New Research Suggests Talcum Powder as Mesothelioma Cause in Women

mesothelioma causeAsbestos, the only known mesothelioma cause in the U.S., is associated with industrial uses. Because of its ability to withstand heat, asbestos was a go-to component for many manufactured products where heat resistance would be helpful. Car brakes and brake pads, home and building insulation contained asbestos. Thousands of tons of asbestos were used in World War II ships to insulate piping, boilers, steam engines, and steam turbines.

These uses of asbestos suggest occupations held primarily by men. In a report called The Asbestos Epidemic in America, the Environmental Working Group states,” Asbestos kills thousands more people than skin cancer each year, and nearly the number that are slain in assaults with firearms. The suite of diseases linked to asbestos exposure overwhelmingly affect older men.” The report goes on to say that even a tiny amount of asbestos can be lethal and that “asbestos diseases have a 20 to 50 year latency period, meaning that a substantial portion of individuals exposed in the 1960s and 1970s are just now showing up as disease or mortality statistics.”

Now new research published in the September issue of the International Journal of Occupational Environmental Health, suggests that the use of talcum powder may be a mesothelioma cause in women.

The research focuses on the use of one brand of talcum powder by a woman who had recently died.

“This brand of talcum powder contained asbestos and the application of talcum powder released inhalable asbestos fibers. Lung and lymph node tissues removed at autopsy revealed pleural mesothelioma,” the published report states. “Through many applications of this particular brand of talcum powder, the deceased inhaled asbestos fibers, which then accumulated in her lungs and likely caused or contributed to her mesothelioma as well as other women with the same scenario.”

But talc is not only in talcum powder. It is commonly found in eye shadow, baby powder, face powder, and other loose-mineral cosmetics, where it’s used as an absorbent, anti-caking agent.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states on its website it is “unacceptable” for cosmetic talc to be contaminated with asbestos. “To prevent contamination of talc with asbestos, it is essential to select talc mining sites carefully and take steps to purify the ore sufficiently.”

FDA reports that from 2008 to 2010 because of safety concerns, it studied talc from four talc suppliers and 38 talc-containing cosmetic products purchased in retail stores. These included eye shadow, blush, foundation, face powder, and body powder.

The analysis found no asbestos in any of the samples of cosmetic-grade raw material talc or cosmetic products containing talc. However FDA cautions that the results “do not prove that most or all talc or talc-containing cosmetic products currently marketed in the United States are likely to be free of asbestos contamination.”

The Wizard of Oz or The Wizard of Lethal Asbestos Exposure?

asbestos exposureLike most Americans, you may be fond of the classic 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz”. It turns out that the merry old land of Oz was a toxic cloud of lethal asbestos exposure.

Remember that famous poppy field scene? The one in which the Glinda the Good Witch counters the sleep-inducing effect of the Wicked Witch’s poppies with snow? You’ll be shocked to know that the “snow” falling on Dorothy played by Judy Garland, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Man was made from 100% industrial-grade chrysotile asbestos—despite the fact that the health hazards of asbestos had been known for several years.

Chrysotile, or “white” asbestos, visually resembles real snow. Throughout the late 1920s and 30s, artificial snow made from asbestos was sold under dozens of brand names such as “White Magic,” “Pure White,” and “Snow Drift.”

Sadly, this hadn’t changed by the 1950s. As Bing Crosby sings the title song in the 1954 movie “White Christmas” a stage hand was overhead dumping asbestos “snow” on him, the National Institute for Occupational Safety Hazards reports.

Because the “Wizard of Oz” calls for the Scarecrow played by Ray Bolger to have several close run-ins with fire, his straw-filled costume is reported to have been flame-proofed with asbestos

Margaret Hamilton, who portrayed Miss Gulch and her evil alter ego the Wicked Witch of the West in the “The Wizard of Oz,” wielded a burning broom made of asbestos. Although the witch later melted, her asbestos broom didn’t, according to a newspaper report.

Although none of the principal actors in “The Wizard of Oz” are known to have died from any cause related to asbestos, it is sadly worth noting that Jack Haley, Jr., an award-winning director and producer and the son of Jack Haley who played the Tin Man, is reported to have developed “respiratory failure” and died at age 67 in 2001. Could it have been mesothelioma from asbestos dust unknowingly brought home by his father during the filming of “The Wizard of Oz”? We’ll never know.

Kazan Law Asbestos Attorneys Chosen for National Trial Lawyers Top 100 List

asbestos attorneysI am proud to announce that two partners here at our firm have been selected for the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 list for this year. The two asbestos attorneys singled out for recognition at our firm are me, Steven Kazan and Kazan Law principal partner Gordon Greenwood.

Membership in The National Trial Lawyers is limited to the Top 100 civil plaintiff and criminal defense lawyers in each state or from highly-populated regions of states. The criteria for membership include:

  • Reputation among peers, the judiciary and the public
  • Achievements, settlements and verdicts as a trial lawyer
  • Board certification as a trial lawyer
  • Nominations from leading trial lawyers, current members and Executive Committee members
  • Leadership and membership in other national and state trial lawyer organizations
  • Rankings and ratings by leading national evaluation organizations

Since joining Kazan Law in 1998, Gordon Greenwood has represented hundreds of people who worked with or around asbestos containing products, or whose families did. In addition to representing victims of asbestos disease, Gordon also maintains a caseload of pro bono cases. Prior to joining Kazan Law, Gordon spent eight years as a trial lawyer in the San Francisco Public Defender’s office personally giving quality legal representation to those accused of crimes without means to defend themselves.

I am proud of the expert team we have built here at Kazan Law over the past 40 years. Whenever we win a case for our clients, it is partly because of the thorough intelligent work that has been done in previous cases by our colleagues and the generous sharing of experience and knowledge here that we encourage. In helping each other we help our clients. And that’s the goal we all strive for here.

New Kazan Law Asbestos Attorney Talks About Her Work on Death Row

asbestos attorneyDawn Withers, a new asbestos attorney here at Kazan Law, already has a track record for helping to balance the scales of justice by providing legal help to those who need it most. During her years as a student at Golden Gate University’s School of Law, where she graduated with honors in 2013, she worked with the California Appellate Project, assisting clients on death row; and the Homeless Advocacy Project, representing indigent clients facing eviction.

“Performing public service is part of a healthy functioning democracy,” Dawn said when we spoke about her work with these two San Francisco legal nonprofits.

At Golden Gate, Dawn participated in the Honors Lawyering Program in which students attend intensive classes during the summer and then work full-time at a legal non-profit for the fall semester.

“I wanted experience in the criminal justice system,” Dawn explained, ”so I chose to work with prisoners on death row for those four months.”

Dawn assisted a team of attorneys and investigators who worked with death row inmates, including those at San Quentin. Located in nearby Marin County, San Quentin is home to the state’s only gas chamber and death row for male condemned inmates.

“I learned how important it is to work with a prisoner when they first arrive,” said Dawn. “It can be three years before they are assigned an appellate counsel and a lot can happen in that time. As a student, I was able to help the California Appellate Project attorneys to gather documents and interview the client to gather evidence for their appeal.”

At the Homeless Advocacy Project, Dawn spent several months assisting the group with the case of an indigent client who was facing eviction.

Working with the California Appellate Project and the Homeless Advocacy Project was a good fit for Dawn.

“It was a very fulfilling part of my law school experience to assist the attorneys at both these groups who provide legal services to people in crisis who otherwise wouldn’t have access to legal help.”

We are sure that Dawn will work diligently on behalf of asbestos victims and are proud to add her to our roster of asbestos attorneys at Kazan Law.

Asbestos Lawsuit Fraud Charges Stand Against Chemical Company

asbestos lawsuitHere at Kazan Law, we’ve been known as an asbestos law firm for over 40 years. Our asbestos lawsuits often go to the California Supreme Court and help establish new legal precedents in asbestos litigation. But a rising tide, as the saying goes, lifts all boats. So it helps us as an asbestos law firm and our clients, when higher courts issue decisions in other states that thwart the attempts by major multinational corporations to get away with murder.

In a recent asbestos lawsuit decision reported in the Wall Street Journal and other media, a U.S. federal appeals court in Newark, New Jersey reinstated charges of fraud and fraud concealment not only against a major international chemical company but against the law firm who represented them.

A group of plaintiffs – representatives of alleged asbestos victims — claimed that the company and their attorneys at that time destroyed or hid evidence of asbestos-contaminated products in order to dodge liability.

The three judges on the appeals panel, reversed a decision by the US District Court in Newark, New Jersey and, in a unanimous ruling, said that although New Jersey’s litigation privilege often immunizes lawyers and clients from recrimination based on their statements in judicial proceedings, the privilege cannot be used to “shield systemic fraud directed at the integrity of the judicial process.”

In other words, the judges realized that the cruel deceptions in this case were not only ploys to get the chemical company off the hook for compensating those whose lives they destroyed but that these tactics threatened the very validity of our country’s judicial process itself.

The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision overturned a lower court judge who dismissed a pending class action suit. The suit was brought against a division of BASF, a chemical company and their New York attorneys. BASF Corporation, headquartered in New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has nearly 17,000 employees in North America, and had sales of $19.3 billion in 2013, according to the company’s website.

A company bought by BASF in 1983 allegedly claimed that talc was a safe substitute for asbestos even though laboratory reports showed talc contained asbestos. After the company settled a suit from a worker exposed to asbestos-containing talc products, it attempted to avoid further suits by allegedly rounding up and destroying documents referring to the asbestos-contaminated talc, the complaint says. Their attorneys at that time reportedly developed a defense that included allegedly false affidavits and expert reports; tactics we have seen also attempted in European asbestos cases.

A daughter of a former BASF research chemist developed mesothelioma and died. In 2009 her father testified about the existence of data, analyses and reports confirming asbestos contamination. This information supposedly disappeared but has been found by BASF’s new attorneys in a storage facility owned by BASF’s former attorneys, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Meet Kazan Law Asbestos Attorney Irena Kin

asbestos attorneyKazan Law is proud to introduce our new asbestos attorney Irena Kin. Irena, who graduated cum laude from the Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2013 where she was a senior member of the Moot Court Honor Society, has a special affinity for the work we do here at Kazan Law as asbestos lawyers: empowering the powerless and speaking up for those whose voice is not heard. When Irena was three years old, she and her family left Tashkent, Uzbekistan as refugees and settled in Chicago.  They had to adjust to life in a new country with an unfamiliar language where they had no professional or social network, and no jobs. As Irina’s English skills flourished, she became at a very young age the voice for her dislocated family.

“I became their translator and as a result I also became their advocate and had to be involved in adult decisions and responsibilities,” Irena explains.

She went on to graduate summa cum laude from DePaul University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies prior to starting law school. Irena is a member of both the State Bar of California and the State Bar of Illinois.

Her early experiences inspired her to become a determined advocate for asbestos victims and we are pleased that she has come to the Bay Area from Chicago to join Kazan Law. Now, let’s talk a little more with Irena:

Why did you choose to go to law school?

Attorneys communicate persuasively, advocate for the injured, and fight to balance the scales of justice.  That sounded like a perfect match for my skills and goals.

How did you become interested in working with asbestos and mesothelioma cases?

Individuals suffering from mesothelioma are victims of corporate irresponsibility.  I wanted to help them seek compensation, and in doing so, send a message to companies that profits cannot be gained at the cost of worker health and safety.

Why did you choose to work for Kazan Law?

The people at Kazan are hard-working, passionate, and at the top of their game.  That’s the team I want to play for.

How do you hope your work at Kazan Law will help mesothelioma victims?

Unfortunately, the legal system cannot award improved health or bring back loved ones, but it can help to right injustice through compensation.  I hope to help mesothelioma victims achieve a sense of justice and cope with the financial burden of illness.

New Website Provides Easy Access to Meso Info

We are excited to tell you about the recent redesign of our health website We sponsor this site in order to provide resources and information about mesothelioma, its treatment and causes as well as how to pursue legal remedies.

We provide this information at to everyone free of charge with no subscription, log-in or sign-up required.

At Kazan Law, we offer experienced legal help to mesothelioma patients and the other victims of asbestos exposure. But we understand that mesothelioma patients and their families need more than legal help. Mesothelioma is a ruthless cruel disease that lies dormant for many years. But when it emerges it moves quickly. Mesothelioma patients and their families suddenly need to know about all kinds of important things such as tests and medical procedures, how to prevent weight loss from chemotherapy, how to prepare for a hospital visit and what experimental treatments are available for free through the U.S. government’s cancer research agency. Mesothelioma families also very much need some upbeat fun ideas like how massage therapy, pets, funny movies and even a little bit of dark chocolate can be of some benefit to mesothelioma patients.

That’s why we started We want to offer support for mesothelioma patients and their families in a comprehensive meaningful way that tries to address all their needs in one convenient place.

At Mesothelioma Circle, we have a team of professionals dedicated to helping mesothelioma patients and their families to get the information they need to make informed decisions about their health, financial, and legal care.

We take special care to provide you with the most current information with links to the most credible sources available on the wide range of topics we cover.

We hope our new design for the website makes all the information you need even more accessible. Please check it out and tell us what you think.

Kazan Law Chosen For 2015 Best Lawyers List

2015 Best Lawyers

Clockwise from top left Steven Kazan, David McClain, Denise Abrams, Dianna Lyons

What an honor it is this year as Kazan Law celebrates its 40th year to be chosen for Best Lawyers highly selective list for 2015.

For 40 years, Kazan Law has made it our number one priority to fight for justice for innocent people fatally poisoned with asbestos by those who thought they could profit by getting away with murder. In trying to balance the scales of justice, we seek to empower the powerless and through monetary awards in some way right the wrongs that were done to them and their families.

That is all. That is enough. Our legal wins on behalf of our clients gives us all the accolades we need. And yet it is very gratifying for Kazan Law to receive this esteemed professional accolade from our comrades at arms, our community of attorneys.

Selected for the Best Lawyers list for Oakland in the categories of mass tort litigation and class action on behalf of plaintiffs along with me are my longtime partner David McClain, recently retired partner Dianna Lyons and partner Denise Abrams. For me and David both, this year marks our tenth anniversary of being part of this elite list. We are delighted and also grateful to our colleagues for highlighting us as their choice for these categories.

For us, one of the most meaningful aspects of being selected for Best Lawyers is that it is strictly a peer-based list. It is not a paid for honor. It can’t be bought.

In the words of Best Lawyer: Inclusion in Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer-review. The methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area. Best Lawyers employs a sophisticated, conscientious, rational, and transparent survey process designed to elicit meaningful and substantive evaluations of the quality of legal services. Our belief has always been that the quality of a peer-review survey is directly related to the quality of its voting pool.

Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. A listing in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers. For more than three decades, Best Lawyers lists have earned the respect of the profession, the media, and the public, as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals anywhere.

To our esteemed colleagues we say a humble thank you.

Kazan Law Summer Clerks Reflect On Asbestos Law Experience

asbestos lawSummer clerks at Kazan Law learn that asbestos law practice is different from most other types of law. Our historic stance on advocating on behalf of victims of asbestos exposure often pits us against the type of big companies that many law firms seek to represent. But we find that law students who choose to work with our plaintiff’s asbestos law practice for the summer are a special breed and passionate about serving the greater public good. As they leave us to return to school, here’s what this summer’s clerks had to say about their asbestos law experience with us:

Luis Landeros, third year law student at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

I take away from my experience at Kazan a reaffirmation that even the little guy who has been wronged can obtain some form of justice.

Law school focuses on theory and precedent so you never have a chance to really understand or comprehend the amount of work it takes to take a case to trial. Working at Kazan definitely made that clear.   It was an extremely valuable experience to work on the different stages of a case and seeing the interplay of different factors.

Tenette Smith, third year law student at the University of San Francisco School of Law.

One of the most important things I learned at Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood is how fundamental the law is to ensuring safety in the workplace; the place we spend the majority of our time each day.

At times it was heartbreaking to hear the tragic news of clients that had ultimately succumbed to their diseases.  However, I have an immense sense of pride to have been actively involved in the litigation that brought the families that the clients left behind a sense of security as they move forward in their lives without their loved one.  As I continue to grow in my legal career, I will remember to always be critical, to be aware, to be involved, and most of all to be compassionate.

Anthony Caruthers, third year law student at the University Of San Francisco School Of Law

The many individual meetings I had with my supervising attorneys changed how I will approach litigation and the practice of law in general. Moving forward, I will always keep in mind the influence individuals can have on the world and people around them. Every person I interacted with this summer was an excellent person who diligently sought justice for their clients. I had not experienced real passion for a legal practice until I came to Kazan. Such realness is rare today, and I now know that I will not be satisfied until I am in an organization filled with great people who desire to make a real difference in their community. I am truly thankful for the opportunity to work at a place like Kazan.

Yuki Cruze Before working at Kazan, I had only heard rumors of how much work it takes to put on a trial, but to actually see the firm abuzz with everyone working diligently toward a common goal was truly eye opening. I have gained many practical skills from working at Kazan, but the most important thing I learned is how important it is to be a zealous advocate in all aspects of litigation.

5 First Steps to Take When You Become a Family Trust Administrator

family trust Becoming the family trust administrator is a big responsibility during a stressful time. We always hope for the best for all our clients who are suffering from mesothelioma. We hope that they are receiving excellent medical care and responding well to treatment. We want them to be able to enjoy with their families the financial awards we win for them in their lawsuits against those responsible for exposing them to asbestos.

But mesothelioma is a cruel disease. Tragically, sometimes a client with mesothelioma will pass away from the disease before or shortly after we win their case and obtain financial justice for them. Because these awards can and often do amount to millions of dollars, a family trust typically is formed to manage the money. In addition to coping with the stress of mesothelioma, a lawsuit and grief over the loss of a spouse or parent, the family member designated as the trust administrator has to take on this responsibility. Here are a few first things to do. It’s a lot. We know. We can help.

  1. Bring Estate Documents to Local Government Offices

Bring copies of:

  • the will
  • the trust agreement
  • the death certificate

to the county clerk office where you live and to any county clerk office where your loved one owned property. This will remove their name from the property tax rolls. You should receive a tax payer identification number for the trust.

  1. Locate and Update Assets

Part of your duty as a trustee is to manage all the estate’s assets. To do that, you have to find them first.

Look for:

  •  bank statements
  • deeds
  • stock certificates
  • life insurance policies.

Or you can wait for monthly statements in the mail or get a transcript of last year’s tax return from the IRS. For each bank and investment account, you will need to change the name on the account to yours so you can keep it active and make decisions to for the good of the trust.

  1. Bring Estate Documents to Banks and Brokerages

Before they do business with you,

  • banks
  • brokerage firms
  • other third parties involved with the trust’s assets

will need proof in writing that you are the trustee. Bring each of them copies of the original signed trust agreement and the death certificate.

  1. File claims for insurance, Veterans and Social Security benefits
  1. Notify, Notify, Notify

Ask the attorney who prepared the trust to give you a summary. This will suffice for notification purposes. In addition to banks, brokerages, insurance companies and Social Security, notify;

    • Phone services and utilities
    • Credit card issuers
    • The post office (have mail forwarded to you if the address is different so you will receive bills, checks and other mail)
    • Medical care providers
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