Senate nears deal to ban asbestos: positive step in fight against mesothelioma

June 13, 2007

By David Whitney
McClatchy Newspapers
June 12, 2007

WASHINGTON – A deal is near on legislation that would ban the use of asbestos, a fibrous mineral that’s often used in brake linings, gaskets, cement products and even yarns and threads imported into the country despite its deadly health risks.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., a leading advocate of the ban, and Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said Tuesday that they were within a week or two of wrapping up a compromise that also would authorize $50 million in research to combat the health effects that have killed as many as 231,000 people since 1980 and could claim at least that many more by 2040.

Some of the research money also could go toward identifying the risks of inhaling naturally occurring asbestos, which can be found in underground seams that are more common in the vicinity of earthquake fault lines. Construction equipment and travel on unpaved roads can send the mineral into the air.

© 2007 McClatchy Washington BureauThis posting and additional information about asebstos and mesothelioma are available on, the web site of The Law Office of Roger G. Worthington, P.C.


Baryulgil mesothelioma deaths prove chrysotile toxicity

June 5, 2007

Despite claims by the asbestos industry that chrysotile asbestos is a benign, non-carcinogenic mineral, recent reports of mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases in Bayulgil, Australia, conclusively show that exposure to chrysotile is linked to mesothelioma, asbestos, and other illnesses. The Bayulgil operation, run by a subsidiary of James Hardie, mined white chrysotile. Residents are now suffering from extraordinary levels of mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases. The catastrophe rivals the massive public health disaster caused by W.R. Grace in Libby, Montana. The Australian reported the details.

OMB Watch piles on against chrysotile apologist Paustenbach

June 4, 2007

EPA Asbestos Panel Should Stay Insulated from Industry

EPA is considering appointing Dennis C. Paustenbach to the asbestos panel of its Science Advisory Board. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Paustenbach has made a career out of defending corporations in asbestos exposure suits.

Agency panels and committees, such as EPA’s Science Advisory Board, are important tools for regulatory decision-makers. Panels are supposed to consist of impartial experts who can provide valuable scientific and technical advice.

EPA created the asbestos panel to aid the agency in maintaining risk assessments and exposure standards consistent with the most up-to-date scientific data and technological feasibility. Unfortunately, it appears Paustenbach’s expertise is in downplaying the risks of asbestos exposure and advocating for less protective federal standards.

EWG has sent a letter to EPA further detailing their opinion as to why Paustenbach is a bad choice. To read the letter, click here.

Posted by Matt Madia

Potential gene marker for diagnosing mesothelioma from pleural effusions

June 4, 2007

Many cancers cause malignant effusions, or the leakage/collection of fluid in the pleural lining surrounding the lungs. Malignant pleural mesothelioma is one of these cancers, yet even after draining fluid from the lungs and analyzing it, it is often difficult or impossible to make a definitive diagnosis. The presence of malignant cells in effusions has implications in diagnosis, tumour staging, and prognosis. If the fluid can be used to diagnose mesothelioma, time and expense can be saved for the patient, as well as suffering from invasive procedures currently used to diagnose meso.

The detection of malignant cells currently presents a challenge for cytopathologists. New methods are needed. The available molecular markers are extremely limited, which hinders definitive diagnosis for mesothelioma from the fluid alone. MN/CA9 has proved to be a valuable marker in many cancers such as lung, breast, colon, and kidney. This study evaluated MN/CA9 as a new molecular marker for the detection of cancer cells in pleural effusions with the hope that cancers such as mesothelioma can be more easily diagnosed.

Seventy-one pleural effusions including 59 malignant effusions from patients with cancer, and 12 patients with benign diseases as a control, were subjected to RT-PCR for detection of MN/CA9 gene expression. MN/CA9 gene expression was detected in 53/59 (89.8%) pleural effusions from cancer patients (15/16 for breast cancers, 10/11 for lung cancers, 4/4 for ovary cancers, 2/3 for colon-rectal cancers, 5/6 for cancers of unknown site, 7/8 for mesothelioma and 10/11 for other cancers). Furthermore, MN/CA9 was positive in 13/18 (72.2%) of cytologically negative effusions of cancer patients.

For mesothelioma patients, the detection of MN/CA9 gene expression in seven out of eight cases is promising because this gene marker may be a key to identifying the presence of mesothelioma in the pleural fluid.

MN/CA9 was detected in only 1/12 (8.3%) effusions from the control patients (p < 0.01). The sensitivity and specificity of MN/CA9 gene expression were, respectively, 89.8% and 91.7%. The preliminary results of this study suggest that MN/CA9 could be a potential marker for the detection of malignant cells in effusions. The authors of the study suggest a large-scale study in order to confirm these results.

From: Biomarkers. 2007 Mar-Apr;12(2):214-20., MN/CA9: a potential gene marker for detection of malignant cells in effusions. Li G, Passebosc-Faure K, Feng G, Lambert C, Cottier M, Gentil-Perret A, Fournel P, Pérol M, Genin C., Laboratory of Clinical Immunology, North Hospital, CHU of Saint-Etienne, France.