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Kazan Firm Wins $29.5 Million Mesothelioma Verdict Against Johnson & Johnson

Paralleling a similar verdict won in April of 2018, a California jury recently awarded clients of Kazan Law  damages totaling $29.5 million. The landmark verdict represents compensatory damages that Kazan clients Teresa Leavitt and her husband, Dean McElroy, suffered as a result of the mesothelioma Mrs. Leavitt contracted from exposure to the asbestos in Johnson’s Baby Powder – arguably the baby powder gold-standard for many decades. The couple is represented by a legal team made up of attorneys from both Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood, PC, and Levy Konigsberg, LLP.

 

The Defendants, Responsibility, and Damages

Those defendants ordered to pay the $29.5 million verdict include three entities:

  • Johnson & Johnson (J&J)
  • Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc.
  • Cyprus Mines Corporation (Cyprus) – a talc supplier

The jury determined after extensive deliberation, that J&J bore 98 percent of the responsibility for Mrs. Leavitt’s injuries and that Cyprus bore the remaining 2 percent of responsibility. The verdict includes $22 million for Mrs. Leavitt’s past and future pain and suffering caused by the mesothelioma, $5 million for her husband’s spousal damages, which are also known as loss of consortium and loss of services and society, and $2.5 million for economic damages, including medical expenses and lost earnings.

 

Jury’s Findings

The jury’s findings on several important elements ultimately led to the final verdict in favor of the couple: 

  • Mrs. Leavitt’s use of Johnson’s Baby Powder was a substantial cause of her mesothelioma.
  • J&J and Cyprus failed to provide adequate warning regarding the dangers of asbestos, such as that found in their talc.
  • J&J intentionally withheld information regarding the risks associated with the talc found in their famous baby powder.

 

Supporting Evidence

Evidence in support of this verdict included multiple internal documents issued by both J&J and Cyprus that prove both defendants knew – as early as the 1960s – that the talc used to manufacture Johnson’s baby powder and Johnson and Johnson’s Shower to Shower products contained asbestos. In response to their initial discovery of this dangerous fact, J&J – and some other manufacturers of talcum powder – opted out of replacing the tainted talc with an alternative substance like cornstarch and, instead, implemented a testing mechanism that couldn’t detect the asbestos and, thus, attempted to absolve themselves of potential fault. The jury saw through this attempt.

The evidence presented mirrored evidence from the April 2018 case. It was, however, the first J&J talc-related trial to be completed following reporting from the New York Times and Reuters that established J&J’s long-term awareness of the asbestos issue and its decision to keep the information from both the public and government regulators.

 

Representation

The plaintiffs, Teresa Leavitt and Dean McElroy, are represented by a legal team that includes Joseph Satterley and Denyse Clancy of Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood, PC, of Oakland, California, and Moshe Maimon of Levy Konigsberg, LLP, based in New York and New Jersey.

 

Call Kazan Law Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Talcum Powder Lawyer

To schedule a free case evaluation with an attorney, call Kazan Law today at 888-990-7008 or contact us online.

What to Look for When Researching Mesothelioma Law Firms

Kazan Law Mesothelioma LawyersIf you’ve found yourself on this page, chances are that you are looking into mesothelioma law firms, either for yourself or for a loved one who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma. As you’re probably well aware, mesothelioma is a specific type of cancer that only occurs after a person has been exposed to asbestos. Due to federal and state law, people who have been exposed to asbestos and develop mesothelioma are entitled to compensation.

Unfortunately, obtaining compensation is not as simple as letting your employer know that you have mesothelioma and collecting a check. While it’s patently unfair, victims often have to jump through certain hoops to get the compensation they deserve. In addition, the way that your claim is handled can have a significant impact on the amount of compensation you ultimately recover.

For this reason, it’s highly advisable for anyone seeking compensation for mesothelioma to retain the services of a mesothelioma law firm to represent them during the claims process. Not surprisingly, there is no shortage of law firms and attorneys that all claim to be the best in the business for your claim. So how are victims supposed to make an informed choice? Fortunately, there are objective factors that can help you make the right decision. Here are a few of the things that you should look for when researching a mesothelioma law firm.
 

Experience Counts

Mesothelioma cases are very different from other areas of law, which is why certain law firms choose to focus only on handling these kinds of claims. For this reason, it’s highly advisable for anyone seeking mesothelioma representation to retain an attorney who specializes in mesothelioma claims, as opposed to a generalist personal injury or product liability attorney. Look for a firm with many years of experience in the field and that only represents people with mesothelioma.
 

The Firm Should Do the Heavy Lifting

As a person suffering from mesothelioma, you should not be expected to handle your claim on your own when you have retained a law firm to represent you. Before you choose a mesothelioma law firm, you should make sure that they will handle every aspect of your claim on your behalf. They should come to you for meetings, research your exposure to asbestos, request and review your medical records, and handle any communications with Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Funds, insurance companies or claims administrators on your behalf.
 

You Should Never Pay Up-Front

If a law firm ever asks you for money before agreeing to take on your mesothelioma case, walk out of the office or hang up the phone immediately. The overwhelming majority of qualified mesothelioma law firms work on a contingency fee-basis, which means that they will only get paid if you recover compensation. If you do not, you will not owe the law firm anything. This type of arrangement incentivizes law firms to get you as much compensation as possible and ensures that your lawyer has a reasonably strong belief that you have a case.
 

Case Results

Finally, you should look at a firm’s previous case results. While past results are no guarantee of future success, previous settlements and awards can give you a pretty good idea as to how good a firm is at helping clients maximize the compensation they receive. While obtaining the maximum compensation available will not cure the disease, it can help you and your family achieve financial security and feel that justice has been done.
 

Call Kazan Law Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Mesothelioma Lawyer

If you or a loved one has mesothelioma, there’s a good chance that you or your family member is entitled to compensation. Remember, mesothelioma only occurs as a result of exposure to asbestos and the asbestos companies have an absolute duty to protect their customers and the public from such exposure. At Kazan Law, we are committed to helping mesothelioma victims and their families obtain the compensation to which they are entitled by seeking the largest possible settlement or award on your behalf. To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced mesothelioma lawyers, call our office today at 1-888-990-7008 or contact us online.

 

 

Kazan Firm Wins $117 Million Johnson & Johnson’s Talc Baby Powder Mesothelioma Verdict

Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder Mesothelioma Trial Team

Pictured: The trial team included Joseph Satterley (left) and Denyse Clancy (right) from Kazan Law and Moshe Maimon (middle) from Levy Konigsberg LLP.

Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood, PC of Oakland, CA announces a $117 million verdict for their clients Stephen and Kendra Lanzo, formerly of Lafayette, CA. A jury this week found that Johnson’s Baby Powder contained asbestos, and that Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. and its supplier Imerys Talc America, Inc. failed to adequately warn consumers of this fact, and further that Johnson & Johnson had a safer alternative design in cornstarch.

The jury awarded the Lanzo’s $37 million dollars as compensation for Stephen Lanzo’s asbestos cancer, mesothelioma, with 70% to Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. and 30% to Imerys Talc America, Inc. The jury also awarded $80 million in punitive damages.

Trial counsel Joe Satterley explained that this historic victory was based on newly revealed confidential documents: “For the first time the jury was allowed to see secret, internal company documents showing that these companies knew that Johnson’s talc Baby Powder contains asbestos. As a result, the jury unanimously found that Johnson’s Baby Powder contained asbestos. Johnson & Johnson should stop selling Johnson’s talc Baby Powder and replace it with cornstarch.”

The confidential company documents also revealed that Johnson & Johnson in 1969 created “Project 101.” Project 101 showed that Johnson’s talc Baby Powder contained asbestos, and that it could cause cancer. Project 101 warned that in “forty years” the company could face litigation. In 1975, Johnson & Johnson’s talc mining subsidiary noted the presence of asbestos in the Vermont talc used in Johnson’s Baby Powder, and warned that it was a “severe health hazard.”

Imerys Talc America, headquartered San Jose, California, is the exclusive talc supplier to Johnson’s Baby Powder in North America. Imerys had also found asbestos in the Vermont talc mines in 1975, yet proceeded to purchase these mines and sell this talc for use in Johnson’s Baby Powder. An internal email revealed that Imerys failed to test the talc supplied for Johnson’s Baby Powder for four years, despite certifying to its customers that it had done so. Imerys’ confidential documents also showed that Imerys fought off regulation of its talc sales by creating “confusion” with the regulatory agencies, and by turning its regulatory efforts into a “game” as set forth on a “License to Market” monopoly board. On this board, a skull and cross bones and “DANGER” were placed next to squares marked “Public perception” and “Litigation.”

The case name is Stephen and Kendra Lanzo v. Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. and Imerys Talc America, Inc. The Lanzo’s were represented at trial by Joseph Satterley and Denyse Clancy of Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood, P.C of Oakland, California and by Moshe Maimon of New York and New Jersey- based Levy Konigsberg, L.L.P.

Kazan Law Applauds the Appointment of Judge Rafael Vazquez

Kazan Law is proud to announce that one of its former associate attorneys has just become one of the newest judges on the California bench. In December of 2017, Rafael Vazquez, 42, was among 33 new judges appointed by Governor Jerry Brown. Judge Rafael Vazquez will serve in the Monterey County Superior Court.
 

Humble Beginnings for Judge Rafael Vazquez

The fact that he was appointed to a judgeship at so young an age is no small accomplishment for Judge Rafael Vazquez. He grew up in King City in Monterey County, the son of immigrant parents. His teachers and coaches at King City High School encouraged him to dream big and seek out a college education.

After he graduated from high school in 1993, Rafael started his college career at Hartnell Community College in Salinas, then transferred to San Jose State. While he was at San Jose State, his teachers recognized his potential for success and suggested that he apply to law school.

Rafael finished his undergraduate work in 2000 with a degree in criminal justice. He went on to get his Master’s degree from San Jose State a year later. Rafael was a law clerk in the law-and-motion department at Kazan Law while he attended the University Of San Francisco School of Law. It was there he met Dianna Lyons, a Kazan Law partner (now retired) who became an important mentor to Rafael as he advanced his legal career.

After he completed his law degree in 2004, Rafael went to work for the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office as a deputy district attorney. In in 2007, he took a job at a law firm and, in 2008, he returned to Kazan Law as an associate attorney. He left the firm to become an assistant D.A. for Santa Cruz County.

During his time as a D.A., Rafael prosecuted some high-profile cases, including the case of a teenager who committed a high-profile murder of a young girl in 2015. He felt the crime was premeditated and that the teen should not be back on the streets any time soon. He recently succeeded in moving that case to the adult courts, where the defendant is more likely to get a tougher sentence.

After practicing law for just 13 years, Rafael was elevated to the bench on February 2, 2018.
 

Finding a Mentor at Kazan Law

Judge Rafael Vazquez

From left to right, Kazan Law partner (retired) Dianna Lyons, Judge Rafael Vazquez, Kazan Law associate Ian Rivamonte

One of the people most excited to attend the investiture of Judge Rafael Vazquez was Dianna Lyons, who has stayed in touch with her former law clerk through the years. The investiture of a judge is the ceremony where an appointed judge is formally given his post. Judge Rafael Vazquez used the opportunity to remember the mentorship he received from Dianna at Kazan Law. In this early legal experience, Dianna’s guidance helped Rafael get his start as a lawyer. She made an impression that has stayed with him to this day.

When Rafael came back to Kazan Law in 2008, he didn’t work directly with Dianna, but she continued to support his development as a lawyer. He particularly appreciated Dianna’s perspective on maintaining work-life balance as an attorney.

Dianna was just one in a long line of people who saw Rafael’s promise and gave him the leg up he needed to move to the next level. At Kazan Law, we are honored to have played a part in the training of someone as bright and motivated as Rafael. We are humbled to have Judge Rafael Vazquez among our alumni.
 

A Showing of Support for Judge Rafael Vazquez

Judge Vazquez California

Judge Vazquez addressing the audience during the investiture at the Monterey County Government Center

Dianna Lyons wasn’t the only distinguished guest present to celebrate the elevation of Judge Rafael Vazquez. Congressman Jimmy Panetta, who represents the 20th District (Monterey, San Benito, and part of Santa Cruz counties) in Washington, was in attendance as well. Rafael and Jimmy met when they both worked for the D.A.’s office in Alameda County and they have remained close friends ever since.

Jimmy’s father Leon Panetta was also on hand to celebrate Rafael’s judicial appointment. Leon Panetta represented the same part of California that his son now serves for 16 years, until he left to be Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton in 1994. More recently, Leon Panetta served as the Secretary of Defense and CIA Director under Barack Obama and he’s another inspirational figure for Rafael.

Perhaps the most important people at the ceremony were also named Vazquez: Judge Rafael Vazquez’s three children, Apollonia, Vianni, and Trajan, along with his wife, Yvette.
 

Judge Rafael Vazquez Represents California’s Legal Future

In Monterey County, where almost 60 percent of county residents are Latino, only 16 percent of the judges have been Latino in recent years. The elevation of Judge Rafael Vazquez to the bench will help make the county’s judges more representative of the population.

As a first-generation American with immigrant parents, Rafael is in a better position than most to understand the life histories of many of the people who will pass through his courtroom. His contributions to his community won’t be limited to the courtroom; he has a history of community service that will serve him well as a member of the judiciary. He mentors young people in Salinas, where he lives. He has also done work to safeguard female farm workers from sexual harassment and assault. He is passing on to others the leg up that helped launch him on his legal career.

People like Rafael represent the future of the judiciary: smart, talented legal minds from a broad range of backgrounds who will bring many perspectives to the cases they hear. Perhaps most important, Rafael sets an example for others. Kids in Monterey County who live in immigrant families like his can see his example and know that, if a kid from King City can grow up to be Judge Rafael Vazquez, they can too.

Two U.S. Mineral Companies Assessed $22 Million in Wrongful Death Case Involving Undisclosed Asbestos in Talc Powder

OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood announced today what they believe to be the first asbestos-containing industrial talc verdict in California against San-Jose-based Imerys Talc America, Inc. and Vanderbilt Minerals, LLC headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut.

The jury returned the verdict on final punitive damages on December 11, 2017. Following a six week trial, on November 27, 2017, a jury in Oakland, CA found in Booker v. Imerys Talc America, Inc. and Vanderbilt Minerals, LLC, Case No. RG15796166, Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, that Vanderbilt and Imerys were negligent and strictly liable for the wrongful death of Richard Booker. In a bench trial, the trial court had previously held that Imerys was liable for the asbestos-containing talc sales of a predecessor entity, Cyprus Mines.

Additionally, the jury found that both Vanderbilt and Imerys had acted with malice, oppression and fraud. The jury awarded $17.5 million in compensatory damages to the Booker family, 60% allocated to Vanderbilt, and 40% allocated to Imerys. Vanderbilt settled with the Plaintiffs after the first phase of trial, and before the jury could assess punitive damages as to Vanderbilt. The jury awarded $4.6 million in punitive damages against Imerys.

Mr. Booker, who died at the age of 72 from a mesothelioma cancer, worked for decades as a paint tinter and mixer making paints.

“Vanderbilt and Imerys marketed their talc for over fifty years to the paint, ceramics, and cosmetic industries, but never disclosed that it contained asbestos,” said lead attorney Joe Satterley. “We were able to uncover their internal, confidential documents showing that they knew their talc contained asbestos, and yet sold it without any warnings. In fact, they did the opposite—they falsely assured their customers that their talc did not contain asbestos.”

At trial, Mr. Satterley showed the jury that medical doctors had found the same ingredients comprising Vanderbilt and Imerys’ asbestos-containing talc in Mr. Booker’s lung tissue. Also, the jury was shown testimony from Imerys executives proving that Imerys had re-blended its talc to try to hide the asbestos content.

This is the first time that Imerys has been found liable for punitive damages for its sale of asbestos-containing talc. Vanderbilt has previously been found liable in Kentucky, New York, and New Jersey for its marketing of asbestos-containing talc. Mr. Booker’s widow testified at trial that she and Mr. Booker chose to bring this lawsuit to prevent companies from harming workers such as her husband in the future.

Nationally Recognized Pioneers in Asbestos Litigation: Since its founding in 1974, Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood has represented thousands of people suffering from asbestos related illnesses, particularly mesothelioma. Our principals are among the most experienced mesothelioma lawyers in the country.

Attorney Steven Kazan Receives Prestigious Consumer Attorneys of California Award

Attorney Steven Kazan AwardCongratulations to Steven Kazan, Founding, Senior and Managing Partner of Kazan Law on this achievement!

Attorney Steven Kazan was honored with the Edward I. Pollock Award at the Consumer Attorneys of California’s 2017 Convention. The award was given “in recognition of many years of dedication, outstanding efforts and effectiveness on behalf of the causes and ideals” of consumer attorneys. He has spent more than four decades fighting on behalf of victims of mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer and asbestosis, and his firm’s Kazan McClain Partners’ Foundation has made significant contributions to medical research facilities that are seeking treatment for asbestos-related diseases.
 


 

View the Award Ceremony Video Below

Understanding Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations

Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer caused by past exposure to asbestos. Many individuals and their surviving family members have filed suit, but others may lose the opportunity to receive compensation because of the mesothelioma statute of limitations.

States place differing limits on how long a claim for compensation may be filed. The limitations may vary depending on whether it is the patient or the surviving family members who file.
 

Personal Injury Statute of Limitations:

The personal injury statute of limitations varies from one year in California for someone still working to six years in Maine and North Dakota to never in California for someone already retired. That’s the amount of time from the diagnosis that the cancer patient has to file a claim. Meeting the relevant deadlines is easier with the help of a mesothelioma attorney. Preparing a lawsuit and filing can take a few months, and you can lose important legal rights if your filing is not timely enough in both personal injury and wrongful death cases.
 

Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations:

Wrongful death suits typically must be filed within two years of the individual’s death. Other states put the limit at three years, or one year in a couple of states. In New York and Florida the statute of limitations is much shorter for wrongful death than for personal injury, for example.

However, it can be difficult to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Family members might not know the individual got cancer from asbestos exposure. If they know it was from asbestos exposure, they may not know where and when the exposure happened, or whose asbestos products were involved. It takes time to realize this information is necessary and then even longer to find it.

For either type of claim, the various state limitations are very important. The applicable state statute depends on three factors:

  • Current and past places of residence
  • Job sites where asbestos exposure occurred
  • Location of the responsible company

Collecting this information can be time-consuming though. This is a bigger problem for wrongful death suits, because of the much-shorter statute of limitations, and the death of the person with the most personal knowledge of the facts.

Some states have special provisions for mesothelioma cases. In some cases, there can be immediate trials for people suffering from mesothelioma, asbestosis, or lung cancer. In those states, individuals with terminal cancer may have their cases sped up. New York is one state with an “immediate trial” rule.

This slow-moving form of cancer has affected thousands of blue-collar workers who worked in shipyards, general construction, and manufacturing industries. Companies that made asbestos-containing products have been sued many times in many states, in part because they have disregarded the risks of working around asbestos.

If you have mesothelioma or had a family member die of this asbestos-related cancer, don’t let the mesothelioma statute of limitations pass. Check your state law to see how long you have to file your claim and contact a mesothelioma attorney as soon as possible. Our law firm has over 40 years of experience representing families who were affected by a loved one’s mesothelioma diagnosis.
 

$10 Million Verdict in Mesothelioma Case for Pipefitter

CertainTeed Corp. Misrepresented and Concealed the Health Risks of Handling and Working with its Product

Mr. Michael Burch was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in May of 2016 when he was 64 years old. A lifelong California resident, he and his wife Cindy raised four daughters and have four grandchildren.

Mr. Burch was exposed to asbestos in the 1970s when he worked as a pipefitter handling asbestos cement (AC) pipe manufactured by CertainTeed. His work involved cutting and beveling AC pipe using various hand tools and a 12-inch abrasive disc saw, which created extremely dusty working conditions. The dust contained the cancer-causing mineral asbestos. Day after day, he unknowingly breathed deadly asbestos dust at work and was never warned that the dust could cause him to contract the incurable disease mesothelioma.

A member of the Laborer’s Union Local 220 and the plumbers and pipefitters union Local 403, Mr. Burch performed underground utility work on water mains, sewer mains, laterals, and gas lines. He worked in mobile home parks in towns throughout California, including mobile home parks in Hayward, Sunnyvale, San Jose, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Cambria, San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Paso Robles, Valencia, Carson, and Corcoran.

Mr. Burch’s symptoms started with pressure in his chest and shortness of breath. Soon the act of eating intensified his chest pain, and he began to lose weight. Doctors discovered excess fluid around his lungs, and following a biopsy, he was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma.

Kazan Law represented Mr. Burch and obtained a $10 million mesothelioma verdict in a personal injury case against CertainTeed Corporation. The jury found the Company knew the health risks of its product but failed to warn of those risks, and fraudulently misrepresented and intentionally concealed the health risks.

The jury heard evidence that CertainTeed was aware asbestos caused cancer as early as 1962, but did not begin warning about cancer hazards on its pipe until 1985. On the contrary, CertainTeed advertised that its pipe was a “nonharmful use of asbestos” despite its knowledge that this was false.

What Is An Asbestos Trust Fund?

In an effort to escape their massive legal liabilities, many large companies that used asbestos in their products or working environments have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In order to make sure that victims of asbestos-related diseases are compensated fairly, the U.S. Congress has determined that these companies must establish an asbestos trust fund when they file for bankruptcy protection. This ensures that future victims will be able to get the financial compensation they deserve.
 

History of Asbestos as a Material

Beginning in the 1800s, asbestos became widely used by a variety of manufacturers because it was cheap, flexible, and durable. It was also a material that provided insulation and was fireproof. Construction, shipbuilding, and manufacturing companies in particular began using the material in large quantities.
 

Asbestos Lawsuits

A hundred years ago, the industry knew asbestos was killing people. By 1940, they knew it caused cancer, and by 1960, companies were well aware of the connection between asbestos and mesothelioma. This affected a variety of companies, including those that produced products containing asbestos, or those who used asbestos in their operations. Since the link between lung disease and asbestos was clear, these companies began to be overwhelmed with lawsuits from the people they had exposed to asbestos. As a result, many of these companies felt they had no choice but to file for bankruptcy.
 

Establishment of Trust Funds

Many companies filing for bankruptcy hoped that they would be able to limit their asbestos liability. Thanks to section 524(g) of the bankruptcy code under Chapter 11,the legal system did not allow them to entirely escape their obligations to their victims. Companies were ordered to establish asbestos trust funds, which were to be run as separate organizations requiring new trustees, separate from the original company.
 

Determining Claim Eligibility

The most essential requirement necessary in order to file a claim to a trust fund is the ability to prove that the victim was exposed to a certain company or product that contained asbestos, and was diagnosed with an asbestos related disease as a result. Every trust fund is able to set its own eligibility criteria, and the best way to determine if you are eligible is to contact an experienced attorney who specializes in trust fund related claims.
 

Receiving Payment

If your claim is approved, the trust will make a payment offer to you and your attorney. This is typically a percentage of the full value that has been allotted to whichever lung disease that you might have. For example, when a trust was established, schedules were set for claimants with mesothelioma, different amounts established for those with asbestos lung cancer and other amounts for other asbestos diseases

If you or your loved one has been a victim of asbestos exposure, it’s important to seek the help of a trusted and experienced legal professional. You will most likely be dealing with companies who have years of experience in trying to pay as little possible to their victims. While the establishment of the trust funds does provide you some protection, having a skilled professional on your side can greatly increase your chance of receiving fair compensation.

What To Know About California Asbestos Regulations

Asbestos was used frequently from the beginning of the 20th century in a variety of building materials. In the 1970s, the public learned what the asbestos industry had known for 60 years – that asbestos is highly toxic and that inhaling its fibers can cause lung scarring, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Although asbestos is no longer used in building materials, many older structures still contain the substance. Asbestos is most commonly found in ceiling insulation, but it is also often found in other materials, including:

  • Dry wall joint patching compounds
  • Stove or pipe insulation
  • Floor tiles
  • Furnaces and duct work
  • Roofing materials

 

Testing

It’s usually impossible to detect asbestos fibers with a generic visual inspection. According to California asbestos regulations, only licensed professionals with specialized equipment are allowed to detect and report on asbestos presence. They will send their findings to a lab for further testing, where technicians will determine the type and concentration of asbestos, and thus confirm whether the building is dangerous.

If lab technicians determine that a home is dangerous due to the presence of asbestos, the homeowner has three options:

  1. Hire a professional to remove the asbestos.
  2. Use sealants to contain the fibers.
  3. Continue to live in the dangerous environment.

#1-Professional removal is the best choice for dangerous conditions.

#2-Sealants are next best, but are not always adequate to protect families and construction workers from asbestos exposure during renovation or demolition projects. Asbestos removal is recommended if a home or building is to be renovated or demolished.

#3-doing nothing is by far the worst choice!
 

Certification

California asbestos law requires employees and contractors working on asbestos projects greater than 100 square feet with an asbestos concentration above 0.1 percent to register with the Asbestos Contractors’ Registration Organization. Anyone handling asbestos must have certification. There are five types of certification:

  • Worker
  • Supervisor or contractor
  • Building inspector
  • Project designer
  • Management planner

Different certifications have different courses and requirements, but all must be completed in a state-certified training facility. Certifications must be renewed each year.
 

Abatement

California asbestos law has strict regulations for asbestos abatement. On an abatement site, all workers must wear respirators and multiple layers of protective clothing.

There are four classes of abatement operations, and the class determines the regulations and procedures. Class I involves the removal of asbestos in thermal system [furnaces and duct work] insulation. Class II involves asbestos abatement in floor tiles, roofing, wallboard, sheeting, and construction materials. With both classes, projects must be completed in an enclosed and regulated area. All materials containing asbestos must be soaked in water before removal to limit airborne asbestos fibers, which are dangerous carcinogens. All asbestos-containing materials must also be intact when removed unless deemed impossible by the contractor.

Class III operations involve repair or maintenance work. They follow the same California asbestos regulations as Classes I and II, but they don’t allow the dry cutting of asbestos-containing materials. No asbestos-containing materials can be dropped or thrown on the ground. Instead, they must be carefully lowered and stored with “danger” signs.

Class IV operations involve maintenance or custodial work where employees contact but don’t disturb the asbestos. Those making contact with the asbestos and those performing other work in the regulated area must wear respirators and protective clothing.

The state of California requires everyone who handles asbestos to receive thorough training and education. Anyone involved in asbestos abatement in California should know the regulations for all classes of operations.

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