Mass Torts: State of the Art

Mass Torts: State of the Art

Monthly Archives: January 2010

Facts Don’t Have Much Impact on Values

Posted in Reason, Risk
By now you’ve likely heard that Andrew Wakefield, the British doctor whose 1998 paper published in The Lancet linked autism to the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, has been found by that country’s medical supervisory board to be guilty of "unethical" research, dishonesty, financial impropriety and "serious professional misconduct". And if you’ve been following the story you … Continue Reading

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify Simplify

Posted in Reason
The hardest thing a trial lawyer does is also the most important thing a trial lawyer does. It is to distill her case down to its essence so that it can be clearly and easily communicated. Yet simplifying doesn’t just ensure that your jurors understand your position; simplifying makes it much more likely that your jurors will believe … Continue Reading

$500 Million Case?

Posted in The Law
Eight contract workers recently filed suit against BP Products North America Inc. and Pasadena Tank Corp. in Galveston County claiming they were exposed to “extremely high levels of benzene,” at BP’s Texas City refinery on Aug. 19, 2009. The exposure allegedly occurred when a damaged pipe began "spewing" chemicals in an area where the plaintiffs … Continue Reading

A Critique: Recent Epi Studies of Motor Skills and Manganese

Posted in Epidemiology, Risk
In "Risk Assessment of an Essential Element: Manganese" Annette Santamaria and Sandra Sulsky of ENVIRON critically review recent epidemiological literature associating a variety of abnormal psychometrics with relatively low levels of manganese exposure.   The authors conclude that the available epidemiological data is generally flawed and unreliable at least for the purpose of doing risk assessment. Furthermore, … Continue Reading

An Explanation for the Quebec/South Carolina Chrysotile Conundrum?

Posted in Epidemiology, Industrial Hygiene
Why is there such a disparity between health outcomes of the workers who mined chrysotile and the textile workers who used it? In "Comparing Milled Fiber, Quebec Ore, and Textile Factory Dust: Has Another Piece of the Asbestos Puzzle Fallen into Place?" Berman reports that the dusts encountered at the facilities vary in two important … Continue Reading

Is That “Science”?

Posted in Reason
Imagine: Someone makes a claim about how things work and assigns to that clam a 90% or greater probability of it being true. The sole evidence for the assertion is a copy of a nine year old popular science magazine in which a telephone interview of someone making the claim was reported. No data. No calculations. No experiments. Nothing. Would you … Continue Reading

The Malleability of Memory

Posted in Reason
Neuronarrative has a write up on a study that goes a long way towards confirming what is often suspected about plaintiffs’ exposure testimony in latent disease cases – that showing people pictures of the activity being considered causes them to subsequently remember things that never happened. But how else would you explain the testimony of a witness who swears he used Acme Asbestos Widgets … Continue Reading

The Power of Negative Thinking

Posted in Reason
Let’s say that a telecom tower was built in your neighborhood to broadcast microwaves at a new frequency. Then, after it was up and running, neighbors began claiming all sorts of ailments including rashes, headaches, nausea, tinnitus, sleep disruption especially among children and gastrointestinal upsets. Finally, following protests from "a residential community filled with children exposed to uninvited … Continue Reading

To How Much Manganese Are Welders Exposed?

Posted in Industrial Hygiene
In "Manganese, Iron, and Total Particulate Exposures to Welders" the authors analyzed multiple sets of data in an attempt to characterize exposures generated by welding. They conclude that manganese exposures are likely often above the current TLV of 0.2 mg/cubic meter. Significantly, they also report strong and consistent correlations between levels of manganese, iron and total … Continue Reading

More Evidence That Vitamin D Prevents Cancer

Posted in Reason
For a number of years my great grandmother’s admonition to get out of the house and get some "healthy sunshine" as soon as winter eased its grip has been at odds with the consensus in the medical community. Sunlight is officially expected to be a human carcinogen. And there’s no safe level for carcinogens, right? So stay out of … Continue Reading

Does Education Cause Autism?

Posted in Causality, Epidemiology
If a strong and consistent association between autism and a single chemical or vaccine were found in ten separate clusters around California you’d expect to read about it; and you’d expect the researchers to infer that the chemical or vaccine was, in fact, the cause of autism. But what if the only strong and consistent … Continue Reading

It’s National Radon Action Month

Posted in Causality
The EPA says that radon, a colorless, odorless gas, is responsible for 20,000 American lung cancer deaths annually. Because January is the best time to test for the gas it has been designated "National Radon Action Month". You can read the EPA’s press release here and find its radon information and testing site here… Continue Reading

European Commission Seeks Input From Stakeholders on Action Plan for Nanotechnology

Posted in Risk
Public authorities, citizens and organisations are being asked to weigh in on a new Action Plan for Nanotechnology being considered by the European Commission . Submissions are due by Feb. 19, 2010. There’s also an online questionnaire to be filled out that will give you a pretty good idea of the benefits and risks being contemplated for this … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court To Review Appellate Split

Posted in The Law
The California Supreme Court will review an asbestos case against valve and pump manufacturers that will provide the opportunity to reconcile divergent California appellate court views on the issue of whether a manufacturer had a duty to warn of the dangers associated with the subsequent application of asbestos-containing materials to its products. In O’Neil v. Crane … Continue Reading

Bernie Goldstein States the Case for Benzene-Induced Lymphocytic Malignancies

Posted in Causality
Arguing that the target of benzene is a multipotent stem cell capable, when carrying the sort of mutations thought to be caused by benzene, of producing both myeloid and lymphoid malignancies, and that new classification systems are blurring the lines between previously thought distinct diseases, Goldstein’s article concludes that  there is now sufficient evidence to attribute lymphomas to … Continue Reading

Life Breaks Free

Posted in Molecular Biology
"If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it’s that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, expands to new territory, and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously." -Dr. Ian Malcom, Jurassic Park That’s the quote that came to mind when I read the story about infectious cancer in Tasmanian … Continue Reading
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