health study was unanimously approved Thursday by the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board at a board meeting at IRR headquarters near Eveleth.
Since 2003, 58 Iron Range miners have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare, fatal form of cancer linked to asbestos exposure. Iron Range lawmakers have fought passionately to move ahead with a study that would pinpoint whether iron ore dust causes the disease.
The $250,000 IRR appropriation, which Gov. Tim Pawlenty still needs to approve, would be spent locally for x-rays, MRIs or other diagnostic services on miners, Rukavina said.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Senate passes Murray bill to ban asbestos

Senate passes Murray bill to ban asbestos

According to a recent article on a bill to ban asbestos, on Thursday, the Senate voted unanimously to pass [Sen. Patty] Murray's ban on the importation of asbestos, which still is found in more than 3,000 consumer products. If approved by the House and not vetoed by the president, the United States will finally join more than 40 other nations that have banned the cancer-causing material.

With an intensity that bordered on obsession, Murray and her staff became experts on asbestos, where it came from and how it killed.

Corporate opposition to Murray's efforts was enormous.

"When you go after an issue like this, you're fighting a lot of big-time money. Lobbyists for manufacturers, the sand and gravel folks, people with commercial interest and a lot of clout fought this," Murray said. "I wasn't surprised that many other (lawmakers) didn't want to get involved because they thought it was impossible."

Early in the fight, the White House did all it could to stymie discussion, let alone passage of the ban. Murray's efforts were a victim of collateral damage from a three-year Republican effort to pass legislation favored by President Bush that would have prevented people injured by exposure to asbestos from suing the companies involved.

For the past seven months, Murray said, she worked closely with Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia. He convinced Republicans of the importance of the ban, she said.
Murray says she's sure it will become law.

Murray says that two years after her bill is signed into law, there will be no asbestos in hair dryers or brake products or ceiling tiles or 3,000 other imported products.

Among the many demands in the legislation is the banning of the importation, manufacture, processing and distribution of products containing asbestos. It orders the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure asbestos products are off the shelves within two years of the bill's enactment.

It would create a $50 million "Asbestos-Related Disease Research and Treatment Network" of 10 new centers dedicated to finding better treatment, earlier detection and methods of preventing asbestos-related disease.

It says the EPA shall conduct a public education campaign to increase awareness of the dangers posed by products containing or contaminated by asbestos, including in homes and workplaces.
For more information on asbestos and mesothelioma, the deadly cancer caused by the material, visit the website of the law firm of LEVY PHILLIPS & KONIGSBERG, LLP.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Quaker Chemical Settles Asbestos Dispute

According to an article on the Quaker Chemical Corp asbestos dispute, Quaker Chemical Corp. said Thursday its SB Decking Inc. unit reached a deal with Employers Insurance Co. of Wausau related to a coverage dispute for some asbestos claims.

The companies entered a claim handling and funding agreement in which Wausau will pay 27 percent of defense and indemnity costs incurred by or on behalf of SB Decking in connection with the asbestos bodily injury claims for at least five years, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Either company can end the agreement after three years, provided they give at least two years' written notice. The deal remains in effect until such notice is given.

SB Decking may still pursue a claim against Wausau for coverage for asbestos claims made after the deal ends.

Shares of Quaker Chemical fell 12 cents to $23.87 in morning trading

Thursday, October 04, 2007

September 26th is National Mesothelioma Cancer Awareness Day

According to an article on Mesothelioma cancer awareness, September 26th is National Meso (mesothelioma) Awareness Day. Begun by the Meso Foundation, this day is dedicated to raise awareness of the problems, symptoms, and need for research into mesothelioma, one of the lesser-known forms of cancer.

A person with mensothelioma may eventually be suffocated so that breathing is painful, or the heart or other organs can be crushed as the cancer grows. Most people who are diagnosed with meso die within 4 to 14 months.

Meso is caused by asbestos exposure. It can take years (30, 40, or even 50 years) to develop. According to the Meso Foundation, the U.S. EPA identified asbestos as," one of the most hazardous substances to which humans are exposed in both occupational and non-occupational settings."

The EPA estimates that over 20 million American workers have been exposed to asbestos particles. Every year approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma.

According to the Meso Foundation, treatments for mesothelioma were largely ignored. While asbestos was known to be a carcinogenic, businesses were allowed to continue using it. Developing treatments for meso were ignored, perhaps because of potential legal minefields.

With a myriad of reasons behind it, the bottom line is that funding for research into treating meso has lagged far behind that of other forms of cancer. The Meso Foundation hopes to change this by drawing awareness to this rare but painful form of cancer.

Actor Steve McQueen died of meso only 11 months after his diagnosis in 1980. In 2003, singer-songwriter Warren Zevon was also diagnosed with meso. He died one year after being diagnosed with it. The treatment of meso has not changed much since 1980.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ban Asbestos Act moves to Senate Floor

The bill titled the Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2007 would ban the importation, manufacture, processing and distribution of products containing asbestos into the United States. In addition, the measure, which is expected to be voted on later this year or in early 2008, calls for the creation of a $50 million asbestos-related disease research and treatment network and a public awareness campaign highlighting the dangers posed by asbestos-containing products. For more about the bill, read "Murray ReIntroduces Asbestos Bill.".

The bill initially had been introduced in 2001 and had little chance of passage until this year. On July 31, the bill passed the full Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) with unanimous, bipartisan support. The bill now heads to the Senate floor.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Diagnostic Tools for Lung and Mesothelioma Cancers to be Developed

In a recent article on Mesothelioma Cancer Diagnostic Tools, Rosetta Genomics, Ltd. announced that it has partnered with NYU Medical Center with the aim of developing a line of early detection diagnostic products for lung and Mesothelioma cancers.

The early detection test will mainly target over 45 million Americans who are at an increased risk of lung cancer due to smoking, as well as those who have been exposed to asbestos fibers. The test will utilize Rosetta Genomics' proprietary protocol to extract microRNAs from a simple blood draw.

"A test that will be able to detect cancer at an early stage using a simple blood draw will have far reaching implications on the fight against cancer," noted Dr. Harvey Pass, Professor and Chief, Division of Thoracic Surgery and Thoracic Oncology at NYU Medical Center. "MicroRNAs have been shown to hold great potential as effective biomarkers for various cancers, and I believe that NYU Medical Center's vast experience with lung cancer and Mesothelioma, coupled with Rosetta Genomics' expertise in the microRNA field, will allow us to successfully advance this much needed test forward."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

On 6th anniversary, one more 9/11 victim

On September 11, 2007 another victim's name will be read from the list of victims who died in the attacks of September 11.

Felicia Dunn-Jones died just five months after the towers fell. The addition of Dunn-Jones, a 42-year-old civil rights attorney, to New York City's Sept. 11 death toll occurred in a year that sharply focused on post-Sept. 11 illness — and the legacy of the cleanup of ground zero — more than ever before.

Doctors published more studies establishing direct links to respiratory illnesses and the exposure to the mixture of pulverized concrete, asbestos, mercury and other toxins that wafted over ground zero for close to a year. One study showed a powerful connection to sarcoidosis — the lung-scarring disease that killed Dunn-Jones — and city firefighters.

"We are not about to abandon the men and women who helped lift our city back onto its feet during our greatest time of need," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at the time.

Three months later, city Medical Examiner Charles Hirsch surprised many by adding Dunn-Jones' name to the official Sept. 11 victims' list.

Citing "accumulated scientific research" that linked sarcoidosis to ground zero exposure, Hirsch wrote in May, "the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has thus concluded that Mrs. Dunn-Jones' exposure to World Trade Center dust on 9/11/01 contributed to her death and it has been ruled a homicide."

On Sept. 11, while her husband, Joseph Jones watched planes hit the towers from the Staten Island Ferry terminal, Dunn-Jones tried to escape her office a block from the north tower. She put a piece of clothing over her face but couldn't keep the choking, white dust out of her lungs, Jones said.

Dunn-Jones was added to Staten Island's Sept. 11 memorial first in 2005, but "we still hadn't given up on the 9/11 thing," he said.

After receiving letters from Feinberg, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney and others, Hirsch reached a new decision on May 23.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Ex-Deutsche site worker: Boss said no to asbestos gear

According to an article on asbestos gear, an asbestos worker at the former Deutsche Bank building told the Daily News she quit her job at the unsafe, underprotected site after her boss berated her for wearing an asbestos mask to protect herself.

Helen Rocos was one of a handful of handpicked workers chosen for the lucrative job of searching for human bone fragments amid gravel on the roof of the toxic 130 Liberty St. in spring 2006.

She said she and other employees were assured the roof had been cleaned of asbestos, so they wore ordinary work clothes as they shoveled stones and pawed through the roof debris to find the remains of those killed on 9/11.

"They told us they got rid of the asbestos, but as I'm digging, I'm thinking, 'How did they magically get rid of the asbestos, but still leave all this healthy dirt behind?'" said Rocos, 57, a tough-talking certified asbestos handler with haz-mat training.

After lunch the first day, Rocos came back to work wearing an asbestos mask. She said her Bovis Lend Lease supervisor was furious.

"He yelled, 'Helen! Take that mask off your face! You are spooking everybody, spooking the people from the medical examiner's office!'" Rocos recalled.

Staff from the medical examiner's office was overseeing the bone search as TV helicopters circled overhead filming the dust plumes.

"I said, 'No!' I said I doubted they could clean the asbestos on the roof and leave all this other dirt untouched. You had people picking through the dirt for bones, then getting up and eating a Dunkin' Donut, licking their fingers," she said. "It was insane."

When she balked at taking off her mask, the Bovis supervisor called her a "loudmouth" and a "troublemaker" in front of the rest of the crew, though he later suggested she wear a cloth mask as a compromise, she said.

The fight over the mask was the last straw, she said, so she quit. Days later, by the end of April, the Environmental Protection Agency had suspended the search for bone fragments because the roof was "not properly cleaned" and asbestos particles were discovered in the dust, officials said.

New Clinical Trial to Test Effectiveness of Vorinostat (Zolinza) on Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

The National Institute of Health Clinical Center has started to test the efficacy of vorinostat and the treatment of patients who have been diagnosed with pleural malignant mesothelioma. The trial is testing for toxicity levels and any side effects that may come about.

Dr, Raffit Hassan is the protocal chair of the,
“A Phase III, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Oral Suberoylanilide Hydroxamic Acid (L-001079038) in Patients With Advanced Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Previously Treated With Systemic Chemotherapy,” and can be contacted via the National Cancer Institutes's website.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Study: Residents Near Asbestos Plant Have High Mesothelioma Risk

A new study by doctors with the Cancer Epidemiology Unit of the University of Turin (Italy) of people living near an asbestos cement plant confirms that asbestos is a potent cause of mesothelioma not only among people working with the product, but also among people exposed through environmental pollution.

The conclusion published in the abstract for the article states: "This study provides strong evidence that asbestos pollution from an industrial source greatly increases mesothelioma risk. Furthermore, relative risks from occupational exposure were underestimated and were markedly increased when adjusted for residential distance."

The risk of mesothelioma from asbestos is so powerful that, according to the study, people living 10km from the source of the asbestos pollution were at increased risk for mesothelioma.

This article is published during a time when asbestos companies continue to claim that their products did not release sufficient asbestos to cause mesothelioma. Believe it or not, this argument is made in Court even when workers report seeing visible dust in the air coming directly from the manufacturer's asbestos products. The fallacy of this litigation argument is that government and world health agencies are in agreement: There is no safe level for exposure to asbestos.

For more information about mesothelioma - disease caused by asbestos, visit

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Experimental Mesothelioma Treatment Tested in Clinical Trial at New York's Columbia Presbyterian Hospital

There is currently an experimental mesothelima treatment being tested in New York's Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. The researchers are trying to determine if oxaliplatin and gemcitabine will help patients who have been diagnosed with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma or malign pleural mesothelioma.

There are certain conditions that patients need to be aware of and for those wanting to learn more, they need to visit Patients can also learn more about Dr. Robert Taub who is an expert in the field of experimental treatments for mesothelioma by visiting

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Facts About Pleural Mesothelioma

A recent article relating the facts about pleural mesothelioma states that pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of mesothelioma by far and accounts for 75% of all mesothelioma cases. Pleural mesothelioma affects the respiratory areas of the body such as the lungs. More specifically, the cancer attacks the lining of the lungs and ribs called the pleura hence the name pleural mesothelioma.

The main cause of pleural mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Only a couple of months of being exposed to the deadly dust and fibres of asbestos without protection can lead to pleural mesothelioma thirty to fifty years later. Elderly men of ages sixty to seventy are those most at risk to asbestos because this was the generation which worked with asbestos with little protection from the dust and fibres.

Due to the long latency period of pleural mesothelioma (30-50 years), these men are only just discovering they have the deadly cancer. Currently, many of these men are lodging million dollar lawsuits against the companies who exposed them to asbestos. Asbestos fibres get into the lining of the lungs by inhalation and become lodged inside the lungs.

The symptoms that are associated with pleural mesothelioma include persistent coughing, difficulty swallowing, facial swelling, weight loss, fever, rasping and coughing up blood. Patients may additionally experience shortness of breath because as the tumour on the lining of the lungs expands, this leaves less room for the lungs to function properly. Some patients also begin to feel severe pains in their chest and this is due to the spreading of cancerous cells. A lot of these symptoms are similar to diseases and conditions which are far more common than mesothelioma which means that pleural mesothelioma is often very difficult to diagnose until it is too late.

Treatment of pleural mesothelioma is limited and as yet there is no proper cure. Research is being conducted in labs all over the United States and many pharmaceutical companies are also testing for new treatments. Treatments for pleural mesothelioma include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. A patient’s age, medical record, weight and other such factors are taken into account before treatment. Generally, chance of survival is far more likely if pleural mesothelioma is treated aggressively in its early stages because once the cancer has developed and matured it is very difficult to cure.

Mesothelioma Clinical Trial in New York City Tests Cisplatin, Pemetrexed, and Bevacizumab

Researchers at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City are currently conducting a mesothelioma clinical trial to test a potential new treatment for mesothelioma. Patients who have enrolled will be given three therapeutic drugs--cisplatin, pemetrexed, and bevacizumab-which will be used together to see if this new drug combination has the potential to be a more effective form of treatment.

For patients to be eligible for this mesothelioma clinical trial, they must not have undergone prior chemotherapy for the treatment of mesothelioma or have been treated with any of the drugs under the consideration of this study. For this mesothelioma clinical trial, patients must also be willing to take B12 vitamin and folic acid supplements. New York City is the home of top cancer institutions such as Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. For more information about this hospital and its cancer treatments, please click on the following link:

Those interested in learning more about this new mesothelioma clinical trial testing the combination of Cisplatin, Pemetrexed, and Bevacizumab, please click on the following link:

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

San Diego Gas and Electric Convicted for Improper Asbestos Removal

According to a recent press release at the US Environmental Protection Agency’s website on improper asbestos removal, San Diego Gas and Electric was convicted for improper asbestos removal. A federal jury in San Diego found San Diego Gas and Electric Company guilty on three counts of violating asbestos work practice standards and one count of making false statements on July 13. The charges relate to the company's removal of asbestos from 9.23 miles of underground piping at the former Encanto Gas Holder facility in Lemon Grove, Calif., in 2000 and 2001.

In addition, Kyle Rhuebottom, the project manager for the prime contractor on the site, and David Williamson, a company employee, were each found guilty of one count of violating asbestos work practice standards.

According to court documents, the company knew the piping at the Encanto facility was coated with asbestos, based on analytical testing. Once the company decided to sell the property, they solicited bids for demolition and removal of the asbestos-coated piping. Despite knowing that the piping coating contained asbestos, the company began removing the pipe wrap without treating it as regulated asbestos containing material.

The jury found that the company, Rhuebottom and Williamson failed to contain the asbestos or place it in a leak proof container. The jury also found that the company failed to provide adequate notice in advance of the asbestos removal, failed to adequately wet the asbestos during removal, and falsely claimed that a company employee was a certified asbestos consultant.

The defendants are scheduled to appear before United States District Judge Dana M. Sabraw, Southern District of California, on Sept. 6, 2007 for further proceedings.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Cancer Society: Ban Asbestos to Stop Mesothelioma and Asbestos Cancer Death

Canada has long been the world's largest exporter of chrysotile asbestos, which accounts for more than 90% of the asbestos historically used in the United States.

The Canadian government continues to claim that chrysotile asbestos is safe.

Now Canadian cancer experts are taking a stand against this long held government policy which seeks to protect the prized, but deadly, mineral and the profits it brings to Canadian mines and manufacturers.

The Canadian Cancer Society is now calling for an asbestos ban.

According to this article: "The society believes that exposure to asbestos must stop so that asbestos-related diseases can be eliminated," Barbara Whylie, CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society, said in a written statement.

In response, Pat Martin, an MP and former asbestos worker was quoted as saying:

" was high time a group as credible as the Canadian Cancer Society 'debunked the myth' that chrysotile asbestos is safer than other types of asbestos."

It is refreshing to see an influential group like the Canadian Cancer Society challenge the Canadian government's irresponsible position that has caused tens of thousands of workers in Canada and the United States to develop mesothelioma and asbestos cancer.

The same propaganda put out by the Canadian government is adopted by American corporations who seek to avoid responsibility for compensating asbestos victims.

Chrysotile asbestos accounts for nearly all the asbestos ever used in the United States and is the greatest contributor to malignant mesothelioma in this country.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Early Diagnosis of Mesothelioma By Testing Levels of Mesothelin in Pleural and Peritoneal Effusions

Mesothelioma researchers in Australia have announced that mesothelioma can be diagnosed at an early stage by testing levels of mesothelin in fluid taken from a pleural effusion or peritoneal effusion. Such effusions are a classic mesothelioma symptom and testing fluid from pleural and peritoneal effusions is often the first diagnostic test for suspected cases of mesothelioma.

According to the article in, the team of Australian researchers, led by Dr. Jenette Creaney, maintains that: "Measurement of mesothelin levels in effusions could facilitate earlier diagnosis."

The article also states: "Dr. Creaney and associates previously showed that serum levels of mesothelin had high specificity and moderate sensitivity for mesothelioma. Based on these findings, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of serum levels of soluble mesothelin for disease monitoring in mesothelioma."

The possibility of a test that could detect mesothelioma at an early stage could extend and perhaps even save lives. Most cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed at advanced stages when the mesothelioma has already spread in sheets throughout the pleura or peritoneum.

We hope this break-through will lead to earlier mesothelioma diagnoses and ultimately a mesothelioma cure.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Texas Suit Claims Asbestos Caused Refinery Worker's Colon Cancer, Death

According to an article on asbestos exposure in the Southeast Texas Record, William Holmes, a local refinery worker, died of colon cancer more than a year ago. His benefactor, Joy Holmes, claims William's cancer was caused by asbestos and is suing Chevron U.S.A. and Texaco for negligently exposing him to the "toxic" dust during his employment at the Port Arthur plant.

According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal (colon) cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. There is no single cause for colon cancer. Nearly all colon cancers begin as benign polyps, which slowly develop into cancer. And in almost all cases, early diagnosis can lead to a complete cure.

However, Joy Holmes and her attorney are confident William Holmes colon cancer developed from asbestos exposure.

"During Holmes employment as a laborer and outside machinist, he used and was exposed to toxic materials including asbestos dust and/or fibers," the suit said. "As a result of such exposure, Holmes developed an asbestos-related disease, specifically colon cancer, for which he died a painful and terrible death on March 1, 2006."

The suit alleges that the oil conglomerate knew for decades that asbestos-containing products could cause the disease asbestosis and other asbestos-related cancers but still allowed its employees to work with and around the naturally occurring mineral.

Asbestos, an excellent fire retardant, was used for centuries in the construction of buildings.

Joy Holmes is suing for exemplary damages and seeks "to recover from the defendant an amount in excess of the jurisdictional limits of this Court. "Further, plaintiff seeks a claim for prejudgment interest for all elements allowed them," the suit said.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Asbestos and the World Trade Center Ad

I was doing a little more research on Asbestos and the World Trade Center buildings, and I came across the above advertisement on and their ongoing Lies Well Disguised series of Blog Posts. Back in 1981, there was research coming out that Asbestos was cancer causing and this ad was in rebuttal to that research touting the benefits of using Asbestos. The text over the Twin Towers states, "When the Fire Alarm Went Off, It Took Two Hours to Evacuate New York's World Trade Center." I do not need to remind anyone of the images of September 11th and this ad. The copy below the ad goes on to mention all of the places that Asbestos was used in the World Trade Center. I can not not think of all of the innocent victims in the area that were exposed to all of the dust, smoke and inherent asbestos that was in the air after the buildings collapsed. The cloud of smoke went across the entire city and potentially exposed hundreds of thousands of individuals to asbestos. Hopefully there can be a cure or treatment for Mesothelioma before all of these potential victims are diagnosed.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Questions Surrounding Asbestos from World Trade Center Collapse

According to a recent USA TODAY article, when the World Trade Center collapsed, thousands of tons of asbestos spewed into the air of Lower Manhattan. In recent months, the asbestos has aroused more fear and blame than any other pollutant in the controversy over air quality near Ground Zero. Asbestos does not cause the respiratory and eye problems that many New Yorkers are experiencing, but the microscopic fibers do cause lung cancer.

Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency say city officials took responsibility for whether buildings should be reoccupied. So the EPA restricted its testing to air and dust levels outdoors. Despite the lack of monitoring, EPA officials started reassuring the public soon after Sept. 11 that asbestos posed no problem. "EPA is greatly relieved to have learned that there appears to be no significant levels of asbestos dust in the air in New York City," EPA chief Christie Whitman said Sept. 13. Whitman and other EPA officials neglected to say that the agency tested only outdoors, where air pollution and toxic dust are quickly diluted to harmless levels.

Dozens of private firms have run tests, but the results can be controversial. A private scientific firm hired by elected officials found up to 79,000 of the most dangerous types of asbestos fibers per square centimeter in the dust in an apartment near Ground Zero. "These dust numbers are extraordinary," says Richard Lee, president of RJLee Group, a materials lab and consulting firm. "I think you'd have to recommend, based on (these) numbers, that these be professionally cleaned."

Even one-time doses of asbestos, if large enough, can raise the risk of mesothelioma, a rare cancer.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Alimta Plus Platinum Compound May Help Treat Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma reported today on new results for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma with the cancer drug Alimta plus a platinum compound such as cisplatin or carboplatin.

According to the article, "the chemotherapy combination consisting of Alimta plus a platinum compound provides signficant anticancer activity in patients with newly diagnsed mesothelioma.

According to Eli Lilly, Alimta in combination with Cisplatin is the only chemotherapy agent to be FDA approved for the treatment of maligant pleural mesothelioma.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mesothelioma Clinical Trial Utilizing Gene Therapy Offers Hope for Longer Survival

Daniel H. Sterman, M.D. is the lead doctor at University of Pennsylvania treating patients with mesothelioma in a clinical trial using gene therapy. This new mesothelioma treatment offers hope for extending life for mesothelioma patients. One patient who developed mesothelioma from asbestos exposure was recently featured in the Philadelphia Enquirer after he survived for more than three years with mesothelioma. He was treated with gene therapy at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Sterman's mesothelioma clinical trial has been described at

For more information, contact Dr. Sterman at:

Dr. Sterman is one of the top mesothelioma doctors searching for a mesothelioma cure.

New York Mesothelioma Lawsuit Proceeds to Trial on Behalf of New Jersey Victim

The New York mesothelioma lawsuit involving Joel Rosenberg, one of many New Jersey mesothelioma victims who have filed mesothelioma lawsuits in New York City, is proceeding to trial.

Mr. Rosenberg, who died at the age of 64, was a life-long electrician with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers ("IBEW"), Local 3 ( His father, also an electrician for IBEW, died from mesothelioma in 1981. Electricians, such as Mr. Rosenberg and his father, sustained asbestos exposure from a variety of sources including the cutting and splicing of wire and cable that was insulated with asbestos.

Mesothelioma is a rare asbestos cancer, which occurs primarily in the lining of the pleura (surrounding the lungs) and the peritoneum (surrounding the abdominal cavity). There are only approximately 3,000 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed annually; in comparison approximately 160,000 case of lung cancer are diagnosed each year.

Mr. Rosenberg was diagnosed in New Jersey with pleural mesothelioma in April of 2006 and later received mesothelioma treatments including specialized chemotherapy. Prior to his death in May 2007, Mr. Rosenberg gave sworn testimony, by videotape, which will be shown to the jury at trial. The Rosenberg lawsuit is being continued by Mr. Rosenberg's widow, Sharon Rosenberg, who is also a plaintiff in the case. The companies expected to stand trial include manufacturers of products causing asbestos exposure, contractors who used asbestos materials at work sites, and at least one premises owner who specified the use of asbestos materials.

The New York and New Jersey Mesothelioma Attorneys from Levy, Phillips & Konigsberg, LLP ("LPK"),, have represented victims of mesothelioma in lawsuits for more than 25 years and represent the Rosenberg family.

Read more about the New York Mesothelioma Rosenberg Lawsuit.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Asbestos Deaths in U.S. Rising, Study Says

According to a recent article, about 10,000 people die each year from diseases caused by asbestos. These numbers are set to rise. This growing public health crisis was the subject of a new study carried out by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in Washington, D.C. The study states that over the next ten years the number of deaths will far exceed 100,000. It also calls for a ban on asbestos and asks for federal asbestos screening.

Senator Orrin Hatch (Utah) called for a session to finish legislation to replace asbestos lawsuits with a victims' fund that would be supported by companies and insurers. However, Richard Wiles, the author of the report, called the Senate proposal “grossly insufficient,” adding that this was a public health issue, not an economic one.

The researchers in this study looked at deaths from just two causes: mesothelioma and asbestosis, gathering government data over a period of 25 years. While most deaths were among people who had been exposed to asbestos as a material for fire-proofing many years ago, over a million Americans today are exposed to asbestos in their work. Millions of others are exposed to asbestos in the environment. Inhaled asbestos fibers are linked to cancer and other illnesses. Concluded Wiles, “We're at the beginning of a tidal wave of asbestos diseases and mortality that needs to be brought to the attention of the public, federal policymakers and health officials."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Average Age of Mesothelioma Patients Dropping - Younger People Continue To Be Diagnosed

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) has reported that people are being diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases including mesothelioma at younger ages. A good write-up on this new report appears in a June 13, 2007 article at

Occupational also quotes Dr. Robert Taub of the Columbia University Mesothelioma Center in New York City:

“The average age of our peritoneal mesothelioma patients is 51.7,” said Dr. Robert Taub, Milstein professor of clinical medicine and director of the Columbia University Mesothelioma Center. “And less than 50 percent had immediately recognizable asbestos exposure.”

Two comments about Dr. Taub's statement:
(1) The young average age of peritoneal mesothelioma patients reinforces the need for more money for mesothelioma research with the ultimate goal of finding a mesothelioma cure.
(2) The fact that asbestos exposure is not "immediately recognizable" in many cases means that is very important for doctors to take a detailed occupational and social history designed to identify possible sources of asbestos exposure, so that the cause of the person's mesothelioma can be determined and so other workers can be protected in the future.

In our mesothelioma law practice at Levy Phillips & Konigsberg, LLP,, we investigate all possible sources of asbestos exposure for our clients who have developed mesothelioma. In this way, the companies responsible for causing the disease can be held accountable. For more information visit,

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Senator Boxer's Statment in Support of Ban on Asbestos Opens Hearing

Senator Boxer opened a Senate Hearing today on the subject of banning asbestos in the United States with a statement that has been posted online at

Senator Boxer stated: "This is an important hearing for millions of Americans who have been exposed to asbestos, for their families, and especially for the thousands of American families who have lost family members to asbestos-related lung disease and cancer. Millions of Americans are still being exposed to asbestos today, and if we don't act, countless more people will get sick and die in the future."

In her compelling speech, Senator Boxer described the stories of several women who died from mesothelioma and showed a photograph of a human lung "damaged by mesothelioma".

Senator Boxer described the shameful and continuing importation of asbestos products into the United States including automotive brake and clutch parts.

The problem of asbestos in brakes and clutches and the risk of mesothelioma caused by automotive repair has been discussed at

In fact, the above article discusses the fact that even the automotive industry itself acknowledges the health hazards posed by the use of asbestos in brakes and clutches.

Monday, June 11, 2007

New Approaches to Cancer Treatment Now Studied

Because chemotherapy drugs have not been very effective against advanced mesothelioma, several new approaches to cancer treatment are now being studied. These include anti-angiogenesis drugs (which kill cancers by stopping their blood supply) such as Bevacizumab (Avastin) and anti-growth factor drugs (which interfere with substances some cancer cells produce to stimulate their own growth) such as Erlotinib (Tarceva).

Avastin is the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved therapy designed to inhibit angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels develop and carry vital nutrients to a tumor. You can learn more about it here.

Tarceva is a pill taken by mouth to treat cancer. It is prescribed for patients with advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) who have received at least one previous chemotherapy regimen. You can learn more about it here.

If you live in the NY area and have mesothelioma that may have been caused by negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the law firm of Levy Phillips & Konigsberg LLP for more information.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Response to Post on Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure

This is a response to the post dated June 5,2007 at

While it is true that the median age of those diagnosed with mesothelioma is decreasing, and that younger people are being diagnosed with increasing frequency, it is not true that 40% of people diagnosed with mesothelioma "never came in contact with asbestos."

It is well-established that a history of occupational asbestos exposure is reported in the vast majority of mesothelioma cases. In fact, the National Cancer Institute states that 70-80% of mesothelioma patients have a "history of asbestos exposure at work".

Of the remaining cases of mesothelioma, many can be attributed to some identifiable household exposure, such as laundering the clothing of a family member or performing home renovations and repairs that utilized asbestos-containing products.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Mesothelioma Law Firm in New York or New Jersey.

You live in New York or New Jersey and you (or a family member) have just been told that you have mesothelioma. You learn that you have a potential mesothelioma lawsuit, given that asbestos is the only established cause of mesothelioma in the United States. You go on the Internet and find out that there are many law firms in the United States that advertise themselves as "Mesothelioma Law Firms". What questions should you ask when choosing a "Mesothelioma Law Firm", particularly if you live (or were exposed to asbestos) in New York or New Jersey.

Here are some important questions to ask:

1. Does the law firm have offices in New York and New Jersey?

2. Has the law firm obtained jury verdicts in mesothelioma cases in New York and New Jersey?

3. Does the law firm have a proven track record in litigating mesothelioma cases in New York and New Jersey?

4. How many clients does the law firm represent? Will your mesothelioma case be "just another number" to the law firm handling the case?

The answers for Levy Phillips & Konigsberg, LLP ("LPK"),, are:

1. Yes.
2. Yes.
3. Yes.
4. LPK represents a limited number of clients and gives individual attention to each case.

These Qs and As appear in more detail at:

Monday, June 04, 2007

Asbestos Mesothelioma Lawsuit Moves to Trial

Levy Phillips & Konigsberg, LLP filed an asbestos mesothelioma lawsuit on behalf of a New Jersey woman who was exposed to asbestos as a result of her husband and children performing brake work. The woman was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2002 and died from her illness shortly after mesothelioma treatments were attempted at Virtua West Jersey Hospital. The suit is set to go to trial this summer.

Brake dust, containing asbestos, can be released when a brake disk or drum is removed from a vehicle. The dust is frequently invisible to the naked eye, but if the brakes contain asbestos, then the dust released from the brakes will contain asbestos.

During the trial, it will be argued that the brand predominately used for the brake work was asbestos-containing Bendix brakes. The victim was unknowingly exposed to asbestos as a result of her laundering the dusty clothes and the used rags that were used by her husband and children after they performed the brake work in the garage and driveway of their New Jersey home from the 1960s through the 1980s. The victim would shake out the dirty clothes and dusty rags and then launder them without any realization that she was neither in any danger nor that she was being exposed to asbestos-laden dust.

This lawsuit is coming on the heels of a new set of recommendations from the Environmental Protection Agency in March 2007 entitled, “Current Best Practices for Preventing Asbestos Exposure Among Brake and Clutch Repair Workers” which is similar to guidance that EPA has been distributing since 1986. The EPA states in this publication that by using the recommended practices, home mechanics can minimize potential exposure to asbestos and reduce their potential risk of developing asbestos-related disease.

To read the entire article, please see Asbestos Mesothelioma Lawsuit filed by New Jersey Mesothelioma Attorneys Levy Phillips & Konigsberg, LPP, Moves to Trial.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

9/11 Death Toll Rises 6 Years Later

In an article put out by The Associated Press last week poses a new question for 9/11 survivors - how many will they be added to the list of victims?

Family members of ground zero workers who died after breathing in toxic dust from the collapsed World Trade Center say they want their relatives officially recognized as victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The official list of victims increased by one, nearly 6 years after the 9/11 terrorists attacks. A New York attorney, Felicia Dunn-Jones, who died of lung disease months after the attack, probed her family members to find out what distinguished her death from the scores of others attributed to the aftermath.

According to the article, the city medical examiner's office said that her death was the only Sept. 11-related fatality it has been asked to review and definitively link to the twin towers' collapse. In the future, the medical examiner will review any case if a family makes such a request.

This raise in death-toll, to 2,750, nearly 6 years later poses questions in the minds of family members who have since lost someone who could possibly be added to this ever-increasing list. It's up to Chief Medical Examiner Charles Hirsch to decide whether to reclassify any deaths.

Family members want their loved one to be honored as an official 9/11 victim and at least two families are seeking re-examination. These cases include a police detective who became sick and died in 2006 of respiratory diseases and Deborah Reeve who also died last year of an asbestos-related cancer from the toxic dust at ground zero.

Since Dunn-Jones fled the collapsing towers from her office a block away and her death is being added to the official list of victims, another question is posed against the city, will there be lawsuits accusing the city of negligence for failing to protect workers and residents from toxic air at the site.

Are you or a family member a possible victim of 9/11? Get representation by New York and New Jersey asbestos attorneys, Levy Phillips & Konigsberg LLP.

Submit your case for review.