India faces asbestos epidemic according to The Lancet

A report in the influential medical journal "The Lancet" shows how the deadly work of the Canadian Chrysotile Institute continues to kill and maim thousands every year in developing nations.  A silent Bhopal is happening every year — here are some shocking statistics:

From 2000—07, India 's use of asbestos rose from roughly 125 000 metric tonnes to about 300 000. Nearly all of India 's asbestos is mixed with cement to form roofing sheets. Bolstered by asbestos import tariffs that have been reduced from 78% in the mid-1990s to 15% by 2004, the country's asbestos-cement industry is increasing by roughly 10% every year, employing in excess of 100 000 people. Since 2003, companies no longer require a special licence to import chrysotile.

Since 1960, India has incorporated about 7 million tonnes of asbestos into its buildings. The health consequences are already apparent, but the scale of the problem is not clear. “The Government of India has a very poor, almost non-existent, system to record death and disease”, explains Arthur Frank from Drexel University , Philadelphia , PA , USA . Besides, cancer is not a notifiable disease. Frank cites a hospital in Mumbai which sees a dozen cases of mesothelioma every year. Studies have shown high rates of asbestosis among workers in the industry, including in those whose exposure to the material has spanned less than 5 years. “But I suspect that there has been no real assessment of [asbestos-related disease] to the point that you can get accurate figures”, Frank concedes".

To read more, go to The Lancet online at:  http://bit.ly/amJVqF

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Nanotubes: Do they cause cancers like mesothelioma?

A controversy is brewing regarding the health effects of new high-tech carbon nanotubes. These products are already in use in industries as wide ranging as high-end bicycle frame construction to electronics to medical applications.

According to studies by the Centers for Disease Control and US EPA, the answer may be yes. While this is a hot area of research and corporate growth, preventing another massive, quiet epidemic of cancer is worth the wait.

See also:

Centers for Disease Control:
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/blog/nsb052008_nano.html
2. Nanotech Firms Fear New EPA Regs:
http://www.kiplinger.com/businessresource/forecast/archive/nanotech-firms-fear-new-epa-regs.html

Are high-tech nanotubes merely artificial asbestos?

A controversy is brewing regarding the health effects of new high-tech carbon nanotubes.  These products are already in use in industries as wide ranging as high-end bicycle frame construction to electronics to medical applications.


According to studies by the Centers for Disease Control and US EPA, the answer may be yes.  While this is a hot area of research and corporate growth, preventing another massive, quiet epidemic of cancer is worth the wait.

See also:
  1. Centers for Disease Control:
2.  Nanotech Firms Fear New EPA Regs:

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Toxic tourists?

Toxic chemicals are migrating to pristine parts of the earth more than ever.  Read an excerpt from Elizabeth Grossman's new book on this subject at Scientific American:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-do-toxic-chemicals-move-around-planet

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Toxic chemicals as tourists?

Read an excerpt from Elizabeth Grossman’s important new book, “Chasing Molecules” about pollution that has made its way to Antarctica. While health care and climate change dominate the news, toxic chemicals are increasingly being used by 3rd world countries in alarming amounts. A global effort to combat these uses is needed. Read more at:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-do-toxic-chemicals-move-around-planet

FDA bans flavored cigarettes

Fantastically, we finally have a ban on candy-flavored cigarettes.  And look for more restrictions coming in the future.  These restrictions are finally what the country needs to stop the health-related nightmare that is cigarette addiction.  Good job Obama’s FDA!

For more, read:

http://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/news/20090922/fda-bans-flavored-cigarettes

Bauman vs Daimler Chrysler: A winning dissent

On August 28, 2009, the 9th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by persons allegedly tortured at the request of Mercedes-Benz personnel and their affiliation with the Argentine government in the 1980s.  The 9th Circuit dismissed the case, finding that the plaintiffs had failed to show "minimum contacts" Daimler Chrysler and Mercedes Benz USA.

What is striking about this opinion is the well-reasoned, lengthy and detailed dissent of Judge Stephen Reinhardt.  Judge Reinhardt explains that the 9th Circuit has now set the bar too high under the Constitution, and provides a scholarly road-map explaining why the case should be allowed to continue:

"In an increasingly complex and globalized economy, corporations such as [Daimler Chrysler] reap enormous profits from the sale of their goods in the United States, achieved through the use of distributors, frequently in the form of subsidiaries.  Many multinational companies organize their corporate structure and acquire subsidiaries for the sold purpose of obtaining maximal benefit in the American market.  ….Given these realities, and the continually evolving ways of doing business in an international area, it is a mistake for the majority to formalize and rigidify our test for personal jurisdiction with an overemphasis on control."

A must read for students of corporate jurisdiction.

Bauman et al. v. Daimler Chrysler, 2009 DJDAR 12916, AO 07-15386, August 28, 2009.

http://blogs.findlaw.com/ninth_circuit/2009/08/bauman-v-daimlerchrysler-corp-no-07-15386.html

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Tobacco company considers a $13.8 million dollar punitive damages verdict a victory

Today, August 25, 2009, a Los Angeles jury awarded Jodie Bullock, daughter of Betty Bullock $13.8 million dollars in punitive damages for the death of her mother from cigarettes.

Her mother, Betty Bullock was awarded $850,000 in compensatory damages and $28 billion in punitive damages in 2002 in a landmark decision in California.  She died a year later.  An appellate court threw out the decision based on changes made by the conservative Bush U.S. Supreme Court in the law of punitive damages.

Another blow to the Bullock family is that when a person dies in California before their lawsuit is finalized, the value of the case decreases significantly as certain categories of damages die with the person.  This has resulted in a macabre game where enormous teams of defense firm law lawyers fight with all they have to stall cases until a person dies. 

 

Persons with lung cancer caused by cigarette smoking cannot file class actions in California, and are also faced with numerous other legal restrictions on their lawsuits.  Tobacco claimants face years in court on appeal, as nearly every single judgment and verdict is appealed for many years by the cigarette makers. 

For more on this verdict and the many years of litigation on this single case, click on the following links:

http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202433315002&Tobacco_Company_Dodges__Billion_Bullet_Slapped_With__Million_in_Punitive_Damages

 

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/revpub/B164398.PDF (interim appellate court ruling)

 

http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/lxn05a00 (trial testimony of Betty Bullock)

 

http://articles.latimes.com/2002/oct/05/business/fi-coast5

 

http://money.cnn.com/2002/10/04/news/companies/philipmorris/index.htm

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

NIH official convicted of lying regarding asbestos

Recently, an NIH official and physician was convicted of moonlighting for asbestos manufacturers while still in his role at the National Institutes for Health.  The details are at:

http://www.thepoptort.com/2009/08/nih-official-asbestos-guilty.html

 

 

Read and post comments | Send to a friend