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National Asbestos-Vermiculite Center


In response to the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) identification of major sources of public asbestos exposure in Michigan and to address the need for early diagnosis and aggressive treatment of asbestos-related diseases, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and the Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine (COEM) affiliated with Wayne State University joined forces to establish The National Center for Vermiculite and Asbestos-Related Cancers (NCVAC).

COEM has had a long interest in asbestos-related diseases and the Karmanos Cancer Institute is heavily involved in both clinical and basic research on asbestos-related cancers enabling the two centers to rapidly bring together the expertise and resources necessary to study the problem immediately.

The National Center for Vermiculite and Asbestos-Related Cancers is co-directed by Ann Schwartz, Ph.D. M.P.H., and Michael Harbut, M.D., M.P.H., of the Karmanos Cancer Institute. Its goals are to:

  • Examine the health consequences of chronic exposure to asbestos contaminated vermiculite;
  • Implement a program of early detection and treatment of human cancers and asbestosis resulting from chronic exposure to asbestos contaminated vermiculite including mesothelioma and lung cancer;
  • Increase the basic scientific understanding of asbestos-related cancers;
  • Provide a means to rapidly test large numbers of potentially affected individuals;
  • Define populations at increased risk of asbestos exposure prior to it becoming a major medical-legal issue; and
  • Intensify physician education of asbestos-related diseases

Make An Appointment

Persons exposed to asbestos-contaminated vermiculite - either occupationally or environmentally - should call (800) KARMANOS (1-800-527-6266) to make an appointment with the National Center for Vermiculite and Asbestos Related Cancers. Or make an appointment online

  • Click here to see the video, "What Every Insulation Worker Should Know". Dr. Harbut walks you through the history of asbestos, health concerns from asbestos exposure and what to expect when you are being evaluated for an asbestos-related disease.

Scientific Contributions made by the NCVAC

© 2014 Karmanos Cancer Institute Pencil
The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center is accredited by The Joint Commission.
If members of the public have any quality-of-care or safety concerns, they may notify The Joint Commission at 630-792-5800.