A July 3, 2015 article in The Northern Echo in the UK brings news of another suit against Cape entities. Mr. Stephenson, the plaintiff, has gone three rounds with cancer:  “Colin Stephenson, 66, had his voicebox removed due to cancer in 2009, lost part of his lung to the disease six months later and is now fighting lung cancer a second time.Ex-employee sues asbestos firm for cancer pain.”  Cape entities remain in play for multiple reasons, including the Adams v. Cape ruling in 2012. Views on that ruling are here from the defense side, and here from the plaintiff side. 

The article about Mr. Stephenson states the following:

” 6:07am Friday 3rd July 2015

By Mark Tallentire

A FORMER asbestos worker who is fighting cancer for a third time is suing his old employer for his “five years of pain and suffering”.

Colin Stephenson, 66, had his voicebox removed due to cancer in 2009, lost part of his lung to the disease six months later and is now fighting lung cancer a second time.

He is seeking compensation from Cape Insulation, better known as Cape Asbestos, which employed hundreds of people in Bowburn, County Durham and where Mr Stephenson worked from 1967 to 1991.
Loading article content

The grandfather-of-two, from Ferryhill, said: “I have suffered five years of pain and suffering and have undergone a variety of procedures and treatments, I believe, as a result of inhaling asbestos dust and fibres over the years I worked closely with the material.

“I hope that my legal team at Irwin Mitchell will be able to get justice for me and provide the answers I need about why more was not done to protect me, and my colleagues, from the risks associated with asbestos.”

In 2013, The Northern Echo reported how cancer sufferer Caroline Wilcock, who grew up in Bowburn, had become the first person to successfully sue Cape’s successors for damages without having worked in the factory.

She recalled happily playing snowball fights with friends as a child – blissfully unaware the “snow” they were throwing at each other was deadly asbestos dust.

Mr Stephenson, who made asbestos sheeting and insulation, said the factory floor was extremely dusty and dust and fibres were released into the air and covered his hands and overalls.

Roger Maddocks, from Irwin Mitchell, said: “Colin has suffered a significant amount of pain and a number of invasive procedures and understandably he wants to know the reasons behind the illness he has suffered.

“Sadly, many employers fail to act to protect their workers from the consequences of exposure to asbestos, despite knowing how dangerous it is, and we hope that by issuing court proceedings we can secure justice for Colin and get the answers he so desperately needs.”

Anyone with information on the conditions at Cape Asbestos is asked to call Katie Faulds on 0191-279-0142.

Cape did not respond to the Echo’s request for comment.”

Back

© Copyright 2001-2015 Newsquest Media Group

Europe continues to see a growing focus on asbestos topics, including both non-litigation and litigation-related topics. An example arises from the new European Asbestos Forum, an international asbestos conference that will be held on May 27th in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The location (I am told) “is a gorgeous hotel;  the beautiful 5-star NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky on Dam Square.”  Yvonne Waterman is the organisor; she is a smart Netherlands lawyer with extensive asbestos expertise and experience, generally towards the claimant’s side.  We met some years ago in London and she displayed a wealth of knowledge.

The conference also illustrates disease advocacy groups and other NGOs making increasing use of globe-spanning asocial media. For example, the conference has   a Facebook page, and a presence on Twitter: @EAFConference. The conference  web site explains the following and lays out the agenda. Note especially the following agenda items:

14.20 – 14.40 National diversity of compensation schemes, global economic relations and labour standards in supply chains, Christian Lahnstein LL.M. (Rachel Carson Center, Ludwig Maximilians Universität Munich)

“15.20 – 15.40 Asbestos related lung cancer – an underestimated causal link, Prof.Dr. Thomas Kraus (Institut für Arbeitsmedizin und Sozialmedizin Aachen)”

The conference includes a wide range of speakers and topics. Some in the defense camp in the US will discredit the entire conference because Dr. Lemen is a lead speaker.  That said, that view is rather limited. Multi-national entities need to recognize the reality that US defense camp views of regulation and litigation are not universally shared. Indeed, in Europe, not all view labour and employers as adverse, and there are a variety of compensation approaches around the world, as will be explained Mr. Christian Lahnstein (who is from the reinsurance world and is very knowledgeable).  It’s also worth noting that Europe  is the home for some cutting edge molecular research related to asbestos, cancer, genetics and epigenetics that is largely unknown in the US. (Sadly, almost all US defense interests continue to fail to invest in research regarding asbestos diseases even though those same interests are paying money to settle an enormous proportion of the annual mesotheliomas in the United States.)

The entire agenda is as follows:

“The aim of the Forum is to increase international networks and spread the best and newest asbestos knowledge at a high professional level, providing the best of global speakers and specialists. A delicious conference dinner will be served in the monumental Winter Garden of the venue.

08.45 – 09.15 Registration and light continental breakfast
09.15 – 09.25 Welcome, Yvonne Waterman (organiser, European Labour Forum)
Introduction of the Chairman, Hans van der Wart (Shield Group International)

Plenaire sessie / plenary session in the Grand Ballroom

09.25 – 09.50 Opening speech, Marcelis Boereboom (Director General of the Ministry for Social Affairs and Employment)
09.50 – 10.10 A message from Independent Asbestos Training Providers, Wayne Williams (IATP)
10.20 – 10.40 Improving asbestos labour conditions by sharing information, Mark Wit (Oesterbaai)
10.40 – 10.50 Break
10.50 – 11.10 What asbestos means to me, Eric Jonckheere (ABEVA)
11.10 – 12.00 Keynote speech. High-risk occupations: the need for prevention, Dr. Richard Lemen USPHS (ret.) Ph.D., M.S.P.H., retired US Assistant Surgeon General and Acting Director of US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

12.00 – 13.00 Luncheon in the Winter Garden

Photo exhibition, Tony Rich a.k.a. Asbestos Hunter / Asbestorama
Asbestos cabinet, Harry Vonk (Teamplayer)

A Asbestos & Labour

13.00 – 13.20 The Italian fight against Eternit, Nicola Pondrano (CGIL)
13.20 – 13.40 Asbestos and the installation sector: a fine line between H&S and environment, Arco Engelen (Dutch Social Partners)
13.40 – 14.00 The Dutch approach of asbestos victims: plenty of room to grow! Lydia Charlier LL.M., Beer Lawyers
14.20 – 14.40 National diversity of compensation schemes, global economic relations and labour standards in supply chains, Christian Lahnstein LL.M. (Rachel Carson Center, Ludwig Maximilians Universität Munich)
14.40 – 15.00 Break
15.00 – 15.20 Turkish asbestos awareness and regulation increasing, -beleid, Dilan Yesilyurt (Turkish Ministery for Labour and Social Security, Occupational Health and Safety Institute)
15.20 – 15.40 Asbestos in schools, Wayne Williams (DMW Safety)
15.40 – 16.00 Panel debate
16.00 – 16.15 Break and return to the Grand Ballroom

B Asbestos & Technological Developments

13.00 – 13.20 The asbestos incubator technique, Ruud Janssen (Dutch asbestos removal company Het Zuiden)
13.20 – 13.40 The use of technology to deliver competence, Nick Garland (Assure Risk Management)
13.40 – 14.00 Asbestos stripping in the USA, Tony Rich (DMW Safety)
14.20 – 14.40 English asbestos stripping innovations, Mark Winter (SMH Products)
14.40 – 15.00 Break
15.00 – 15.20 The importance of a real estate register, Ir. Joris Gribnau (Shield Group International)
15.20 – 15.40 Differences in European asbestos legislation and practice, Dr. Herm Zweerts (Arcadis)
15.40 – 16.00 Panel debate
16.00 – 16.15 Break and return to the Grand Ballroom

C Asbestos, European Policy & Raising Awareness

13.00 – 13.20 Asbestos Removal Companies: regulatory control in Spain, dr. Gonzalo Zufia (the Spanish Asbestos Removal Contractors Association ANEDES)
13.20 – 13.40 The importance of asbestos awareness, Barry Robson
13.40 – 14.00 Asbestos: distorted risk perception, Linda Reinstein (Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization)
14.20 – 14.40 Hopeful treatment of asbestos cancers, Prof. Nico van Zandwijk (Asbestos Diseases Research Institute)
14.40 – 15.00 Break
15.00 – 15.20 Asbestos Liability in the US: The never ending story, Daniël Maranger LL.M. (Munich Re)
15.20 – 15.40 Asbestos related lung cancer – an underestimated causal link, Prof.Dr. Thomas Kraus (Institut für Arbeitsmedizin und Sozialmedizin Aachen)
15.40 – 16.00 Panel debate
16.00 – 16.15 Break and return to the Grand Ballroom

Plenary session in the Grand Ballroom

16.15 – 16.25 Special Recognition Award
16.25 – 16.30 Concluding speech, Yvonne Waterman and Hans van der Wart (Shield Group International)

Convivial closing drinks for networking

Optionally: Conference Dinner”

A new abstract on pleural plaques and subsequent lung cancers. Longer term studies do matter. So do more CT scans.

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. First published online 10 Nov 2014 as DOI: 10.1164/rccm.201406-1074OC
Asbestos Exposure, Pleural Plaques and the Risk of Death from Lung Cancer
Jean-Claude Pairon , Pascal Andujar , Mickael Rinaldo , Jacques Ameille , Patrick Brochard , Soizick Chamming’s , Bénédicte Clin , Gilbert Ferretti , Antoine Gislard , François Laurent , Amandine Luc , Pascal Wild , and Christophe Paris
+ Author Information.
Corresponding Author: Jean-Claude Pairon, Email: jc.pairon@chicreteil.fr

Abstract
Rationale: Although asbestos is a well-known lung carcinogen, the association between pleural plaques and lung cancer remains controversial. Objective: The present study was designed to examine this association among asbestos-exposed workers. Methods and measurements: An 6-year follow-up was conducted to study lung cancer mortality in the 5,402 male subjects participating in an asbestos-related diseases screening program organized between October 2003 and December 2005 in four French regions. Chest computed tomography (CT) scan was performed in all subjects with randomized, independent, double reading of CT scans focusing on benign asbestos-related abnormalities. Survival regression based on the Cox model was used to model lung cancer mortality according to the presence of pleural plaques, with age as the main time variable adjusting for smoking and cumulative exposure index to asbestos. All statistical tests were two-sided. Main results: Thirty-six deaths from lung cancer were recorded. Lung cancer mortality was significantly associated with pleural plaques in the follow-up study in terms of both the unadjusted hazard ratio (HR) = 2.91 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.49 to 5.70 and the adjusted HR = 2.41 [95%CI = 1.21-4.85] after adjustment for smoking and cumulative exposure index to asbestos. Conclusions: The presence of pleural plaques may be an independent risk factor for lung cancer death in asbestos-exposed workers and could be used as an additional criterion in the definition of high-risk populations eligible for CT screening.
Read More: http://www.atsjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1164/rccm.201406-1074OC#.VGUA-1fF9Ia

iMig has posted videos of plenary sessions from Day 1 iMig 2014, and summaries of some other sessions. Best of Imig 2014 – Day 1 is online here, at iMig.

One of the summaries is from a presentation by Julian Peto, a world class PhD epidemiologist with a focus on asbestos topics, among others.  The summary of Dr. Peto’s presentation includes good news and not so good news for chrystotile defendants. The summary of Dr. Peto’s presentation states the following:

Worldwide Epidemiology of Mesothelioma – Dr. Julian Peto

The mesothelioma epidemic is approaching or past the peak in North America, Europe and Australasia, but is still a significant healthcare issue in many parts of the world. Deaths due to mesothelioma for men born in the 1940’s in Britain are expected to reach 1%. At present, there is significant controversy regarding the danger associated with chrysotile, and whether or not amphiboles that are still present in many older buildings in Europe still cause substantial environmental and occupational risks. Dr. Peto and colleagues addressed these issues by assessing worldwide mortality trends and asbestos lung burden in population- based case-control study including 136 mesotheliomas and 377 controls in the United Kingdom. These analyses prompted provided several key findings about mesothelioma risk and burden:

National mesothelioma rates reflect historic amphibole consumption, and show no correlation with chrysotile consumption and this suggests that the common assertion that continued mining or use of chrysotile will cause a major mesothelioma epidemic in countries such as Russia and China is mistaken. However, chrysotile is significantly associated with lung cancer.The relationship between age and rate of mesothelioma mortality is the same across the world.

The relationship between age and rate of mesothelioma mortality is the same across the world.
The majority of mesothelioma in women is due to occupational exposure, but the source(s) are not clear.
In Britain mesothelioma incidence is proportional to amphibole lung burden:
o National rates are proportional to average lung burdens in birth cohorts born between 1940 and 1965.
o Lung burdens are very low in those born since 1980, suggesting a large reduction in environmental as well as occupational exposure in Britain soon after asbestos use ceased.
o There is little continuing hazard in Britain from the asbestos materials that are still present in many older buildings.