Monthly Archives: December 2017

Breath Analysis Could Provide Mesothelioma Screening Breakthrough

A recent study published by European researchers indicates that there could be breakthroughs coming for oncologists to help them screen patients for mesothelioma and detect the disease sooner. Better screening techniques and earlier detection could drastically improve the prognosis for mesothelioma cancer victims who would otherwise have limited options if traditional detection techniques were applied.

Research for the study was conducted by Dutch and Belgian universities using a special breathalyzer called eNose that uses gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to screen for malignant pleural mesothelioma. The study examined 64 participants, 16 healthy patients, 19 asymptomatic patients exposed to asbestos in their lives, 15 patients with benign asbestos-related diseases, and 14 with malignant pleural mesothelioma.

The science behind the research examined the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) contained in a person’s breath. These VOCs reflect the cell’s metabolism and give researchers a snapshot of the patient’s condition. While the results from the breath analysis were not perfect, researchers were pleased to discover that they could detect the presence of mesothelioma in patients with a high degree of certainly.

“Using GC-MS, AEx individuals were discriminated from MPM patients with 97% accuracy, with diethyl ether, limonene, nonanal, methylcyclopentane and cyclohexane as important VOCs. This was validated by eNose analysis. MPM patients were discriminated from AEx+ARD participants by GC-MS and eNose with 94% and 74% accuracy, respectively.”

Early Detection Critical to Improving Patient Care

One drawback from the research is that doctors may be able to tell that a patient has cancer but not specifically which kind. Hopefully, future research will lead scientists down a path that can pinpoint or narrow down a patient’s condition to the point where oncologists can make decisive treatment options and improve the outlook for patients.

The main factor that makes mesothelioma so difficult to treat is the time between exposure and diagnosis, a period of time that is often decades long and can make pinpointing the cause of health problems difficult for many patients. Like other cancers, early detection of mesothelioma gives patients many more treatment options and can have tremendous impact on how long patients can live with the disease.

Unfortunately, most patients do not receive their diagnosis until the cancer has spread beyond the point where surgery is an option and most doctors recommend chemotherapy or radiation therapy to try and slow tumor growth. While there is still no definitive cure for mesothelioma, which commonly affects thin linings of tissue surrounding the lungs and abdomen, researchers around the world continue to press forward on research that may one day hold the key to defeating the disease once and for all.

Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer

 If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.

 

 

Montana Supreme Court Creates Special Court for Asbestos Cancer Lawsuits

After 16 years, the Montana Supreme Court has finally activated its special administrative court to hear asbestos cancer lawsuits related to the Libby vermiculite mine and claims against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, the state of Montana, International Paper, and several insurance companies. Sadly, in the time between the legislature authorizing the creation of the court, an estimated 200-claimants have passed away from their debilitating medical conditions.

The Montana State Legislature passed the Asbestos Claims Court Act in 2001 to hear cases related to the vermiculite mine owned and operated by W.R. Grace & Co. regarding allegations that the company poisoned hundreds of area residents through asbestos exposure. W.R. Grace declared bankruptcy soon after the claims began to pour in against it, and its bankruptcy proceedings were only finalized in 2015.

The State Supreme Court’s order applies to 548 individual cases against the slate of defendants, which up until now had languished in the lower district courts, much to the detriment of those seeking justice. In addition to the named cases, the Montana Supreme Court’s order notes that other claims could be heard in the specialized asbestos lawsuit court.

By consolidating the cases into one court, parties may be able to conduct common discovery just as class actions and multi-district litigation (MDL) do when hundreds or even thousands of plaintiffs are involved. The backlog is partially due to the nature of asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of lung cancer that can take decades to show symptoms.

Because so many people were exposed at one time and the illness takes so long to develop, the result was hundreds of clients all filing claims against common defendants who would rather deny, delay, and defend otherwise meritorious lawsuits. Despite knowing full well that plaintiffs suffer, insurance companies and big corporations are perfectly content to stave off litigation and force courts to hear cases one at a time.

Sadly, cases against large corporations like W.R. Grace and the circumstances that follow are an all too common occurrence in our legal system. Despite knowing full well about the dangers their asbestos contaminated products posed to workers and ordinary people, these big corporations chose to conduct business as usual without taking necessary safety precautions or even warning innocent victims about the dangers of asbestos.

Fortunately, the legal system does allow asbestos cancer victims to bring legal action against the asbestos companies responsible for their mesothelioma diagnosis and recover for their damages. Asbestos cancer lawsuits can help recover lost wages, medical bills, and compensation for the pain and suffering of living with a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer

 If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.

 

 

 

California University Ordered to Pay $2.9 Million to Workers in Asbestos Lawsuit

A Sonoma County, California judge recently ordered Sonoma State University to pay workers at the school $2.9 million in damages for violating state occupational health and safety laws over the improper handling of asbestos. The case was brought by a whistleblower working at the university who claims that he was fired after bringing forth concerns that he and other employees were being exposed to toxic asbestos at various sites around campus.

As part of the judged order, one-quarter of the $2.9 million will go to 232 teachers, administrative assistants and other university employees who worked on site in Stevenson Hall between May 1, 2013 and March 6, 2015, an average of about $3,100 for each person. The remainder of the award will go to the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration as a civil fine for the defendant’s negligence.

The award comes after Sonoma State University spent an estimated $3.5 million on legal fees and was ordered to pay an additional $387,000 in March 2017 to the whistleblower who originally brought the complaint. The lead plaintiff’s lawsuit claims that faculty retaliated against him and forced him to resign after 24 years at the school for reporting the unsafe conditions.

“We are happy about the ruling,” Gina Voight, chapter president of the CSU employees union at Sonoma State and administrative coordinator of the department of kinesiology, told the Sonoma State Star. “We hope this will open the door for all 23 campuses to address asbestos problems as well as challenge Cal-OSHA’s outdated standards of what acceptable levels of asbestos are.”

Although an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found the air quality inside campus buildings was within the acceptable levels of 0.1 fiber per cubic centimeter, those benchmarks only apply to regulatory purposes and there is no acceptable level of asbestos exposure.

Asbestos is a flaky, white mineral once commonly used in a variety of industrial and commercial applications for its heat-resistant properties. Unfortunately, asbestos exposure is directly linked to developing mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer that causes tumors to grow in the thin lining of tissue surrounding the lungs or abdomen.

Despite knowing for decades about the serious risks associated with ingesting asbestos dust and fibers, many large corporations chose to continue using the material, which put millions of hardworking people around the country at risk for developing mesothelioma and other asbestos related health conditions. Common occupations associated with asbestos exposure include pipefitters, welders, drywall workers, and technicians working around nuclear facilities.

Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer

 If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.

 

 

California Wildfires Leave Residents at Risk for Asbestos-Contaminated Water

In the wake of the devastating California wildfires that displaced thousands across Sonoma and Marin and caused billions of dollars in property damages, area residents could be at risk from contaminants in their drinking water, including asbestos and other cancer-causing toxins. The threat to the area’s drinking water comes from the debris around the Russian River, the main source of drinking water for the two devastated counties.

As the area prepares to enter the rainy season, state officials are worried that toxic pollutants from the burn zones could wash into streams, rivers, and the drinking water supply in the greater North Bay area. There are over 600 streams in Sonoma County alone, many of them leading to the Russian River and passing directly through the burn zones.

While the Sonoma County water agency says the area’s drinking water is safe for now, that all could change depending on when and how much rain comes to the area and how much debris remains when that happens. State and federal environmental officials are working hard every day to inspect thousands of homes for possible toxins, including asbestos, for removal.

Asbestos Mesothelioma Cancer

 Perhaps one of the biggest threats to residents in the North Bay area is asbestos contamination in the drinking water. Although asbestos has been tightly regulated in the U.S. since the 1970s, many homes could have been built before the regulations went into effect. For many decades, companies used asbestos-laden products like drywall, floor tiles, and roofing material to construct homes.

Unfortunately, the mineral known for his malleability and heat resistant properties is also the cause of mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer that commonly affects the thin lining of tissue surrounding the lungs or abdomen. Contrary to what many corporations and asbestos makers may claim, there is no such thing as a safe level of exposure to asbestos and its possible for even a few tiny fibers to cause serious health conditions.

Although asbestos only began to be regulated in the 1970s, companies using the substance already knew for decades about the serious health consequences of ingesting or inhaling asbestos but did nothing to warn consumers or workers handling the product. As a result, tens of thousands of innocent victims suffered from asbestos exposure and developed mesothelioma cancer and other serious health conditions.

Fortunately, the law gives victims the right to file asbestos cancer lawsuits against the asbestos companies to recover compensation for damages. In addition to awards for medical bills and lost wages, filing a lawsuit can help recover for the pain and suffering felt by the victim and hold these defendants responsible for their indifference to public safety.

Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer

 If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.