Connecting the Dots

By Laurie Kazan-Alleexportprod-chartn

I am not one for graphs or bar charts but today I saw a diagram that really made sense. It plotted the levels of Canadian asbestos production from 1948 until 2002 alongside the incidence of asbestos-related deaths.[1] What was as clear as the nose on your face was the deadly impact that Canada’s asbestos industry has had on its citizens. Thirty years after asbestos production had peaked, asbestos-related mortality had reached an all-time high. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the cause and effect relationship between exposure to asbestos and disease. Wherever asbestos has been mined, processed or used, disease and death follows.

Mesothelioma mortality in Canada has been rising since the 1960s with 400+ deaths now being registered every year. Predictably mesothelioma hotspots include areas where asbestos exposure was rife including asbestos mining regions, shipyard towns and sites where asbestos was manufactured or processed. People in these locations have paid and will continue to pay with their lives for the profits of asbestos companies. In Ontario, the number of new mesothelioma diagnoses rose by 260% between 1982 (20) and 2002 (72). While the incidence of asbestosis seems to be in decline, there is no end in sight for Canada’s mesothelioma epidemic. Although Canadian epidemiologists believe that the incidence of this deadly cancer could decline after 2019, the presence of huge amounts of asbestos contained within the built and natural environment, leads one to question this optimistic forecast.

Commenting on this situation Mary Hesdorffer, the Director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, said:

“Despite the fact that Canadian asbestos production has now ceased, the long latency period of asbestos-related diseases means that we will, unfortunately, see many more cases of mesothelioma in the years to come. Each patient diagnosed has a family and friends, a community which will be devastated by this diagnosis. With all that is known about the effects asbestos has on human beings, it is beyond belief that neither Canada nor the U.S. has banned asbestos. Just what are they waiting for?”

Mary is right. The only way to bring the global asbestos catastrophe to an end is for the mining, sale and use of asbestos to be banned the world over. If not now, when?

FROM THE HEADLINES: 2012 Symposium Speaker Dr. Raja Flores on the Lasting Toll of 9-11

Dr. Raja Flores, chief of thoracic surgery at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and a featured speaker at our 2012 Symposium in Washington D.C., spoke to about the adverse health effects some of those first responders have faced. The article reports that Mount Sinai researchers have been following approximately 30,000 first responders, many of whom were breathing in dust containing 2,000 tons of asbestos on a daily basis as they cleaned up the site. The researchers found 30 percent had problems with asthma, 40 percent had sinus problems, and another 40 percent had gastro-esophageal reflux, which is a precursor to esophageal cancer.

You can also watch the accompanying video here.

If you want to hear more from Dr. Flores, make plans to join us at the 2012 Symposium on Thursday, July 12, (9:45 a.m. – 12:00 Noon) to participate in the panel “Demystifying Scientific Breakthroughs” panel. Along with Dr. Flores,  the latest in mesothelioma research will be presented by Stephen Hahn, MD, Raffit Hassan, MD, Robert Kratzke, MD, Harvey Pass, MD, Daniel Sterman, MD, David Sugarbaker, MD.

Click here to preview the 2012 Symposium agenda.

FROM THE HEADLINES: The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation Appears before the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations

Last week, on June 6, 2012, Mary Hesdorffer, MS, APRN, nurse practitioner and medical liaison for the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, appeared before the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations – Subcommittee on Defense, at their Fiscal Year 2013 Appropriations Outside Witness Testimony Hearing. Speaking with the voice of the Meso Foundation and its community, Mary made an appeal to the lawmakers for their attention concerning mesothelioma and its impact on those who served to defend the United States.

The Meso Foundation played a critical role in making peritoneal mesothelioma and pleural mesothelioma eligible topics within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. The first ever DoD award for mesothelioma occurred in 2008 when one investigator obtained over $1.3 million for research. A total of $7.7 million has been awarded to mesothelioma research through the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program and the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program, both divisions of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, which is administered by the Department of Defense since Fiscal Year 2008. Continue reading “FROM THE HEADLINES: The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation Appears before the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations” »