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Author: Rick Nemeroff

Image of a Worker Wearing a Mask After Informing Himself of Mesothelioma Causes.

Malignant Mesothelioma Causes

Malignant mesothelioma is a type of cancer that forms in the mesothelium, a tissue that surrounds some our internal organs. Learning about mesothelioma causes is an important step in protecting your rights if you or a loved one suffers from this disease. Our law firm is nationally acclaimed for helping mesothelioma victims hold responsible parties accountable for causing this life-changing condition.

Mesothelioma Causes: The Altering of Genetic Information

Just like all cancers, mesothelioma causes originate with the altering of genes, strands of DNA responsible for our hereditary traits and for making proteins in our body. Genes are also important in controlling cell growth and reproduction. When particular genes are damaged, uncontrollable cell growth is caused in two ways:

  • The cell stops producing a protein that is capable of ending cell division, or
  • It produces too many proteins, causing a continuous cell division

The continuous growth of unwanted cells is what leads to cancer.

Mesothelioma Causes Include the Fibrous Mineral Asbestos

Of all mesothelioma causes, the most prominent is the long-term exposure to asbestos, a microscopic fiber that, when inhaled or ingested, can penetrate the mesothelium, the tissue lining of our organs. This damage the cell’s DNA. Asbestos can damage the mesothelium of different organs:

  • The lungs, leading to pleural mesothelioma
  • The heart, leading to pericardial mesothelioma
  • The abdominal cavity, leading to peritoneal mesothelioma
  • The testes, leading to testicular mesothelioma

The most common of these types is pleural mesothelioma.

Other potential causes of mesothelioma include:

  • Zeolites, a mineral with a similar chemical composition as asbestos
  • Radiation due to other cancer treatments
  • SV40 virus (Although it has not been confirmed, in certain lab studies, researchers have found that this virus can alter genes associated with cancer.)

Where Can Someone be Exposed to Asbestos, the Leading Cause of Mesothelioma?

Asbestos is a material largely used for electrical and housing insulation and fireproofing. Hence, it fills many houses and businesses. Most asbestos products are not harmful unless its particles are released into the air. Exposure generally occurs in the following places:

  • In the workplace: Asbestos miners, carpenters, firefighters, and many others are at a high risk of exposure as they are in direct contact with the material.
  • At home: Those who work directly with the material may carry asbestos particles on their clothes or in their hair, causing secondhand exposure to those who live with them.
  • In the environment. This occurs when asbestos fibers are released into the air during mining or natural disasters. There have been some cases of asbestos-caused mesothelioma reported in people living near asbestos mines or near areas with high quantities of asbestos in the soil.

The risk of asbestos-caused mesothelioma is significantly increased when a person is exposed to high concentrations of asbestos for prolonged periods of time. A limited exposure may not be harmful.

If you or a loved one have been exposed to one of the mesothelioma causes and developed this disease, Nemeroff Law Firm will fight for your right to fair compensation. Call or complete our Contact Form today and schedule a free case evaluation. We proudly serve mesothelioma victims and their families nationwide.

How Much Exposure to Asbestos is Harmful?

Asbestos—these days it seems like a relic of a bygone era. Like so many things that have dropped off of the headlines, it seems like something you needed to be concerned about when your parents were children or when you were young. Coming into contact with asbestos doesn’t seem like something that you should still worry about in the 21st century. Nothing could be further from the truth, however, as the exposures of the past can cause health problems today. In fact, exposure to this dangerous substance continues even now, although on a reduced scale due to government regulation. Given that, you need to know how much exposure to asbestos is harmful.

Is There a Threshold For How Much Exposure to Asbestos is Harmful?

Because of the way that asbestos impacts health, there is not a minimum amount of asbestos exposure that may be harmful. Although a single exposure often will not lead to a negative health impact, no one knows for sure at what point the asbestos exposure level creates a risk of developing a serious health condition.

 How Are we Exposed to Asbestos?

Asbestos was used extensively in the U.S. before the 1990s, and it can still be used today for any use developed before 1989 that is not specifically banned. Before the health impacts of asbestos were better understood, exposure to it was greater. There are stories of workers in shipbuilding factories in WW II working all day in a cloud of asbestos-laden dust. Given the regulation of asbestos use today, how is anyone still coming into contact with asbestos?

Asbestos exposure occurs when asbestos is disturbed and becomes airborne. It can enter the body either through the mouth or nose and enter the lungs or stomach. For example, you can still find materials made with asbestos in some homes and buildings. When a home that has materials made with asbestos is renovated, or when a material such as ceiling tiles or wallboard that contains asbestos is broken or drilled, asbestos particles can become airborne. People in the immediate area suffer first-hand exposure to the particles and can ingest them by inhaling or swallowing them.

Asbestos exposure does not necessarily end with those on the scene. People exposed to asbestos may also carry the particles away with them on their clothes, hair, and skin. As a result, their families may also be at risk of second-hand asbestos exposure. Asbestos exposure to the family and children of people who work with the substance can lead to health impacts to them as well.

How Does Asbestos Affect Your Health?

Asbestos is dangerous when it is ingested, either by being inhaled or swallowed. When asbestos is inhaled, it enters the lungs. Due to the shape of the fibers, asbestos particles can travel deep into delicate tissues.

How much exposure to asbestos is dangerous depends on what the fibers do and how the body responds to them. Once in the body, these fibers are difficult to eliminate, and they can lead to lung cancer, especially in people who smoke. Asbestos may also lead to mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other types of cancer. The health impacts from asbestos exposure usually occur long after exposure, often 10 to 40 years later.

How Much Asbestos Exposure is Harmful?

Here’s the bottom line: No one knows exactly how much asbestos exposure is harmful, so any exposure is potentially dangerous. Even the smallest exposure may have negative health impacts that do not become known for years.

Although asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, its concentrated use in certain materials, such as in fire resistant construction and other building materials, means that some people will have concentrated exposure to asbestos. This can be particularly dangerous.

If you want to discuss how much exposure to asbestos is harmful in your situation, Nemeroff Law Firm is here to help. With over 150 years of collective experience fighting to help victims of asbestos exposure, we will fight to recover what you and your loved ones deserve. Contact us at 866-342-1929 or via email.

When Was Asbestos Banned in the U.S.?

Asbestos, a set of six silicate minerals, has been mined for more than 4,000 years. In more modern times, it became used in products for its heat-resistant and insulating properties. But as early as the late 19th century, people began to link asbestos with serious illnesses such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and various forms of cancer. By the late 20th century, countries around the globe began banning the use of asbestos. With all of the negative consequences of exposure to this dangerous substance, a reasonable question is “when was asbestos banned in the United States?”

A Logical Question: When Was Asbestos Banned in the United States?

As early as 1918, the United States government noted a possible connection between asbestos exposure and an increased risk of illness or early death. Specifically, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics issued a report revealing a high risk of early death among those who worked with asbestos. The medical community continued to see a link between asbestos exposure and certain illnesses such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and certain cancers. But not until the early 1970s did the U.S. begin to act on the evidence.

Early Bans on Asbestos Around the World

In the early 1970s, Denmark became the first country to ban asbestos when it prohibited the use of the mineral for insulation and waterproofing. Many other nations followed suit, with more than 50 countries having banned asbestos to date. Is the United States in that group? Sadly, the answer is “no.”

How the U.S. Has Attempted to Ban Asbestos

Congress has attempted to ban asbestos with limited success. Because asbestos has been used in many forms, both solid and airborne, each piece of legislation has tended to control a different type of asbestos use and exposure. In this way, Congress began enacting asbestos bans in the early 1970s, over time passing several different acts regulating asbestos use.

In 1970, President Nixon issued an executive order establishing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA is a federal agency charged with protecting the environment and human health. To accomplish those goals, the agency is authorized to issue and enforce regulations.

Another federal agency also regulates asbestos use in certain ways. The mission of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), part of the Department of Labor, is to provide regulations, education, and assistance with a goal of assuring the safety and health of workers. OSHA sets and enforces workplace standards on health and safety issues, including those regarding asbestos.

Finally, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an independent federal agency, issues rules regulating the sale and manufacture of products in the United States, including the materials that can be used in those products.

Congress, the EPA, OSHA, and the CPSC have all issued various bans on asbestos and its use. Still, not all forms and use of asbestos are banned in the U.S.

So When Was Asbestos Banned in the U.S.?

Despite the fact that asbestos is not completely banned, federal law imposes a number of significant restrictions on the acquisition, use, and disposal of the mineral under different legislative measures. For example, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) prohibits the manufacture, importation, processing, and distribution of these products:

  • Rollboard
  • Commercial, corrugated, and speciality paper
  • Flooring felt

In addition to the products listed above, the TSCA banned “new uses” of asbestos, prohibiting its use in products that have not historically contained the mineral.

Congress also amended the Clean Air Act (CAA) to name airborne asbestos as hazardous to human health. Today, the CAA bans the following uses of asbestos:

  • Asbestos pipe insulation and asbestos block insulation on facility components, such as boilers and hot water tanks
  • Spray-on application of materials containing more than 1% asbestos to buildings, structures, pipes, and conduits unless certain conditions specified under 40 CFR 61, Subpart M are met

And in 1977, the CPSC banned the use of asbestos in artificial fireplace embers and wall patching compounds nationwide.

Despite this legislative framework, states are largely free to decide on the implementation of anti-asbestos laws within their borders.

Asbestos Restrictions in Individual States

Federal laws and regulations have largely left states to decide their individual legislative paths with regard to asbestos’ legal position.

Most states, including Florida and Ohio, have undergone significant changes in terms of their law, with a view to reducing the sheer number of asbestos lawsuits brought to courts. Ohio, for example, has introduced a number of medical criteria for victims to be better informed when approaching the courts, as well as to assist employers being sued in asbestos claims.

Need More Information on Asbestos Restrictions in the U.S.?

Now that you know more about when asbestos was banned in the U.S., you probably have specific questions about the connection between asbestos and your potential legal claim. If you or a loved one suffers from an asbestos-related diagnosis, the asbestos attorneys at Nemeroff Law Firm can assist you in getting justice. For a free case evaluation, fill out our Contact Form or give us a call at 866-342-1919. At Nemeroff Law, we fight for those harmed by asbestos nationwide.

 

by Rick Nemeroff, Mesothelioma Trial Attorney

What would you do to keep the doors of the courthouses open to victims of negligent corporations – especially victims who have precious little time to live? How would you respond to U S Chamber of Commerce lobbyists who want to inject junk science into legitimate lawsuits filed in Utah? How hard would you fight to prevent the rules of evidence from being tilted in favor of companies and groups favoring unneeded tort reform? Who would you turn to for help when you have only 10 days to fight a last minute piece of bombshell legislation that would turn Utah courts on their heads and impose out-of-state laws and procedures on a Utah legal system that already works?

If you answered, I’d fight with all my strength to prevent injustice and I’d turn to my brothers and sisters in both UAJ and AAJ to stand with me, then read on…

Ten days before the 2016 legislative session was to conclude, and without any advanced warning, a vile piece of tort law legislation that would substantively change Utah civil procedure and decades of case law was introduced and immediately set for a hearing with less than 36 hours notice. This proposed law, if passed, would have (1) upended the process by which certain asbestos cases could be filed, (2) stripped away the privacy rights of Utah citizens, (3) overruled a trial judge’s discretion with respect to ruling on the relevance of evidence, (4) created unprecedented legal defenses for manufacturers, premises owners, etc , (5) impacted the medical practice and procedures of Utah doctors and so much more This legislation was dreamed up by the U S Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC and conferred all its supposed “benefits” on out-of-state interests at the expense of dying Utah citizens, furthered a national agenda of tort reform and created a “solution” in search of a non-existent “problem ” The legislative abomination I am describing was HB403 and it was deceptively titled Asbestos Litigation Transparency Act

As an asbestos lawyer for over 24 years, I should note that the only “transparency” for which I have found it necessary to fight was the “transparency” of getting defendants to honestly and fully answer discovery as part of lawsuits that I pursued on behalf of my dying (or dead) clients and their families, of corporate representatives of the defendant companies to answer questions honestly and fully in depositions and/or at trial, and to expose the lawyer made/company paid for asbestos “science” that confounds logic and simply furthers the defensive plan as set forth by tobacco companies years ago to make “doubt” their product, not truth

I came to learn about HB403 the day after it was introduced, which was also the day before it was set for a hearing in committee My first phone calls and emails were to Brook Millard, UAJ and AAJ to assist in formulating a plan of attack – not just a plan of defense

On the day set for the bill’s first hearing, I arranged to fly up my client, William Dale Peterson (and his wife) who was suffering from mesothelioma, and whose case we had filed in Salt Lake City just a little over a year ago His presence at the hearing put the bill’s lobbyists from both the U S Chamber of Commerce and the Utah Civil Justice League into a tight spot – they were prepared to roll over us, not respond to an actual asbestos victim Unprepared to deal with opposition they did not expect, the committee and bill sponsor (Rep Brad Wilson) postponed the hearing to a date uncertain And thus began the trench war

As in all “civilized” wars, a parley was had between the warring sides before blood was to be spilled Appearing for the good guys were Brook Millard, Alan Mortensen and me, and representing the bad guys was Mark Behrens from Shook Hardy & Bacon (Washington, D C ) for the U S Chamber, and Justin Stewart for the Utah Civil Justice League Kudos to Brook and Alan for their barely controlled righteous indignation at being hoodwinked by the Utah Civil Justice League with this bill Despite having previewed and prepared for the bills each side expected to address in the current legislative session, the Asbestos bill was kept hidden from view Alan and Brook made it clear that UAJ would not sit quietly or still when surprised like this and would fight to kill any bill introduced so surreptitiously

By contrast, having seen other (failed) versions of this bill introduced in a handful of other states, and having worked with colleagues in many of those states on the same issues being proposed here, I prepared for the inevitable “negotiations” that would follow – and thus, I (with the approval of the UAJ Legislative Committee) began a dialogue with the U S Chamber lobbyist, who was in complete control of the bill

Over the next 10 days, with the full and unwavering support of UAJ and AAJ, we went on the offensive We would not stop the Asbestos bill outright, but we made certain that the bill as introduced would never get passed In this fight, I was supported and motivated daily by Brook Millard, Alan Mortensen, Eric Mann (UAJ Executive Director), Dan Hinkle (AAJ State Affairs Counsel), Ben Somberg (AAJ Press Secretary), Alex Formuzis (Environmental Working Group), UAJ members Scott Lythgoe, Steve Sullivan and others, plus the invaluable guidance of our own legislative advocates: Steve Barth and Nancy Sechrest And since I am not a law firm of one, I have to thank Barrett Naman from my office, who was instrumental in working with me and our clients to get everyone to the Capitol and have their voices heard Together we were able to bring enough pressure to whittle the bill down to a level that had minimal impact on the rights of victims in the State.

When HB403 eventually had its committee hearing, I was fortunate to be able to have three of my Utah clients testify against the bill, one from Salt Lake City and one from St George (both living with the asbestos cancer, mesothelioma), as well as another from Salt Lake City, whose wife had succumbed to her malignant mesothelioma just days before the bill was introduced This client came with his grieving family to speak for the dead For those of you inclined to hear their stories, here’s the link to the House Business and Labor Committee hearing on HB403 that took place.

So, how did this all end? About as well as could be expected, given that the bill’s sponsor is in House leadership and the committee on which he sat was considering the bill I initially just wanted to kill the bill, and with the support of UAJ that was a real possibility But equally possible and more likely was a bigger fight next session, where our leverage was less sure and the outcome less certain With the support of UAJ, I negotiated a “compromise” bill with the lawyer representing the U S Chamber of Commerce (because this was and always will be THEIR bill), which effectively neutered the bill’s harshest parts and left in place some procedural hurdles that were considered manageable Is this bill good for Utah citizens? Not in a million years Does this bill only help the companies sued in asbestos lawsuits and impose needless burdens on victims of asbestos diseases who have precious little time to live? That’s exactly what the bill’s sponsors wanted and got.

Here’s my take-away from my first foray into Utah lawmaking: first and foremost, be a UAJ member and be an AAJ member You are never alone when you are part of these groups Second, even in a state like Utah, where the voices of trial lawyers are often outshouted by our opponents, you can make a difference by showing up to fight, and even more of a difference when your clients show up too.

Thanks to all who provided guidance and support You have my thanks and will have my support in the years to come.

Original article from Utah Association of Justice – Utah Trial Journal – Volume 39, No 2 – Summer 2016

_______

Rick Nemeroff, Esq. is the founder of The Nemeroff Law Firm that has offices in Park City, UT; Dallas, TX; Houston, TX; New Orleans, LA; and Pittsburgh, PA. The Nemeroff Law Firm is a nationally recognized trial firm dedicated to helping individuals and families who suffer from asbestos related mesothelioma, harmful pharmaceuticals, and catastrophic personal injuries or death as a result of the wrongful or negligent conduct of others. The Nemeroff Law firm’s website is www.NemeroffLaw.com.

Rick is a member of the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates, (ABOTA), the American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Utah Association of Justice (UAJ) and other state and local bar associations.

Rick resides in Park City, UT with his family where he is on the Park City Medical Center Foundation Board and is the Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Park City Day School.

A Win for a New Orleans Mesothelioma Victim

On Friday October 7, 2016, a New Orleans jury returned a $12 million verdict against Ameron International, and others, for the asbestos related mesothelioma that took the life of Donald Mueller and left behind his widow and daughter.

After a two week trial, during which the jury heard from world renowned asbestos experts Dr. Richard Lemen (a former Assistant United States Surgeon General), Dr. Richard Kradin (pathologist) and Dr. William Longo (materials scientist), the jury found that Ameron’s asbestos containing Bondstrand Pipe was a substantial contributing factor in causing Donald Mueller’s mesothelioma and death. Ameron called no witnesses in its defense.

According to lead counsel, Mesothelioma Attorney, Rick Nemeroff, of the Nemeroff Law Firm, “the jury got it right when they found that Ameron should be held responsible for putting asbestos product sales ahead of research, testing and warning. It’s a shameful tragedy that Donald Mueller didn’t live to see his day in court and to receive the justice he deserved – and while his widow and daughter were there to receive the verdict, it was a cold feeling without Donald present.”

Donald Mueller was diagnosed with asbestos related mesothelioma in October 2015 after being exposed to asbestos beginning in the 1950’s, until the early 1980’s while working at a variety of locations in Louisiana. Donald lost his battle with mesothelioma in January 2016, just days shy of his 90th birthday, leaving behind his wife of 67 years, Elizabeth, and his daughter, Pam.

This $12 million dollar verdict is the latest positive result in New Orleans by Rick Nemeroff, his law firm and his co-counsel, Landry and Swarr –the last two mesothelioma verdicts obtained by Rick and his team were for $12 million and $7.5 million.

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