Mass Torts: State of the Art

Mass Torts: State of the Art

Category Archives: Industrial Hygiene

Subscribe to Industrial Hygiene RSS Feed


Posted in Epidemiology, Industrial Hygiene, Microbiology, Reason
 "’Hunches’, even if held by experts, are not scientific knowledge." Banning plastic grocery bags might be a very bad idea. There’s no such thing as negligent failure to generate the same hypothesis as plaintiff’s future experts. There’s a very slight increased risk of lung cancer among Carolina chrysotile textile workers with 100 f-yr/ml exposure. Apparently, the Restatement… Continue Reading


Posted in Causality, Industrial Hygiene, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Toxicology
Some think that "a demonstration of the much-anticipated linkage between heritable disease and environmental factors is poised to begin." Roggli > Finkelstein Nebraska "rejects the requirement of knowledge or foreseeability of the danger as an aspect of the duty determination" in employer/employee cases. The Microbiome is a very big deal. The FDA has approved a breath… Continue Reading


Posted in Epidemiology, Industrial Hygiene, Microbiology, Reason, The Law
The conjunction paradox isn’t one and doesn’t require new standards of proof; rather, it’s evidence that the asymmetry in the law markedly favors false positives, whatever some may say. Cancer-causing H. pylori might find its way into you by hitching a ride in food borne yeasts. Blame for obesity: BPA vs BUG. The evidence that hormone replacement therapy… Continue Reading


Posted in Causality, Epidemiology, Industrial Hygiene, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Rhetoric, The Law
Aggregate settlements are all about the Benjamins, whatever the ALI may say. Some cases of multiple myeloma and MDS/AML share a common etiology. Trial by mathematics: better reasoning, not abdication of the duty to reason. Third generation cephalosporin-resistant E. coli may make the MRSA problem look easy. Individual genetic susceptibility explains beryllium sensitization at very… Continue Reading

Erionite in North Dakota

Posted in Epidemiology, Industrial Hygiene
Mesothelioma plaintiff lawyers will no longer be able to mockingly ask their clients "Have you ever been to Cappadocia, Turkey?" That’s because it turns out there’s plenty of erionite in the USA. For more info see, just  published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America: "Erionite Exposure… Continue Reading


Posted in Industrial Hygiene, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Reason
Courts must scrutinize experts because they so often suffer from the God complex. Full-time work is associated with telomere shortening in women. Nonarchetypal simian virus 40 (wtSV40) infects and transforms human mesothelial cells. Catheter-associated UTIs are way down and continue to fall. A germ-free mouse is an unhappy mouse (great summary article re: impact of… Continue Reading

How Reliable Are Exposure Estimate Techniques?

Posted in Industrial Hygiene
This month’s Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene has several interesting articles. If you’re looking for confirmation of the worry that expert subjective or quasi-quantitative (e.g. task based) exposure estimation techniques don’t produce anything that has much to do with reality see: "Evaluation and Comparison of Three Exposure Assessment Techniques" If you want an estimate of… Continue Reading

Does Recall Bias Explain Past Associations Between Pesticides and Parkinson’s

Posted in Epidemiology, Industrial Hygiene, Reason
How do people’s memories of pesticide exposures correlate with industrial hygiene estimates of those exposures? Not so well. In fact it’s pretty clear that a lot of people with Parkinson’s assume that chemicals caused their illness and so are primed to remember past high exposures that had not in fact occurred. For a well done paper showing… Continue Reading

“A Global Toxic Emergency”?

Posted in Epidemiology, Industrial Hygiene
The Story of Stuff people have now released "The Story of Electronics". In it they proclaim "a global toxic emergency" declaring that Silicon Valley is "one of the most poisoned communities in the U.S." and repeat an old canard about the alleged toxic perils of working in high tech manufacturing in general and clean rooms in particular.… Continue Reading

Chronic High Noise Exposure and Coronary Heart Disease: A Strong and Consistent Association

Posted in Epidemiology, Industrial Hygiene
In "Exposure to Occupational Noise and Cardiovascular Disease in the United States: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999 – 2004"  researchers report a doubling or tripling of the risk for coronary heart disease among workers chronically exposed to high occupational noise. Meanwhile, other studies are showing that men subjected to aircraft noise from… Continue Reading

An Unusual Benzene/MDS Opinion

Posted in Causality, Epidemiology, Industrial Hygiene, Reason, The Law
In Quillen v. Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc., 2010 WL 2044508 (E.D.Ky.) the court determined that plaintiff’s expert, Dr. George Rogers, could properly attribute a case of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) to benzene by doing a differential diagnosis. That some courts have taken to using differential diagnosis to identify the root cause of say splenomegaly rather than to distinguish histoplasmosis induced… Continue Reading

Occupational Exposure to Endotoxins: A Good Thing?

Posted in Causality, Epidemiology, Industrial Hygiene, Molecular Biology, Risk
In the newest edition of the journal Cancer Causes and Control you’ll find a paper titled "Endotoxin Exposure and Lung Cancer Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Published Literature on Agriculture and Cotton Textile Workers". The authors examined 28 studies of workers occupationally exposed to high levels of endotoxins and their risk of developing lung cancer.… Continue Reading

Chemical Safety Board Issues Hot Work Safety Bulletin

Posted in Industrial Hygiene
The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has developed recommendations following its investigation of a triple fatality accident that occurred when welding on a tank containing hydrogen, due to bacteria digesting organic matter within, sparked an explosion. The seven key lessons learned from CSB’s recent hot work accidents are: 1. Use alternatives when possible 2. Analyze the hazards 3.… 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

Using Proteins to Count and Differentiate Asbestos Fibers

Posted in Industrial Hygiene
Suggested as an accurate and convenient alternative to the PCM method of estimating airborne concentrations of asbestos fibers, Japanese researchers have devised a method of using different E. coli proteins  to selectively bind to either amphiboles or chrysotile. The resulting mix of amphiboles and chrysotile fibers can then be more precisely counted and differentiated. The… Continue Reading

DTSC: Green Chemistry Initiative

Posted in Industrial Hygiene
The initiative to make products with safer chemicals is gaining momentum and media attention. DTSC Acting Director Maziar Movassaghi explains in the linked article and video that green chemistry is a new type of environmental protection, which results in everyday products that contain less toxic chemicals. Movassaghi goes on to explain that the rules are… Continue Reading

Improving the Consistency and Effectiveness of Hazard Communication

Posted in Industrial Hygiene
The United Nations Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals was developed by a number of countries, including the United States, to address inconsistencies in hazard classification and communications.  OSHA is adopting the GHS approach and believes it will increase workplace safety, facilitate international trade in chemicals, and generate cost savings from production… Continue Reading

How Safe is Your Drinking Water?

Posted in Industrial Hygiene
Helicobacter pylori has been identified as a causative agent in cancers that are often the subject of mass tort cases such as lymphoma, stomach and colon cancer.  Though the route of transmission of helicobacter pylori is unknown it’s believed that the infection is acquired early in life through drinking water.    Here’s a paper that will… Continue Reading