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Thousands in Russia Sentenced to Death for Not Learning US History Lessons

For the past 30 years I have witnessed the taking of some of finest citizens and the ripping apart of many families because of the deadly affects of asbestos exposure. The story below published in the NYT is very sad and upsetting. Those of us who have dedicated the better part of their professional lives representing asbestos victims and thier families know what is coming for these poor Russian families. I urge the leaders in Russia to put a stop to the creation of a legacy of death before tens of thousands of innocent people suffer the same fate of those exposed here in the US.

 

From today’s NY Times 
July 13, 2013
City in Russia Unable to Kick Asbestos Habit
By ANDREW E. KRAMER
ASBEST, Russia — This city of about 70,000 people on the eastern slopes of the Ural Mountains is a pleasant enough place to live except for one big drawback: when the wind picks up, clouds of carcinogenic dust blow through.

Asbest means asbestos in Russian, and it is everywhere here. Residents describe layers of it collecting on living room floors. Before they take in the laundry from backyard lines, they first shake out the asbestos. “When I work in the garden, I notice asbestos dust on my raspberries,” said Tamara A. Biserova, a retiree. So much dust blows against her windows, she said, that “before I leave in the morning, I have to sweep it out.”

The town is one center of Russia’s asbestos industry, which is stubbornly resistant to shutting asbestos companies and phasing in substitutes for the cancer-causing fireproofing product.

In the United States and most developed economies, asbestos is handled with extraordinary care. Until the 1970s, the fibrous, silicate mineral was used extensively in fireproofing and insulating buildings in America, among other uses, but growing evidence of respiratory ailments due to asbestos exposure led to limits. Laws proscribe its use and its disposal and workers who get near it wear ventilators and protective clothes. The European Union and Japan have also banned asbestos. (A town called Asbestos in Quebec, Canada, has stopped mining asbestos, though it hasn’t changed its name.)

But not here, where every weekday afternoon miners set explosions in a strip mine owned by the Russian mining company Uralasbest. The blasts send huge plumes of asbestos fiber and dust into the air. Asbest is one of the more extreme examples of the environmental costs of modern Russia’s deep reliance on mining.

“Every normal person is trying to get out of here,” Boris Balobanov, a former factory employee, now a taxi driver, explained. “People who value their lives leave. But I was born here and have no place else to go.”

Of the half-dozen people interviewed who worked at the factory or mine, all had a persistent cough, a symptom of exposure to what residents call “the white needles.” Residents also describe strange skin ailments. Doctors interviewed at a dermatology ward say the welts arise from inflammation caused by asbestos.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is a branch of the World Health Organization, is in the midst of a multiyear study of asbestos workers in Asbest. Because of the large number of people exposed in the city, the researchers are using the location to determine whether the asbestos causes ailments other than lung cancer, including ovarian cancer. “All forms of asbestos are carcinogenic to humans,” the group said.

Standing on the rim of the world’s largest open pit asbestos mine provides a panoramic scene. Opened in the late 1800s, it is about half the size of the island of Manhattan and the source of untold tons of asbestos. The pit descends about 1,000 feet down slopes created by terraced access roads. Big mining trucks haul out fibrous, gray, raw asbestos.

The Uralasbest mine is so close by that a few years ago the mayor’s office and the company relocated residents from one outlying area to expand its gaping pit.

So entwined is the life of the town with this pit that many newlyweds pose on a viewing platform on the rim to have their pictures taken. The city has a municipal anthem called “Asbestos, my city and my fate.” In 2002, the City Council adopted a new flag: white lines, symbolizing asbestos fibers, passing through a ring of flame. A billboard put up by Uralasbest in Asbest proclaims “Asbestos is our Future.”

The class-action lawsuits that demolished asbestos companies in the United States are not possible in Russia’s weak judicial system, which favors powerful producers. Russia, which has the world’s largest geological reserves of asbestos, mines about 850,000 tonsof asbestos a year and exports about 60 percent of it. Demand is still strong for asbestos in China and India, where it is used in insulation and building materials. The Russian Chrysotile Association, an asbestos industry trade group, reports that annual sales total about 18 billion rubles, or $540 million. And the business is growing, mostly because other countries are getting out of the business. Russian output rose from 875,000 tons in 2005 to a million last year.

The mine and the factory Uralasbest owns are the principal employers. The town depends on the jobs that mining asbestos and making asbestos products bring. Nationwide, the industry employs 38,500 Russians directly while about 400,000 people depend on the factories and mines for their livelihood, if supporting businesses in the mining towns are counted. About 17 percent of Asbest residents work in the industry.

Asbest is a legacy of the philosophy known as gigantism in Soviet industrial planning. Many cities wound up with only one, huge factory like this town’s sprawling asbestos plant. The cities, known as monotowns, were an important engine of the economy. A Russian government study counted 467 cities and 332 smaller towns that depend on a single factory or mine. A total of 25 million people out of Russia’s population of 142 million people live in towns with only one main industry that cannot close, even if it is polluting.

In a sign of just how scarce other employment options are in Asbest, a guard requires cars leaving the factory to open their trunks, lest anyone try to steal scrap metal for resale. That is about the only other way to make a meager living in Russia’s old industrial towns.

The trade association says that the type of asbestos mined in Russia, called chrysotile, is less harmful than other types. The United States, though, has tightly restricted its use. The country imports about 1,000 tons of asbestos, mainly from Brazil, for use in aerospace and automotive industries for items like clutch pads. “They consider it dangerous but we consider it safe,” said the association’s spokesman, Vladimir A. Galitsyn. Russia has three research institutes dedicated to studying uses for asbestos.

“As a representative of the industry, I don’t see any problem,” he said. Properly handled, asbestos is safe, he said, and it saves lives in fires. “We are not the enemy of our workers. If they died, then people would be afraid to work for us.”

Valentin K. Zemskov, 82, worked at the mine for 40 years and developed asbestosis, a respiratory illness caused by breathing in asbestos fibers, which scar lung tissue. “There was so much dust you couldn’t see a man standing next to you,” he said of his working years. For the disability, the factory adds 4,500 rubles, or about $135, to his monthly retirement check, which would be enough to cover only a few restaurant meals.

Still, he said the city had no other choice. “If we didn’t have the factory, how would we live?” he said, gasping for air as he talked in the yard of a retirement home. “We need to keep it open so we have jobs.”

A monument to residents who died was made, grimly, of a block of asbestos ore, with the inscription “Live and Remember.”

“Of course asbestos dust covers our city,” said Nina A. Zubkova, another resident of the retirement home. “Why do you think the city is named Asbest?”

NEW YORK Appeals Court Upholds Crime Fraud Inquiry for Asbestos Product Studies Concerning Georgia Pacific Joint Compound

In a significant decision affecting litigation funded studies by the defense, a New York Appeals Court requires that documents be turned over for review to determine if the the crime fraud exception to the claim of privilege requires public disclosure of asbestos testing documents. The entire decision appears below.

Decided on June 6, 2013

SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE DIVISION
First Judicial Department 
Richard T. Andrias,J.P. 
John W. Sweeny, Jr. 
Helen E. Freedman 
Paul G. Feinman 
Judith J. Gische, JJ. 
40000/88


9535 

[*1]In re New York City Asbestos Litigation Weitz & Luxenberg P.C., Plaintiffs-Respondents,

v

Georgia-Pacific LLC, Defendant-Appellant.



Defendant appeals from the order of the Supreme Court, New York County (Sherry Klein Heitler, J.), entered December 12, 2011, which confirmed recommendations of the Special Master directing an in camera review of all internal attorney-client and work-product documents identified on defendant Georgia-Pacific LLC’s privilege log and directing the production of all materials and raw data underlying several published studied funded by Georgia-Pacific LLC, and from the order, same court and Justice, entered June 14, 2012, which denied GP’s motion for reargument.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, New
York (Kathleen [*2]M. Sullivan
of counsel), and Lynch
Daskal Emery LLP, New York
(Scott Emery of counsel), for
appellant.
Weitz & Luxenberg P.C., New York (Jerry Kristal
and Alani Golanski of
counsel), for respondents.

ANDRIAS, J.P.

This discovery dispute pertains to all of the Weitz & Luxenberg New York City Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL) cases in which Georgia-Pacific (GP) is a defendant. For the following reasons, we find that the motion court providently exercised its discretion when it denied GP’s motions to vacate the Special Master’s recommendations and directed an in camera review of certain internal communications identified in GP’s privilege log and the production to plaintiffs of certain underlying data related to eight published research studies funded by GP concerning the health effects of its joint compound.

GP funded these studies in 2005 to aid in its defense of asbestos-related lawsuits. The studies were performed by experts from various organizations, who, among other things, recreated GP’s historical joint compound product for the purpose of testing its biopersistence and pathogenicity. To facilitate the endeavor, GP entered into a special employment relationship with
Stewart Holm, its Director of Toxicology and Chemical Management,
to perform expert consulting services under the auspices of its in-house counsel, who also was significantly involved in the pre-publication review process.

At Holm’s deposition, plaintiffs requested that GP produce all documents relating to the studies. GP produced certain documents and a privilege log asserting that all communications with its consulting experts were protected by the attorney work product privilege and that its internal communications were protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Special Master directed an in camera review of all documents identified in GP’s privilege log (Recommendation #1), and production of all materials and raw data underlying the published studies (Recommendation #2).

The motion court denied GP’s motion to vacate the Special Master’s recommendations, as well its motion for leave to reargue the in camera prong of that decision to narrow its scope. GP appeals, arguing that plaintiffs failed to make the necessary showings to warrant in camera review of internal privileged communications or production of work product data and that ordering that review and production is an unwarranted intrusion into GP’s privileged [*3]communications.[FN1]

The motion court providently exercised its broad discretion in supervising disclosure when it confirmed Recommendation #1 and granted in camera review of the documents to determine whether the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege applied (see Those Certain Underwriters at Lloyds, London v Occidental Gems, Inc., 11 NY3d 843, 845 [2008]).

The crime-fraud exception encompasses ” a fraudulent scheme, an alleged breach of fiduciary duty or an accusation of some other wrongful conduct’” (Art Capital Group LLC v Rose, 54 AD3d 276, 277 [1st Dept 2008], quoting Ulico Cas. Co. v Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker, 1 AD3d 223, 224 [1st Dept 2003]). “[A]dvice in furtherance of a fraudulent or unlawful goal cannot be considered sound.’ Rather advice in furtherance of such goals is socially perverse, and the client’s communications seeking such advice are not worthy of protection” (In re Grand Jury Subpoena Duces Tecum, 731 F2d 1032, 1038 [2d Cir 1984]).

A party seeking “to invoke the crime-fraud exception must demonstrate that there is a factual basis for a showing of probable cause to believe that a fraud or crime has been committed and that the communications in question were in furtherance of the fraud or crime” (United States v Jacobs, 117 F3d 82, 87 [2nd Cir 1997];see also Ulico Cas. Co., 1 AD3d at 224; Matter of Grand Jury Subpoena, 1 AD3d 172 [1st Dept 2003]). However, “[a] lesser evidentiary showing is needed to triggerin camera review than is required ultimately to overcome the privilege” (United States v Zolin, 491 US 554, 572 [1989]).

To permit in camera review of the documents to analyze whether the communications were used in furtherance of such wrongful activity, there need only be “a showing of a factual basis adequate to support a good faith belief by a reasonable person that in camera review of the materials may reveal evidence to establish the claim that the crime-fraud exception applies” (id. [internal quotation marks and citation omitted]). “Once that showing is made, the decision whether to engage in in camera review of the evidence rests in the sound discretion of the [] court” (id.).

Holm co-authorized nearly all of the studies, which were intended to cast doubt on the capability of chrysotile asbestos to cause cancer. On the two articles that he did not co-author, he [*4]and GP’s counsel participated in lengthy “WebEx conferences” in which they discussed the manuscripts and suggested revisions. Despite this extensive participation, none of the articles disclosed that GP’s in-house counsel had reviewed the manuscripts before they were submitted for publication. Two articles falsely stated that “[GP] did not participate in the design of the study, analysis of the data, or preparation of the manuscript.” For articles lead-authored by David M. Bernstein, Ph.D., and co-authored by Holm, the only disclosure was that the research was “sponsored” or “supported” by a grant from GP. The articles did not disclose that Holm was specially employed by GP for the asbestos litigation or that he reported to GP’s in-house counsel. Furthermore, there were no grant proposals, and Dr. Bernstein was hired by GP on an hourly basis. Nor did the articles reveal that Dr. Bernstein has been disclosed as a GP expert witness in NYCAL since 2009, that he had testified as a defense expert for Union Carbide Corporation in asbestos litigation, or that he had been paid by, and spoken on behalf of, the Chrysotile Institute, the lobbying arm of the Quebec chrysotile mining industry. Although GP belatedly endeavored to address the inadequacies of certain of its disclosures, its corrections failed to acknowledge its in-house counsel’s participation and did not make clear that Dr. Bernstein’s testimony as an expert witness preceded the publication of the first GP reformulated joint compound article in 2008.

The foregoing constitutes a sufficient factual basis for a finding that the relevant communications could have been in furtherance of a fraud, and the motion court properly confirmed the recommendation directing in camera review of the internal documents. As the court remarked, it is of concern that GP’s in-house counsel would be so intimately involved in supposedly objective scientific studies, especially in light of GP’s disclosures denying such participation (see United States v Philip Morris USA, Inc., 449 F Supp 2d 1 [D DC 2006] [applying the fraud-crime exception, in regard to defendants' litigation- related efforts to skew smoking and health research],affd in relevant part 566 F3d 1095 [DC Cir 2009], cert denied _ US _, 130 S Ct 3501 [2010]).[FN2]

The motion court providently exercised its discretion when it confirmed Recommendation #2 and directed GP to produce all documents and materials underlying the published studies over which it has possession, custody, or control, including, but not limited to, microscopy images, the data generated in the chambers where the reformulated compounds were [*5]created, and numerical calculations, and to act in good faith to secure its consulting experts’ compliance with the direction to produce.

Attorney work product under CPLR 3101(c), which is subject to an absolute privilege, is limited to “documents prepared by counsel acting as such, and to materials uniquely the product of a lawyer’s learning and professional skills, such as those reflecting an attorney’s legal research, analysis, conclusions, legal theory or strategy” (Brooklyn Union Gas Co. v American Home Assur. Co., 23 AD3d 190, 190-191 [1st Dept 2005]). Documents generated for litigation are generally classified as trial preparation materials (CPLR 3101[d][2]) unless they contain otherwise privileged communications, such as memoranda of private consultations between attorney and client (see People v Kozlowski, 11 NY3d 223, 244 [2008]). Trial preparation materials are subject to a conditional privilege and may be disclosed “only upon a showing that the party seeking discovery has a substantial need of the materials in the preparation of the case and is unable without undue hardship to obtain the substantial equivalent of the materials by other means” (CPLR 3101[d][2]; Giordano v New Rochelle Mun. Hous. Auth., 84 AD3d 729, 732 [2d Dept 2011]). This Court has also observed that “it is unfair for the opposing party in a litigated controversy to . . . use this privilege both as a sword and a shield, to waive when it enures to her advantage, and wield when it does not” (Matter of Farrow v Allen, 194 AD2d 40, 45 [1st Dept 1993] [internal quotation marks omitted]).

The results of the published studies commissioned by GP are relevant, and it cannot be seriously disputed that plaintiffs have a substantial need for the underlying data in the preparation of their cases. “Large corporations often invest strategically in research agendas whose objective is to develop a body of scientific knowledge favorable to a particular economic interest or useful for defending against particular claims of legal liability” (In re Welding Fume Prods. Liability Litig., 534 F Supp 2d 761, 769 n10 [ND Ohio 2008] [internal quotations omitted]). “The publication of [research] findings and conclusions invites use by persons whom the findings favor and invites reliance by the finders of fact. The public has an interest in resolving disputes on the basis of accurate information” (In re American Tobacco Co., 880 F2d 1520, 1529 [2d Cir 1989]). Here, GP commissioned the studies in anticipation of litigation and has admitted that “[a]t an appropriate time and after their publication is complete, GP plans to introduce the results of the studies in litigation.”

In determining whether plaintiffs are unable without undue hardship to obtain the substantial equivalent of the materials by other means, due consideration must be given to the fact that discovery in NYCAL is governed by the September 20, 1996 Case Management Order (CMO), as amended May 26, 2011, which is designed to “allow the parties to obtain reasonably necessary documents and information without imposing undue burdens in order to permit the parties to evaluate the case, reach early settlements, and prepare unsettled cases for trial.” The court has “full authority, under the controlling [CMO], to issue its discovery order pertaining to ongoing cases” (Matter of New York City Asbestos Litig., 66 AD3d 600, 600 [1st Dept 2009] [denying the defendant's claims that it be permitted to shield analogous materials via a protective order]).

Given the complexity of the studies, the motion court was rightfully wary of prejudicing [*6]plaintiffs by permitting the sudden introduction of the studies or experts on the eve of trial, or in the many other pending asbestos trials. As the court found, principles of fairness, as well as the spirit of the CMO, require more complete disclosure, and GP should not be allowed to use its experts’ conclusions as a sword by seeding the scientific literature with GP-funded studies, while at the same time using the privilege as a shield by withholding the underlying raw data that might be prone to scrutiny by the opposing party and that may affect the veracity of its experts’ conclusions (see John Doe Co. v United States, 350 F3d 299, 302 [2d Cir 2003]; see also Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. v Stone & Webster Eng’g Corp., 125 FRD 578, 587 [ND NY 1989]).

Plaintiffs will be prejudiced if they are prevented from discovering the data, protocols, process, conduct, discussion, and analyses underlying these studies. A significant expenditure of time and money would be required to duplicate the studies, if they could be exactly duplicated at all, whereas scrutiny of the underlying data may provide a permissible manner in which to attack the findings that would be consistent with the intent of the CMO to minimize the cost of and streamline discovery.

In this regard, we note that the court limited its ruling to the data, samples, and materials that relate to those studies whose results have been published or will be published. GP is not required at this juncture to produce to plaintiffs any internal communications that portray its attorneys’ or consultants’ notes, comments or opinions. Moreover, GP will be free to make whatever pretrial in limine application it deems appropriate.

Finally, no appeal lies from the order denying reargument (Stratakis v Ryjov, 66 AD3d 411 [1st Dept 2009]).

Accordingly, the order of the Supreme Court, New York County (Sherry Klein Heitler, J.), entered December 12, 2011, which confirmed recommendations of the Special Master directing an in camera review of all internal attorney-client and work-product documents identified on defendant GP’s privilege log, and directing the production of all materials and raw data underlying several published studies funded by GP, should be affirmed, without costs. The appeal from the order, same court and Justice, entered June 14, 2012, which denied GP’s motion [*7]for reargument, should be dismissed, without costs, as taken from a nonappealable order.

All concur.
Order, Supreme Court, New York County (Sherry Klein Heitler, J.), entered December 12, 2011, affirmed, without costs. Appeal from order, same court and Justice, entered June 14, 2012, dismissed, without costs, as taken from a nonappealable order.

Opinion by Andrias, J.P. All concur.
Andrias, J.P., Sweeny, Freedman, Feinman, Gische, JJ.
THIS CONSTITUTES THE DECISION AND ORDER
OF THE SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE DIVISION, FIRST DEPARTMENT.

ENTERED: JUNE 6, 2013

CLERK

Footnotes



Footnote 1:GP complied with Recommendation #1 to the extent that it submitted for in camera review all communications to and from its consulting experts. On July 11, 2011, the Special Master found that the documents she reviewed were privileged and that no documents were discoverable other than those that GP had agreed to supply. The ruling was limited to GP’s communications to and from its consulting experts that GP had produced, and did not otherwise modify or vacate the recommendations in respect of GP’s claim of attorney-client privilege (internal communications) and the attorney work-product privilege regarding the underlying data, which remained in full force and effect. 

Footnote 2:Plaintiffs’ contention that this portion of the appeal is moot because GP complied with the order and produced the data pending review on appeal is without merit. While this Court may not be able to return the parties to the status quo ante since plaintiffs now have acquired the information in the underlying data, “a court can fashion some form of meaningful relief in circumstances such as these, including ordering the destruction or return of materials disclosed (Church of Scientology of California v United States, 506 US 9, 12-13 [1992]). 

Despite the thousands of deaths US still importing asbestos

 

 From the Center for Public integrity

More than 50 countries have banned asbestos, a toxic mineral used in building materials, insulation, automobile brakes and other products.

The United States isn’t one of them. Last year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, 1,060 metric tons — more than 2.3 million pounds — came into the country, all of it from Brazil. “Based on current trends,” the USGS says, “U.S. asbestos consumption is likely to remain near the 1,000-ton level …”

Public health experts and anti-asbestos activists find this distressing.

Linda Reinstein, who lost her husband to mesothelioma, an especially virulent form of cancer tied to asbestos exposure, said she’s “appalled and disgusted that the United States still allows the importation of asbestos to meet so-called manufacturing needs.

“We’ve known for decades that safer substitutes exist,” said Reinstein, president of the California-based Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. “We’re facing a public health crisis where more than 30 Americans die every day from preventable, asbestos-caused diseases.”

To mark National Asbestos Awareness Week, Reinstein plans to hold a press conference in Washington today to highlight U.S. investment firms she says hold stakes in Brazilian asbestos mining and production. “It’s time we protect public health over the profits of these companies,” she said.

The World Health Organization estimates that 107,000 people worldwide die of asbestos-related diseases each year. A Center for Public Integrityinvestigation, done in tandem with the BBC in 2010, revealed that the global asbestos industry, with help from scientists and lobbyists, continues to aggressively market its wares in developing nations, putting millions at risk of disease. Russia remains the world’s biggest asbestos producer, followed by China and Brazil.

Asbestos use in the United States has plummeted from its peak of 803,000 metric tons in 1973. Still, attempts at a ban have failed. The Environmental Protection Agency tried in 1989 but was thwarted by an industry court challenge.

The USGS says the chlor-alkali industry — a segment of the chemical industry that makes chlorine and a caustic soda called sodium hydroxide – accounted for about 57 percent of domestic asbestos consumption in 2012. Forty-one percent of the imported asbestos went into roofing products and the rest into “unknown applications.”

In a statement, the American Chemistry Council, a trade association, said, “The chlor-alkali production processes that involve the use of asbestos are strictly regulated” by the EPA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“Diaphragms made of asbestos are a critical separation medium in the chlorine manufacturing process,” the council said. “Chlorine is essential for manufacturing life-saving medicines, producing solar cells, and providing safe drinking water.”

Chlorine producers “work to manage the risks and potential adverse effects to human health and the environment,” the trade group said. “Workers potentially exposed to asbestos are protected by wearing appropriate personal protective equipment and following strict work processes. Employees in the chlor-alkali industry are given annual medical examinations to determine whether an employee has incurred any adverse effects due to any possible exposure.”

Nonetheless, authorities such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the International Labor Organization warn that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.

Richard Lemen, an adjunct professor at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and a retired assistant U.S. surgeon general, said that until the U.S. bans asbestos, “Americans are still at risk of developing highly preventable asbestos-related disease.”

The Truth About the Asbestos Trusts

$ 4.4 Million Mesothelioma Lawsuit Verdict

 

Congratulations to Phil Hoffman and David Cannella  for their $4,401,000  verdict  versus Ford and Sud Chemie (Southern Talc) for a deceased mesothelioma victim.

The proof of exposure in this case was different than many mesothelioma cases.Southern Talc sold talc to Johns Manville (JM) for use in its asphalt roofing plant (JM also made transite pipe at that plant). The plaintiff contended the talc contained asbestos.  For years, JM gave away scrap material from its operations for use as driveway fill material in the neighborhood.  

Both defendants vehemently argued agianst responsibilty. The Jury assessed a percentage of responsibilty to each defendant as well as to other settled defendants.

Penn Medicine Receives Grant to Educate Communities About Mesothelioma and Other Asbestos-Related Diseases

The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine announced it has received a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop an educational program “to help empower residents to shape the future of their communities, and explain the potential consequences associated with asbestos exposure.” Residents of West and South Ambler, Pennsylvania are at an increased risk of developing mesothelioma from an asbestos factory that operated in the area for over 100 years.

According to CBS Philly, Dr. Fran Barg says Ambler has been profoundly affected by mesothelioma. Barg is associate professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, and principal investigator for the project.

“I think scientists need to understand the human side of what it’s like to live in a community like this,” said Barg. “City planners want to understand what community members want and epidemiologists want to understand what community residents are still worried about.”

The only established cause of mesothelioma is past exposure to asbestos. The fibers are inhaled or ingested and become lodged in the thin membrane that lines and encases the lungs, heart or abdomen.  Mesothelioma has an extended latency, or incubation, period and most cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed 10 years or more after exposure, sometimes taking as long as 60 years for the disease to develop.

The program developed by Penn Medicine, according to the press release, will include:

  • Documenting the history of lower-income African-American and Italian immigrant asbestos workers, their families, and their neighbors in West and South Ambler through recorded interviews.
  • Developing an accessible repository of documents, photographs, life stories, news accounts, and scientific data about the communities that can be used as resource material for students, researchers, and community activists.
  • Working to inform citizens, scientists and policy-makers on long-term health effects and other potential consequences from living and working near aging, hazardous industrial sites.

The project will also serve as a “case study for other communities that face similar challenges.” The investigators anticipate the information developed will be relevant to community members, policy-makers, health care and public health professionals, business executives, management and workers, university students, school children, and other communities affected by pollution and toxic waste sites.

Penn Medicine is the home of Penn’s Mesothelioma and Pleural Program which, according to Penn Medicine’s website, “brings together internationally renowned experts in medical, surgical and radiation oncology and pulmonology” to collaborate on each case.  This multidisciplinary approach, according to Penn Medicine, “provides better outcomes and gives patients access to the most advanced treatment, surgical techniques and clinical trials.”

Read more: http://www.mesotheliomahelp.net/blog/2012/12/penn-medicine-receives-grant-to-educate-communities-about-mesothelioma-and-other-asbestosrelated-diseases#ixzz2EJZUoBNf 
Follow us: @_mesothelioma__ on Twitter

4.5 Mesothelioma Verdict Handed Down by Maryland Jury

 

Congratulations to my friends Steve Smith, Charlie Candon and Will Minkin, of the Law Offices of Peter Angelos, who obtained a $4.5 million verdict against Hopeman Bros. today on behalf of Mrs. Reinhardt, the widow of Horace Reinhardt who worked at Maryland Drydock and Shipbuilding in the 1960s.

Verdict details: $4.5 million ($3.5 million (non-econ.) and $1 million (wrongful death), with Hopeman responsible for $2.2 million (approx.)

 

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