(Intro #2) Painters and Cancer (Occupational cancer)

Rgshep at SPAMaol.com Rgshep at SPAMaol.com
Sat May 6 11:30:35 MDT 2000

This is into #2, I will be keeping my meails to a shorter length from now on.

I just recently settled my workers compensation claim in California that my
squamous cell carcinoma of my nasal septum was caused by my occupational
exposures as a painter for 31 years.  The total settlement was for $280,000
and is a breakthrough case and will help, to some extent, other painters.
Below is some work I have been doing to require "safe paint" and to prevent
cancer amongst painters.

              Roland Sheppard

                     \\  ~ ~  //
                      (  @ @  )

          "I see a train acomming..."

  “As painters, we contracted ourselves to work 40 hours a      week, we
didn’t contract our lives in that arrangement.”

Since I was diagnosed with cancer in 1995, I have been actively working to
prevent occupational cancer.  I helped to write a bill (SB370) designed to
prevent cancer amongst painters.  (Lisa A. Morrow,PhD. endorsed this bill, as
did Richard Trumka, Sec-Treas AFL-CIO)  It was tabled in committee last
year(1997) and later (1998) considered "not for submission" by the California
State Building Trades Council.

Below are articles that I wrote for the San Francisco Building Trades
Newspaper and the Painters District Council 8 newspaper.

Doctor Larry Rose, the last Cal-OSHA Doctor, is the stepson of a painter
friend of mine who has bladder cancer.  Together we decided to begin a class
action suit against the paint companies for cancer, lead poisoning, etc..
His contacts led me to the Choulos law firm.  Steven Skikos is the attorney
doing the initial work on the suit with Choulos et.all..
The Choulos Law Firm was involved in the Delcon Shield and Fen Fen class
action suits.
Initially, the law suit will begin with lead poisoning. Hopefully such action
would force the use of non-toxic paint products that are now available in
place of the toxins currently in use.

(The following article is in the latest issue of the Painters DC#8 newspaper T
he Voice. and was previously printed in the San Francisco Building Trades
Council Newspaper: Organized Labor.)


As you know, I retired as your Business Representative last year (1997) due
to stress related to the job and cancer.  I am now working full-time to
prevent cancer in other painters.

    In order to do this, it is very important to find out how many painters
are in our union whose health has been afflicted with cancer.

    If you have cancer, or know of any other painters who have diseases
(cancer, dementia, liver ailments etc.) that are related to paint exposure or
who have died of cancer, and  painters who have children with leukemia,
please call 415-474-7800 and ask for Mr.  Bill Choulos, Attorney at Law.

    This information is important to help those of you, like myself, who have
cancer and to prevent other painters and their families from getting sick in
the future. ...Yours for a better tomorrow...

Roland Sheppard

Remember: Be Smart -Work Safe!

The following is an Article printed in “ORGANIZED LABOR” (Newspaper of the
San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council)

On Monday, January 26, 1998, Senate Bill SB 370, died in the Senate
Appropriations Committee due to a tie vote.  California State Senators John
Burton, Chuck Calderon, and John Vasconcellos (all leading Democrats) did not
show up to vote.  In previous articles I explained that the bill would give
painters the “presumption for cancer” under workers compensation law that
the firefighters and cops have enjoyed for the past 16 years.

The presumption applies if a firefighter/cop can prove that he/she was
exposed to a carcinogen (cancer causing substance) during his/her employment
as a firefighter/cop.  The authority  on carcinogens, used in the
presumption, was the list of carcinogens documented by the International
Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

The IARC has listed that “occupational exposure as a painter is
carcinogenic.”  In other words, exposure as a painter causes cancer.  (This
is very logical, since we are exposed to over 150 known or suspected
carcinogens and close to 3000 different hazardous substances on a regular
basis.) We are the only occupation that is listed in this manner, yet the
legislature, with a Democratic Party majority, COULD NOT SEE FIT to give us
the same rights as the firefighters and the cops which are not on the IARC

In 1984, the State of California, finished a mortality (death) study that
found that painters experienced an overall mortality rate that was almost twic
e the average.  Excess rates of cancers were a major factor contributing to
the excess mortality rate for painters.

The “Double Breasted” California PDCA legislative representative to the
California State Legislature tried to blame the excess cancer rates on
smoking.  A large percentage of painters do smoke, but most scientific
studies on painters do take this into account.  In fact, even the National
Cancer Institute, in 1977, found an increased rate of lung cancer amongst
painters after controlling for smoking.

Actually smoking has been found to have a synergistic (multiplying) effect
with other carcinogens.  For example, shipyard workers who smoke have twenty
times the average rate for lung cancer.  Shipyard workers who do not smoke
have ten times the average rate for lung cancer.  The contractors are well
aware of these facts.  Smoking and painting do not mix.  In many respects it
is just as dangerous to yourself and other workers to smoke while painting,
as smoking at an oil refinery.  Has a contractor ever told you or your fellow
workers not to smoke while working?  Has a contractor ever monitored the air
levels of hazardous materials in the air while painting, as required by OSHA?

SB370 would have required safety measures that would have made it more
expensive not to be safe.  It would have established a level safety playing
field for all painting work.

Our “friends” in the legislature turned their backs on us.  It was a callous
disregard of our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  The
potential liabilities of the insurance companies and the paint industry had
more weight than our high mortality rate.

On the positive side, the different attorney organizations are now aware of
the hazards of painting and the scientific evidence.  If you or any painters
you know get cancer, they should file for workers compensation.

Eventually, if we keep persistent, we can force the paint companies to
produce safe paint products.  A small step forward has been made in the past
several months.  Several major paint companies have now decided to stop
putting formaldehyde (a chemical known to cause cancer in California) in
latex paint.


(Below is a copy of the standard letter that I sent out asking for support
and copies of articles that I have written for my union’s newspapers.  It was
based on making it expensive not to be safe with the workers compensation
system enforcing safety.  ((All painting contractors have to be licensed and c
arry insurance in California.)))

Hello! My name is Roland Sheppard.  I was a business representative for
Painters Local 4, in San Francisco, from 1994-1997.  In August 1995, I had my
entire nose removed due to squamous cell carcinoma of the nasal septum.

Epidemiologists have concluded that my cancer was due to my numerous
exposures to carcinogens during my 31 years as a working painter.  Since my
operation, I have been active trying to prevent cancer in general, and to
prevent other painters from getting cancer.

In 1983, the State of California did a mortality study that found that
painters had twice the mortality rate of the rest of the population.  They
concluded that this was due to the especially high rate of cancer amongst

In 1989, the The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
determined that "Occupational exposure as a painter is carcinogenic (Group
1)."  Painters work with approximately 150 know or suspected carcinogens on a
regular basis.  With the proper use of respirators, protective clothing,
gloves, etc., most occupational cancers and others diseases associated with
painting can be prevented.

(In spite of the evidence,  The State of California  has done nothing to make
painters aware of these facts or to lower the rate of cancer amongst

The case for painting as an occupational carcinogen is pretty well
documented.  However, most painters are under the impression that "water
based paints are safe."  There is a study on "Waterborne paints" Scand J Work
Environ Health 13 (1987) 473-485.  The general conclusion of the article is
that the waterborne paints are "safe."  It does point out that painters in
closed rooms (bathrooms etc.) were exposed to formaldehyde above the levels
at that time.  These paints also contain ethylene glycols, vinyl acetates,
and ethylene oxides.

The danger is that most people assume that latex paint is safe.  Painters are
not as careful about fumes etc. as they are with oil, epoxy, or lacquer
coatings.  Their bodies do not let them know if they are over exposed.  For
example, cigarettes taste terrible when working with the old paints.  With
the new water based paints they taste good. (The nicotine soothes the
irritation to the mucus membranes--making a great cancer cocktail!)

In today's world of air conditioning, most painters work in environments that
are closed off (confined space).  Basically, they are working in higher
levels than those recorded in the aforementioned study on waterborne paints.
By today's standards for formaldehyde, the 1987 conclusions and "'safe'
exposure levels" about waterborne paints do not stand up to the test of

Nothing has been done despite the obvious facts. I helped to get a bill
written in California (SB 370)*.  It is presently postponed to the next
session in the senate appropriations committee.  It is designed to make it
cheaper to make painting safe and to make it expensive to put painters at
risk.  It would use the "free market system" to enforce safety rather than to
have the government spend money to hire more OSHA investigators who can only
check less than 1% of the jobs.   The exclusions to the "presumption" require
training making the employer aware of the risks thus requiring safety
compliance.  It would be easy to enforce, for safety requires replacing
gloves, respirator cartridges, and goggles on a daily/semi-daily basis.
(Also, painters can not smoke if they are wearing respirators.)

In my trade, approximately 75% of all painters die of cancer and/or other
diseases associated with the trade that are basically preventable.   I am
open to anyone who would want to support SB 370 to prevent cancer and other
occupational diseases for painters.  (It is unfortunate that prevention is
not a top priority in cancer circles.)

It may sound stupid, but I am trying to prevent preventable diseases.  It
should be a "no brainer".   I hope that you can support this bill and please
send me any copies of support that you send.  Thank you for your time.
I am sincerely yours,

Roland Sheppard
*SB 370 Workers' compensation:

FEBRUARY 13, 1997 An act to add Section 3212.8 to the Labor Code,relating to
workers' compensation. LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST SB 370, as introduced,
Solis. Workers' compensation:
Existing law provides that in the case of active firefighting members of
state and local fire departments or in the case of peace officers, as
specified, an injury under the workers' compensation law includes cancer that
develops or manifests itself during the period of specified employment,
provided the person demonstrates exposure during the employment to a known
carcinogen, as defined, that is reasonably linked to the disabling cancer.

This bill would include painters within those persons for whom cancer
occurring during employment is deemed an injury under the workers'
compensation law.  SB370:
SECTION 1. Section 3212.8 is added to the Labor Code, to read: 3212.8. In the
case of painters, the term "injury" as used in this division includes cancer t
hat develops or manifests itself during a period while the employee is
employed as a painter, if the employee demonstrates that he or she was
exposed, while so employed, to a known carcinogen as defined by the
International Agency for Research on Cancer, or as defined by the director,
and the carcinogen is reasonably linked to the disabling cancer.

Compensation awarded for that cancer shall include full hospital, surgical,
medical treatment, disability indemnity, and death benefits, as provided by
this division.

 The cancer so developing or manifesting itself in these cases shall be
presumed to arise out of and in the course of the employment. This
presumption is disputable and may be controverted by other evidence, but
unless so controverted, the appeals board is bound to find in accordance with
it. This presumption shall be extended to an employee following  termination
of employment for a period of three calendar months for each full year of the
requisite employment, but not to exceed 60 months in any circumstance,
commencing with the last date actually worked as a painter.

       The presumption provided by this section shall not apply if the
employer requires that employees employed as painters be all of the
     (a) A State Department of Health Services lead certified worker.
     (b) Hazardous material and communication certified.
     (c) Industrial first aid and CPR certified.
     (d) Respirator protection training and fit testing certified.

   Article from Painters District Council#8 Newspaper "The Voice"

Why Painters Should Wear Respirators and Skin Protection At All Times by
Roland Sheppard
In our safety classes you are taught to read “MSDS sheets”.  For prevention
of cancer, these sheets are of no value.  The reason is that NIOSH, the
scientific part of OSHA, does not set the permissible legal (OSHA) limits of
particles in the air while you are working.  From the following examples from
the 1994 NIOSH Pocket Guide To Chemical Hazards, one can see what is wrong
with OSHA.

    Substance                  NIOSH PEL            OSHA PEL
    Benzene                  .1ppm              1ppm
    Ethylene Oxide               .1ppm                1ppm
    Formaldehyde             .016ppm                 .75ppm

>From Page 342 of the "Pocket Guide":  “NIOSH has not identified thresholds
that will protect 100% of the population.  NIOSH usually recommends that
occupational exposures to carcinogens be limited to the lowest feasible*

>From these facts about two known carcinogens and one probable carcinogen,
common in paints, one can tell that OSHA can not prevent occupational cancer.
 Especially in painters who are exposed to over 150 known and suspected
carcinogens and over 3000 hazardous substances daily.  As you can see people
getting cancer are part of the equation; OSHA pel's are at least ten times
higher than NIOSH; therefore, the OSHA "feasible" risk for cancer is at least
ten times higher.  (This is the usual difference between NIOSH and OSHA.)

Cancer being a part of painting is guaranteed by OSHA.  Children and spouses
of painters also have high rates for cancer.

One must also remember that ethylene glycol is the base for most latex paints
and radiator fluid.  NIOSH recommends when working with ethylene glycol that
you should prevent skin and eye contact, wash when contaminated and change
clothes daily.  OSHA and MSDS sheets can not protect you from occupational
diseases.  Work safe! Be smart! Wear respirators, gloves, goggles, and long
sleeve shirts at all times when painting.  Protect yourself and your family
from occupational diseases.

OSHA tried to correct itself in the 1970’s but with no success.  If, as OSHA
administrators estimated, during the Carter presidency, that their proposed
legislation would produce a 20 percent drop in cancer rates, then Ronald
Reagan was a carcinogen, and a potent one at that.  Today, one can add
Clinton to the list.

*(In a video taped interview, Peter Infante, Director of Standards for OSHA,
stated that NIOSH includes one more cancer per 1000 workers exposed as

LATimes, Saturday, May 15, 1999 Home Edition Section: Metro Page: B-1
(The folowing articles propose regulations that would eliminate known or
suspected carcinogens from paints, unfortunately the Painters District
Council # 36, in L.A., is part of "ELRAP" which is opposing these regulations
requiring safe paint!?...Roland Sheppard)

AQMD Adopts Tough New Rules for a Variety of Paints; Smog: Despite protests,
panel slashes amount of pollutants that products may contain. A $6 rise for
gallon of glossy paint is predicted.; By: BETTINA BOXALL

Once again taking aim at the paint bucket, Southern California's smog
fighting agency adopted regulations Friday that will slash the amount of
polluting chemicals allowed in a wide variety of industrial and household

The air pollution rules will force manufacturers to embark on expensive
reformulations of nearly half the paint sold in the region, and, according to
analysts for the anti-smog agency, drive up retail prices for those products
by almost a third.

The board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District approved the
regulations on an 8-1 vote over the heated protests of paint industry
representatives, who crowded into the agency's auditorium for 2 1/2 hours of
Manufacturers, painting contractors and retailers complained that the new
pollution limits are unrealistic, will lower the quality of water-based
paints and will drive some small paint companies out of business.

"This is, by many magnitudes, the most drastic and most expensive, ruinous
amendment ever proposed" in the AQMD's 22-year program of regulating paint,
said Ray Robinson, executive director of a regional trade group called the
Environmental, Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy Program (ELRAP).

The rules substantially cut levels of volatile organic compounds, or
hydrocarbons, permitted in various products. Emitted by petroleum-based
solvents in paint, such compounds react in sunlight with nitrogen oxides to
form ozone, a major component of smog.

"There is no way to win the war on smog without addressing this pollution
source," AQMD Executive Officer Barry Wallerstein said in an interview this

The agency has been tackling paint for years and has been sued various times
by manufacturers. In fact, much of the paint addressed in this round of
regulations was the subject of 1990 rules partly overturned in court for lack
of an environmental assessment of certain issues. This version is even
tougher than the earlier one.

The new rules, to be phased in over the next seven years, deal with primers
and sealers, industrial paint, household quick-dry enamels and glossy paint
used on woodwork and in bathrooms and kitchens. Stains and various
coatings--floor, roof and rust preventive--would also be affected.

Reformulating the paint, most of which is water-based but still contains
polluting solvents, to meet the new standards will cost the industry more
than $800 million and add $6 to the regional cost of a gallon of glossy
paint, according to the AQMD.

The cost of such paint can now vary from a low of about $13 a gallon to as
high as $30 a gallon or more, depending on quality and brand.

The price increase will be worth it, the agency says, because the
reformulations will eliminate nearly 22 tons of volatile organic compounds
emitted each day, or slightly more than 2% of all such compounds produced
daily in the Los Angeles Basin by all sources, including cars and industry.

As it dries, paint of all types used on structures sends 58 tons a day of
volatile organic compounds into basin air. It would take 1.8 million cars to
produce the same amount of hydrocarbons.

"This is a very large [pollution] source, and if we're ever to get to clean
air, it has to be tackled," Wallerstein said.

In the past, the agency has turned its attention to auto paint, aerosol spray
and flat paint, which must meet lower pollution limits by 2002. AQMD paint
pollution standards are already the strictest in the nation, and the rules
adopted Friday make them even tougher, pushing the envelope of paint

Many in the paint industry contend that manufacturers are being asked to do
the impossible.

"These limits are so low that technology-minded people with years of
experience can't even begin to conceive of how they're going to formulate
coatings to meet those limits. They haven't got a clue," said Jim Sell,
senior counsel for the National Paint & Coatings Assn.

The AQMD staff responds that it has been hearing that argument for years.
Moreover, the paint industry is not entirely united against the standards.
Co-owners of Dunn-Edwards Corp., the largest supplier of paint in Southern
California, testified Friday in favor of the new standards.

It was a dramatic turnabout for the company, which in the past has been a
leading AQMD adversary and taken the agency to court. But the last round of
industry lawsuits, challenging the AQMD's 1996 regulations on flat paint,
have so far gotten nowhere.

"The past didn't work," said Howard Berman, lobbyist for Dunn-Edwards. "The
litigation was not achieving what Dunn-Edwards wanted."

He added that the new rules contain several "safety net" provisions that make
them acceptable.

One leaves room for a change in the rules as the compliance deadlines
approach if the new paint formulations don't yet seem feasible.

Another clause allows companies to average the volatile organic compound
levels of their products, so they could sell some kinds of paint with higher
amounts if other products offset them.

And Dunn-Edwards also hopes that research at a smog chamber now under
construction at UC Riverside may prove that the volatile organic compounds in
paint are not as reactive, and thus as polluting, as the AQMD staff believes
they are.

Ed Laird, president of Coatings Resource Corp. of Huntington Beach, is
another manufacturer who supports the new pollution limits.

"I think it's time now to work through the process of regulation and [get
rid] of the lawyers and get some chemists employed and meet the regulations,"
he said this week. "It's within the grasp of companies to reformulate."

Others disagree, insisting that the AQMD is effectively outlawing thousands
of paint products, because the industry will be unable to come up with
workable formulas that meet the new standards.

"It's going to ban a lot of products we consider our best," said Dave Leehy,
a manager at Vista Paint Co. in Fullerton and chairman of the Environmental,
Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy Program.

Small regional manufacturers argue that they will be particularly hard hit,
since many sell to niche markets and specialize in the paint types covered by
the new rules.

Many in the industry say previous mandates for reformulations have hurt the
quality of oil-based paints, causing them to yellow and making them less
durable. Now, they complain, the new regulations will diminish the quality of
the best water-based paints.

Not so, counters the AQMD. Based on lab testing of low-hydrocarbon paint, "We
do not believe there are any major problems with the paint," said agency
spokesman Bill Kelly, adding that there are already products on the market
that meet the new standards.

Moreover, he said, the strictest limits will not go into effect until 2006,
providing ample time for paint technology to meet the new challenges.

Of the nine AQMD board members present for Friday's vote, only Los Angeles
County Supervisor Mike Antonovich opposed the regulations. "Sell a can of
paint, go to jail," he said, arguing that the rules would cut a comparatively
small amount of pollution and that the agency should instead go after bigger
pollution sources.


Copyright (c) 1999 Times Mirror Company
Note: May not be reproduced or retransmitted without permission. To talk to
our permissions department, call: (800) LATIMES, ext. 74564. Choose extension
0 for other questions.

==========================================================  Evaluation of
low-VOC latex paints.  Chang JC, Fortmann R, Roache N, Lao HC Air Pollution
Prevention and Control Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA. jchang at engineer.aeerl.epa.gov

Four commercially available low-volatile organic compound (VOC) latex paints
were evaluated as substitutes for conventional latex paints by assessing both
their emission characteristics and their performance as coatings. Bulk
analysis indicated that the VOC contents of all four paints tested were
considerably lower than those of conventional latex paints. Low VOC emissions
were confirmed by small chamber emission tests. However, significant
emissions of several aldehydes, especially formaldehyde which is a hazardous
air pollutant, were detected in emissions from two of the four paints.

American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) methods were used to
evaluate the hiding power, scrub resistance, washability, dry to touch and
yellowness index. The results indicated that one of the four low-VOC paints
tested showed performance equivalent or superior to that of a conventional
latex paint used as control. It was concluded that low-VOC latex paint can be
a viable option to replace conventional latex paints for prevention of indoor
air pollution. However, paints marketed as "low-VOC" may still have
significant emissions of some individual VOCs, and some may not have
performance characteristics matching those of conventional latex paints.
 PMID: 10649858, UI: 20114118
 : Int Arch Occup Environ Health 1999 Nov;72(8):507-15   Related Articles,
Books,  LinkOut

Inflammation markers in nasal lavage, and nasal symptoms in relation to
relocation to a newly painted building: a longitudinal study.

Wieslander G, Norback D, Walinder R, Erwall C, Venge P

Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Uppsala University
Hospital, S-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden. gunilla.wieslander at occmed.uu.se

INTRODUCTION: There is a need to evaluate possible health effects of
ventilation improvements and emissions from new buildings, in longitudinal
studies. New methods to study biological effects on the eyes and upper
airways are now available. MATERIAL AND METHODS: A longitudinal study was
performed on 83 trained social workers in two offices in Uppsala, Sweden.

The exposed group (n = 57) moved to a newly redecorated building nearby. Low
emitting building material had been used, including a new type of solvent-free
 water-based paint. The control group (n = 26) worked in the same
office during the study period (November 1995 to February 1996). Hygiene
management was carried out in both offices, at the beginning and the end of
the investigation. Tear film stability (BUT) was measured. Nasal patency was
measured by acoustic rhinometry, and eosinophilic cationic protein (ECP),
myeloperoxidase (MPO), lysozyme and albumin were analyzed in nasal lavage
fluid (NAL). RESULTS: The relocation resulted in an increase in the personal
outdoor airflow rate from 11 to 22 l/s. Indoor concentrations of terpenes
were higher in the new building, and powdering of the new linoleum floor was
observed. Measurements showed low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC),
formaldehyde, carbon dioxide (CO(2)), nitrogen dioxide, respirable dust, and
microorganisms in the air of all buildings. The move resulted in an increased
nasal patency and an increase of ECP and lysozyme in NAL, after adjusting for
changes in the control group. No changes were observed for nasal or ocular
symptoms. A seasonal effect, with a decrease of ECP, was observed in the
control group. CONCLUSSION A well-ventilated office building can be
redecorated without any major ocular or nasal effects, or measurable increase
of indoor air pollution if low-emitting building materials are selected.

In agreement with previous evidence, the improved ventilation flow may
explain the increase of nasal patency. The increase of ECP and lysozyme in
NAL suggested an inflammatory effect in the new building. Since this building
had increased ventilation flow, increased concentrations of terpenes, and
powdering from the polish on the new linoleum floor, identification of
causative agents was difficult. The hygiene measures did not give any
evidence that emissions from the new type of solvent-free water-based paints
or building dampness were responsible for the observed nasal effects.

Considering the higher emissions of VOC reported from older types of
water-based latex paints and solvent-based wall paints, the new type of
solvent-free water-based paint seems to be a good choice from the hygiene
point of view.


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