Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, PC http://www.sgpblaw.com Thu, 09 Jan 2014 20:58:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 High School Undergoing Renovations and Asbestos Removal http://www.sgpblaw.com/high-school-undergoing-renovations-and-asbestos-removal/ http://www.sgpblaw.com/high-school-undergoing-renovations-and-asbestos-removal/#comments Tue, 07 Jan 2014 20:57:27 +0000 SGPB http://www.sgpblaw.com/?p=1316 Building structures all over the country are ridden with asbestos. According to most experts, asbestos-filled insulation and other structural components are considered safe when left undisturbed so long as it has not begun to break down. However, deteriorating asbestos products must be removed and properly abated to ensure safety and air quality. Similarly, asbestos in [...]

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Building structures all over the country are ridden with asbestos. According to most experts, asbestos-filled insulation and other structural components are considered safe when left undisturbed so long as it has not begun to break down. However, deteriorating asbestos products must be removed and properly abated to ensure safety and air quality. Similarly, asbestos in buildings undergoing renovations should be handled very carefully and removed according to federal, state, and local guidelines.

Such is the case with Mt. Lebanon High School in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania this week. According to school officials, the high school is about to undergo construction and renovations that are estimated to take at least 1 month. During that time, the Allegheny County Health Department will oversee asbestos abatement on the campus.

Although the school and county have been up front with parents about the asbestos removal, at least two parents have voiced concerns over the safety of the campus during the renovation process. School principal, Brian McFeeley, has hoped to ease qualms by assuring parents that no asbestos abatement will occur during regular school hours. Instead, the fibers will be removed no earlier than 4:00 p.m. in an area that will be sealed off from the rest of the school.

This isn’t the first time the school district has removed asbestos from one of its campuses. This past summer, the elementary school was also abated, though this was during a time when classes were not in session. Despite safety precautions, one mistake in the abatement process could put some of the more than 1,800 students and teachers at Mt. Lebanon High School at risk for asbestos exposure.

Exposure to Asbestos Can Cause Cancer and Other Health Problems

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was once a standard-use product in American manufacturing and construction. However, it is now known as the cause of a deadly cancer called Mesothelioma that claims the lives of thousands every year. If you find asbestos in your home, on the job, or elsewhere, avoid disturbing it. The fibers from asbestos are microscopic and are easily inhaled or ingested during exposure. Asbestos can remain in the body for many decades before potentially causing serious health complications, respiratory problems, or cancer.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Mesothelioma lawyers here at Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, PC for more information about asbestos-related cancer and your rights as a possible victim. We fight for the rights of our clients and we can fight for yours too.

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Residents in City Near Las Vegas Could be Exposed to Toxic Asbestos http://www.sgpblaw.com/residents-in-city-near-las-vegas-could-be-exposed-to-toxic-asbestos/ http://www.sgpblaw.com/residents-in-city-near-las-vegas-could-be-exposed-to-toxic-asbestos/#comments Mon, 30 Dec 2013 07:49:57 +0000 SGPB http://www.sgpblaw.com/?p=1312 In Boulder City, Nevada, residents live a relatively quiet life considering the town is just 20 miles to the southeast of Las Vegas. With just 15,000 people, little news comes out of Boulder City. But all that has changed as of late. Currently, Boulder City is making headlines because of a potentially toxic discovery – [...]

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In Boulder City, Nevada, residents live a relatively quiet life considering the town is just 20 miles to the southeast of Las Vegas. With just 15,000 people, little news comes out of Boulder City. But all that has changed as of late. Currently, Boulder City is making headlines because of a potentially toxic discovery – asbestos. But unlike asbestos concentrations found in other cities, the asbestos in Boulder City has not been mined for. Instead, it was discovered to be naturally occurring on the ground surface in the form of dust and minerals embedded into rocks.

The discovery of naturally occurring asbestos in Boulder City is reported to be the first of its kind in southern Nevada. Researcher and University of Nevada Las Vegas geologist, Brenda Buck, detected the mineral by accident while studying arsenic from the nearby Nellis Dunes. But when Buck’s geological samples revealed an asbestos-like mineral, she consulted with a fellow geologist, Rodney Metcalf. Together, they began looking for asbestos, starting first with a simple horseback ride along a dirt road in Boulder City. That was enough to reveal asbestos fibers lingering on Buck’s clothing – and also enough to prompt a call to the Environmental Protection Agency.

As of now, locals are encouraged to avoid alarm or panic, as additional research is needed to determine the amount of asbestos lurking in Boulder City and the threat it could pose to residents. However, Buck confirms that there is a hazard and that humans should avoid exposure to dust from the Boulder City area and the southeastern edge of the Las Vegas valley. Additional studies will continue, with Buck and Metcalf at the helm.

Additional information about the asbestos discovery in Southern Nevada is published in the journal of the Soil Science Society of America. The researchers plan to investigate for asbestos minerals on surfaces all over the vicinity, including along Lake Mead’s shoreline.

Asbestos and Mesothelioma

Asbestos is a highly toxic mineral that is known to cause major health problems and diseases, including an aggressive form of cancer known as Mesothelioma. In the past, asbestos was mined and used in manufacturing and construction because of its insulating and flame-resistant properties. Though it is highly regulated today, thousands of people are diagnosed with Mesothelioma every year due to the long latency period between asbestos exposure and diagnosis. In fact, it can take up to 50 years to develop cancer or other health conditions after inhaling or ingesting asbestos.

Though not everyone who is exposed to asbestos becomes ill, those who do are often legally entitled to compensation. Because Mesothelioma is nearly always caused by asbestos, asbestos lawyers can help victims identify potential sources of toxic exposure, such as a prior job. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, contact the asbestos lawyers at Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, PC for a case evaluation today.

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Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma: What is the Difference? http://www.sgpblaw.com/lung-cancer-and-mesothelioma-what-is-the-difference/ http://www.sgpblaw.com/lung-cancer-and-mesothelioma-what-is-the-difference/#comments Sat, 14 Dec 2013 01:19:45 +0000 SGPB http://www.sgpblaw.com/?p=1307 People who have been exposed to asbestos are at risk for major diseases and respiratory problems. Two of the most serious conditions that asbestos victims can develop are lung cancer and Mesothelioma. Both affect the lungs, but they have distinct differences. Symptoms Lung cancer and Mesothelioma are not easily differentiated according to the symptoms they [...]

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People who have been exposed to asbestos are at risk for major diseases and respiratory problems. Two of the most serious conditions that asbestos victims can develop are lung cancer and Mesothelioma. Both affect the lungs, but they have distinct differences.

Symptoms

Lung cancer and Mesothelioma are not easily differentiated according to the symptoms they produce. Both cancers cause pain and deteriorate respiratory function over time. People affected by these diseases may initially notice a persistent cough that worsens with time, as well as breathing difficulties. The cancers may also cause:

  • Fatigue
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight loss
  • Ache in the shoulder, back, chest, or arm
  • Frequent respiratory infections like pneumonia or bronchitis

Anyone experiencing the symptoms of lung cancer and Mesothelioma should seek medical evaluation immediately. An early and accurate diagnosis is important for getting prompt treatment and maximizing prognosis.

Diagnosing Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer

The difference between lung cancer and Mesothelioma is found in where the cancers develop. Lung cancers initiate within the inside of the lungs and may spread to other areas of the body. Mesothelioma, however, develops in the mesothelial lining of the lungs, abdomen, heart, or testicles. In order to diagnose lung cancer or Mesothelioma, doctors must conduct a series of diagnostic tests. This may include a chest x-ray, as well as a bronchoscopy to detect growths in the airways of the lungs. If abnormal growth is detected, a biopsy may be necessary.

There are several risk factors for developing lung cancer, including smoking, radon exposure, and asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma, however, is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos, which is easily inhaled into the lungs. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Mesothelioma. But early diagnosis and treatment may help improve long term outcomes.

If you or someone you know has developed lung cancer or Mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos, you may be legally entitled to victim’s compensation. Cancers can take decades to develop after asbestos exposure – sometimes up to 30 years or more. Contact the asbestos lawyers at Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, PC for a case analysis today.

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Resveratrol Could Make Malignant Mesothelioma Cells More Responsive to Chemotherapy http://www.sgpblaw.com/resveratrol-could-make-malignant-mesothelioma-cells-more-responsive-to-chemotherapy/ http://www.sgpblaw.com/resveratrol-could-make-malignant-mesothelioma-cells-more-responsive-to-chemotherapy/#comments Wed, 04 Dec 2013 19:44:30 +0000 SGPB http://www.sgpblaw.com/?p=1293 For years, doctors and scientists have touted the benefits of red wine for health. When consumed moderately, it has been shown to reduce cancer risks and lower cholesterol. But now there may be a new reason to love red wine – it could help Mesothelioma patients. New evidence from Korea is suggesting that a special [...]

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For years, doctors and scientists have touted the benefits of red wine for health. When consumed moderately, it has been shown to reduce cancer risks and lower cholesterol. But now there may be a new reason to love red wine – it could help Mesothelioma patients.

New evidence from Korea is suggesting that a special compound called Resveratrol could fight cancer in more than one way. The substance, which occurs naturally in the skin of red grapes, seems to work together with a popular cancer drug called clofarabine to suppress tumor growth and make malignant Mesothelioma cells more sensitive to chemotherapy. It seems that the Resveratrol-drug combination only works to cause cell death in malignant cells – not normal mesothelial cells.

The data is still relatively new, but is providing a study point for researchers who are looking for ways to enhance chemotherapy receptivity in malignant Mesothelioma cells. They have already found the combination to be effective among mice infected with Mesothelioma. Additional studies are needed; but it seems that doctors and scientists may begin exploring ways of directly treating Mesothelioma with both Resveratrol and clofarabine.

That is good news for the thousands of people who are diagnosed with malignant Mesothelioma every year around the world. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the nearly always fatal disease, and it continues to grow aggressively despite efforts to treat it using traditional cancer treatments. Mesothelioma treatment options themselves are limited and often risky.

It is not yet recommended that Mesothelioma patients begin drinking red wine or taking Resveratrol supplements as a part of medical treatment. Patients should always speak with their doctors before beginning a new health regimen.

Legal Help for Mesothelioma Patients

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, you need more than just a strong medical team on your side. You need the advocacy of an asbestos and Mesothelioma lawyer who will fight for your rights. Contact the attorneys at Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, PC for a legal consultation. You may be entitled to compensation.

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Doctor Advocating for Mesothelioma Education and Awareness in Libby, Montana http://www.sgpblaw.com/doctor-advocating-for-mesothelioma-education-and-awareness-in-libby-montana/ http://www.sgpblaw.com/doctor-advocating-for-mesothelioma-education-and-awareness-in-libby-montana/#comments Mon, 25 Nov 2013 20:17:05 +0000 SGPB http://www.sgpblaw.com/?p=1295 In Libby, Montana, Mesothelioma is a way of life. That’s because this small mining town was once a hotbed for asbestos – a cancer causing substance once mined for construction and manufacturing. Asbestosis, Mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related diseases can take decades to appear after initial exposure to the substance. Treatment is most effective for an [...]

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In Libby, Montana, Mesothelioma is a way of life. That’s because this small mining town was once a hotbed for asbestos – a cancer causing substance once mined for construction and manufacturing. Asbestosis, Mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related diseases can take decades to appear after initial exposure to the substance. Treatment is most effective for an early diagnosis, but not all doctors know who and when to screen for Mesothelioma. One man, Dr. Brad Black, is on a mission to change all of that.

Dr. Black moved to Libby in 1977 to work as a pediatrician. He got to know the W.R. Grace & Co. mine well, as it was a major economic resource to the local community. The mine excavated vermiculite – a fireproof substance containing amphibole asbestos. The asbestos was comprised of tiny, lightweight fibers that were easily inhaled and traveled by air. It is unknown how many people inhaled the substance over the years the Libby mine was in operation, but the consequences are evident today.

Though the mine has been closed for more than two decades, its effects remain alarmingly strong. Several town members who were exposed to the amphibole asbestos years ago – many as children – are now coping with sharp chest pains, a chronic cough, and in some cases, cancer. When symptoms first began appearing years ago, Dr. Black and other medical professionals in the area did not know how to identify them or make an accurate diagnosis. Today, it is his mission to raise awareness about the symptoms of amphibole asbestos exposure and teach other doctors how to make an early diagnosis.

Dr. Black has opened the Center for Asbestos Related Diseases, a non-profit clinic devoted to healthcare, education, and research for Mesothelioma and other asbestos disease patients. Nearly 200 people are diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases at the clinic every year – including Dr. Black himself. An estimated 400 people have died of asbestos-related disease linked to the Libby mind, and thousands more have become ill with chronic disease.

About Amphibole Asbestos

There are six types of asbestos, with chrysotile the most common of them all. In fact, chrysotile was used in more than 90 percent of manufacturing and construction during the twentieth century until it was virtually banned in the U.S. Though chrysotile is dangerous, amphibole asbestos is considered even more toxic. Unfortunately, amphibole asbestos was the substance mined in the small town of Libby, where there is a greater concentration of asbestos-related disease than any other area in the nation.

Dr. Black and his team have compounded their research with that of various universities and the Mount Sinai Medical Center. They have found that in addition to causing asbestosis and Mesothelioma, exposure to the amphibole asbestos in Libby may have generated an increase in autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis among local patients.

Getting Help

If you have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma or any other type of asbestos related disease, you may have been exposed to asbestos without knowing it. The asbestos lawyers at Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, PC have represented Mesothelioma patients in the past and understand the importance of holding irresponsible businesses and employers accountable for their negligence. Contact us today for a case evaluation. We’ll work hard to get you the compensation you deserve.

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DIY Renovations Could Cost More Than You Bargain For http://www.sgpblaw.com/diy-renovations-could-cost-more-than-you-bargain-for/ http://www.sgpblaw.com/diy-renovations-could-cost-more-than-you-bargain-for/#comments Fri, 13 Sep 2013 21:40:55 +0000 SGPB http://www.sgpblaw.com/?p=1281 The Internet, self-help guides, and a bevy of do-it-yourself home improvement shows have made it easier than ever for home and business owners to forego experienced contractors in favor of a DIY approach. But while DIY projects can save thousands of dollars in labor costs, it could cost much more in healthcare costs. That is [...]

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The Internet, self-help guides, and a bevy of do-it-yourself home improvement shows have made it easier than ever for home and business owners to forego experienced contractors in favor of a DIY approach. But while DIY projects can save thousands of dollars in labor costs, it could cost much more in healthcare costs. That is because asbestos still lurks in the walls, pipes, and other construction components of many structures across America.

Few DIY home renovators consider the possibility that they could be exposing themselves and their families to dangerous, cancer-causing toxins. In fact, the majority of homes built before 1980 were formed from materials ridden with asbestos. Nearly everything from floor tiles and roof shingles to pipe cement and joint compound contained asbestos. Left intact, these materials are not a threat to building or home inhabitants. But when they are disrupted, such as during a DIY renovation, asbestos fibers can become airborne, embedding into the lungs of anyone in breathing range.

Today, federal regulations strictly limit where asbestos can be used and how it must be labeled. Unfortunately, few homes contain labels on all asbestos products. Furthermore, a visual inspection of a home and its components is simply not enough to determine whether asbestos is present. Home renovators are encouraged to contact a professional to survey their property and confirm whether asbestos is present or not before cutting into walls, removing old tiles, replacing a roof, or performing some other renovation. It may also be possible to send a sample of suspicious fibers to an asbestos lab for testing. The safest way to take a sample is by hiring a professional, but detailed instructions for asbestos sampling are also available from the Environmental Protection Agency.

There is no safe amount of asbestos exposure, and inhaling even the smallest amount can lead to long-term health problems and the potential for developing malignant mesothelioma. Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that claims the lives of thousands of people every year. It is solely caused by exposure to asbestos – often during employment or while spending time near a construction project. There is no cure for mesothelioma, but it is 100 percent preventable by avoiding asbestos altogether.

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Companies Continue to Pay Out Large Settlements to Asbestos Victims http://www.sgpblaw.com/companies-continue-to-pay-out-large-settlements-to-asbestos-victims/ http://www.sgpblaw.com/companies-continue-to-pay-out-large-settlements-to-asbestos-victims/#comments Tue, 03 Sep 2013 21:36:59 +0000 SGPB http://www.sgpblaw.com/?p=1278 Mesothelioma is on the rise and is expected to continue increasing in prevalence among the U.S. population through the year 2020. Researchers continue to scramble to find a cure for this deadly disease as victims and their families struggle to maintain even a modest quality of life. Behind the scenes, litigation continues in courtrooms all [...]

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Mesothelioma is on the rise and is expected to continue increasing in prevalence among the U.S. population through the year 2020. Researchers continue to scramble to find a cure for this deadly disease as victims and their families struggle to maintain even a modest quality of life. Behind the scenes, litigation continues in courtrooms all across America. Big companies and corporations cannot escape the damages and irreplaceable losses they have caused to their employees and customers; and mesothelioma lawyers are holding them responsible for it.

Most defendants choose to settle outside of court, often paying out more than $1 million to asbestos victims. Of the few cases that go all the way to trial, the average judgment results in more than double the payout for damages, punitive charges, and loss of consortium. However, it is not uncommon for an asbestos victim to receive much more than $1 to $2 million. As recently as July 2013, a court awarded five men $190 million after they spent many years handling toxic products containing asbestos.

Mesothelioma victims are urged to contact an experienced asbestos lawyer. Many victims were unknowingly exposed to asbestos on the job as long as 30 to 50 years before receiving a diagnosis. Despite the long latency period, asbestos remains a danger for life once inhaled or ingested. An attorney can get to bottom of asbestos exposure and work toward securing financial compensation for physical, financial, and emotional losses.

About Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a disease caused by asbestos – a mineral that was mined for use in construction and manufacturing in the mid-20th century. Despite having been regulated since that time, those who were at one time exposed to asbestos continue to be at risk for mesothelioma today. According to the National Institutes of Health, an estimated 11 million people are believed to have inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers between 1940 and 1978.

Once inside the body, asbestos can remain there for many years, eventually causing health complications. Some people develop breathing problems, asbestosis, and lung cancer. Others – approximately 2,000 per year – are diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer known as mesothelioma. Even in its earliest stage, the average life expectancy of a mesothelioma victim is only 32 months. Unfortunately, the cancer is often not found until later stages, when patients typically do not live more than 1 year after diagnosis.

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Statin Drugs Could Help Tackle Malignant Mesothelioma http://www.sgpblaw.com/statin-drugs-could-help-tackle-malignant-mesothelioma/ http://www.sgpblaw.com/statin-drugs-could-help-tackle-malignant-mesothelioma/#comments Wed, 21 Aug 2013 21:32:36 +0000 SGPB http://www.sgpblaw.com/?p=1276 For years, statin drugs have been prescribed as a means of lowering high cholesterol. But emerging research out of Japan is suggesting that these highly common drugs could have the potential to provide an unexpected secondary benefit – diminished growth and even death in malignant mesothelioma cells. That is good news for victims of asbestos [...]

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For years, statin drugs have been prescribed as a means of lowering high cholesterol. But emerging research out of Japan is suggesting that these highly common drugs could have the potential to provide an unexpected secondary benefit – diminished growth and even death in malignant mesothelioma cells. That is good news for victims of asbestos exposure who are at risk for or who have already developed malignant mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that, while rare, is very difficult to treat. It is caused solely by exposure to asbestos – a mineral that was once used in mass in U.S. manufacturing and construction. Though it is all but banned today, millions of people continue to live having already been exposed to asbestos particles. These particles can embed into the body via inhalation, staying there for many decades before causing disease.

Statins: The Future of Mesothelioma Treatment?

Research began on the use of statin drugs for cancer treatment when studies began showing a lower risk of cancer as a cause of death among individuals taking statin drugs. By 2009, the University of Louisiana published a study showing statin drugs to be effective in the treatment of breast cancer tumors. The drug combination was also associated with a lower risk of developing other types of cancer, including liver cancer and ovarian cancer.

Tens of millions of people all over the U.S. and around the world already take popular statin drugs like Lipitor and Zocor, which were the drugs selected for this study.  These drugs are normally prescribed to help lower the risk of heart attack by blocking a cholesterol-producing enzyme in the liver. However, researchers have found that, when combined with a synthetic form of vitamin E known as gamma-tocotrienol (y-T3), a synergistic effect occurs, helping to slow mesothelioma tumor growth.

Though preliminary research shows that a statin-Y-T3 drug treatment combination to be promising for mesothelioma patients, it could still be many years before the Food and Drug Administration approves this mode of treatment. In the mean time, mesothelioma patients and their families must continue to fight this aggressive disease using other means.

Help for Mesothelioma Victims

Mesothelioma patients need more than just a good doctor on their side. They also need shrewd mesothelioma lawyers who will fight on their behalf, tracking down those responsible for reckless asbestos exposure and holding them responsible for their negligence. If you or one of your loved ones has developed mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the legal team at Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, PC for a free consultation.

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NYU Uncovers Mesothelioma Protein Significant for Future Research http://www.sgpblaw.com/nyu-uncovers-mesothelioma-protein-significant-for-future-research/ http://www.sgpblaw.com/nyu-uncovers-mesothelioma-protein-significant-for-future-research/#comments Fri, 09 Aug 2013 19:01:22 +0000 SGPB http://www.sgpblaw.com/?p=1257 Mesothelioma is one of the rarest cancers for which there has been limited research. Many people diagnosed with the disease do not live more than 1 year after diagnosis – due in part to mesothelioma’s aggressive nature and indifference to traditional cancer treatment methods. But researchers at New York University Langone Medical Center may have [...]

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Mesothelioma is one of the rarest cancers for which there has been limited research. Many people diagnosed with the disease do not live more than 1 year after diagnosis – due in part to mesothelioma’s aggressive nature and indifference to traditional cancer treatment methods. But researchers at New York University Langone Medical Center may have stumbled on a discovery that may change the way mesothelioma patients are treated in the future.

Researchers identified an overexpression of the protein EPHB2 in malignant pleural mesothelioma cells and tumors. They believe that by targeting that protein in treatment, patients may be able to achieve a better prognosis and longer survival times. Researchers also think that EPHB2 can be used as a marker for earlier diagnosis in patients who often do not know they have mesothelioma until it has reached its most advanced stages.

Dr. Harvey Pass is the lead mesothelioma researcher at the Langone Medical Center who is pioneering research into this disease, which is responsible for approximately 2,500 to 3,000 deaths in America every year. His team is pursuing research into the signaling pathways that are linked to the progression and malignancy of mesothelioma – particularly because it progresses quite rapidly in comparison to other cancers. They believe that by inhibiting the growth of the EPHB2 protein, they may be able to prevent new blood vessels from forming to feed malignancy. Slowed progression of the disease combined with earlier mesothelioma diagnosis could significantly improve patient outcomes.

Mesothelioma cancer is caused by inhalation of asbestos fibers. When the fibers enter the body, they remain there for many decades. Not everyone who is exposed to asbestos develops mesothelioma; but for those who do get the disease, prognosis is usually grim. Scientists and doctors have long been working on new ways of diagnosing and treating mesothelioma, but average life expectancy is still only 12 months after diagnosis.

Dr. Pass and his team will publish their findings in the September 2013 issues of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, which is produced by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, help may be available. This cancer is always caused by exposure to asbestos – often unbeknownst to the victim. Contact the mesothelioma attorneys of Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, P.C. to speak with an asbestos lawyer now. It costs nothing to find out if you and your family could be entitled to compensation.

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How to Detect Asbestos http://www.sgpblaw.com/how-to-detect-asbestos-2/ http://www.sgpblaw.com/how-to-detect-asbestos-2/#comments Wed, 31 Jul 2013 19:48:47 +0000 SGPB http://www.sgpblaw.com/?p=1263 Asbestos is a natural, but dangerous mineral that was once a primary component of American manufacturing and construction. Usually, asbestos that is intact and undisturbed does not present any health threat to those around it. However, disrupting asbestos fibers, such as during remodeling or demolition, can send fine particles into the air, where they can [...]

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Asbestos is a natural, but dangerous mineral that was once a primary component of American manufacturing and construction. Usually, asbestos that is intact and undisturbed does not present any health threat to those around it. However, disrupting asbestos fibers, such as during remodeling or demolition, can send fine particles into the air, where they can be inhaled by anyone nearby.

It is important to know if asbestos is present in a home or building, as removing it requires professional abatement services. Asbestos detection should always be performed by a licensed professional. Never attempt to do it yourself. There are several ways that professionals test for the presence of asbestos – especially when it is not clearly labeled on a product.

Asbestos in Building Materials

Identifying the presence of asbestos in building materials usually involves the use of polarized light microscopy, or PLM. Using the technique, investigators can view the optical properties of the minerals in building materials to determine whether asbestos or non-asbestos fibers are present.

Airborne Asbestos Detection

Airborne asbestos is the most dangerous form, as it is extremely hazardous to humans. When asbestos enters the air, it is easily inhaled and embedded into the lungs. Asbestos fibers can remain in the lungs for many years, potentially causing a malignant cancer known as mesothelioma. Never breathe air suspected of containing asbestos without an approved mask.  Phase Contrast Microscopy, or PCM, is the primary detection method for airborne asbestos. Using this technique, a light microscope can detect the fiber content of the air – though the fibers may or may not be asbestos.

If the fibers need to be differentiated, Transmission Electron Microscopy, or TEM, may be used. This highly advanced technology uses a combination of 20,000 times magnification, chemical testing, and mineral evaluation to identify asbestos fibers.

Soil

Asbestos that has not been properly abated or disposed of can reside in settled dust and the soil of dump sites. Testing for asbestos requires soil sampling and the use of PLM or TEM when available.

Water

Asbestos rarely enters the water supply, but it can happen when supply pipes are replaced or disturbed in some way. Testing water for asbestos nearly always requires Transmission Electron Microscopy, although methods of evaluating water contamination are continuing to evolve.

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