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Mesothelioma Study in Iron Range, MN

In Iron Range, Minnesota, 58 residents have died from mesothelioma. Until recently, there has been some controversy over how the state has handled these deaths. The state requested a $4.9 million study to be conducted by the University of Minnesota.

The study will look for a relationship between exposure to taconite dust and the development of mesothelioma. The study will examine 1,200 former taconite workers and 800 spouses of those workers. According to researchers, the large numbers are critical to answering questions about taconite and mesothelioma.

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Winning Bid in Asbestos Abatement Challenged

In Rochester, New York, an asbestos abatement project will take place in the Midtown Plaza building. The current contractor on the project is Cambria Contracting Inc. However, LVI Environmental Services has filed a suit that says Cambria does not meet the qualifications of the job.

The bid for the project stated that the winning contractor must have removed at least 800,000 square feet of asbestos materials each year for the last five years. Without meeting this requirement, it may be more difficult for the contractors to be able to handle the 5 million square feet of asbestos material over 14 months as the project requires.

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Supreme Court Upholds $500M Settlement

An insurance company for a large asbestos mining and manufacturing company had asbestos exposure claims brought against them in 2003 and 2004. As a result of those claims the company came to an agreement with a bankruptcy judge in 2006.

The agreement said that the insurance company, Travelers Companies Inc, would pay a $500 million settlement provided that future claims against them be barred. That decision was repealed last year by an appeals court. However, the Supreme Court upheld the original decision in a 7-2 decision on Thursday.

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Former Sailor's Family Wins Mesothelioma Suit

The family of a retired sailor has won a mesothelioma law suit against a company that provided asbestos materials to the US Navy without informing sailors. John Crane Inc is responsible for $1.2 million in damages to the family.

The original law suit was brought against five companies. A New Port News, Virginia jury awarded the family $4 million in damages before finding out that four of the companies settled with the family out of court.

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EPA Declares Emergency in Libby, MT

The small town of Libby, Montana has been the site of massive asbestos exposure over the years. Since 2002, it has been a Superfund priority based on the 1980 Superfund law concerning sites that are contaminated with hazardous materials. On Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency declared a public health emergency at the site.

The area lies adjacent to a vermiculite mine that was operated from 1963 to 1990. Before the US Clean Air Act took effect in 1990, the mine spread asbestos through the town and the surrounding region, affecting workers and their families. The spread of the asbestos has caused over 200 deaths and even more asbestos related illnesses over the years.

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Developing Mesothelioma Treatment

Mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose and just as hard to treat. Because of this, prognosis is often poor. Most patients do not live beyond a year of being diagnosed.  This has led researchers to attempt to find better treatments that will improve prognosis. One recent development has had some promising results.

Chemotherapy has been used for some time in the treatment of mesothelioma. More recently, immunotherapy has been introduced. Research has indicated that a mixture of the two treatments might improve prognosis. The two treatments would work together to improve the immune system and fight cancer cells. However it is imperative that the right drugs are used for optimal results.

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Asbestos Still Not Banned in US

Asbestos has not been entirely banned in the US. In the 1970s, a partial ban took effect to keep the general public safer. However, the substance can still be used in select industries. This allows people in those industries to continue to be exposed to the dangerous substance.

In addition, asbestos has not been entirely removed. Many older buildings still contain asbestos under the condition that it stays intact and does not pose a health risk to the public. Unfortunately, this allows for inadvertant asbestos exposure in some cases.

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Patients Have Improved Survival Rate in Clinical Trial

Patients with inoperable malignant mesothelioma participated in a phase 3 clinical trial of combination drug therapy in Germany. The clinical trial studied the effects of taking Ranirnase along with Doxyrubicin instead of taking only the latter. The patients were given either the pair of drugs or Doxyrubicin and placebo.

The study showed that patients who took both drugs had a median survival rate of 11.1 months as opposed to the placebo group who had a survival rate of 10.7 months. In patients who had had other forms of chemotherapy previously, the combination group had a median survival rate of 10.5 months versus the 9 months of the placebo group.

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Canada's Asbestos

Canada has one of the highest rates of mesothelioma occurrence in the world. This is because of the huge amounts of asbestos that was mined in the country before it was found to be dangerous. The substance was used in everything from buildings to clothes to coffee pots.

Even today, Canada mines and exports asbestos to developing countries like India. The only county that exports more asbestos than Canada is Russia. Because of this, Canada is still facing terrible mesothelioma issues and will be for years to come.

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Man Wins Bet Against Prognosis

A UK man has won two parts of a three part bet against mesothelioma. In 2006, the man was diagnosed with mesothelioma and was given only a few months to live. Afterward, he went to a bookie to place a bet, saying he would outlive his prognosis.

He placed a three part bet that he would live through June 1 of 2007, 2009 and 2010. So far, he has won the first two portions of the bet, paying 5,000 pounds and 10,000 pounds. The next payout will be 15,000 pounds if he survives another year.

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