POSTED: Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hazards delay historic boat's rehab

Dry-docking of the historic Falls of Clyde ship has been delayed due to weather conditions and discovery of asbestos aboard the deteriorating vessel.

Bruce McEwan, president of the Friends of Falls of Clyde, said the ship was due to be towed from Honolulu Harbor to Kalaeloa on Jan. 15, but high seas made it unsafe to move the vessel, he said.

“;Right now we just have to wait,”; said McEwan.

Meanwhile, asbestos was discovered in some of the vessel's pipes, creating an environmental hazard that needs to be cleaned up before it can be dry-docked.

Members of the Friends of Falls of Clyde are currently looking into cleanup costs for the asbestos.

McKewan also said they are looking into other potential environmental hazards aboard the ship that they are investigating, including sandblasting grit in some of the tanks.


Cancer researcher is awarded $220K

Two grants totaling $220,000 have been awarded to Dr. Haining Yang of the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii's Thoracic Oncology Program to investigate how asbestos causes mesothelioma.

She was one of five recipients selected from 59 applicants in international competition for a two-year, $100,000 grant from the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.

She also was awarded $120,000 over two years from the Hawaii Community Foundation's Leahi Fund.

Part of her research involves an early-detection study of mesothelioma in villages in Turkey with high incidence of the disease.

Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer affecting the chest, lungs, heart and abdomen.

It has been associated with asbestos, endangering personnel who worked at Pearl Harbor Shipyard and other naval shipyards during World War II.

About 2,500 people die annually in the United States from malignant mesothelioma, according to the cancer center.

Yang completed her postdoctoral training under the guidance of Dr. Michele Carbone, director of the cancer center's Thoracic Oncology Program and interim director of the center, located at 1236 Lauhala St.


Drug testing finds abuse decreasing

Drug use by Hawaii workers and job applicants fell in the last quarter of 2008, following a national trend, according to figures released yesterday by Diagnostic Laboratory Services Inc.

Cocaine use among people who undergo pre-employment or random workplace drug screenings dropped 50 percent between the third and fourth quarter of 2008, according to the private lab.

The company, the state's largest drug-testing laboratory, conducts between 7,000 and 10,000 drug tests per quarter.

Prescription drug use decreased to 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter from 1.2 percent in the third quarter. Still, prescription drug use for all of 2008 jumped 40 percent from 2007 figures, figures show.

Use of methamphetamine, or “;ice,”; stayed relatively stable in 2008 at 0.6 percent, down slightly from 0.7 percent the previous year.

Marijuana use remained flat in 2008 but up 28 percent from 2007, according to the lab.

“;All drug classes in the fourth quarter of 2008 show a decrease from the previous quarter, which may be a reflection of people fearing job loss,”; noted Carl Linden, Diagnostic Laboratory Services' scientific director of toxicology. He said similar data has been reported nationally.