- Monsanto, PCBs, and the creation of a "world-wide ecological problem". [Journal Article]
- JPJ Public Health Policy 2018 Nov 07
- For the past three decades, we have written on the history of occupational and environmental health, authoring books and articles on lead poisoning, silicosis, asbestosis, and angiosarcoma of the liv...
For the past three decades, we have written on the history of occupational and environmental health, authoring books and articles on lead poisoning, silicosis, asbestosis, and angiosarcoma of the liver, among other diseases. One book, Deceit and Denial, focused specifically on the chemical and lead industries. Because of the rarity of historians who study this history, we have been asked to testify on behalf of workers who allege harm from these industrial materials and by state, county, and local governments who seek redress for environmental damages and funds to prevent future harm to children. In about 2010, we began testifying in law suits brought by individuals who claimed that they had suffered from cancers, specifically non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, because of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in their bodies. At that time, we wrote a Report to the Court about industry knowledge of the dangers of PCBs to workers and the environment. More recently, we have been approached by attorneys representing government agencies on the West Coast of the United States which are seeking funds to abate PCB pollution in their ports, bays, and waterways. The focus of these lawsuits is the Monsanto Corporation, the sole producer of PCBs in the United States from the 1930s through 1977. Through these law suits, an enormous trove of previously private Monsanto reports, papers, memos, letters, and studies have been made available to us and this paper is the result of our examination of these hundreds of thousands of pages. The documents from this collection (with the exception of privileged materials that Monsanto has not made public, and upon which we have not relied) are available on www.ToxicDocs.org , the website we have developed with Professor Merlin Chowkwanyun of Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health. (Almost all of the references that are from this collection can be accessed by readers by clicking on the reference hyperlink.) This monograph is adapted from a report to the court that was originally produced for litigation on behalf of plaintiffs in PCB lawsuits. We are grateful to the Journal of Public Health Policy for publishing this detailed examination of these documents and we hope it will stimulate further research into this important, and now public, archive of industry records.
- Asbestos Trust Transparency. [Journal Article]
- FLFordham Law Rev 2018; 87(1):107-24
- Occupational Burden of Asbestos-Related Diseases in Korea, 1998-2013: Asbestosis, Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer, Laryngeal Cancer, and Ovarian Cancer. [Journal Article]
- JKJ Korean Med Sci 2018 Aug 27; 33(35):e226
- CONCLUSIONS: Therefore, efforts to reduce future OBDs of ARDs, including early detection and proper management of ARDs, are needed in Korea.
- Measuring EMPs in the lung what can be measured in the lung: Asbestiform minerals and cleavage fragments. [Journal Article]
- TAToxicol Appl Pharmacol 2018 Jun 27
- Asbestos mineral fibers have been associated with the development of a variety of diseases in humans and experimental animals, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Asbestos includes s...
Asbestos mineral fibers have been associated with the development of a variety of diseases in humans and experimental animals, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Asbestos includes several mineral types divided into two mineral groups, serpentine and amphibole forms. Chrysotile is the serpentine mineral classified as asbestos, whereas the amphiboles include amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, actinolite and anthophyllite. There are a number of mineral fibers that occur with asbestiform morphology and that have been associated with various asbestos-induced diseases. These include the Libby amphiboles (associated with a vermiculite mine northwest of Libby, MT), erionite (in Turkey and North America), fluoro-edenite (in Sicily), and perhaps balangeroite (in Italy). In addition, each of the asbestos minerals occurs in a non-fibrous form, and these may occur as cleavage fragments that satisfy the definition for a fiber, i.e., particles with an aspect ratio of at least 3:1 and roughly parallel sides. Cleavage fragments of non-asbestiform minerals have not been associated with asbestos-induced diseases nor are these minerals regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Finally, there are a number of other mineral species which can occur in human lung samples that satisfy the definition for a fiber as given above. These similarly have not been associated with asbestos-induced diseases. All of these various minerals satisfying the definition for a fiber can be referred to as elongated mineral particles (EMP). It is the purpose of this presentation to discuss the role of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) equipped with an energy dispersive x-ray analyzer (EDXA) in the detection and classification of EMP in human lung samples.
- WHO/ILO work-related burden of disease and injury: Protocol for systematic reviews of occupational exposure to dusts and/or fibres and of the effect of occupational exposure to dusts and/or fibres on pneumoconiosis. [Review]
- EIEnviron Int 2018; 119:174-185
- The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) are developing a joint methodology for estimating the national and global work-related burden of disease and injury...
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) are developing a joint methodology for estimating the national and global work-related burden of disease and injury (WHO/ILO joint methodology), with contributions from a large network of experts. In this paper, we present the protocol for two systematic reviews of parameters for estimating the number of deaths and disability-adjusted life years attributable to pneumoconiosis from occupational exposure to dusts and/or fibres, to inform the development of the WHO/ILO joint methodology.
- [Asbestosis and pleural plaques]. [Journal Article]
- ULUgeskr Laeger 2018 Jun 18; 180(25)
- Asbestos was used in numerous products until its total ban in Denmark in 1988. The prevalence of asbestosis and pleural plaques does not yet appear to be falling. Unfortunately the statistics are unr...
Asbestos was used in numerous products until its total ban in Denmark in 1988. The prevalence of asbestosis and pleural plaques does not yet appear to be falling. Unfortunately the statistics are unreliable due to errors in the Danish translation of the ICD-10 codes of the disease. In this review, clinical and radiologic diagnostic criteria of asbestosis and pleural plaques and recommendations for follow-up of patients are described. Typical changes on a high-resolution CT scan combined with relevant asbestos exposure is essential for the diagnosis. Asbestosis and pleural plaques are both notifiable in Denmark.
- [Work-up of asbestosis and estimation of asbestos exposure in an occupational context]. [Journal Article]
- ULUgeskr Laeger 2018 May 28; 180(22)
- Asbestosis is interstitial lung fibrosis due to inhalation of asbestos fibres. Up to the ban of import in 1986, 0.7 mil tons had been used in Denmark. The diagnosis of asbestosis is a challenge becau...
Asbestosis is interstitial lung fibrosis due to inhalation of asbestos fibres. Up to the ban of import in 1986, 0.7 mil tons had been used in Denmark. The diagnosis of asbestosis is a challenge because of long latency time and very few national occupational asbestos measurements. The cornerstone of exposure assessment is a thorough occupational history, investigation of asbestos content in products used, search for possible and relevant measurements of asbestos fibres in the air, and results of lung biopsies, if present. Although no definite lower limit of exposure can be defined, a cumulated exposure of > 10 fibre-years is a relevant measure for exposure defining the disease, as one fibre-year equals one asbestos fibre/cm3 air/occupational year.
- [Health impact of asbestos fibres naturally occurring in Mount Pollino area (Basilicata Region, Southern Italy)]. [Journal Article]
- EPEpidemiol Prev 2018 Mar-Apr; 42(2):142-150
- CONCLUSIONS: it is necessary to continue environmental monitoring and environmental remediation in the area with higher asbestos exposure. It is suggested to implement a permanent process of epidemiological surveillance in this same area. A communication plan with local administrators, general practitioners, school teachers, media, and the resident population at large should be realized.
- Global Asbestos Disaster. [Journal Article]
- IJInt J Environ Res Public Health 2018 05 16; 15(5)
- Introduction: Asbestos has been used for thousands of years but only at a large industrial scale for about 100⁻150 years. The first identified disease was asbestosis, a type of incurable pneumoconios...
Introduction: Asbestos has been used for thousands of years but only at a large industrial scale for about 100⁻150 years. The first identified disease was asbestosis, a type of incurable pneumoconiosis caused by asbestos dust and fibres. The latest estimate of global number of asbestosis deaths from the Global Burden of Disease estimate 2016 is 3495. Asbestos-caused cancer was identified in the late 1930's but despite today's overwhelming evidence of the strong carcinogenicity of all asbestos types, including chrysotile, it is still widely used globally. Various estimates have been made over time including those of World Health Organization and International Labour Organization: 107,000⁻112,000 deaths. Present estimates are much higher. Objective: This article summarizes the special edition of this Journal related to asbestos and key aspects of the past and present of the asbestos problem globally. The objective is to collect and provide the latest evidence of the magnitude of asbestos-related diseases and to provide the present best data for revitalizing the International Labor Organization/World Health Organization Joint Program on Asbestos-related Diseases. Methods: Documentation on asbestos-related diseases, their recognition, reporting, compensation and prevention efforts were examined, in particular from the regulatory and prevention point of view. Estimated global numbers of incidence and mortality of asbestos-related diseases were examined. Results: Asbestos causes an estimated 255,000 deaths (243,223⁻260,029) annually according to latest knowledge, of which work-related exposures are responsible for 233,000 deaths (222,322⁻242,802). In the European Union, United States of America and in other high income economies (World Health Organization regional classification) the direct costs for sickness, early retirement and death, including production losses, have been estimated to be very high; in the Western European countries and European Union, and equivalent of 0.70% of the Gross Domestic Product or 114 × 10⁸ United States Dollars. Intangible costs could be much higher. When applying the Value of Statistical Life of 4 million EUR per cancer death used by the European Commission, we arrived at 410 × 10⁸ United States Dollars loss related to occupational cancer and 340 × 10⁸ related to asbestos exposure at work, while the human suffering and loss of life is impossible to quantify. The numbers and costs are increasing practically in every country and region in the world. Asbestos has been banned in 55 countries but is used widely today; some 2,030,000 tons consumed annually according to the latest available consumption data. Every 20 tons of asbestos produced and consumed kills a person somewhere in the world. Buying 1 kg of asbestos powder, e.g., in Asia, costs 0.38 United States Dollars, and 20 tons would cost in such retail market 7600 United States Dollars. Conclusions: Present efforts to eliminate this man-made problem, in fact an epidemiological disaster, and preventing exposures leading to it are insufficient in most countries in the world. Applying programs and policies, such as those for the elimination of all kind of asbestos use-that is banning of new asbestos use and tight control and management of existing structures containing asbestos-need revision and resources. The International Labor Organization/World Health Organization Joint Program for the Elimination of Asbestos-Related Diseases needs to be revitalized. Exposure limits do not protect properly against cancer but for asbestos removal and equivalent exposure elimination work, we propose a limit value of 1000 fibres/m³.
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- Dosimetry of inhaled elongate mineral particles in the respiratory tract: The impact of shape factor. [Journal Article]
- TAToxicol Appl Pharmacol 2018 May 05
- Inhalation exposure to some types of fibers (e.g., asbestos) is well known to be associated with respiratory diseases and conditions such as pleural plaques, fibrosis, asbestosis, lung cancer, and me...
Inhalation exposure to some types of fibers (e.g., asbestos) is well known to be associated with respiratory diseases and conditions such as pleural plaques, fibrosis, asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. In recent years, attention has expanded to other types of elongate mineral particles (EMPs) that may share similar geometry with asbestos fibers but which may differ in mineralogy. Inhalability, dimensions and orientation, and density are major determinants of the aerodynamic behavior for fibers and other EMPs; and the resultant internal dose is recognized as being the critical link between exposure and pathogenesis. Insufficient data are available to fully understand the role of specific physicochemical properties on the potential toxicity across various types of fiber materials. While additional information is required to assess the potential health hazards of EMPs, dosimetry models are currently available to estimate the initially deposited internal dose, which is an essential step in linking airborne exposures to potential health risks. Based on dosimetry model simulations, the inhalability and internal dose of EMPs were found to be greater than that of spherical particles having the same mass or volume. However, the complexity of the dependence of internal dose on EMPs dimensions prevented a straightforward formulation of the deposition-dimension (length or diameter) relationship. Because health outcome is generally related to internal dose, consideration of the factors that influence internal dose is important in assessing the potential health hazards of airborne EMPs.