Minnesota State Health Officials Find 21 New Mesothelioma Cases Among Iron Workers

Researchers from the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health have recently discovered 21 new cases of malignant mesothelioma among workers in the state’s Iron Range. The affected individuals were taconite workers in the region, located in the northeastern part of Minnesota.

Researchers made the discovery while conducting a study of over 69,000 iron ore mine workers. State health officials and University of Minnesota researchers’ findings now bring the total to 101 confirmed cases. Only three men are still alive.

The study, which analyzes workers employed before 1982, has found the following:

Mesothelioma rates among iron mine workers was 2.4 times higher than the general population
Iron ore workers also displayed signs of other respiratory diseases, including lung cancer
Researchers suspect taconite may be a factor in mesothelioma diagnoses
State health officials commissioned University researchers to help conduct the study after people throughout the state publicly shared their stories of mesothelioma and lung disease among former iron workers. According to officials, new cases of mesothelioma highlight the long latency period between asbestos exposure and a diagnosis – which can take as long as 20-60 years.

At the Nemeroff Law Firm, we routinely represent individuals and families who were exposed to asbestos as part of their occupations. If you have questions about mesothelioma, your rights, and how our legal team may be able to help you recover compensation, contact our legal team for a free case review.

Military Veterans & Mesothelioma

Former members of the United States armed forces – especially those who were military members during the widespread use of asbestos – face increased risks for developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses. In fact, statistics from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) show that military veterans make up roughly a third of all new mesothelioma diagnoses in America. A large portion of these veterans were members of the U.S navy.

Veterans who served from the 1940s to the 1980s are considered most at risk from developing mesothelioma and other associated problems related to asbestos exposure. Most veterans diagnosed today were first exposed to asbestos during the Korean or Vietnam wars.

Because asbestos is a substance valued for its durability and flame resistance, it was valuable to all branches of the military. Below you can find more information about asbestos and mesothelioma risks for veterans:

Transportation & buildings – Asbestos was commonly found in many modes of military transportation, including ships and boats, tanks, aircrafts, and various motor vehicles. Asbestos was often a component in wiring insulation and brake pads, as well as in military housing and other buildings on military bases.
Navy – Hundreds of products used by the military contained asbestos, especially ships built by the Navy. According to researchers, nearly no portion of naval ships built from the 30s to 70s was asbestos-free and shipyards were filled with materials and products that contained asbestos.
Military jobs – The VA lists a number of military jobs in which workers faced increased risks of asbestos exposure. These jobs include shipyard work, pipefitting, mining, carpentry and construction, vehicle maintenance, demolition work, and manufacturing, among others. It’s also important to consider that many veterans were skilled technicians who used their training to work as skilled trade workers in the civilian sector. Civilian jobs such as plumbers, electricians, construction, and mechanics involve high risks of asbestos exposure.
Because the mesothelioma risks veterans faced while serving in the military are well-known and well-documented, the VA specifically assists vets who were diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases. Veterans who wish to pursue compensation from the VA will need to prove that their disease is asbestos related and service connected.

If you have questions about asbestos exposure and mesothelioma – including exposure during military service – call the Nemeroff Law Firm to speak personally with a mesothelioma attorney. Consultations are FREE and confidential.

Studies Suggests Higher Rates of Lung Cancer in Smokers with Chronic Exposure to Asbestos

It is well accepted in the medical community – and well documented by evidence – that both smoking and asbestos cause damage to the lungs. According to a recent article, there are some interesting relationships between smoking and asbestos exposure.

The article discusses two studies that analyzed whether people who smoked and were chronically exposed to asbestos at work faced higher risks of lung cancer:

One study from Great Britain analyzed the records of over 98,000 people who were chronically exposed to asbestos on the job from 1971 to 2005. During the study, 12% of the workers died as a result of lung cancer. After grouping workers according to their rates of exposure and smoking habits, researchers found that smokers had the highest rates of lung cancer – regardless of their asbestos-exposure levels. Workers who never smoked had the lowest levels of lung cancer. Researchers concluded that an estimated 26% of lung cancer deaths were caused – at least in part – by an interaction of asbestos and smoking.
A second study reviewed the medical records and lung health of over 2,300 workers in the insulation industry – manufacturing, installation, and removal – from 1981 through 2008. Researchers ultimately found that asbestos exposure increased the risk of lung cancer by 5.2-fold, smoking by 10.3, and both exposure and smoking by 28.4. Researchers also found that workers who had been in their positions for at least 10 years and quit smoking reduced their risk of lung cancer by half.
Both studies suggest that chronic asbestos exposure and smoking combined can substantially increase risks of lung cancer. It also suggests that quitting smoking may benefit workers who have been chronically exposed to asbestos fibers.

Given the prevalence of smoking during the time when asbestos was most widely used, our legal team at the Nemeroff Law Firm has seen and handled many cases involving smokers who were also chronically exposed to asbestos, many times while on the job. Their smoking habits, however, did not detract from the fact that asbestos is a harmful material and that they have legal rights to be fairly compensated for resulting damages associated with mesothelioma.

If you have questions about mesothelioma, your rights, or the rights of a loved one, contact our firm today for a FREE case review.

Proposed Legislation Could Silence Mesothelioma Victims

A proposed bill supported by asbestos companies and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is encountering push-back from a number of mesothelioma advocates. If passed, the bill – the Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act – would likely make it much more difficult for asbestos victims and their loved ones to pursue mesothelioma claims and could limit their ability to recover timely compensation.

Here are a few key points about the bill:

The FACT Act (HR 526) was introduced in January by U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas. This is the third time lawmakers have attempted to pass similar legislation in Congress.
Opponents of the bill argue that it would significantly compromise mesothelioma victims’ ability to secure compensation. Primarly, the act would require quarterly reports (which require additional resources) from approximately 60 trust funds set up by bankruptcy courts to compensate mesothelioma victims.
If passed, the bill would also require trust funds to publicly disclose personal information about victims who filed claims. Many opponents believe this to be a tactic to prevent mesothelioma victims from pursuing claims.
For an overwhelming amount of opponents, the FACT Act creates burdens and obstacles that would ultimately prevent mesothelioma victims and their families from recovering full and fair compensation in a timely fashion. By allowing asbestos companies to request information from trusts, they enable them to constrict limited resources that should be used to further the process of paying claims.

A number of victims, families, and organizations have been outspoken in their opposition of the FACT Act and are encouraging other victims and supporters to educate themselves about the transparent attempts of big business to silence those they’ve harmed. If you have questions about mesothelioma claims and your rights, our attorneys are available to help. Contact Nemeroff Law Firm today.

Asbestos victims, lawyers fear new bill may delay compensation

“Anything that would slow a case down essentially would be a death sentence,” said Rick Nemeroff. “We were able to get this done really efficiently, which is the exact opposite of what the bill that is being proposed would do. It would be years and years before we would be able to get a case like Mr. Petersen’s filed and set for a jury trial and it’s almost an absolute certainty he would be dead before he got his day in court.”

Portions of Wilson’s bill are lifted from two pieces of model legislation promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a business-backed group of conservative lawmakers.

Similar legislation has been proposed in California, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Missouri, Indiana, New York and Tennessee, according to the Environmental Working Group, which has tracked asbestos legislation.

But Nemeroff says Wilson’s bill goes further than any of those other bills has gone.

“This specific bill that is being proposed in Utah is the most egregious that I’ve seen and it’s never been passed [in other states] in its current form,” Nemeroff said.

Wilson said he is willing to work on revisions to his bill if they’re needed. It is scheduled for a hearing before the House Business and Labor Committee Wednesday morning. Peterson said he plans to be there.

“I plan to fight as best I can for my fellow men who may come down with this disease. It’s a terrible disease. It works on you every day. There’s a lot of heartache with it. I can’t tell you how it works on you and your family,” Petersen said.

Takeda Pharmaceutical Agrees to $2.4 Billion Actos Settlement

Late last month, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company – one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world – agreed to a $2.4 billion settlement to resolve thousands of lawsuits involving Actos. A popular prescription medication used to treat Type 2 diabetes, Actos has been associated with adverse side effects, including many cases of bladder cancer.

The settlement – reached Tuesday, April 28 th in Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County – will help provide compensation to thousands of victims who claim they were diagnosed with bladder cancer after taking Actos. As part of the settlement terms, Takeda has not admitted wrongdoing.

Takeda came under scrutiny after consumers began reporting bladder cancer diagnoses connected to Actos at alarming rates. After investigating claims, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement that people who took Actos for more than one year faced a 40% increase in bladder cancer risks.

The substantial settlement speaks to the rights of consumers who are harmed by unsafe products and medications. If you have questions about your rights following an illness or injury you believe was caused by a pharmaceutical product, contact Nemeroff Law Firm for a free consultation.

A History of Asbestos Litigation

The world has known of asbestos and its uses for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until the last century and a half that man harnessed its power on a massive scale, and ultimately paid the price. After first being mined and commercially produced in the late 19 th century, asbestos became increasingly popular during World War II. Since the 1940s, millions of Americans have been exposed to and have died from asbestos.

Here is a brief overview of asbestos litigation:

Records show that the first legal case filed against an asbestos manufacturer was in 1929. That case was ultimately settled.
A pivotal article published in 1960 by Wagner et al. helped open the door to plaintiff lawsuits by establishing mesothelioma as a disease caused by asbestos exposure.
Asbestos litigation took off in the 1970s, around the same time asbestos became one of the first hazardous air pollutants to be regulated under the Clean Air Act of 1970.
Following numerous claims filed by victims and families, more than half of the 25 largest asbestos manufacturers in the U.S. had declared bankruptcy by the early 1990s.
Asbestos litigation is considered the longest and most expensive mass tort in American history. Given the latency period of mesothelioma – 20-50 years after asbestos exposure – experts project increases in diagnoses through the next decade. This could extend the total costs of asbestos litigation to as much as $275 billion in the United States alone.

The legal history of asbestos and mesothelioma has always been centered on the millions of victims and families affected by this dangerous substance. Today, victims and their loved ones still have every right to pursue compensation through legal means.

If you have questions about mesothelioma, asbestos litigation, and whether you have a case, contact Nemeroff Law Firm for a FREE case review.