December 11, 2012 – The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently awarded a $1.2 million dollar grant to researchers at the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET) at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The grant will fund a study on the lasting health, financial and social effects that an industrial site containing hazardous materials can have on a community. The researchers at Penn Medicine will use the history of Ambler, Pennsylvania’s asbestos manufacturing and the documented surge of asbestos-related illnesses of its community members to develop the educational program.
Several decades ago, the town of Amber, Pennsylvania was a mecca for the manufacturing of asbestos, with factories owned and operated by Keasby Mattison, CertainTeed and Nicolet for over a century. In the 1980’s, when the dangers of asbestos exposure became well-documented and the asbestos industry in the United States came to a halt, the factory was closed down; however, that was only after the most of the town and its residents were exposed to airborne asbestos dust daily.
The lasting negative health effects of the town’s asbestos history continue to be exposed. When compared to Pennsylvania as a whole, the residents living in Ambler have shown higher rates of mesothelioma, a rare but deadly cancer that is specifically linked to asbestos exposure. Because the symptoms of mesothelioma may not become evident until 20 to 50 years after exposure, anyone who resided in Ambler during its asbestos heyday may be at risk for mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease. Moreover, even new residents may be at risk of exposure, as asbestos-contamination is still documented and the two areas of Ambler are designated EPA Superfund sites.
Penn Medicine’s Learning about the History of the Ambler Community and the Impact of Asbestos Exposures
The town of Ambler is still trying to recover from the economic and social losses they suffered when the asbestos factory closed its doors. Penn Medicine’s team intends to begin its research by conducting interviews of the Italian and African-American immigrants who worked in the asbestos industry in Ambler including data on their families and neighboring residents. They will seek to understand the concerns and worries of current residents, as well as discern the information residents feel would be helpful for them in planning for the future of their community. The hope is that Ambler residents will gain insight into the community’s past history and be empowered to gather collectively as a group in the recovery efforts to make their town a healthier and safer place. Dr. Frances K. Barg, Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, will lead the research team along with Dr. Edward Emmett, Professor of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the founding deputy director of CEET.
After the interviews are completed and all the materials collected are sorted through and organized, an online database will be generated so that all the information they gather is readily available for those who wish to access it. The health risks associated with asbestos will be included as well as profiles of those who were directly impacted. Educational materials will be available for healthcare providers, schools, communities, lawmakers and businesses.
In addition, the researchers plan to create an exhibit at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia to display photographs and documented interviews and life stories of those impacted in the Ambler community. The exhibit will feature factory workers, their family members and those who were affected simply by living near the factory. They will also have news reports and scientific research data on display at the exhibit.
While this project was primarily developed to help Ambler heal, it is also intended to help other communities that are facing similar struggles resulting from their proximity to dangerous industrial sites. It is hoped that other towns can learn from the community of Ambler and overcome their own challenges and move forward.
Philadelphia Asbestos Lawyers at Shein Law: Committed to Helping Victims and Their Families Suffering the Devastating Effects of Asbestos Exposure
The experienced, knowledgeable asbestos lawyers at Shein Law in Philadelphia are local attorneys representing local victims of asbestos exposure. Our skilled trial attorneys have been representing Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey victims of asbestos exposure with dedication and compassion for more than 25 years. That’s all we do.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos or diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease such as lung cancer and asbestosis, we encourage you to call Shein Law to speak with one of our asbestos lawyers. We can provide you with superior legal representation, protect your rights and seek justice in the financial compensation to which you are entitled. With offices in Center City Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. Call our office today at 1-800-SHEINLAW (743-4652) to schedule a free and confidential consultation at a location convenient to you or contact us online.