Former workers exposed to asbestos urged to sue Japanese government to claim damages

The labor ministry said Monday it will encourage individual former asbestos plant workers who suffered mesothelioma or other health damage, and relatives of such workers who have died, to file damages lawsuits against the government.

The ministry decided to make the unusual move because such lawsuits need to be settled before the government pays damages to the victims.

There are 2,314 workers exposed to asbestos who are believed eligible to receive damages but who have not yet filed lawsuits against the government, according to the ministry. The ministry plans first to send related leaflets to 756 whose names and addresses are known.

In October 2014, the Supreme Court for the first time found the government responsible for asbestos pollution affecting plant workers in Osaka Prefecture, ruling that it was illegal for the government to neglect to oblige asbestos plant operators to install exhaust air ducts.

Following the ruling, the ministry decided to pay damages, under certain conditions, after settling lawsuits with victims.

As of the end of last month, a total of some ¥2.1 billion had been paid to 236 plaintiffs, while 197 others were in the process of claiming ¥1.5 billion.

Article Source: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/10/02/national/crime-legal/former-workers-exposed-asbestos-urged-sue-japanese-government-claim-damages/#.WdcJr1uCzIV

Asbestos found in makeup at Justice tween retail store, report says

GREENSBORO, N.C.
A popular retail chain targeted at tween girls may have a dangerous substance in its makeup.

According to an investigation from WTVD, “Just Shine Shimmer Powder” sold at Justice Stores contain four heavy metals and asbestos.

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WTVD worked with Scientific Analytical Institute in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Sean Fitzgerald, the institute’s director of research and analytical services, said that there were tremolite asbestos fibers found in the makeup.

“Fibers like this get into your breathing zone, and when you inhale, these fibers can get into the lung and go to the very bottom of the lung and that is exactly where you have the greatest likelihood of asbestos to cause disease,” Fitzgerald said. “Children should not be allowed to breathe it. If a 10-year-old inhaled this fiber today, when he’s 50 years old, it’s still there.”

According to Fitzgerald, the talc in the makeup was contaminated with asbestos.

Talc is a mineral that is a common ingredient in makeup. Fitzgerald said it “forms in the earth with other minerals and some of those minerals are asbestos.”

Although both asbestos and talc are naturally occurring, the Food and Drug Administration says that asbestos is a “known carcinogen.”

“For this reason, FDA considers it unacceptable for cosmetic talc to be contaminated with asbestos,” the organization’s website said.

According to the National Cancer Institute, it can take 20 years after asbestos exposure for malignant mesothelioma to form.

Teen Vogue reported that the “Just Shine Shimmer Powder” is no longer for sale on the Justice website, but it has not appeared on the site’s recalls section. A link to the product on the website contains the title, “do not sell.” Justice issued the following statement to WTVD in response to the investigation:

“Justice is committed to the safety and integrity of our products. Upon receiving the inquiry from WTVD, we immediately began an independent investigation. We cannot speculate regarding the matter until we have more information. Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, we have stopped the sale of this product while we investigate.”

Article Source: http://www.ajc.com/news/national/asbestos-found-makeup-justice-tween-retail-store-report-says/teIbfN5pAqPQc92939zQLJ/

Asbestos found in makeup at Justice tween retail store, report says

A popular retail chain targeted at tween girls may have a dangerous substance in its makeup.

According to an investigation from WTVD, “Just Shine Shimmer Powder” sold at Justice Stores contain four heavy metals and asbestos.

WTVD worked with Scientific Analytical Institute in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Sean Fitzgerald, the institute’s director of research and analytical services, said that there were tremolite asbestos fibers found in the makeup.

“Fibers like this get into your breathing zone, and when you inhale, these fibers can get into the lung and go to the very bottom of the lung and that is exactly where you have the greatest likelihood of asbestos to cause disease,” Fitzgerald said. “Children should not be allowed to breathe it. If a 10-year-old inhaled this fiber today, when he’s 50 years old, it’s still there.”

According to Fitzgerald, the talc in the makeup was contaminated with asbestos.

Talc is a mineral that is a common ingredient in makeup. Fitzgerald said it “forms in the earth with other minerals and some of those minerals are asbestos.”

Although both asbestos and talc are naturally occurring, the Food and Drug Administration says that asbestos is a “known carcinogen.”

“For this reason, FDA considers it unacceptable for cosmetic talc to be contaminated with asbestos,” the organization’s website said.

According to the National Cancer Institute, it can take 20 years after asbestos exposure for malignant mesothelioma to form.

Teen Vogue reported that the “Just Shine Shimmer Powder” is no longer for sale on the Justice website, but it has not appeared on the site’s recalls section. A link to the product on the website contains the title, “do not sell.” Justice issued the following statement to WTVD in response to the investigation:

“Justice is committed to the safety and integrity of our products. Upon receiving the inquiry from WTVD, we immediately began an independent investigation. We cannot speculate regarding the matter until we have more information. Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, we have stopped the sale of this product while we investigate.”

Asbestos in New Building Materials: A School Case Study

Not unlike other jurisdictions in the United States, schools in the State of Maryland are essentially run as county-wide districts. In 2010, after years in the planning stages, a growing suburban county was finally constructing eight new elementary schools. The district had suffered over the last two decades through the expense and delays of
asbestos remediation and control. Accordingly, they had adopted a proactive approach to any new renovation or construction activity. Their program covered a wide range of 29CFR1910 & 1926 (OSHA) issues to protect school employees and contractors, as well as 40CFR763 (EPA/AHERA) issues in a comprehensive O&M plan.

Part of this proactive approach required construction contractors to have their materials approved as asbestos-fre before incorporating them into the building. Usually, this meant that the architectural and engineering
contractors would have to pre-screen the materials through the manufacturer; a quick scan of a material’s ingredients listed on an MSDS would usually suffice. In addition, some sort of certification letter or document
from construction purchaser or manufacturer was required before a building material was approved.

Back to Basics, Asbestos 101:

Obviously, thousands of building materials might be involved in a large school structure. Asbestos was intentionally formulated into thousands of such products over the last few generations due to its unique properties. As the unintended consequences of asbestos in these materials became known, and especially after billions of litigation
dollars and tragic deaths resulted, the purposeful use of asbestos as an additive in materials diminished significantly. For older buildings that contain these asbestos-laden products, regulators have strict systems to control their release and removal. Again, this study looks at the new construction dilemma.

Asbestos minerals are still mined throughout the world for their use in products. In 2009, the United States imported 1500 metric tons of these minerals. Worldwide production increased over 2 million metric tons in 2009 after a several-year decline. The primary exporters of Russia, South Africa, Brazil, Canada, and China have a long, profitable history of asbestos mining. The health consequences of asbestos are coming to light despite some attempts to soften the news of exposure and disease. These minerals, like many similar base and raw materials, are heterogeneous in composition and require several degrees of processing before being pure enough to meet standards of grade required for material formulations.

The gypsum mineral used in sheetrock/drywall products may have other calcium-based minerals like limestone associated with the deposit that is sometimes separated and sometimes not separated out of the manufacturing
process. This is often true for dolomite – a calcium/magnesium based- mineral used in hundreds of products. Yet dolomite can have asbestos “contamination.” That is to say, the geologic, geothermal, and chemical processes involved in the creation of dolomite also produce a close cousin: tremolite. Asbestiform tremolite is a regulated hazardous mineral by US EPA. These minerals occur in populations that may have a distribution of both non-regulated, non-asbestiform tremolite, and the asbestiform and regulated variety.

Now, About That School…

In 2010, iATL was contracted by an environmental engineering consultant firm in Maryland to provide testing of materials before inclusion into the construction process. Many times, the building materials were just assumed to be non-asbestos-containing material (ACM) and were incorporated into the structure. With the school’s and construction
stakeholders’ fingers crossed, nearly all the materials were found to be as advertised — non-ACM…nearly. Out of hundreds of new floor tiles, particular batches of a range of pink to purple pastel colored tiles repeatedly tested as trace and <1% by volume of tremolite asbestos by the US EPA 600 R93/116 Method for Determination of Asbestos in Bulk  building Materials. The testing used the prescribed Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) technique. Two tile samples of a particular hue had PLM analytical results ranging from slightly under to slightly over the 1% magic threshold value. A disclaimer required by US EPA on such flooring material reports indicated the recommendation of a more advanced testing technique employing Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) by the ELAP 198.4 analytical method.

The former method used the analytical technique of PLM to look at optical properties (several) that must be evident before qualifying the suspect fibers as regulated asbestos mineral. The quantification of the fibers is a whole other matter not discussed here. The latter method (TEM by ELAP 198.4) utilized the principles of gravimetric reduction (weighing sub-samples before and after thermally removing organic binders and acid washing interfering carbonates away) to leave only inorganic (usually mineral) residue. The residue revealed a population of mostly non-asbestiform and unregulated tremolite.

Another Approach:

By itself, the non-regulated fraction represented about 1-3% of the total make-up of those suspect floor tile samples. Interestingly enough, the product’s raw material MSDS revealed dolomite and “1% tremolite.” There was also a smaller population in this subset of truly asbestiform, and therefore regulated, tremolite asbestos. The population was calculated to range from <0.1 — 0.8%… close to the threshold.

We reported that the analytical techniques and methods requested were up against their own inherent limits. There are more sophisticated techniques outlined in US EPA 600 R93/116 Appendix C (??) to establish a fibrosity index of the suspect building material. This high level analysis would determine conclusively whether or not the samples were ACM. The environmental consultant and the school agreed with this approach. To prevent
any bias or systematic error, it was further recommended that the samples be sent to Dr. Eric Chatfield, a widely recognized international expert in asbestos laboratory
investigations.

At this stage, the floor tile manufacturer and associated sub-contractors, raw material/mineral suppliers, and their testing laboratory were informed of the situation. Construction that involved floor tile installation was immediately stopped. All parties gathered to discuss the laboratory findings, to have the efficacy of the analytical methods demonstrated, and to discuss the strategy outlined.

Definition Dilemma:

The stakeholders that gathered shared only one thing in common – a few newly manufactured floor tile samples were causing problems with their plans. The parties also shared a common theme we have observed over the last
28 years – there are various definitions of asbestos. Seen graphically below, these similar yet disparate definitions of asbestos do not clarify — they cloud the efforts of all involved to be ‘on the same page.’ This is used for better or worse in asbestos litigation. Rigorous Results:

It was agreed upon that the factors outlined above were “in play” and that our abundant and robust analyses, based upon strict analytical protocols, were, in fact, correct. Dr. Chatfield’s results were presented (see graphic summation of one such sample below) and accepted by all parties. These, too, concluded that the floor tiles were under the 1% threshold for tremolite asbestos.

Asbestos ‘Everywhere,’ But Risk is Minimal, Administrators Say

As Harvard continues to renew the College’s undergraduate Houses, “several” of these decades-old buildings on campus contain asbestos, a potentially carcinogenic chemical that was once regularly used for construction.

Presence of asbestos in the Houses, though, is not a concern to administrators, who say that it is unlikely the chemical will pose any sort of health risks to students.

Last year, then-Winthrop resident Matthew W.G. Walker ’16 returned to his dorm room to find it covered in asbestos-laced dust that had fallen from the ceiling of his room. Though the discovery of asbestos kicked off a flurry of discussion about asbestos at Winthrop, many of Harvard’s older buildings contain asbestos, according to administrators.

Zachary M. Gingo, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ Senior Director of Facilities Operations said asbestos can not only be found in the Houses but also in office buildings and some older libraries. Gingo said that asbestos does not pose health risks unless it is made “friable,” or ground into a fine powder.

While Gingo did not explicitly name the Houses which have asbestos, Adams House, Eliot House, Kirkland House, Lowell House, parts of Pforzheimer House, and parts of Cabot House were all built before 1970 and have not had major renovations since.

Though the asbestos may be widespread, Gingo said Harvard ensures it does not become friable.

“Harvard takes every precaution to ensure that that does not happen on campus, employing specific maintenance protocols to avoid the damage or disturbance of potentially asbestos-containing materials,” he wrote in an emailed statement.

Gingo added that House building managers are aware which parts of their house might contain asbestos, and hire “third-party experts” to remove the asbestos before any work is done on those areas.

“There’s asbestos hidden away in all older buildings, but whenever found during work, the official team comes in and takes it out safely,” said Sean Palfrey, a Faculty Dean of Adams House. “This is a fact of life, and as long as everyone is aware it could be there, the response is well-established.”

Gingo said asbestos removal does not only occur only during major building renovations— Eliot House is set to be examined this summer, according to Gingo. This examination is part of an ongoing process that was started in the 1980s.

Article Source: http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2017/4/11/asbestos-in-several-houses/