Asbestos in Gas Masks

We all know the benefits that a prop may bring to a teacher in a history lesson to aid students with the learning process as they get to physically see and feel the item themselves to get a better understanding of what the teacher is explaining. But when the subject is WWII this could be a potentially hazardous subject to both students and teachers, especially if the item of that period is a WWII Mask.

Why would a WWII Gas Mask be dangerous?

WWII gas masks are potentially dangerous as they can contain and release asbestos fibres. They can also be contaminated with harmful chemicals from previous use in gas drills. In addition some post war gas masks can release asbestos fibres and can be contaminated.

Tests have shown that asbestos fibres can be inhaled by wearing the masks. Asbestos fibres can also be released from handling the masks, filters or carrying bag.

So why use asbestos in gas masks?

After the widespread use of poison gas in the Great War it was expected that gas would also be a major factor in WWII so civilians as well as military personnel were provided with gas masks.

How many gas masks were produced and what types of asbestos were used?

It is difficult to put an exact number on how many of these asbestos containing gas masks were manufactured but to put it in perspective one company in Blackburn, Lancashire had a contract from the government in 1936 to make 70 million and production continued throughout the war.

There were two main types of asbestos used during the manufacture of these gas masks: Chrysotile (white asbestos) for civilian respirators and Crocidolite (blue asbestos) for those equipping the armed forces. The health risks associated with these masks only came to light post-war when factory workers making the masks started showing abnormally high numbers of deaths from cancer.

Why is asbestos dangerous?

The Health & Safety Executive website warns: “Breathing in air containing asbestos fibres can lead to asbestos-related diseases, mainly cancers of the lungs and chest lining. Asbestos is only a risk to health if asbestos fibres are released into the air and breathed in. Past exposure to asbestos currently kills around 4,000 people a year in Great Britain. This number is expected to go on rising at least until 2016.

There is no cure for asbestos-related diseases. There is usually a long delay between first exposure to asbestos and the onset of disease. This can vary from 15 to 60 years.”

What should a school or a collector do if they own one of these Asbestos containing Gas Masks?

The local authority should be contacted for advice on how to safely dispose of the masks, filters and the canvas bags. In 2004 the Imperial War Museum had issued the following guidance to their staff:

“Most British gas masks of WW2 vintage have asbestos (blue and/or white) as a component in their filters… Where unsure, it should be assumed that the filters do contain asbestos until proven otherwise. The filters may, in any case, contain other respiratory irritants. Thus no gas mask of WW2 vintage should ever be worn.


There is a further health and safety issue with gas masks that have been exposed to chemicals eg used in ‘live’ gas tests and drills. Such gas masks should not be handled and should not go on display. They should be sealed in polyethylene bags (at least two layers) or an airtight inert container. This should be carried out in a fume cupboard, whilst wearing latex or nitrile gloves and a lab coat. The gloves should be disposed of and the lab coat disposed of/laundered after use. The enclosures should be labelled to indicate that they contain materials that are potentially hazardous and should not be opened. Any further enclosures that they are placed into, eg boxes, should be appropriate labelled as described above.

Source by Jag S Sahajpal

Surety Bonds – What Contractors Need To Know


Surety Bonds have been around in one form or another for millennia. Some may view bonds as an unnecessary business expense that materially cuts into profits. Other firms view bonds as a passport of sorts that allows only qualified firms access to bid on projects they can complete. Construction firms seeking significant public or private projects understand the fundamental necessity of bonds. This article, provides insights to the some of the basics of suretyship, a deeper look into how surety companies evaluate bonding candidates, bond costs, warning signs, defaults, federal regulations, and state statutes affecting bond requirements for small projects, and the critical relationship dynamics between a principal and the surety underwriter.

What is Suretyship?

The short answer is Suretyship is a form of credit wrapped in a financial guarantee. It is not insurance in the traditional sense, hence the name Surety Bond. The purpose of the Surety Bond is to ensure that the Principal will perform its obligations to theObligee, and in the event the Principal fails to perform its obligations the Surety steps into the shoes of the Principal and provides the financial indemnification to allow the performance of the obligation to be completed.

There are three parties to a Surety Bond,

Principal – The party that undertakes the obligation under the bond (Eg. General Contractor)

Obligee – The party receiving the benefit of the Surety Bond (Eg. The Project Owner)

Surety – The party that issues the Surety Bond guaranteeing the obligation covered under the bond will be performed. (Eg. The underwriting insurance company)

How Do Surety Bonds Differ from Insurance?

Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic between traditional insurance and suretyship is the Principal’s guarantee to the Surety. Under a traditional insurance policy, the policyholder pays a premium and receives the benefit of indemnification for any claims covered by the insurance policy, subject to its terms and policy limits. Except for circumstances that may involve advancement of policy funds for claims that were later deemed to not be covered, there is no recourse from the insurer to recoup its paid loss from the policyholder. That exemplifies a true risk transfer mechanism.

Loss estimation is another major distinction. Under traditional forms of insurance, complex mathematical calculations are performed by actuaries to determine projected losses on a given type of insurance being underwritten by an insurer. Insurance companies calculate the probability of risk and loss payments across each class of business. They utilize their loss estimates to determine appropriate premium rates to charge for each class of business they underwrite in order to ensure there will be sufficient premium to cover the losses, pay for the insurer’s expenses and also yield a reasonable profit.

As strange as this will sound to non-insurance professionals, Surety companies underwrite risk expecting zero losses. The obvious question then is: Why am I paying a premium to the Surety? The answer is: The premiums are in actuality fees charged for the ability to obtain the Surety’s financial guarantee, as required by the Obligee, to ensure the project will be completed if the Principal fails to meet its obligations. The Surety assumes the risk of recouping any payments it makes to theObligee from the Principal’s obligation to indemnify the Surety.

Under a Surety Bond, the Principal, such as a General Contractor, provides an indemnification agreement to the Surety (insurer) that guarantees repayment to the Surety in the event the Surety must pay under the Surety Bond. Because the Principal is always primarily liable under a Surety Bond, this arrangement does not provide true financial risk transfer protection for the Principal even though they are the party paying the bond premium to the Surety. Because the Principalindemnifies the Surety, the payments made by the Surety are in actually only an extension of credit that is required to be repaid by the Principal. Therefore, the Principal has a vested economic interest in how a claim is resolved.

Another distinction is the actual form of the Surety Bond. Traditional insurance contracts are created by the insurance company, and with some exceptions for modifying policy endorsements, insurance policies are generally non-negotiable. Insurance policies are considered “contracts of adhesion” and because their terms are essentially non-negotiable, any reasonable ambiguity is typically construed against the insurer. Surety Bonds, on the other hand, contain terms required by the Obligee, and can be subject to some negotiation between the three parties.

Personal Indemnification & Collateral

As discussed earlier, a fundamental component of surety is the indemnification running from the Principal for the benefit of the Surety. This requirement is also known as personal guarantee. It is required from privately held company principals and their spouses because of the typical joint ownership of their personal assets. The Principal’s personal assets are often required by the Surety to be pledged as collateral in the event a Surety is unable to obtain voluntary repayment of loss caused by the Principal’s failure to meet their contractual obligations. This personal guarantee and collateralization, albeit potentially stressful, creates a compelling incentive for the Principal to complete their obligations under the bond.

Types of Surety Bonds

Surety bonds come in several variations. For the purposes of this discussion we will concentrate upon the three types of bonds most commonly associated with the construction industry: Bid Bonds, Performance Bonds and Payment Bonds.

The “penal sum” is the maximum limit of the Surety’s economic exposure to the bond, and in the case of a Performance Bond, it typically equals the contract amount. The penal sum may increase as the face amount of the construction contract increases. The penal sum of the Bid Bond is a percentage of the contract bid amount. The penal sum of the Payment Bond is reflective of the costs associated with supplies and amounts expected to be paid to sub-contractors.

Bid Bonds – Provide assurance to the project owner that the contractor has submitted the bid in good faith, with the intent to perform the contract at the bid price bid, and has the ability to obtain required Performance Bonds. It provides economic downside assurance to the project owner (Obligee) in the event a contractor is awarded a project and refuses to proceed, the project owner would be forced to accept the next highest bid. The defaulting contractor would forfeit up to their maximum bid bond amount (a percentage of the bid amount) to cover the cost difference to the project owner.

Performance Bonds – Provide economic protection from the Surety to the Obligee (project owner)in the event the Principal (contractor) is unable or otherwise fails to perform their obligations under the contract.

Payment Bonds – Avoids the potential for project delays and mechanics’ liens by providing the Obligee with assurance that material suppliers and sub-contractors will be paid by the Surety in the event the Principal defaults on his payment obligations to those third parties.

How Are Surety Bonds Underwritten?

Surety underwriters have a complex and continuing responsibility of assessing Principals seeking a bond. Companies that rely upon bonding to win projects fully understand the importance of establishing a maintaining a strong relationship with their Surety companies. Surety underwriters are required to place the Principal through a rigorous underwriting process prior to issuing a bond, and will continue to monitor the progress of the Principal’s projects in order to identify any warning signs of potential default. The information required from firms seeking a surety bond is perhaps the most detailed of any “insurance” application process. Companies that will require bonds are well advised to maintain a current portfolio of the required documents in order to facilitate and expedite the underwriting process.

The underwriting Questionnaire or application form the Principal completes is supplemented by the following information required by underwriters:

Financial Capacity:

  • Most recent annual audited financial statement,
  • Year-to date unaudited financial statement, including cash flow,
  • Last three years’ audited financial statements,
  • List of bank credit lines and other forms of credit relationships,
  • Bank or lender’s letter of reference,
  • An inventory of all work-in progress,
  • Accounting and cost controls,
  • Personal (unaudited) current financial statements of the individual Principals

Performance Capabilities:

  • Proposed Project information, plans, etc..

  • Summary of all prior experience with similar projects,

  • Labor required for the project, quality of sub-contractors,

  • Equipment required for the project,

  • Project Management Plan,

  • Summary of all past and pending bonded and non-bonded projects,

  • Summary of potential future projects,

  • Continuity Plan,

  • Resume of individual Principals

Reputation & Relationships:

  • Lending institutions,

  • Project Owners,

  • Suppliers,

  • Sub-contractors

Cost of Surety Bonds

Every Surety company’s rates differ, however there are general rules of thumb:

Bid Bonds are typically provided at either a nominal cost or on a complementary basis as the Surety is seeking to underwrite the Performance Bond should the contractor be awarded the project.

Performance Bond premium or fees can range anywhere from 0.5% of the contract’s final amount to 2.0% or greater. The two main factors affecting pricing are the amount of the bond as higher amounts usually have lower rates, and the quality of the risk. For example, a performance bond in the amount of $250,000 might carry a 2.5% rate translating to a fee of $ 6,250 versus a $30 million bond at a rate of 0.75% which would cost $225,000.

Even experienced contractors sometimes operate under the misconception that bond costs are fixed at the time of their issuance. In fact, a bond premium or fee will often adjust with the final value of the contract. The final value is typically, but not exclusively, greater than the initial contract amount as a result of work change orders during the construction process. It is important for contractors to realize the potential for a negative surprise represented as an increased cost of their bonds. This realization should initially occur during the bid preparation process, and whenever possible, during the contract negotiation process contractors should explore the feasibility of addressing any incremental increase in bond cost that will result from increased contract values due to change orders effectuated by the project owner.

Warning Signs

A Surety’s main purpose is to screen out those contractors that may be well-intentioned, but simply not completely qualified in all aspects of their business to take on certain projects. Surety underwriters are always on the lookout for warning signs both prior to issuing the bond and after its issuance.

Factors That Concern Bond Underwriters include:

  • Poor project management and accounting systems

  • Excessively rapid expansion

  • Key Management changes

  • Material change in historical business focus

  • Quality issues with sub-contractors

  • Shortage of labor and/or supplies

  • Cost overruns

  • Failure to require sub-contractors to secure their own surety bonds

  • Unreasonable project contract terms

  • Catastrophic weather related delays

  • Adverse macro-economic conditions


What Happens in the Event of a Contractor’s Default?

Upon notification, and if after conducting a thorough investigation, and the Surety determines the Principal has defaulted, it may:

  • Provide the defaulting contractor with additional resources or economic assistance to complete the project, or,

  • Select a replacement contractor to complete the project, or,

  • Arrange for a re-bidding process to complete the project,

  • Pay the Obligee (project owner) the “penal sum” of the Performance Bond

The Surety is required by law to conduct a diligent investigation of a potential default so as not to prematurely or improperly declare a contractor in default. Once the Surety has paid a loss under the bond, they will seek reimbursement from the Principal including exercising the Surety’s rights over letters of credit, escrows, or personal assets that have collateralized the bond.


Regulations & Statutes

The Miller Act

The Miller Act enacted by Congress in 1935, replaced the Heard Act of 1894, and applies to federal government construction projects with a contract amount in excess of $100,000. This law provides the exclusive remedy for labor and materials providers who have not received payment in full within ninety days from the date of the aggrieved sub-contractor or supplier’s last service. The Payment Bond covers first tier sub-contractors and suppliers and second-tier contractors. First tier sub-contractors may bring claims in the form of litigation directly under the Payment Bond, while second tier subcontractors must formally notify the prime contractor of their intent to bring a claim within ninety days of their last unpaid service or supply of materials.

A claim for any unpaid balance is achieved by filing a lawsuit, between ninety days and one year from the date of the last service was provided. The lawsuit must be brought in the name of the United States for the benefit of the party bringing the action. The suit is filed in federal court in the jurisdiction where the contract was performed.

Construction Industry Payment Protection Act of 1999

This federal law became effective August 1999, amending the Miller Act in several ways, including substituting the following provision for the mathematical formula that originally capped the maximum bond amount to $2.5 million notwithstanding the size of the project:

The amount of the payment bond shall be equal to the total amount payable by the terms of the contract unless the contracting officer awarding the contract makes a written determination supported by specific findings that a payment bond in that amount is impractical, in which case the amount of the payment bond shall be set by the contracting officer. In no case shall the amount of the payment bond be less than the amount of the performance bond.

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”)

Found at Title 48 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, FAR regulates the federal government’s processes for procurement of goods and services. Part 28 of the FAR entitled Bonds and Insurance sets forth the related specifications. Below are some relevant excerpts of Section 28 of the FAR that detail the requirements for construction contract payment protections:

Performance and payment bonds and alternative payment protections for construction contracts. 28.102-1 General

(a) The Miller Act requires performance and payment bonds for any construction contract exceeding $100,000, except that this requirement may be waived-

(1) By the contracting officer for as much of the work as is to be performed in a foreign country upon finding that it is impracticable for the contractor to furnish such bond; or

(2) As otherwise authorized by the Miller Act or other law.

(b)(1) Pursuant to U.S.C. 3132, for construction contracts greater than $30,000, but not greater than $100,000, the contracting officer shall select two or more of the following payment protections, giving particular consideration to inclusion of an irrevocable letter of credit as one of the selected alternatives:

(i) A payment bond.

(ii) An irrevocable letter of credit (ILC).

(iii) A tripartite escrow agreement. The prime contractor establishes an escrow account in a federally insured financial institution and enters into a tripartite escrow agreement with the financial institution, as escrow agent, and all of the suppliers of labor and material. The escrow agreement shall establish the terms of payment under the contract and of resolution of disputes among the parties. The Government makes payments to the contractor’s escrow account, and the escrow agent distributes the payments in accordance with the agreement, or triggers the disputes resolution procedures if required.

(iv) Certificates of deposit. The contractor deposits certificates of deposit from a federally insured financial institution with the contracting officer, in an acceptable form, executable by the contracting officer.

(v) A deposit of the types of security listed in 28.204-1 and 28.204-2.

(2) The contractor shall submit to the Government one of the payment protections selected by the contracting officer.

(c) The contractor shall furnish all bonds or alternative payment protection, including any necessary reinsurance agreements, before receiving a notice to proceed with the work or being allowed to start work.

28.102-2 Amount required.

(a) Definition. As used in this subsection-

“Original contract price” means the award price of the contract; or, for requirements contracts, the price payable for the estimated total quantity; or, for indefinite-quantity contracts, the price payable for the specified minimum quantity. Original contract price does not include the price of any options, except those options exercised at the time of contract award.

(b) Contracts exceeding $100,000 (Miller Act)-

(1) Performance bonds. Unless the contracting officer determines that a lesser amount is adequate for the protection of the Government, the penal amount of performance bonds must equal-

(i) 100 percent of the original contract price; and

(ii) If the contract price increases, an additional amount equal to 100 percent of the increase.

(2) Payment bonds.

(i) Unless the contracting officer makes a written determination supported by specific findings that a payment bond in this amount is impractical, the amount of the payment bond must equal-

(A) 100 percent of the original contract price; and

(B) If the contract price increases, an additional amount equal to 100 percent of the increase.

(ii) The amount of the payment bond must be no less than the amount of the performance bond.

(c) Contracts exceeding $30,000 but not exceeding $100,000. Unless the contracting officer determines that a lesser amount is adequate for the protection of the Government, the penal amount of the payment bond or the amount of alternative payment protection must equal-

(1) 100 percent of the original contract price; and

(2) If the contract price increases, an additional amount equal to 100 percent of the increase.

(d) Securing additional payment protection. If the contract price increases, the Government must secure any needed additional protection by directing the contractor to-

(1) Increase the penal sum of the existing bond;

(2) Obtain an additional bond; or

(3) Furnish additional alternative payment protection.

(e) Reducing amounts. The contracting officer may reduce the amount of security to support a bond, subject to the conditions of 28.203-5(c) or 28.204(b).

In 2004, Congress enacted a provision requiring inflation-based readjustment of the acquisition related threshold requirements every five years. The last adjustment was in 2007, which increased the minimum bond requirement threshold for federal projects from $25,000 to $30,000.

“Little Miller Acts”

Every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico passed statutes governing surety Performance and Payment Bond requirements for state government construction projects. These statutes contain provisions specifying the threshold contract amount under which Surety Bonds are not required. Below we provide relevant excerpts of the Little Miller Acts enacted in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

New York Little Miller Act:

New York Consolidated Laws, State Finance Law, Article 9, Contracts, Section 137 states in part:

Provided, however, that all performance bonds and payment bonds may, at the discretion of the head of the state agency, public benefit corporation or commission, or his or her designee, be dispensed with for the completion of a work specified in a contract for the prosecution of a public improvement for the state of New York for which bids are solicited where the aggregate amount of the contract is under one hundred thousand dollars and provided further, that in a case where the contract is not subject to the multiple contract award requirements of section one hundred thirty-five of this article, such requirements may be dispensed with where the head of the state agency, public benefit corporation or commission finds it to be in the public interest and where the aggregate amount of the contract awarded or to be awarded is less than two hundred thousand dollars.

New Jersey Little Miller Act:

New Jersey Revised Statutes, Title 2A, Administration of Civil and Criminal Justice, Chapter 44, Sections 2A:44-143 through2A:44-148 states in part:

(2) When such contract is to be performed at the expense of the State and is entered into by the Director of the Division of Building and Construction or State departments designated by the Director of the Division of Building and Construction, the director or the State departments may: (a) establish for that contract the amount of the bond at any percentage, not exceeding 100%, of the amount bid, based upon the director’s or department’s assessment of the risk presented to the State by the type of contract, and other relevant factors, and (b) waive the bond requirement of this section entirely if the contract is for a sum not exceeding $200,000. (3) When such a contract is to be performed at the expense of a contracting unit or school district, the board, officer or agent contracting on behalf of the contracting unit or school district may: (a) establish for that contract the amount of the bond at any percentage, not exceeding 100%, of the amount bid, based upon the board’s, officer’s or agent’s assessment of the risk presented to the contracting unit or school district by the type of contract and other relevant factors, and (b) waive the bond requirement of this section entirely if the contract is for a sum not exceeding $100,000.

Connecticut Little Miller Act:

Connecticut General Statutes, Title 49, Mortgages and Liens, Chapter 847, Liens, Sections 49-41 through 49-43 staes in part:

Sec. 49-41. Public buildings and public works. Bonds for protection of employees and materialmen. Performance bonds. Limits on use of owner-controlled insurance programs. (a) Each contract exceeding one hundred thousand dollars in amount for the construction, alteration or repair of any public building or public work of the state or a municipality shall include a provision that the person to perform the contract shall furnish to the state or municipality on or before the award date, a bond in the amount of the contract which shall be binding upon the award of the contract to that person, with a surety or sureties satisfactory to the officer awarding the contract, for the protection of persons supplying labor or materials in the prosecution of the work provided for in the contract for the use of each such person, provided no such bond shall be required to be furnished (1) in relation to any general bid in which the total estimated cost of labor and materials under the contract with respect to which such general bid is submitted is less than fifty thousand dollars, (2) in relation to any sub-bid in which the total estimated cost of labor and materials under the contract with respect to which such sub-bid is submitted is less than fifty thousand dollars, or (3) in relation to any general bid or sub-bid submitted by a consultant, as defined in section 4b-55. Any such bond furnished shall have as principal the name of the person awarded the contract.

(b) Nothing in this section or sections 49-41a to 49-43, inclusive, shall be construed to limit the authority of any contracting officer to require a performance bond or other security in addition to the bond referred to in subsection (a) of this section, except that no such officer shall require a performance bond in relation to any general bid in which the total estimated cost of labor and materials under the contract with respect to which such general bid is submitted is less than twenty-five thousand dollars or in relation to any sub-bid in which the total estimated cost of labor and materials under the contract with respect to which such sub-bid is submitted is less than fifty thousand dollars.

The Critical Importance of a Strong Principal – Surety Relationship

A surety underwriter is responsible for evaluating the Principal’s overall capability to profitably complete a project based upon: their financial condition, their historical performance, their current workload-in progress, their ability to manage, and their reputation with other stakeholders.

Differences of opinion arise periodically between the Principal and the Surety over its willingness to provide bonding capacity. Principals view this as an indirect undermining of their ability to conduct business. Underwriters view their decision as being in the interest of the Principal because by withholding the bonding capacity, an underwriter may be preventing a Principal from jeopardizing their personal assets. When these situations arise, the insurance broker should be particularly attentive to the underwriter’s concerns, and work with the Principal to provide any additional information that may alleviate or ameliorate the underwriter’s concerns.

Building a sound surety relationship requires continuing diligence, candor, and active dialogue between the Principal and Surety. Perhaps the best way to build the trust that is so important to the relationship is through providing agreed upon scheduled job status reports of work-in-progress, including the profit and loss statements of each bonded (and non-bonded) project, the owner’s payment activity, unapproved change orders, and the firm’s periodic financial statements. A proactive insurance broker will arrange an annual in-person meeting upon completion of the audited financials. The participants would includes the Principal, Surety, the Principal’s CFO and possibly the external auditor. This meeting affords an opportunity to further build upon the “paper relationship” and is a venue for candidly discussing potential issues and future prospects.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, Principals that apprise a Surety of potential issues also create a high level of trust. Proactively providing required information sends a strong signal to the Surety about the Principal’s business character and management, also providing the Surety with the firm’s business plans for the upcoming twelve to twenty-four month period will serve to gain the underwriter’s trust and flexibility when those situations arise that may require the underwriter to demonstrate some additional flexibility in order for the Principal to realize their business objectives. Surety companies can provide valuable resources to Principals to assist them in overcoming temporary business challenges before a default occurs. These resources include: construction attorneys, engineers and accountants.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury publishes a list of approved sureties. The Treasury List is located at:

Highly effective construction companies have mastered the art and science of managing successful surety relationships. Engaging an experienced insurance professional who can work effectively with both internal and external financial and operational personnel to manage the process of securing bonds in a timely manner is a critical component to maintain access to stable surety lines.

Source by James Ilardi

Tactics Used by Disability Insurance Companies Against Claimants to Deny Claims

To protect their businesses and their shareholders, disability insurance companies have made it hard for the average person to file a claim and obtain the benefits that they signed up to receive. When a person successful files for benefits on a disability insurance policy, it is long-term and very expensive to the companies.

Because of the laws governing disability insurance policies were written, there are no penalties in place when companies deny or delay claims. If you have to fight for your disability benefits and it takes a year, during which time you lose your home and life savings, there is no punishment or penalty to the disability insurance company. If you win in a court case, you will receive what they were supposed to pay you in the first place. The only thing that the insurance company loses is the time of their in-house law firm, while people who are sick or injured can lose much more. That is why it is important to know as much as possible about disability insurance, the process of filing a claim and the process of fighting for a claim to protect yourself.

Insurance companies employ many medical professionals to investigate claims. They have staffs of nurses and doctors who do nothing but read medical records and review diagnostic tests all day long to build cases against claimants. There are many instances that we have seen where the medical reviewer only sees a small part of the person’s medical file – important documents that clearly verify a serious illness are left out. Is this deliberate or just poor record management? It is hard to know – but the bottom line is that disability insurance claimants have to fight to make sure that their complete medical records have been examined.

Insurance companies often use in-house medical staffers to contact treating physicians, review claims and write letters that are not accurate to help build cases against claimants. A typical scenario: the medical staffer calls the doctor’s office, speaks about the claimant, and then the insurance company staffer sends a letter to the doctor’s office confirming the conversation. The problem is, the letter is not entirely accurate and does not reflect the conversation that took place. Some facts are twisted, others are left out entirely. The critical part is this: the letter will contain a statement that says “unless we hear back from you by (a certain date), you accept the statements in the letter as fact.”

Doctors, office managers and their own staffers are busy, and responding to this letter is not their top priority. When no one responds, or when the response comes after the date, the insurance company uses that as an agreement with the contents of the letter, even if the letter is totally inaccurate and contradicts every piece of information in the patient’s medical record.

Today it is inexpensive for insurance companies to use video surveillance to monitor claimant activities. If you have filed a claim and a van or truck shows up on your block that does not seem to have any identifying marks or workers taking out equipment or making a delivery, it is entirely possible that surveillance is taking place. If you have a disability like fibromyalgia, where some days you cannot get out of bed and other days you feel almost normal, the videotape surveillance will only show you on a good day. This can create a difficult situation. If however your medical records reflect the unpredictable nature of your illness, you have a better chance at fighting the challenge to your disability insurance claim.

Source by Jason Newfield

Lung Cancer and Smoking

According to the American Cancer Society, today, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women. In 2006, an estimated 162,460 deaths resulted from lung cancer, and of those deaths, an estimated 79,560 of those were women. At first glance, the numbers might not seem so alarming., but what is alarming is the fact that “between 1960 and 1990, deaths from lung cancer among women increased by more than 400%” ( Do you need a moment to digest those statistics? I know I did.

In addition, to being the leading cause of cancer-related death for women, the National Cancer Institutes reports that the expected 5-year survival rate for all patients in whom lung cancer is diagnosed is 15.5 percent compared to 64.8 percent for colon, 89 percent for breast and 99.9 percent for prostate cancer. Further, about 6 out of 10 people with lung cancer die within 1 year of being diagnosed with the disease (Lungusa).

After reading the data, I did some research to uncover the cause of such high incidences of lung cancer overall, and particularly, in women. Studies show that while lung cancer can be caused by a variety of factors, including asbestos and environmental pollution, smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, with an estimated 90 percent of lung cancer cases caused by smoking. 5 What that means, is that 90 percent of lung cancer cases are preventable; and in 2006, of the 79,560 women that died, 71,685 of those deaths were senseless.

To make the numbers understandable from a layman’s point of view, what they correlate to is this: more people have died from smoking in one year than there were American military casualties in Iraq since the war started in 2003, and more than were murdered in the United States in 2005.

Hence, it begs to be considered that if lung cancer is preventable, why do over 1.1 billion people, over 1/6 of the world’s total population choose to smoke and ingest harmful tobacco products? This includes 33% of the African population; 57% of the people in the United States; 72% of Europeans; 48% of Southeast Asians, 39% of Eastern Mediterraneans; and 68% of people in Western Pacific nations (World Heath Organization, 2000 estimates).

The answer in short is addiction.

With this in mind, I struck out to learn more about the history of the cigarette. I was in for quite an education. Besides providing you with a history of the cigarette, this article will also educate you on what lung cancer does to your body, steps you can take to prevent it, methods of screening, and resources. Hopefully, what you learn in the following pages will enable you to make a decision that could save a life.

History of the Cigarette

The primary ingredient in a cigarette is tobacco. Tobacco in cigarettes is usually a blend of several types of the tobacco leaf, which have the effect of euphoria on the nervous system. Tar, a by-product of the cigarette, is produced when the cigarette is lit. Nicotine is also part of the make up of the tobacco leaf. When a cigarette is lit and the smoke inhaled, nicotine moves into the blood vessels of the mucous membranes, skin and lungs, and then directly to your brain [within seconds], increasing adrenaline production, stimulating neurons in the brain that cause “good” feelings, which encourage a person to want to repeat the action that caused that feeling (addiction), further stimulating the production and release of endorphins, which cause feelings of euphoria. (

Man has been using the tobacco product for thousands of years. Native Americans smoked prior to the arrival of European explores; and the practice is even depicted in early Mayan art dating back to 1,500 years ago, when tobacco was also used as a medicinal antidote. In the 16th century, smoking was common mostly among sailors. The cigar later became popular in England in the 1820s. The cigarette soon appeared in Spain. During World War I, tobacco products were included in military rations. After the war, manufacturers began advertising cigarette smoking as glamorous, and the rest, as they say is history (Wikipedia).

When manufacturers recognized the marketability of the cigarette, they became interested in learning how to get more people to smoke. Advertising was one way. The other way was to include additives that made cigarette smoking less harsh, more tasty…and more addictive. Today, there are over 599 known additives in cigarettes that have been approved by the United States (U.S.) Government. What most people don’t know is that while some of these additives are safe and can be found in everyday foods, others are extremely dangerous when ingested and when burned, these additives produce chemical compounds that are toxic.

Some of the additives included in cigarettes are carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, formaldehyde and hydrazine, among others. These harsh chemicals have no natural place in a human body, and even to a layman, it is obvious that these products would be harmful when ingested. Carbon monoxide, for example, a poisonous gas found in car exhaust smoke, when inhaled, can cause fatigue, nausea, disorientation and chest pains. Hydrogen cyanide is used to make fibers, plastics, dyes, pesticides and under the name of Zyklon B, was used as a genocidal agent in World War I. Ammonia is a household cleaner which causes skin, eye, nose, throat and lung irritation. Formaldehyde is used to manufacture building materials and to preserve dead bodies. It causes watery eyes, burning of the eyes, nose and throat, coughing, wheezing and skin irritation. Together with the other additives in a cigarette, each time a smoker lights up and inhales, they are inhaling a “cocktail” of carcinogens, creating a multitude of illnesses in their bodies and speeding up death. At the same time, because the physiological and psychological rewards are so immediate, most smokers, after just one cigarette, are on their way to addiction. Nowadays, cigarettes can be found pretty much everywhere, at neighborhood grocery stores, gas stations, street vendors and even on-line.

Seizing on the lucrative business of addiction, cigarette manufacturers produce approximately 5.5 trillion cigarettes globally each year. China, the United States, Russia, and Japan-the four largest producers-manufacture just over half of the world’s supply. In 2004, China produced 1.79 trillion cigarettes, 32 percent of the global total. The United States produced 499 billion, 9 percent of the total. ([])

There are billions of dollars spent every year to target current smokers and recruit new ones. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), major manufacturers like China National Tobacco Company (China), Altria Group, Inc., (previously Phillip Morris Companies) (USA), British American Tobacco PLC (UK), Japan Tobacco (Japan), R J. Reynolds Tobacco (USA), Reemtsman (Germany), Altadis (France and Spain), among others, spend a lot of money to market tobacco. The United States alone spends over $10 billion dollars. This includes promotional funds to retailers to expedite the sales.

This marketing is targeted at adults and youth alike, particularly preying on the naiveté’, rebelliousness, experimentive nature of young adults. Cigarette brands like Virginia Slims and Capri’s designs appeal to young women, wanting to look more mature, feminine or sexy; and the Joe Camel and the Marlboro man entice young boys who want to look cool, tough and grown up. Cigarette manufacturers went so far as to give cigarettes names that would appeal to younger people. After public outcry from advocacy groups, this year, J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., in particular, agreed to stop using candy, fruit and alcohol names for flavored cigarettes that might appeal to children, The company was using names such as Twista Lime”, “Warm Winter Toffee” and “Winter MochaMint.

In the 21st century, the marketing efforts to target youth has evidently stepped up, showing the tenacity of the tobacco manufacturers in retaining what could be their most loyal customers, in spite of over 40 years of opposition from both public and private segments. In the late 1960’s, attempts to curb adolescent exposure to cigarette advertising began with the banning of television and radio ads. [However]…the proportion of high school students who smoked rose from 27.5 percent in 1991 to a peak of 36.4 percent in 1997 before drifting back to 28.0 percent in 2000). This increase…was among the factors that prompted a reexamination of regulatory policy, culminating in the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), signed by tobacco manufacturers and forty-six states’ attorneys general, prohibits tobacco manufacturers from taking “any action, directly or indirectly, to target Youth within any Settling State in the advertising, promotion or marketing of Tobacco Products.” As a blanket youth-targeting ban, this provision applies to all types of advertising, including transit ads, billboards, and magazines (Healthaffairs). Today, in most countries, there are age limit restrictions on the purchase of cigarettes by youth.

As awareness of the health-related disadvantages of smoking and other tobacco products came to the forefront of public consciousness, the public has seen more airing of advertisements, public service announcements, smoking education awareness campaigns, lobbying for smoke free movies and the passing of no-smoking laws in certain building, states and even countries. In countries across the world, like Armenia, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Cuba, France, India, Lithuania, Malaysia, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Spain and Turkey, smoking is banned in certain public places or workplaces. As always, the cigarette manufacturers are trying to find ways to use even the advertising for non-smoking to their advantage, with large cigarette vendors hiring public relations firms to help them create soft marketing, “non-smoking” ads that would draw in more smokers.

In addition, in order to counter the loss in profits from the bans against smoking and public outcry in the 1980’s in the United States and other countries, more aggressive marketing is done on the continents of Asia and Africa, where cigarettes are marketed in television, radio and print advertising, at schools, sports and music events, and even more subtly, in the form of sponsorship at charitable events. Still, there are thousands of organizations working to ban smoking, educate youth and adults about smoking and health related issues, like lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease among other diseases.

What Lung Cancer Does To Your Body

While all the advertising inundates the public with images of how “sexy” smoking is supposed to be, what they don’t show is the ugly side of smoking, how it stains, erodes and damages your teeth, taste buds, throat, esophagus, lungs and inevitably, threatens your life. Granted, not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer and dies; however, it is proven that cigarettes do contribute to lung cancer.

Lung cancer occurs when cells start to grow uncontrollably in a random fashion, causing tumors in the bronchial tubes, mucous glands, and near the air sacs and surface of the lungs. These tumors grow rapidly into larger tumors and can eventually spread throughout the body and into the chest, bones, spine or other organs. The more rampant the cancer in a body, the higher chance one has of multiple tumors, organ failure; and, a lesser chance for survival.

Lung Cancer Prevention/Detection/Screening/Treatment

One can take several steps to prevent the occurrence of lung cancer. First, if you are a non-smoker, promise yourself that you will never pick up a cigarette. Secondly, avoid inhaling second-hand smoke. Also, since lung cancer can also be caused by toxins in the environment, like radon gas and asbestos, it is important to be aware of their existence, and to avoid exposure.

For people who have a history of lung cancer in their families, lung cancer can be detected by screening via x-rays, CT scans, biopsies, testing of coughed up mucus, and blood tests. Lung cancer, in its early stages has no noticeable symptoms; however, as it progresses, lumps, coughing, blood-stained phlegm, breathlessness, chest pain, recurrent pneumonia or bronchitis, weight loss and fatigue can occur.

According to, there is currently no approved screening test for lung cancer that has been proven to improve survival or detect localized disease. However, there are many studies under way to find an appropriate screening tool. If detected early, lung cancer can be treated, depending on the type and extent of the cancer. In instances where the cancer is localized in the lung, surgery can remove the tumors. When the cancer has spread beyond the chest, chemotherapy and radiation are used as treatment. Some patients can even elect to have lung transplants, where the diseased lung is replaced by a healthy one.


For those trying to quit, the good news is that there are a myriad of resources, nationally and internationally, to help people quit. International agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have extensive data and resources on their websites to educate the public about the dangers of smoking. In 1998, WHO established the Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI), which is dedicated to framing global tobacco policy and focusing international resources on the global tobacco epidemic.

The American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, and are among the many organizations that provide information, education and resources to help smokers quit. There are telephone, on-line, group and one-on-one support groups, government and community funded that provide counseling. Some people use and therapy, various medications, including the patch, hypnosis and nicotine pills to assist them in quitting.

One of the most important factors in quitting and sticking to it is having a strong support system. If you are trying to quit or help someone to quit, keep in mind that cigarette smoking is extremely addictive and that people trying to quit can experience anxiety, depression and irritability, as they crave the nicotine their body has become accustomed to ingesting. Because of how addictive nicotine is, some people give up quitting or experience relapses in smoking after only a short time. Thus, it is very important to get lots of support from family and friends, since they can provide reminders of the benefits to quitting.

Other Risks

Besides the risk of getting lung cancer, there are a multitude other health related illnesses that can develop due to smoking, including heart attack and stroke, blood pressure, respiratory diseases, cancer in other parts of the body and cardiovascular diseases. People who smoke also put others around them at risk. Women who smoke give birth to babies with lower birth rates, children of parents who smoke can develop respiratory illnesses and people who inhale second-hand smoke have a higher risk of developing lung cancer or other smoking-related disease. (National Cancer Institute).

Then, there is the economic downside to smoking. According to, tobacco creates “…hugely increased healthcare costs…diversion of agricultural land that could grow food, the costs of fires and damage to buildings caused by careless smokers, the resulting increase in insurance premiums, employee absenteeism, decrease in worker productivity…widespread environmental costs due to large-scale deforestation…pollution, and the millions of discarded butts and cigarette packaging that litter streets and waterways (”

In the USA, between 1997 and 2001, tobacco smoking resulted in $92 billion of annual productivity losses; worldwide, smoking accounted for 10% of fire deaths, the total [number of people] killed by fires caused by smoking [was] 300,000 and the total cost of fires caused by smoking was $27 billion. In 2003, cigarette litter accounted for 34% of the trash collected along the world’s coasts; every year, children start 1,000,000 fires using lighters, and as of 2005, the economic costs to the economy healthcare included was upwards of $300 billion dollars (

Benefits of Not Smoking

On the upside, there are a myriad of benefits to quitting smoking. You can prevent health related illnesses like emphysema, heart disease and lung cancer by never smoking or quitting smoking as soon as possible. Quitting as soon as possible can improve the quality and longevity of your life. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are almost instant health improvements when a person quits smoking. “Within just a few days of quitting, a person’s sense of taste and smell return, and breathing becomes easier; blood pressure, which becomes elevated while smoking, begins to return to normal. Research has shown that people who stop smoking before the age of 35 reduce their risk of developing a tobacco-related disease by 90%, but older smokers can also benefit greatly from quitting. Even smokers who quit after being diagnosed with a smoking-related illness reduce their risk of medical complications and of dying from a tobacco-related disease”.

The key thing that I want to leave with you is this. Your life is in your hands – literally. You are in control. Smoking, as addictive as it may be, is a choice. Every time a smoker lights up a cigarette and inhales, that individual is making a conscious decision to harm his/her body; and every time the smoker exhales the cigarette smoke, he/she is harming others and the environment.

Source by Maimah Karmo

The Federal National Flood Insurance Program Has Grown to Epic Proportions – Unworkable

The Federal Flood Insurance Program, referred to as the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a total disaster, pun intended of course, you know me. How bad has it gotten? Well, they are redrawing flood maps to help get more premiums to pay for their costs, costs which are out of line simply because FEMA is so wasteful, politically correct, and inefficient, even if it is one of the more efficient agencies of our Federal Government. Yes, let’s talk about all this shall we?

The GAO (Government Accounting Office) put out an interesting report on September 18, 2013 titled; “National Flood Insurance Program: Continued Attention Needed to Address Challenges,” GAO-13-858T, which was quite telling, it stated in the introduction amongst other things that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has been on the “high risk list” since 2006, and it owes well over $24 Billion to the US Treasury, not including the devastating Boulder Colorado flood in the Summer of 2013. The report then stated;

“NFIP’s financial condition highlights structural weaknesses in how the program has been funded–primarily its rate structure. The annual amount that NFIP collects in both full-risk and subsidized premiums is generally not enough to cover its operating costs, claim payments, and principal and interest payments for the debt owed to Treasury, especially in years of catastrophic flooding, such as 2005.”

In 2005 they are speaking of Katrina, Rita and several Hurricane storm surge hits and the flooding from the Lake Ponchartrain levee breaches. Also included in the current deficit and bankrupt fund is money allotted for political reasons during the Obama re-election campaign in October/November of 2012, Super Storm Sally, I mean Sandy-Pants, where the US taxpayer took it in the shorts and big government paid out anyone with a sniffle or wet shoes.

Another interesting testimony was given by FEMA Director to the US Senate sub-committee, you can also read about this statement; “Written testimony of FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate for a Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Subcommittee on Economic Policy hearing titled “Implementation of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012: One Year After Enactment” which appeared in the online archives on September 18, 2013.

Why is all this happening? Because the government thought that it could solve all its problems by selling insurance where private markets didn’t dare due to risk. The government in its infinite wisdom and bureaucracy thought it could manage the program better and more profitable. Since that has never to my knowledge happened in government whether we are talking about Amtrak, US Postal Service, or ObamaCare, one has to ask why anyone is surprised this isn’t working. Worse now, the bankrupt FEMA, and NFIP wants to soak those who are not at risk with higher forced premiums to pay for their shortfalls. Ouch.

Yes, ouch, like the US middle class consumer home owner can take anymore. Now they have the DHS, yes, the Department of Homeland Security calling it a national security issue, convenient, meaning they’ll have the power to enforce their authority onto anyone and in this case perhaps everyone they choose. Please consider all this and think on it.

Source by Lance Winslow

How Do You Make A Water Damage Or Flood Clean Up Claim To Your Insurance Company?

As a water damage restoration clean up professional for over 22 years, getting use to how a claim is made by a homeowner when they have water damage is easy. But most homeowners have no idea how or who to call when they have a water damage or flood damage issue.

When a call comes in for a water damage or flood damage most homeowners will ask the obvious question “how much do you charge for your services”

Any contractor that gives any answer is fooling the customer do to the fact that every water damage or flood situation is different.

The first question that will usually come out of the mouths of experienced and qualified water damage restoration companies (notice I didn’t say carpet cleaners who also do water damage clean up) do you have insurance. Most homeowners will say yes, but I am not sure if the company will cover the damage.

Here are some steps and tips on how to proceed in finding out first if the insurance company will pay for your damage.

Look for your insurance papers (documents) that you received from your insurance agent and look for the phone number that contacts the claims office of your insurance company. Sometimes even the agents themselves have trouble digging through the paper work to find the claims phone number. The best suggestion is to look on the internet for your insurance companies claim number. It’s usually easy to find on the first page of the site.

Before calling understand the insurance language. The insurance company person on the phone that you will discuss your possible water damage claim is called an adjuster. Your damage is referred to as a claim,peril or a loss. I know loss sounds strange but that’s the language that is used. There maybe someone who will come to your house from the insurance company and that person is also called an adjuster. The documents or paper work that was given to you originally by your agent is called a policy. The policy is your contract and in most cases clearly spells out what is covered and what is not. That leads us to the word covered that I just mentioned. The word covered is used when the insurance company accepts responsibility to pay the costs of the damage of the items that were damages by the water damage and the clean up costs and repair costs of home items like drywall, carpet.

When talking to the adjuster on the phone don’t talk to much. Just keep it simple with just the facts. As honest as you are, insurance company adjusters are not out to deny every claim as everyone thinks. There are state and federal laws that the insurance companies must follow, so the insurance companies work on proof.To keep it easy get proof of why the water damage happened like a bill or written statement from a plumber or the city or county of why something happened. Pictures are great and your dishwasher or washer machine appliance repairman will be your best friend to prove to the insurance company your damage is a “covered loss.”

These days insurance companies will suggest a water damage restoration company to come out and mitigate the damage. Mitigate is the term that is used to clean up and stop further damage from happening. Most insureds (that’s you the homeowner) believe that the water damage clean up work will be guaranteed because the company mentioned their name. Actually the company only suggests and will not back up any companies work. Remember that you the homeowner has the legal right to use anyone you want to.

Contacting the insurance company to make a claim can be nerve racking to some homeowners. Just remember to be calm and relay the facts.

Source by Jeff Cohn

Health Problems Abound With Mesothelioma

Millions of people around the world have been exposed to deadly chemicals. Some of these can cause no major issues at first. That’s the case with asbestos, as millions of people worked with, lived under, and even had some of the items fall on them without any danger. The issue doesn’t manifest immediately, but after time, mesothelial cells start to become rogue and cause serious problems for people later in life.

Mesothelioma is a disease that many people contract in the lungs and can cause serious problems. If not caught early, the cellular damage can be immense and death can even result. It’s for that reason that many are looking into medical attention, and help with the bills that can pile up as a result of trying to maintain optimal health overall. Men and women that have to deal with the issue will want to look into compensation and help that can come from a good lawyer.

Legal teams that are dedicated to helping people of all backgrounds get restitution for health issues associated with exposure to asbestos are standing by and can help. This is not something that is frivolous and not meant for those that are looking for a pay day. In fact, many people will find out that legal teams will not represent just anyone, it requires more than just filing a claim.

Battling cancer, and other issues is a tough thing to go through. Not only does a person have to be strong and hope that the medications, surgeries, and other treatments are effective, but the bills involved are very hefty. Even with a good insurance plan, people that are dealing with issues related to mesothelioma, will have to pay out of pocket for a lot of different things. These costs could rise upwards of tens of thousands of dollars. With such high costs, it’s no wonder that many give up the fight and have to deal with the sickness without recourse.

If you or someone you know is dealing with this issue, don’t hesitate to look for help. There are some great firms that can help and they go to war in court for the rights of people. That’s correct, every person has rights that may have been trampled on due to the exposure that they had to deadly chemicals. Even if it was 10, 20, or 30 years ago, the issues that come as a result to the exposure to asbestos is very much real. It can manifest decades later and cost a world of hurt and cost even more to alleviate. Do not allow anyone to take away the rights of your family, look into hiring an attorney and see greater good come as a result.

Again, this is not about lawsuits, it’s about getting help when it’s needed most. For those that are dealing with the issues of rogue mesothelial cells and damage due to the sickness, it’s important to get help immediately. Financial assistance is just a small part of the bigger picture. The least you could do is simply ask to speak to an attorney and see if you have a case.

Source by Pete Morgan

Wilkes Barre – A Region Where Mesothelioma Is Current

Statistics show that there is $210 million construction industry in the Wilkes Barre Pennsylvania area. This shows the vast growth of the construction industry in the area which contributes jobs and money to the city. With this in mind, it is important to anticipate the effects this industry will bring to the people of Wilkes Barre.

It has been known that asbestos has been one of the materials widely used in the construction industry because of its heat resistant and fire resistant properties. And as the construction industry shoots up, the asbestos use is in direct proportion to the inflation of the industry. Studies have shown that asbestos causes a type of cancer, which is mesothelioma. It is then logical to zero in the effects of this rising industry to the health of the people in Wilkes Barre.

People who are in the construction industry are at high risk for mesotholomia, which is the cancer of the mesothelium. The mesothelium is the tissue found as coverings of our internal organs in the abdominal cavity and the lungs. The cancer mainly damages the mesothilial cells, which makes up the mesothelium. Exposure to asbestos leads to mesothelioma. This happens when the little fibers is breathed in to the lungs, or coughed up and swallowed to make its way to the abdominal cavity giving rise to pleural mesothelioma (lung covering) and peritoneal mesothelioma (abdominal cavity organ covering). It can be spread to others when the asbestos collected in the clothing of the worker exposed to asbestos comes in contact with the family, relatives and friends. Mesothelioma is not an easy effect of the construction industry to deal with. Cancer can be physically, emotionally, spiritually draining.

The people living in Wilkes Barre should be made aware of this health concern brought about by the rising construction industry in the city. Extra effort should be made in order for the workers and family to properly protect them from mesothelomia. Wearing safety gear such as masks and gowns should be stressed when they will be in close contact to the environment where there is asbestos and/or changing their clothing before they interact with their families and friends after leaving the vicinity with asbestos before they come home from work.

Construction companies that offer jobs in Wilkes Barre should also be aware of this health concern. They should offer health insurance to their workers who might develop mesothelomia in the future or they could hold the permission to let their workers work in an environment that can lead to an increase exposure to asbestos. If exposure to asbestos can not be avoided they should take proper precautions and follow guidelines in order to decrease the detrimental effects of asbestos exposure to the workers.

For the workers and the companies’ protection, there are lawyers specializing in this field, specifically construction law, where they can get valuable information especially on the legalities of this matter. They can also explain where each one stands so the parties concerned will know exactly what to do to work out the situation. These lawyers practice in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania and would gladly be of service to the people in the city.

People grab opportunities when they see one, but before plunging into a situation, people must be aware of the pros and cons. They should take appropriate action to protect them if the cons will cause them liability. Everyone should be aware of one’s rights as a worker and as a citizen of a city where one lives in. Health should not be disregarded for profit. It pays to do something before it is too late. If this matter brings up a concern to someone you know, give them a favor and ask them to do something now. Act now because you don’t want a disease like mesothelioma not be detected just because you live a fast-paced life in a place like Wilkes Barre.

Source by Nathalie Fiset

The Myths and Facts of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a severe disease that is thinning out its roots everywhere in the world especially in United States of America. It is a lethal form of cancer that is dreaded across the globe. For though there is medication to handle the disease’s symptoms, a cure to mesothelioma is still missing.

Excess confrontation of asbestos is posited as the primary cause of mesothelioma.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is used in insulation, clothing and fire-resistant materials. But its usage is often less significant than the disasters caused by it. For those who work with asbestos, breathe or inhale the infesting tiny asbestos particles that result in development of mesothelioma and other Asbestos Related Diseases (ARDs). Initially people were unaware of the damaging nature of these particles. It was discovered only lately through various tests such as X-Rays, MRI tests i.e. Magnetic Resonance Imagery and CAT scans or Computed Axial Tomography scans.

Mesothelioma’s very cause has become its bone of contention. This is because numerous asbestos workers and consumers who have been inflicted by this deadly disease claim that they were not intentionally forewarned of the perils of this material. Consequently lawsuits were and are till date filed on these companies. However, it is a myth to think that these court cases have driven many asbestos-manufacturing companies to bankruptcy. The facts reveal that many such companies have survived under the protection of Chapter 11 and that they have in turn used their insolvency to pay off their former debts and have reorganized themselves by it. But this is not the only myth associated with mesothelioma, there are countless others.

1. One universally known myth is that nothing can be done after a person is in the grip of mesothelioma. Though there is no cure for this unsympathetic form of cancer, some medicines can help with lifestyle quality and symptoms.

2. People commonly believe that working in mines and playing in piles where you are surrounded by asbestos and staying close to a person suffering from mesothelioma are the only factors responsible for its outbreak. But in reality, mesothelioma and any other ARD is not a communicable one and individuals who have never taken up any such tasks are even inflicted with it.

3. The next important thing hovering on people’s mind related to mesothelioma is smoking. Some believe that smoking invokes this disease. But the truth is that those who smoke and are exposed to asbestos perhaps involve the highest risk of being infected by mesothelioma. But there are innumerable patients of this ARD who have never smoked even a single cigarette throughout their lives.

4. Those who think that an exposure to asbestos will result in an instant exhibition of its symptoms are even wrong. According to medical science, the effects remain latent and unknown for 10-40 years.

5. Generally it is deemed that even a slight exposure to asbestos particles leads to mesothelioma. So if these fibres are detected in your house or office, they should be removed as soon as possible and all the materials that came in contact with it should be thoroughly cleansed. But this is not what is actually required. An improper hurried removal can be extremely hazardous since these particles easily get mixed in the surrounding air and cause damage. The best technique to ward off the threat of asbestos particles is to properly cover the affected area. Moreover, this task should not be taken up by any naïve individual. Only the skilled certified asbestos abatement professionals should be called to do this job.

6. A number of people are of the opinion that Chrysotile is a safe form of asbestos. But researches have shown that all forms of asbestos including the largely used Chrysotile are effective in causing Mesothelioma and other ARDs like lung cancer, asbestosis etc.

Source by Robert Linebaugh

Asbestos Does Harm

Asbestos is naturally occurring fibrous silicate minerals, which are microscopic in nature. This mineral has been used for a long time in the construction industry. It is majorly used in flooring, roofing, insulation, fireproofing and other construction materials. If carefully and properly used, they do not cause any harm.

Asbestos is considered deadly if not carefully handled by a professional or someone like a home owner who is fully aware of asbestos and the implications involved. However, this was not known to people for a very long time. As a result, people were left exposed and in danger of getting sick due to the use of asbestos. What is even worse is the fact that the signs and symptoms of the diseases associated with asbestos can start showing after a period of between 5 and 20 years.

Asbestos has adverse health effects. It causes deadly diseases, which include mesothelioma lung cancer and diffuse pleural thickening to name a couple. Asbestos is carcinogenic in nature – if the materials and contents of asbestos are damaged or disturbed, the asbestos fibers separate, and they become airborne; consequently, the asbestos is considered to be in their most dangerous form, since it can be inhaled into the lungs.

Asbestos related illnesses are known to be more severe with longer and greater exposure to the harmful materials. However, there is no known standard measure of a safe level when it comes to exposure to asbestos. It is imperative to note that asbestos does cause headaches and muscle pain as people have been made to believe. Its effects are rather long-term and surface many years after the exposure to asbestos.

While asbestos dust is visible to the human eye, once it turns and becomes airborne, it can no longer be seen. The fibers are too minute to be seen with a naked eye. One major risk that faces us is that it is very easy to disturb asbestos. That is due to the versatile nature of its use. It is present in some carpets, some insulation, and other areas that we have to be close to every day. If you are working at home, be careful on how you handle things. If you suspect any exposed asbestos, call in a specialist to investigate. If you happen to be working at a place where the exposure to asbestos is rampant, ensure you are trained on handling and be sure to follow the Ontario Regulation 278/05.

The Environmental Protection Agency released a permit that allows only very small levels of asbestos in building materials. While this was a good measure, it still threatens the life of an ordinary citizen to be near this harmful compound. Modern people know and understand the dangers associated with asbestos and has rendered it being sidelined in its former use as prime construction material.

Given the health dangers of asbestos, its use has almost been phased out. For those who still have the asbestos containing material in their home, have professionals inspect them. If you want them removed, look for professional help.

Source by M. Simon