Tag Archives: asbestos problem

UN Group to Debate Asbestos/Mesothelioma Link


The link between chrysotile asbestos and illnesses such as mesothelioma will be high on the agenda when the sixth UN Rotterdam Convention meets in Geneva, Switzerland in late April. The group, made up of representatives from around the world, will be considering whether or not chrysotile or white asbestos will finally be added to the list of Controlled Hazardous Substances. The Rotterdam Convention was assembled in 2002 with the goal of protecting people and the environment from toxic chemicals like asbestos. However, in order to include chrysotile asbestos on the list, the vote of all represented countries must be unanimous. In the past, countries that still export, import or use asbestos, including Canada, Brazil, Russia and India, have worked to keep chrysotile … Continue reading UN Group to Debate Asbestos/Mesothelioma Link »

“Net of Evidence” Supports Brake Dust/Mesothelioma Link

A new report seeks to put an end to the debate over whether or not asbestos-containing brake dust has the potential to cause mesothelioma cancer. Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral used in manufacturing and linked to mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other serious illnesses. The debate over the risk posed by its presence in brake dust has gone on for years. While asbestos brake linings were largely phased out after the arrival of front-wheel drive vehicles in the 1980s, industry experts say they are still sometimes used in higher-end vehicles and are available for aftermarket sale. The question is not whether or not some linings – past or present – contain asbestos, but whether or not that asbestos is sufficient to trigger … Continue reading “Net of Evidence” Supports Brake Dust/Mesothelioma Link »

Studies Highlight Global Mesothelioma and Asbestos Problem

Two new reports highlight the fact that mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are global issues. Reporting in a recent issue of Global Health Action, scientists from South Africa’s National Institute for Occupational Health and the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg say the country is facing an epidemic of environmentally-linked asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma because of abandoned asbestos mines. The same report also found that many of these mesothelioma patients are not receiving any compensation for their injuries. South Africa was once a top exporter of asbestos, which was used for thousands of industrial applications, including insulation, construction materials, asbestos cement, and friction products like brake and clutch pads. Although all of South Africa’s asbestos mines are now closed because of the … Continue reading Studies Highlight Global Mesothelioma and Asbestos Problem »

Mesothelioma Risk Created by Careless Thieves

Some thieves in Massachusetts may end up paying with their lives for stealing copper pipes from abandoned buildings. That is because the thieves inadvertently exposed themselves to mesothelioma-causing asbestos fibers when they ripped off old insulation to get at the pipes. They stole the old copper pipes to sell them for scrap. Because the buildings were built when the use of asbestos in insulation was at its peak in the 1960s, the pipes may be surrounded by a thick blanket of hazardous asbestos insulation. Asbestos in insulation and other building products is not considered a health hazard when left in place and intact, but disturbing it can create clouds of fibers that have been linked to mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung scarring, and … Continue reading Mesothelioma Risk Created by Careless Thieves »

New Orphan Drug Approved for Mesothelioma

Patients suffering from malignant pleural mesothelioma, a virulent asbestos-linked cancer, now have another drug option to choose from. Amatuximab, an investigational cancer drug made by Morphotek, has been granted orphan drug status by the FDA. The Orphan Drug Act allows the FDA to designate a drug as an orphan drug if it is used to treat fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S. Any illness that affects fewer than 200,000 people is considered a rare disease. Mesothelioma is one of the rarest of rare diseases, claiming the lives of about 2,500 Americans annually. Without the Orphan Drug Act, there is less incentive for a company like Morphotek to even work to develop drugs for a disease like mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a … Continue reading New Orphan Drug Approved for Mesothelioma »

Royals Address Mesothelioma Risk at Home

Once widely used as a building material and insulator, asbestos has been linked to a range of health problems including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung lining that can spread quickly. Great Britain has one of the highest per capita rates of mesothelioma in the world with an estimated 4,000 deaths from the disease each year. By contrast, about 2,500 people die of mesothelioma in the U.S. Though asbestos use is now banned in new construction in Great Britain, the BBC has reported that as many 500,000 commercial and residential properties still contain the substance, including the apartment at Kensington Palace where the young Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, plan to … Continue reading Royals Address Mesothelioma Risk at Home »

New Clues How Asbestos Causes Mesothelioma

A team of Japanese researchers believe they may have found another piece of the puzzle explaining why asbestos causes malignant mesothelioma. Asbestos is a naturally occurring soil mineral, mined for decades for use in various industrial applications.  Since its use was first linked to deadly malignant mesothelioma around the middle of the century, researchers around the world have been trying to uncover exactly what makes the material so toxic. Now, a new laboratory study of several types of asbestos may have found part of the answer. Using an advanced system known as ‘matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry’, the Japanese team identified a number of cellular proteins that tend to attach themselves to the surface of asbestos molecules once those molecules … Continue reading New Clues How Asbestos Causes Mesothelioma »

Study Reveals Mesothelioma Characteristics

Mesothelioma is a thin, fast-spreading tumor of the pleura, peritoneum or pericardium.  These are tissues that surround and encase internal organs. It almost always arises from exposure to asbestos, either on the job or in the home, and can take many years to develop. About 3,000 people are diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in the United States every year. Because mesothelioma is such a rare cancer, many published studies focus on a single notable case or a small group of cases.  A new study conducted by the Texas Occupational Medicine Institute attempts to paint a bigger picture of mesothelioma by analyzing a larger number of cases.  The Texas researchers report on the findings of 238 cases of malignant mesothelioma from a private … Continue reading Study Reveals Mesothelioma Characteristics »

Worldwide Mesothelioma Rate Higher Than Expected

International Mesothelioma Registry

The global rate of the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma is probably much higher than was previously thought. A new study published in the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) environmental health sciences journal, Environmental Health Perspectives, estimates that for every four or five cases of mesothelioma worldwide, there is at least one more case that goes unreported. Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that usually develops 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos, a mineral used for many years in a wide variety of products and applications.  The popularity of asbestos declined after it was associated with mesothelioma and other serious health problems in the 1980’s, but there is still no asbestos ban in the USA.  In addition, because it … Continue reading Worldwide Mesothelioma Rate Higher Than Expected »

Rise in Mesothelioma Linked to Australian Asbestos Mine

The asbestos-linked cancer mesothelioma is growing at an alarming pace in part of Australia and the government is coming under fire for not doing enough to fight the source of the problem. According to a report in the Australian newspaper The Herald Sun, the number of people killed by mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases in New South Wales will soon overtake the number of people killed in car accidents. Ombudsman Bruce Barbour told the newspaper that the annual total of accident victims of 397 in NSW in 2008 would soon be “dwarfed” by the number of people dying from asbestos cancers. By 2020, the country is expected to see 13,000 cases of mesothelioma annually and 40,000 cases of other asbestos-related … Continue reading Rise in Mesothelioma Linked to Australian Asbestos Mine »