Resources for Patients and their Families

American Cyanamid

American Cyanamid was founded in 1907 as a manufacturer of chemicals and chemical products. Over the decades, some of these products included toiletries, shampoos, household cleaners, plastic kitchenware and even pharmaceuticals. Supplements such as Centrum and Stresstabs as well as the polio vaccine Orimune were produced by American Cyanamid, which was eventually taken over by American Home Products. The company is now part of the German-based chemical company BASF.

Asbestos was recognized early on as an effective insulation material, not only against fire and heat but also electricity and corrosive chemicals. Of particular usefulness in chemical labs was a variety of asbestos known as amosite, which is yellowish-brown in color due to iron content – and known to be associated with mesothelioma cancer

American Cyanamid was the target of an asbestos lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey on 15 April 2008.

Through the 1970s, it was normal for industrial sites of all types to utilize mineral asbestos because it provided high resistance to heat and electricity. Even though asbestos' properties as an insulator undoubtedly protected people from injury and even death, the eventual consequences of its use were tragic, as many laborers developed serious illness and even died because of inhalation of or other contact with asbestos. The reason so many people have become ill from health conditions including pleural plaques and mesothelioma is that when humans inhale strands of asbestos, the mineral remains in internal organs; once there, the tiny, jagged bits of asbestos damage organs. Furthermore, job-related exposure to asbestos can lead to the extremely aggressive form of malignancy called mesothelioma cancer, which develops as a tumor of the mesothelium, the tissue that lines the chest cavity.

Employees who work with asbestos in present times are usually safe from exposure due to the many rules controlling its utilization, presence at job sites and demolition. People who worked near asbestos before such rules were implemented, however, commonly spent their shifts in spaces where asbestos was prevalent, and they typically were offered very little training about how to work safely with the substance. In addition, workers brought asbestos particles home with them on their work clothes when decontamination procedures were not offered at the workplace; the consequence of this was that malignant mesothelioma also affects families of those who worked with asbestos.

Those who were employed at this site at any time in the past, as well as their spouses and children, are advised to find out about these health conditions and inform their family doctors about their history of asbestos exposure, because the signs of asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma can be difficult to distinguish from those of less serious conditions.



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