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Asbestos Awareness

  • Mesothelioma the Scourge of Asbestos Continued

    Over the past months we’ve focused more on the effects of Asbestos. We’ve invited a first person experience with the devastating disease that is spawned by asbestos. Let me introduce you to Katherine Keys.

    Katherine Keys has been fighting Mesothelioma for 9+years. When she was first diagnosed, doctors told her she had less than 2 years. Katherine refused to believe her time was limited and instead decided to fight the cancer. Katherine is convinced that it was her positive attitude and determination to win that has allowed her to survive against the odds.

    At first Katherine thought she had the flu. She was prescribed medication and painkillers but the pain persisted. When the pain was too much to take, Katherine went to the ER, it was there that she discovered she had cancer. Katherine was 49 years old when she was diagnosed with Stage 1 pleural Mesothelioma.

    For treatment, Katherine had her right lung and the lining of the lung removed, a major surgical procedure called extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP). After several months of recovery, Katherine began radiation treatments at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. She had treatments five times per week for several months. Although she had been scheduled for chemotherapy treatments, she was relieved to learn that she didn’t have to have them.

    Upon completing her treatments, Katherine attended her regularly scheduled follow-up appointments. At first, they were monthly, then every two months, three months, six months…and now annually. Her follow-up appointments typically consistent of blood tests, a PET scan, x-rays and other tests to confirm that she is still cancer-free.

    She was also helped greatly by the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma Lawyer Center. They helped her obtain legal and guidance information which helped with her treatments and quality of life.

    Today, Katherine feels blessed to be able to spend time with her family and share her story with other people living with mesothelioma. While she has been through a lot and is still challenged by physical pain and limitations after having a lung removed.

    Katherine continues to be an advocate and survivor offering hope for those suffering or will suffer from the burden of this disease.

    We genuinely want to thank Katherine for sharing her story. We would also like to again acknowledge the input of Kyle Walsh for his expertise in prior articles including our Blog “Exposed to Asbestos? Now What?" Kyle can be reached at this kwalsh@asbestos.com . Kyle, is from Public Outreach Department for the Mesothelioma Center whom you can also reach at 844-859-9315.

    Here at safetyinstruction.com we support “Veterans” If you are a Veteran, and believe you have been exposed to asbestos or have experienced any of the symptoms described, Please do not hesitate to contact either one of these organizations, or contact us here by e-mail info@safetyinstruction.com or call 866-598-2128 and we can help you find a source.

    For all of the information and training available this is still a very active OSHA complaint and reason for citations, which can in of itself be very expensive. If asbestos awareness is a part of your training, take it serious! We do offer a comprehensive OSHA Compliant “On Line” asbestos awareness course. Please again do not hesitate to call us here with your questions 866-598-2128 or visit us on line.

  • The Importance of Protective Gear When Working with Asbestos

    Here at Safetyinstruction.com we are always grateful to include the thoughts and knowledgeable information of all those who specialize in certain areas of expertise. This article came to us from Kyle Walsh, Kyle is a member of the Public Outreach Department for the Mesothelioma Center:

    The Importance of Protective Gear When Working with Asbestos

    Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was once revered for its versatility

    and its high heat resistance. The valuable substance was once added to a variety of products, including construction materials, insulation, roofing tiles, fireproofing spray and so much more. For decades, the mineral was used throughout homes and job sites.

    Decades later, experts linked asbestos exposure to multiple illnesses: Malignant mesothelioma, chronic lung disease, lung cancer and more. Unfortunately, it was too late. The substance had been used in so many places that millions today remain at risk of developing asbestos-related conditions.

    However, you can still protect yourself from contamination by wearing protective gear such as respirators, goggles and coveralls.

    Where to Find Asbestos

    Because of its versatility, asbestos was added to a wide array of products.

    Many people may not realize their daily activities may have exposed them to asbestos. There are three key places to watch for the deadly substance: Your job, your home and public buildings you frequent.

    According to the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, over 75 different occupational groups have exposed workers to the deadly mineral. The Asbestostop five occupations notorious for exposure:



    Power plants



    If you work in a different industry, you are not in the clear. It’s important to watch for any possible spills or exposure sites and to report them immediately.

    Asbestos can also be found in homes. Most homes and buildings constructed between the 1930s and the late 1970s contain the toxic substance. When not handled properly, home and building renovations and do-it-yourself projects can take a dangerous turn.

    When undisturbed, the mineral does not pose a major health concern. The real issue arises when it is disturbed because microscopic fibers break off and become airborne. In turn, these tiny fibers can be inhaled or ingested, which can then become lodged in the lining of the lungs or abdomen. The scarring that results from these lodged fibers eventually leads to asbestos-related conditions that then require medical treatment.

    That's why wearing protective gear is so important to your health.

    Preventing Exposure with Protective Gear

    If possible, avoid any asbestos exposure.

    Do not try to handle asbestos on your own. If that is not an option for you, be sure to take all possible precautions by using personal protective equipment. This protective gear can prevent exposure to the toxic mineral, which may limit your risk for mesothelioma and other diseases.

    According to the Minnesota Department of Health, “In addition to using proper removal procedures, using personal protective equipment will significantly reduce your exposure to asbestos fibers.”


    Respirators are an important form of protective gear when working with any form of toxic mineral. By purifying the air you are breathing, respirators can limit the inhalation of the deadly fibers. It’s important to get a respirator that fits properly; if it does not fit, they provide little to no protection.

    If possible, request a fit test before purchasing a respirator. Given the nature of respirators, it is important to talk to your doctor before using one as it can cause your lungs to work harder.


    Coveralls are essential for keeping debris off of your clothes. There are numerous reports of asbestos exposure causing mesothelioma from washing someone’s clothes. By making sure you wear coveralls over your clothes, leaving them at the job site and showering before coming home, you can limit the number of fibers taken home with you.

    Disposal coveralls are also a good solution to prevent recontamination because all asbestos will be tossed in the trash with the used coveralls. The downside is that many disposable coveralls are hot and uncomfortable, but a little discomfort is certainly better than possible asbestos exposure.


    Not only is protective eyewear important for protecting you from any flying debris, but it will also limit the amount of loose asbestos fibers that can pierce the delicate parts of your eyes. They are especially useful when removing floor tiles that may contain asbestos.

    Asbestos is a toxic mineral with deadly consequences. By limiting your exposure and wearing protective gear, you can limit your risk of developing a variety of debilitating diseases.

    Again we want to thank Kyle and the Public Outreach Department for the Mesothelioma Center! You can reach Kyle by E-mail at kwalsh@asbestos.com

    If you are interested in posting your thoughts on a safety topic please give us a call here or send us an E-mail at info@safetyinstruction.com and let’s talk about it.

  • One Battle You Didn’t Choose: Cancer and the Chemicals that Cause It

    My best guess is that just about everybody reading this blog article has been affected by cancer either directly or indirectly. I know that guess isn’t very scientific, or actuarial, but it sure will be close. It’s the one diagnosis everybody fears. After a diagnosis leaves you reeling from the unknown, and “it can’t be happening to me” feeling, the next two questions are: what are my chances for survival, and where did it come from? The feeling of doom just seems to settle in until your Oncologist can help you understand what will happen next. You’ll need to listen to your doctor and trust his/her experience; you might also want to consider a second opinion. The other question…..Where did it come from?....... If not from heredity, then the next culprit is carcinogens.carcinogens

    A carcinogen is any substance, radionuclide, or radiation that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer. This definition is offered by Wikipedia. I’m not a chemist to know and understand the science of how it works. Additionally they offer Dioxins and dioxin-like compounds, benzene, kepone, EDB, and asbestos which have all been classified as carcinogenic.[6] As far back as the 1930s, industrial smoke and tobacco smoke were identified as sources of dozens of carcinogens, including benzo[a]pyrene, tobacco-specific nitrosamines such as nitrosonornicotine, and reactive aldehydes such as formaldehyde—which is also a hazard in embalming and making plastics. Vinyl chloride, from which PVC is manufactured, is a carcinogen and thus a hazard in PVC production. That’s a lot of chemistry to deal with. Here’s the point we want to make. There are roughly 20,000 deaths annually associated with occupational hazards. That is a number we shouldn’t be happy with. Training is available, and as an employer that training should be made available. An employer should also make a concerted effort to identify any carcinogens associated with the process of or results of the products produced in his plant, and train accordingly.

    Cancer did affect my family as I recently lost a brother to this ruthless disease. He was employed in a lab at a paper mill. He was only 60 and getting ready to retire, his wife is now a widow. “”Father’s day” is a painful reminder instead of a celebration, and holidays are empty. We are a large family in a small community, and our faith does help take the edge off. As a safety advocate I would strongly urge you to take a look at your safety program at work, and make sure it includes “Carcinogen safety”. If your company doesn’t have a course, you can take one “on line.” I realize we can’t avoid all, or legislate carcinogens out of existence, but we need to make an effort to understand what and where they are. I would also ask all of you to consider supporting cancer research, or families who struggle with the cost of fighting this formidable opponent.

  • Asbestos and Mesothelioma

    Many work environments requiring manual labor expose employees to different kinds of occupational hazards. One of these is asbestos exposure, which can lead to a medical condition known as mesothelioma. Learn more about the disease from this forum thread posted by Amar Ryder, and find out how it is acquired and what measures can be taken in the workplace to prevent its occurrence.

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