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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Study Released Explaining the Asbestos - Mesothelioma Link

"Asbestos carcinogenesis has been linked to the release of cytokines and mutagenic reactive oxygen species (ROS) from inflammatory cells. Asbestos is cytotoxic to human mesothelial cells (HM), which appears counterintuitive for a carcinogen. We show that asbestos-induced HM cell death is a regulated form of necrosis that links to carcinogenesis. Asbestos-exposed HM activate poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, secrete H2O2, deplete ATP, and translocate high-mobility group box 1 protein (HMGB1) from the nucleus to the cytoplasm, and into the extracellular space. The release of HMGB1 induces macrophages to secrete TNF-α, which protects HM from asbestos-induced cell death and triggers a chronic inflammatory response; both favor HM transformation. In both mice and hamsters injected with asbestos, HMGB1 was specifically detected in the nuclei, cytoplasm, and extracellular space of mesothelial and inflammatory cells around asbestos deposits. TNF-α was coexpressed in the same areas. HMGB1 levels in asbestos-exposed individuals were significantly higher than in nonexposed controls (P < 0.0001). Our findings identify the release of HMGB1 as a critical initial step in the pathogenesis of asbestos-related disease, and provide mechanistic links between asbestos-induced cell death, chronic inflammation, and carcinogenesis. Chemopreventive approaches aimed at inhibiting the chronic inflammatory response, and especially blocking HMGB1, may decrease the risk of malignant mesothelioma among asbestos-exposed cohorts."

"Programmed necrosis induced by asbestos in human mesothelial cells causes high-mobility group box 1 protein release and resultant inflammation" Published online before print June 28, 2010, doi:10.1073/pnas.1006542107 (This item requires a subscription to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman1.973.696.7900  has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered asbestos related illnesses.

Aggravation of Prior Knee Injury Compensable in Workers Compensation

A worker who suffered an injury to a knee with a pre-existing arthritic condition was awarded workers' compensation benefits. A Wyoming court of appeals reversed a trial level decision and found that evidence existed to sufficiently establish that a fall in the workplace resulted in a material degree to have aggravated the preexisting condition.

"The claimant has a previous history of significant obesity. At 5′2″ tall with weighing close to 250 pounds, she has had extensive and excessive weight bearing on her knees. The left knee has already been replaced secondary to severe end-stage degenerative arthritis. "

The Court held, "The evidence is undisputed that despite Judd's preexisting degenerative condition, she was able to work fulltime without restriction before her work injury, and after her work injury, she suffered debilitating pain that prevented her from putting weight on her knee and from working. The work injury brought Judd's need for surgery to a head, and the Medical Commission erred in denying benefits for the surgery. The case is reversed and remanded for the award of appropriate benefits."

Judd v. State ex. rel. Wyoming Workers' Safety and Compensation Div., ___P.3d____, 2010 WL 2541673 (Wyo. 2010) Decided June 25, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

NIOSH Is Developing a Voluntary Roster of Exposed Oil Spill Workers

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is building upon the historical problems of past national disasters by establishing a registry of cleanup workers of the Gulf oil spill. In the past, those who have suffered serious occupational exposures during the recovery phase have not been identified nor followed epidemiologically.

"NIOSH is developing a voluntary roster containing information about thousands of response workers who are participating in the recovery efforts to create a record of those who have participated in cleanup activities and a mechanism to contact them about possible work-related symptoms of illness or injury, as needed. The information collected in this roster would be vital for possible future studies to determine whether health conditions that may develop are associated with occupational exposures during the cleanup. In an attempt to reach all cleanup workers, a rostering program is being administered in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. NIOSH has also extended the rostering effort to include federal workers and state and county workers who have received the required safety training and who are responding in the event. Through our rostering efforts to date, we have already captured information from more than 20,357 workers responding to this event. More information including copies of the rostering form are available on the NIOSH website.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Louisiana Health Department Reports 162 Cases of Oil Spill Worker Illness

Louisiana DHH Releases Oil Spill-Related Exposure Information
162 Exposure-Related Cases; Officials Continue to Monitor Health Impacts
One hundred and sixty-two cases of oil spill exposure-related cases have been reported to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) to date, according to its fourth surveillance report released today. One hundred and twenty-eight of those cases involved workers on oil rigs or workers involved in the oil spill clean-up efforts, while 34 were reported by the general public.
The Department is gathering data reported through its surveillance network of doctors, clinics, emergency care locations and medical facilities, which are reporting illnesses and injuries related to the oil spill for the ongoing database. Each exposure-related complaint is followed up on by DHH Office of Public Health staff.
This week's report also includes summaries of air surveillance and seafood surveillance data generated by state and federal agencies, including the EPA, the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, a private company working with BP, and the Louisiana departments of Wildlife and Fisheries, and Environmental Quality. The seafood data shows that 262 samples of various kinds of seafood have been sampled and tested for chemicals present in hydrocarbons.

Breakdown of Cases by Category:
  • Of the workers who reported illnesses, 120 were male, eight were female. Of the general public, 9 were male, while 25 were female. Most of those individuals who reported illnesses were between the ages of 18 and 64.
  • Most workers either utilized an emergency room or urgent care center, or a clinic or physician's office (104 and 21, respectively). Nineteen workers and two members of the general public with mild symptoms had short hospitalizations.
Questions about exposure-related illnesses can be directed to the Louisiana Poison Center: 1-800-222-1222. The Poison Center is staffed 24-hours a day and can provide medical management advice. To report an exposure-related illness, call 1-888-293-7020.
The full Oil Spill Surveillance Report is available here. The report will be generated by DHH weekly and posted on
DHH's Office of Public Health, Section of Environmental Epidemiology & Toxicology gathers and analyzes information provided by surveillance sites, including hospital emergency departments, outpatient clinics, physician's offices and the Louisiana Poison Center.

OSHA Issues an Interim Guidance to Protect Health of Oil Spill Workers & Volunteers

OSHA has issued 7 recommendations to protect the health and safety of Deepwater Horizon workers and volunteers. Exposures to toxic chemicals and physical agents, heat, fatigue and psychological stress remain a focal point of concern. The document discusses the serious health effects of crude oil and il dispersant exposure.

To read more about petroleum exposure and workers' compensation click here.

Click here for more information on how Jon L Gelman can assist you in a claim for workers' Compensation claim benefits. You may e-mail Jon  Gelman or call 1-973-696-7900. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

How to File a Gulf of Mexico Incident Claim

The Deepwater Horizon Unified Command has established the following process for submission of Deepwater Horizon incident claims.

BP has established an Online Claim Form as well as a Claims Line for oil spill-related claims.  
Online Claim forms are available in three languages:
The toll-free number for the claims line is 1-800-440-0858. The line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Personnel at the Claims Line will provide each caller with information on how to submit a claim.
  • Each claim will be assigned to an adjuster and the claim will promptly be investigated and evaluated.
  • Larger and more complex claims may require additional investigation and documentation prior to evaluation and resolution.
  • BP will pay resolved claims promptly. 
BP takes responsibility for responding to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. We will clean it up. BP has established a robust process to manage claims resulting from the Deepwater Horizon Incident.
BP will pay all necessary and appropriate clean-up costs.
BP is committed to pay legitimate and objectively verifiable claims for other loss and damage caused by the spill – this may include claims for assessment, mitigation and clean up of spilled oil, real and property damage caused by the oil, personal injury caused by the spill, commercial losses, including lost of earnings, profit and other losses as contemplated by applicable laws and regulations.
Additionally, BP has established several claims offices along the Gulf Coast. The office hours are from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day. BP has posted a video about the claim center on their Web site: click here to watch the video.
For more detailed information regarding BP claims process, click here
Federal disaster assistance information: 
Individuals and businesses looking for information on how to obtain Federal assistance for dealing with the impacts of the current oil spill should visit Before applying for Federal assistance, individuals should first make a claim with the responsible parties. See information on this page above for that process. includes information on the types of Federal assistance that individuals and businesses can apply for such as nutrition programs, business disaster loans, temporary assistance for needy families and unemployment insurance.
Click on the oil spill box at the top of the homepage to take you to a page with oil spill specific information. Individuals seeking oil spill related assistance should not use the registration function at this site, but should follow the instructions laid out on the oil spill specific page instead.
Claims Office Locations
New Orleans, La.
4375 Michoud Blvd.
New Orleans, LA 70129

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Oil Spill Workers Hazards May Cause Health Hazards The National Institute of Medicine held a hearing yesterday, continuing today, in New Orleans.

Heat, exposure to chemicals and changes caused by the disaster, yield a recipe for serious medical conditions, so reported a group of presenters at the National Institutes of Medicine conference in New Orleans. Those conditions include lung, kidney and liver function.

June 22, 2010

8:00 a.m. Registration
8:30 a.m. Welcome Harvey V. FinebergPresident, IOM
8:40 a.m. Charge to the IOM
Nicole Lurie, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Department of Health and Human Services
8:50 a.m. Introductory Remarks
Planning Committee Chair: Nancy E. AdlerUniversity of California, San Francisco
9:00 a.m. The Compelling Need to Understand the Effects of Oil Spills on Human Health
  • Bernard D. Goldstein, University of Pittsburgh
  • Blanca Laffon, University A Coruna
  • Edward B. Overton, Louisiana State University
9:45 a.m. The Response of the Federal Government to Health ConcernsJohn Howard, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

10:00 a.m. Panel Discussion. Taking Stock: Who Is at Risk and How Are They Exposed?
Linda RosenstockUniversity of California, Los Angeles
  • Routes of Exposure and At-Risk Populations - Paul J. Lioy, Rutgers University
  • Residents of Affected Regions: General and Special Populations - Maureen Y. Lichtveld, Tulane University
  • Occupational Risks and Health Hazards: Workers and Volunteers - Scott Barnhart, University of Washington

11:10 a.m. Panel Discussion. The Here and Now: What are the Short-term Effects on Human Health?
Linda A. McCauley, Emory University
  • Short-term Physical Effects - Nalini Sathiakumar, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Short-term Psychological Stress - Howard Osofsky, Louisiana State University 
  • Heat Stress and Fatigue - Thomas E. Bernard, University of South Florida
12:20 p.m. LUNCH (on your own)

1:30 p.m. Panel Discussion. The Need to Know: What Are the Potential Delayed and Long-term Effects on Human Health?
Kenneth Olden, Hunter College of the City University of New York
  • Neurological, Cancer, and Other Chronic Conditions - Peter Spencer, Oregon Health & Science University
  • Human Reproduction - Brenda Eskenazi, University of California at Berkeley
  • Impact on Health and Vulnerabilities of Children - Irwin Redlener, National Commission on Children and Disasters
  • Stress - Sheldon Cohen, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Lessons Learned from Previous Oil Spills - Lawrence A. Palinkas, University of Southern California
3:00 p.m. Engaging the Public, Protecting Health
David Abramson, Columbia University
3:20 p.m. Dialogue with Workshop Participants
 Mike Magee,
  • Brief Invited Remarks - Community Perspectives:
    - Myra Lewis
    - Diem Nyugen
    Wilma Subra
    John Hosey (invited) 
  • Open Dialogue with Audience
4:20 p.m. Day 1 Closing Remarks
Nancy E. Adler, University of California, San Francisco
4:30 p.m. ADJOURN

June 23, 2010

8:30 a.m. Registration
9:00 a.m. Recap of Day 1 Discussions and Overview of Day 2Nancy E. Adler, University of California, San Francisco
9:10 a.m. Remarks from the Surgeon General of the United States Public Health ServiceVice Admiral Regina M. Benjamin
9:20 a.m. Panel Discussion. How are State Governments Currently Monitoring the Effects of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill on Human Health?
LuAnn E. White, Tulane University
  • Jimmy Guidry, Louisiana State Health Officer
  • Mary Currier, Mississippi State Health Officer
  • Ana M. Viamonte Ros, Florida State Surgeon General
  • Donald E. Williamson, Alabama State Health Officer
  • Bruce Clements, Director of the Community Preparedness Section, Texas Department of State Health  Services
10:30 a.m. Panel Discussion. Critical Thinking: What Research Methodologies and Data Sources Could Be Used in Surveillance and Monitoring Activities?
John C. Bailar III, University of Chicago
  • Overview of Research Methodologies and Data Collection - Lynn R. Goldman, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Surveillance and Monitoring - Thomas D. Matte, Hunter College, City University of New York
  • Environmental Assessment, Risk, & Health - William H. Farland, Colorado State University
  • Mental Health - Howard Osofsky, Louisiana State University
  • Biomedical Informatics and Registries - Daniel R. Masys, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

12:20 p.m. LUNCH (on your own)
1:30 p.m. Panel Discussion. Looking Ahead: How Do We Develop Effective Surveillance and Monitoring Systems?
David A. Savitz, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • Nancy E. Adler, University of California, San Francisco
  • John C. Bailar III, University of Chicago
  • Lynn R. Goldman, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Maureen Y. Lichtveld, Tulane University
  • Linda A. McCauley, Emory University
  • Kenneth Olden, Hunter College of the City University of New York
  • Linda Rosenstock, University of California, Los Angeles
3:20 p.m. Closing RemarksNancy E. Adler, University of California, San Francisco
3:30 p.m. ADJOURN