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New Orleans Asbestos Blog

New Orleans church cleared of lead and asbestos

Louisiana's environment has had a tough time in the last century. Hurricanes habitually wreck coastal communities, oil spills have laid waste to precious resources, and the chemical factories that lined the Mississippi River also filled its delta with dangerous substances.

One chemical that has taken a toll in the Bayou State is asbestos. Although it was used for many years by humans who admired its flame resistance at high heat, the discovery of the crystalline mineral's role in lung cancer and other respiratory ailments led to its decline and eventual removal from industrial markets.

Does new EPA rule close the asbestos gap?

After your years of employment at the Avondale shipyards or another industry where you faced exposure to asbestos, you may be like many who are suffering from mesothelioma, lung cancer or another asbestos-related illness. Researchers have widely accepted the link between asbestos and certain cancers, which is why it may seem strange to you that the U.S. has not banned asbestos altogether.

In fact, 30 years ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned the sale of certain asbestos products and the use of asbestos in any new products. However, a new EPA rule may be as concerning to you as it is to many others, especially those who continue to suffer due to their exposure to asbestos products.

New therapy increases life expectancy after mesothelioma

It comes as a relief to doctors, scientists and workers of many kinds that asbestos is off the market. The natural crystalline fiber was prized for centuries as protection against fire, but the material has been correlated to mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer in the lining around thoracic organs, for the last few decades.

There are few options for patients with advanced mesothelioma. Surgical options exist for early stages of the disease, but it is increasingly difficult to remove the entire cancer as it grows and affects the organs. A recent study showed that aggressive radiation therapy directed at the torso has increased the life expectancy of patients.

Lung cancer concerns may raise Louisiana's smoking age

From the plains north of Baton Rouge to the Mississippi River Delta, the Bayou State holds outsized risks to the respiratory systems of its citizens. Louisiana's rates of lung cancer incidence are towards the top of U.S. state rankings. Many blame the chemical industry that once thrived on inland parts of the Mississippi River Valley and left a legacy of pollution still being managed.

Other sources of fumes that have been associated with increased chances of lung cancer include motor vehicle exhaust and smoking cigarettes. The rising popularity of vaporized nicotine oils has not come with a reduction in risks for cancer. This is one of the reasons for a new push to raise the legal smoking age in Louisiana to 21 years.

Talcum powder maker may have known more dangers than reported

Worries were growing about talcum powder long before the lawsuits started. Although some people still remember keeping babies dry with this powder, pediatricians started expressing concern about infants inhaling the white dust in the 1970s. Since then, up to 90% of talcum powder users have been adults.

However, recent lawsuits claim that talcum powder is no safer for adults than it was for children. Several are suing Johnson & Johnson (J&J), alleging a connection between intimate use of the substance and ovarian cancer. Part of the health problem is the possible presence of asbestos in many batches of the powder.

New Orleans demolition leaves residents worried about asbestos

Asbestos has probably been a serious health hazard for centuries, but scientists first drew attention to its risks in the last 100 years. The fibers of the crystalline material may cause cancer and other problems in the lungs and the lining of several major organs. Although it is no longer used in building and manufacturing, it is still discovered in older sites.

Residents of New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward are concerned that the site of a former elementary school is marked with an asbestos warning. The building was sold at auction in 2017 and later torn down. The street corner was recently wrapped with tape saying, "dangerous asbestos hazard." Crews in protective personal equipment were also seen clearing up the property.

Mesothelioma is hard to diagnose but possible to treat

Cancer is always a difficult diagnosis to hear, and it can be harder to live with. Residents of Louisiana are statistically more likely to develop certain types of cancer than much of the rest of the United States, which includes lung cancer, stomach cancer and mesothelioma.

Asbestos exposure is the main identified cause of mesothelioma, a cancer that affects the lining of several thoracic organs. Fortunately, the threat of asbestos has been reduced significantly through abatement and removal in most construction and industrial settings. But lingering effects are still discovered in people with symptoms that may be confused with other health problems.

Auto shop workers continue to risk asbestos exposure

When compared to the prevalence of its use just a few decades ago, the use of asbestos has dropped dramatically. However, most people here in Louisiana and elsewhere are under the impression that it is not used at all, and exposure only arises in the demolition, remodel or destruction of older buildings.

Sadly, that is not the case. Workers in some industries continue to risk exposure while at work, and so do their families by extension. For instance, if you work in a commercial auto shop, you remain at risk.

What is chloroprene, and why is it dangerous?

Asbestos and other suspected carcinogens have caused a lot of illness and uproar in the Bayou State. Pollution levels and uses of construction materials that can harm the lungs, heart and skin have been the subject of Louisiana lawsuits for more than five decades. One specific chemical is getting a lot of mentions in Baton Rouge and courts all over the state.

What is chloroprene?

Why are people worried about talcum powder?

Talcum powder has been a trusted part of the cleanliness routine in American bathrooms for decades. But recent lawsuits, including several concluded ones, are casting doubt on the safety of this mainstay in millions of households. While the legal battle rages, most people are simply curious about whether to keep using talcum powder.

Why are people concerned about talcum powder?