Witness testifies chrysotile asbestos can cause mesothelioma

Three bankrupt manufacturing companies that once made asbestos-containing products — Bondex International, Specialty Products Holding Corp., and RPM International Inc. — are defending themselves in a Pennsylvania court room against existing and future personal injury claimants who developed illness from asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a known carcinogen that causes both mesothelioma — a deadly, rare form of cancer — and other serious illnesses. During the trial, a witness for the defense testified that chrysotile asbestos, the type used by Bondex and the other defendants, is not likely to cause mesothelioma on its own. The witness, Dr. Allan Feingold, testified in the estimation hearing on behalf of the asbestos companies. However, another medical expert witness, Dr. Laura Welch, refuted Feingold's claim. Welch took the stand for asbestos claimants in the ongoing asbestos bankruptcy trial in western Pennsylvania arguing that chrysotile exposure can lead to respiratory illnesses and cancer, including mesothelioma. Welch's testimony was based on her own personal research conducted with sheet metal workers that has been ongoing since around 1995. Her research confirmed that exposure to chrysotile asbestos alone can and does lead to mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is defined by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as a type of cancer in which malignant cells are found in the chest or abdomen lining, called the mesothelium. The disease can also affect the lining of the heart. One of the problems with mesothelioma is its long latency period, which means symptoms don't present until 30 to 50 years after the initial asbestos exposure that caused it. In Welch's testimony, she claimed that the average latency period is more than 40 years. For this reason, a new mesothelioma diagnosis can often leave victims and their loved ones confused about the cause of the illness. It's important to think back to decades earlier when the asbestos exposure happened. The outcome of this particular mesothelioma bankruptcy case remains to be seen as the trial is ongoing. The claimants report that future asbestos claims against the three companies will amount to about $55 million. Reference: Campisi, Jon (Jan. 11, 2013). “Claimants’ witness in asbestos bankruptcy case: Chrysotile can cause mesothelioma.” Retrieved on Jan. 12, 2013 from Legal Newsline Previous: Asbestos Improperly Dumped on Australian Coast Next: $7 Million Award to Secondhand Exposure Victim Upheld