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Major Consumer Chains Sell Asbestos-tainted Toys

Major Consumer Chains Sell Asbestos-tainted Toys

Copyright (c) 2008 Katie Kelley

During the holiday shopping season of 2007, an asbestos watchdog group known as the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization uncovered a children’s toy containing elements of asbestos, which is a cancer-causing fiber.

While production of the toy has ceased, an article from The New York Times in April 2008 elaborated on the near forgotten incident. Currently, litigation has been developed in the Los Angeles Superior Court between ADAO and CBS Corporation, Planet Toys Inc. (manufacturers of the CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit) and several retailers for their involvement in the sale of the asbestos-tainted toy. Families affected by the contaminated toy should also consider developing litigation for the exposure of “substantial quantities of tremolite asbestos.”

The ADAO has also continued its testing of other products and found several containing asbestos, including additional children’s toys.

ADAO is an organization that utilizes volunteers, several of whom have either been affected directly by asbestos-related illnesses or have watched friends and family suffer from the diseases, including mesothelioma. The organization funds research that may affect public health, and the group acts as a watchdog for asbestos-tainted products or violations of asbestos policies, which have been set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is considered a human carcinogen by the federal Department of Health and Human Services and is a “naturally occurring, fibrous silicate mineral,” according to the EPA. Asbestos becomes deadly when microscopic fiber bundles bind and become airborne.

When inhaled, the results can be deadly and severely damage an individual’s body through the development of mesothelioma cancer. In addition to mesothelioma, asbestos can cause lung cancer or asbestosis, in which fibrous tissue scars the lungs.

Asbestos that was mined was used in an array of industries, according to the EPA:

* thermal/acoustic insulator used for fire proofing

* roofing and siding shingles made with asbestos cement

* textured paint and patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints

* artificial ashes and embers for gas-fired fireplaces

* stove-top pads

* vinyl floor tiles, flooring and adhesives

* asbestos blanket or tape for hot water and steam pipes

* oil and coal furnaces

Asbestos-Affected Children’s Toys

Tracing asbestos can be a difficult process because it is often overlooked, especially since it is not a common ingredient in manufacturing products anymore, although, it was at one time. The ADAO has been testing thousands of products for the contamination of asbestos in toys as well as regular products. Currently, they have determined several toys to have had trace amounts of asbestos including:

* CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit

* Ja-Ru Toy Clay (found among three varieties of the product)

* Art Skills’ Clay Bucket (asbestos found in six colors of clay)

Additionally, there are several other products the ADAO found with asbestos traces that are not directly related to children’s toys, but could still affect a child’s health. One of the major concerns is use of talc baby powder on babies, which could contain small amounts of asbestos. Other products that have been found with asbestos contamination, according to the ADAO, include:

* Scotch High Performance and All Weather Duct tapes

* DAP Crack Shot Spackling Paste

* DAP 33 Window Glazing

* Gardner Leak Stopper

The organization also found that hair rollers, hot plates, powdered cleansers and small appliances were at risk for adversely affecting public health with asbestos fibers. The organization noted that these products are all being sold at national retail chains including:

* Wal-Mart

* Costco

* Toys “R” Us

* Home Depot

* Lowe’s

* Macy’s

* Bed Bath & Beyond


Consumer Affairs, a Web-based consumer news and resource center, issued the following tips to assist parents, relatives and friends with purchasing toys for children, in order to better protect children from asbestos exposure. The list includes the following:

* Be a vigilant shopper and read all warnings that may include a toy breaking, containing small parts or fire and choking hazards.

* Read product reviews that are both done by independent panels and consumers.

* Research information on the most recent product recalls.

* Inspect toys; any toys that are broken should be thrown away.

* Research how, where and when a product was created.

What to do if Your Child is Exposed to Asbestos

If a child is exposed or even may have potentially been exposed to asbestos containing tremolite, it is imperative that medical assistance is sought immediately. Because of the nature of asbestos-induced conditions, if a child is exposed to asbestos and goes untreated as if everything were fine, they could develop mesothelioma cancer years later, which is why immediate medical care is advisable.

Because asbestos exposure among children is considered extremely avoidable, developing a lawsuit for damages incurred may be a necessary step. Victims should located an experienced mesothelioma attorney to learn more about developing a mesothelioma lawsuit.

Major Mesothelioma Lawsuit Decided by U.S. Supreme Court

Major Mesothelioma Lawsuit Decided by U.S. Supreme Court

With mesothelioma lawsuits, as with all areas of law, persistence is key – on both sides. Case in point: Travelers Insurance Company, the primary insurer for Johns-Manville Corporation from 1947 – 1976.    

Once the largest miner and manufacturer of asbestos and asbestos products, Johns Manville Corp. filed for bankruptcy in the 1980s, after the dangers of asbestos were exposed to the public. In the process, a trust fund was created for future victims of its asbestos products and Travelers Insurance contributed million at that time. Later, in 2003 and 2004 through pressure in the courts, Travelers agreed to 0 million in settlements with several groups of plaintiffs, with the stipulation that future asbestos lawsuits would be barred. The settlement was approved in 2006.  

But last year, this settlement was overturned by a U.S. Court of Appeals on the ground that the judge who approved the settlement lacked authority to bar new lawsuits. In June of 2009, the U.S.  Supreme Court reversed this decision in a 7 – 2 vote, bringing the status of the case back to the 2006 settlement. Writing for the majority, Justice David Souter said the judge’s orders barred state civil actions against Travelers based on allegations of its own wrongdoing while acting as Johns-Manville’s insurer, due to the finality of the 1986 orders that established the bankruptcy trust fund.

In this series of lawsuits persistence was key for both the plaintiffs and the defendants. The mesothelioma settlement for several groups of plaintiffs went from to 0 million – a substantial victory! At the same time the persistence from the defendants led to the barring of future litigation. Agreeing to half a billion dollars in a settlement to secure no future lawsuits was considered “worth it.”

As with any area of law, precedence is key and the precedent set by this series of litigations gives hope to victims filing their own mesothelioma lawsuit. However, it also demonstrates that once a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma, legal action must be taken quickly, since sometimes, as in this case, the court grants that further suits against the same company will be barred.  

Until a case is settled by the supreme court, it can be overturned in a court of appeals, just as this case was. Your own mesothelioma settlement will take persistence from you and an experienced attorney.

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4 Major Factors to Consider When You Want to Participate in a Mesothelioma Clinical Trial

4 Major Factors to Consider When You Want to Participate in a Mesothelioma Clinical Trial

Clinical trials for new mesothelioma treatments give hope for the discovery of a possible cure for the deadly cancer. Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of asbestos related cancer with a very high mortality rate, most victims die within 1-2 years after the diagnosis. The patients currently involved in mesothelioma clinical trials will hopefully lead to the discovery of better and more efficient ways of treating the disease. Consulting with a physician about various available clinical trials should be considered at the initial diagnosis.

A clinical trial is a process that new treatment options and medications pass through before they are approved for use by the general population. Many patients with terminal diseases are advised to participate in clinical trials as a last hope for a cure. Many drugs and therapies that become the standard therapy of care for many diseases have gone through an extensive period of testing with clinical trials before they were approved for general use.

Factors to Consider Before Taking Part in a Clinical Trial There are a variety of factors to take into consideration when considering participation in a clinical trial.

1- The distance to the trial center and the financial implications of taking part in the clinical trial

Clinical trials most times take place in large metropolitan hospitals located in the major cities, some of the patients however live in smaller towns far from these major cities. It is important to know how often participants will need to see the physicians coordinating the trials and how long each visit will take, and how much the hotel and travel expenses will likely cost.

2- Selection criteria for the trial

Not everyone qualifies for a clinical trial ,the criteria for selection for a particular drug trial varies. Some clinical trials will want patients that have tried using some other medication which did not work, while other clinical trials require that the participating patients have not started any treatment for their disease.

3- The risk factor

Another factor when considering a clinical trial is the loss of control over medical treatment. In some clinical trials, referred to as randomized studies, patients receive the traditional treatment while others receive the experimental treatment. The patient does not choose which treatment they receive, nor do they likely know what treatment is being administered. There is no guarantee that a participant will receive the experimental treatment. There is always a risk involved in using experimental drugs and treatments, they might have unknown side effects that will only show up when they are used by human beings.

4- General state of health of the patient

A patient’s general health is also a major consideration when preparing to participate in a clinical trial. Patients with other pre-existing medical disease will not be allowed to participate in most clinical trials as well as patients on other major medications. The presence of other medical diseases might affect the accuracy and reliability of the results of the clinical trials. Some of those other major medications might also interact negatively with the actions of the drugs that are on trial.

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