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April 2014 Archives

Asbestosis 101: What is it and what causes it?

Many people who have heard of asbestos are likely aware that it is dangerous and can cause serious health problems for the people exposed to it. Most commonly, people are more familiar with lung cancer and mesothelioma. While it is important to know about these types of cancer, there is also another serious illness that can also be caused by asbestos.

Shifting blame, avoiding responsibility for asbestos violations

There are many employers and property owners who will do whatever they can to cut their costs. They may work with substandard materials or fail to take appropriate action to improve working or living conditions to keep people safe. Often, these parties are making these decisions because of the short-term benefits they can get; however, the long-term consequences of these choices can be devastating.

How much is too much when it comes to asbestos exposure?

While it has long been known that exposure to asbestos can be deadly, no one has been able to confirm the exact level at which exposure becomes harmful. Should it be measured in duration of exposure or concentration? Is it more dangerous to be around small amounts of asbestos for long periods of time, or could breathing in a high number of particles in a short amount of time be more hazardous? 

Asbestos-containing products found in courthouse

North Carolina residents may be interested to learn that the renovation of the 156-year-old Davidson County Courthouse in Lexington, North Carolina, once again emphasizes the continuing hazard posed by the presence of asbestos-containing products in older buildings. The hazard is especially acute in states such as North Carolina, where many abandoned or obsolete industrial buildings are being examined for possible renovation and re-use.

Prisoners used to clean up asbestos

Making the decision to put people in a position of being exposed to asbestos could be a life or death choice. Unfortunately, too many people make this decision lightly and without truly understanding that they may be putting people's lives in danger. They may think that because it takes so long for asbestos-related illnesses to develop, they will never have to take responsibility for their actions.

Demolition company violated Clean Air Act, put workers in danger

Employees of a demolition company may be understandably concerned about their health after it was confirmed that they were put in serious danger on the job. Reports indicate that they were exposed to asbestos after their employer sent them to a jobsite without adequate protection or warnings about the toxic material.

GM engineer lied about defective switch in deposition testimony

A Congressional committee investigating General Motors' recall of 2.6 million cars released documents showing that a GM engineer apparently lied under oath when he testified that he was unaware of design changes in an allegedly defective ignition switch. The committee released the documents on April 11.

Well-known actor passes away from mesothelioma

When we go to see movies, many of us appreciate a good action film that has us on the edge of our seats. However, if we knew that the actors in movies or on TV were repeatedly put in danger of getting seriously injured or sick, we might not be so eager to buy a ticket.

More tenants express concern over asbestos removal

In recent posts, we have discussed tenants of rental properties who have been affected by asbestos in their buildings. Sadly, these cases continue to come up because too many property owners continue to fall short when it comes to their responsibility to deal with asbestos safely.

National Asbestos Awareness Week fills first week in April

In January 2014, the US Senate passed a resolution establishing the first week in April as "National Asbestos Awareness Week." The week was established at the urging of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) to disseminate information about the mining of asbestos, the manufacturing of asbestos-containing products, and the diagnosis and treatment of diseases caused by exposure to asbestos. The important facts about asbestos are generally known to many people in North Carolina, but National Asbestos Awareness Week provided some important memory refreshers.

When fines are not enough to dissuade negligent employers

Workers across North Carolina may be a little familiar with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. People may know that it is an agency involved in improving workplace safety by setting safety guidlines and issuing fines, but what people may not realize is that some employers do not take the threat of OSHA violations as seriously as they should.

GM recalls highlight threat posed by automobile defects

General Motors has issued recall notices for several models of cars, trucks, and SUVs, once again demonstrating the hazards caused by products that are placed on the market with either a design or manufacturing defect. In North Carolina, the manufacturer of a defective vehicle can be held liable for all injuries and resulting damages caused by such a defect. These are called "product liability" claims.

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