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Mesothelioma Law Blog

Major chemical company agrees to settle talc lawsuit

BASF SE and its attorneys recently settled a class action fraud lawsuit involving allegedly contaminated talc. BASF SE is a large chemical company based out of Germany that produces and markets chemicals around the world.

The lawsuit claims that the company knowingly sold talc contaminated with asbestos, which caused people to develop cancer. It also alleges that the company tried to cover up evidence of the contamination.

Firefighters and asbestos exposure

The recent death of a firefighter from Michigan serves as a sobering reminder of the risks that firefighters endure. It also reminds us of the debt society owes to these men and women who work every day to keep others safe.

According to the report from a local newspaper, the fallen firefighter was a Marine who hailed from Southgate, Michigan. He had trained and served as a firefighter crash rescue leader. And his training exposed him to chemicals that likely caused his fatal colon cancer. His death was the latest, unfortunate reminder of the risks presented by carcinogenic building materials.

What are the laws for asbestos removal?

Many older buildings contain a variety of asbestos-laden products. When these materials start to break down, their asbestos fibers can get into the air. Once that happens, they can get into your body, where they can reside for decades before causing cancers like mesothelioma.

Because of this risk, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains strict guidelines for removing asbestos from buildings. When the owners or managers of buildings fail to follow these rules, they can place residents at risk.

How to identify asbestos in the home

Asbestos refers to a group of natural minerals that are made up of thin, fibrous crystals. Its heat-resistance and durability made it a desirable ingredient in many products, especially building materials.

Although some uses for asbestos have been prohibited, people may still encounter the substance in older homes. Unfortunately, asbestos can cause someone to develop a serious health condition. Diseases like lung cancer, asbestosis or mesothelioma can develop after any amount of asbestos dust is inhaled or ingested. However, it may take decades after the exposure before someone begins showing symptoms of a related illness.

Can manufacturers be held responsible for third-party components?

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently determined that, in certain situations, it does not matter if a third party made an asbestos-containing part or not. Manufacturers and distributors that fail to warn users about the hazards of their products or the hazards of third-party replacement parts can be held strictly liable.

This decision is similar to decisions made in other courts, including the United States Supreme Court, The New York Court of Appeals and the Maryland Court of Appeals.

Asbestos-containing pipes delay construction on a New York trail

Construction on New York’s Empire State Trail was recently delayed after the discovery of asbestos-containing pipes. Construction of the trail was expected to be completed by the end of 2020, at which time it would create a continuous 750-mile route across the state. Once completed, it will be the longest multi-use state trail in the country.

Part of the trail's construction includes the installation of new drainage lines. As construction teams worked on the drainage lines in Hudson, New York, they disturbed some old pipes that were made with asbestos-cement. Some pieces of those old pipes may have made it to a nearby lot where excess materials were being stored.

Will asbestos be banned in the U.S?

Many people mistakenly believe that asbestos is banned in the United States, as it is in many other countries and are shocked when they learn that this isn't entirely true. Even some who know asbestos is not fully banned are surprised that there seems to be little movement toward a full ban of this toxic substance.

In mid-June, a U.S. senator released comments criticizing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its inaction regarding asbestos. His comments were released on the fourth anniversary of the signing of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. This law sets clear deadlines for the EPA to evaluate chemicals in use throughout the country and complete risk-based assessments.

A look at the Johnson & Johnson defense strategy

Asbestos causes cancer. Scientists and the government have known this for decades. But they're not the only ones who knew this. The manufacturers of asbestos-laden materials also knew this.

Many of those manufacturers responded to the risks by changing their products or adding clear warnings to their labels. Others buried their heads in the sand. Even when their internal memos showed they knew their products might have asbestos and could put people at risk. So, when they get caught and need to pay for their wrongdoing, how do they react?

Why are some cosmetics companies reformulating their products?

Some of the largest cosmetics companies, such as Chanel, Revlon and L'Oreal, are discontinuing or reformulating many of their signature products. The goal of these changes is to remove talc from their products.

According to media reports, this change isn't necessarily being put in motion because the companies consider talc to be dangerous. However, these changes follow on the heels of numerous lawsuits involving the mineral. Instead, it appears that these cosmetics companies are phasing out their use of talc because of the negative perceptions consumers have about the mineral.

How are female mesothelioma victims treated differently?

Although most mesothelioma victims are male, women can contract the disease. But do these female victims receive the same level of care as their male counterparts? A new study says they might not.

Clinical Lung Cancer recently published an article that found women received less aggressive treatment than men. There were other differences between male and female victims, but the researchers tried to account for the different variables. Overall, they found women were less likely to receive surgery or chemotherapy than men with similar cases.

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