News Item Archive

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Displaying first 25 items in reverse date order (default)
 

Asbestos Claims Up by $1.1bn

Oct 22, 2018

News was released last week that the US Securities and Exchange Commission had on September 13, 2018 launched an investigation into the accounting procedures of the US multinational Honeywell International Inc. after the company admitted that its asbestos-related liabilities had been underestimated by US$1.1bn. The revised figure for Honeywell’s asbestos liabilities is $2.61bn after amending the cost for asbestos claims against its subsidiary Bendix Corporation, a manufacturer of automotive brake shoes and systems. See: SEC Opens Investigation Into Honeywell’s Asbestos Accounting.
 

Victory for Hospital Workers

Oct 22, 2018

On October 18, 2018, the French Court of Appeal condemned local health authorities for the “deliberate endangerment of life” of 40 hospital employees exposed to asbestos between 2009 and 2013 at the Jean-Minjoz Hospital in Besançon, eastern France. This is the first time a French public institution has been sentenced as a legal person. While the defendants have announced their intention to appeal to the Supreme Court, the 40 claimants have started proceedings before the Besançon Administrative Court to have their damages recognized. See: Amiante: le CHU de Besançon condamné en appel [Asbestos: CHU Besançon condemned on appeal].
 

Mesothelioma Research

Oct 22 2018

A paper by Turkish researchers investigated methods for differentiating malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) from lung cancer (LC) and non-malignant pleural effusion (NMPE) from pleural fluids. The technique – Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy coupled with chemometrics – succeeded in differentiating MPM from LC with 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity and from NMPE with 100% sensitivity and 88% specificity. The scientists concluded that: “This approach can provide a rapid and inexpensive methodology for the efficient differentiation of MPM from other pleural effusions.” See: Diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma from pleural fluid by Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy coupled with chemometrics.
 

Banning Asbestos in Thailand

Oct 22, 2018

This paper examines the twists and turns on the road to banning asbestos in Thailand, highlighting the apparent inability of the National Health Assembly “to enforce implementation, especially when power and authority lie with state actors…” The authors conclude that to protect the health of citizens “participatory policy-making and effective governance of multisectoral action throughout implementation” is required to confront counterpressure from domestic and foreign vested interests such as that exerted by international asbestos lobbyists. See: Multisectoral governance for health: challenges in implementing a total ban on chrysotile asbestos in Thailand.
 

Monetizing Asbestos Waste

Oct 19, 2018

In what could be seen as a classic example of political tit-for-tat, in the same week as Canadian federal regulations banning asbestos were announced, the Ottawa government will make public at a press conference in Danville, Quebec plans to provide funding for operations by Allied Magnesium Inc. to process mining waste containing up to 40% asbestos to reclaim magnesium. The company has already received $30.9 million from the Quebec government for its $100 million project despite well-publicized objections to this scheme from Quebec medical and health specialists. See: Federal government rejects health experts and funds project to exploit asbestos mining wastes.
 

Mesothelioma Research in Mexico

Oct 19, 2018

A paper published this summer documented a case-control study undertaken in Mexico to evaluate the usefulness of mesothelioma tumor markers found in plasma samples in diagnosing malignant pleural mesothelioma. Good results were achieved with mesothelin and calretinin, with scientists developing prediction models based on plasma concentrations of both markers. It was concluded that these markers could be cost-effective tools for expediting the diagnosis of mesothelioma. Poor results were achieved with thrombomodulin. See: Biomarkers for Predicting Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma in a Mexican Population.
 

Canada Bans Asbestos!

Oct 18, 2018

News was released yesterday (October 17, 2018) confirming that the Government of Canada had on September 28, 2018 adopted legislation that would ban asbestos in 90 days – i.e. by the end of 2018 (see: Prohibition of Asbestos and Products Containing Asbestos Regulations). Unfortunately, the Canadian ban on the import, sale and use of asbestos will not prevent companies in Quebec from processing asbestos mining waste, containing up to 40% asbestos, to reclaim magnesium. See: Canada ban on asbestos takes effect but mining residues are exempt.
 

Ban Asbestos Protest

Oct 18, 2018

On October 16, 2018, there was a ban asbestos demonstration by members of the Indonesia Ban Asbestos Network (INA-BAN) in Bandung City, West Java, Indonesia with a rally in front of the Bandung Parliament to support draft legislation being considered this week by special committee 6 which would include asbestos as a dangerous raw material in Bandung building regulations. Six of Indonesia’s largest asbestos processing plants employing 4,000 people are located in West Java. See: Ina-Ban Tuntut Larangan Penggunaan Asbestos Masuk Dalam Perda Bangunan Gedung [INA-BAN Calls for Prohibition of the Use of Asbestos in the Building Regulations].
 

Relief Scheme for Construction Workers?

Oct 18, 2018

Within the context of a commentary highlighting multiple legal victories for construction workers in asbestos claims against the Japanese government and manufacturers of asbestos-containing building products, calls are made for construction workers to be provided relief within an existing national scheme that awards compensation to other sufferers of asbestos-related injuries. “It is time,” the author writes “for the government to work with other parties in the lawsuits to explore out-of-court ways of providing relief to the plaintiffs.” See: Provide relief for asbestos-linked health damage.
 

Medical Training on Asbestos

Oct 16, 2018

On Saturday, October 13, 2018, an asbestos medical seminar entitled Update Diagnosis of Asbestos Related Disease was held at Binawan University in Jakarta by the Indonesia Ban Asbestos Network (INA-BAN), the Local Initiative for OSH Network Indonesia (LION) and partnering organizations. During her presentation, Professor Jeung Sook Kim, from Korea, highlighted the importance of cooperation between NGOs and scientists in the ban asbestos movement. See: Picture of Session on October 13, 2018 at Binawan University.
 

Demo: Asbestos in Schools

Oct 16, 2018

On October 12, 2018, 1,000 people from all over France gathered together to march through the streets of Paris demanding that action be taken on the asbestos hazard in French schools. This was the 14th annual protest organized by the National Association for the Defense of Asbestos Victims (Andeva) to highlight the national asbestos epidemic which continues to kill thousands of citizens every year. See: Amiante dans les écoles: “protégez nos enfants” demandent des manifestants [Asbestos in schools: “protect our children” demand protesters].
 

Legal Victory

Oct 16, 2018

The Supreme Court of Catalonia has overturned a 2014 High Court decision to issue a landmark ruling allowing the heirs of a deceased widow to obtain damages from the Uralita company not claimed by her husband who died of mesothelioma in 1974 as a result of occupational asbestos exposures. Legal experts believe this judgment could open the way for many more claims. See: El Suprem admet que els hereus d’una vídua d’un afectat per l’amiant puguin percebre els danys i perjudicis que el finat no va reclamar [Supreme Court allows heirs of an asbestos widow to receive damages not claimed by the deceased’s husband].
 

Asbestos Removal Training

Oct 16, 2018

Under a program to produce more asbestos removal operatives in Turkey, 474 successful trainees have received certification as specialists in this field of work. Upon completion of the latest course, organized by the General Directorate of Occupational Health and Safety of the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services, Dr. Orhan Koç – General Director of Occupational Health and Safety Operations – highlighted the need for the safe removal of asbestos before buildings are demolished. Asbestos removal training will continue in 2019. See: Asbest Söküm Uzmanlığı Eğitimi Yeni Mezunlarını Verdi [Asbestos Removal Expertise Training Provides New Graduates].
 

Asbestos Industry Offensive

Oct 15, 2018

A Moscow online portal has uploaded news of a meeting that took place last month in Kazakhstan entitled: International Trade Union Conference on Chrysotile Asbestos and Safety. Representatives of the chrysotile industry from Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, and other stakeholder countries were regaled with industry propaganda and “commissioned science” about the “safe use” of asbestos, despite advice from international agencies that the only “safe use” of asbestos is no use at all. See: Kazakhstan Hosted International Trade Union Conference on Chrysotile Asbestos.
 

The Asbestos Hazard

Oct 15, 2018

An asbestos awareness training session in Nepal was held on October 6, 2018 by the Center for Public Health and Environmental Development (CEPHED). The fact that the meeting took place in Janakpur was significant as this area is one where asbestos use is very high. More than 60 participants were addressed by Deputy Mayor Mrs. Rita Kumari Mishra, Chief Custom Officer Mr. Hem Chandra Sharma, Janakpurdham SMC Senior Official Mr. Pradeep Sah, DYN Dhanusha President Mr. Dhiraj Sah, and Mr. Ram Charitra Sah, Executive Director of CEPHED. An asbestos factsheet, posters and booklets on asbestos were distributed to participants. See: Photo of Mr. Ram Charitra Sah, Executive Director of CEPHED addressing October 6 meeting.
 

Ban Asbestos Bill

Oct 15, 2018

On October 10, 2018, 20 environmental campaigners displayed a banner in central Bogota saying “Congressmen: we all pay for your cowardice,” to draw attention to the Senate’s continued failure to debate ban asbestos legislation which has been pending since October 2017. Congressman Nadia Blel has said the delay was “unacceptable,” asserting that the draft law “aims to save lives.” She has called on the Senate President to make consideration of this bill a priority. See: A paso lento camina en el Congreso la prohibición del asbesto en Colombia [At a slow pace the Colombian asbestos ban moves in Congress].
 

Nonoccupational Exposure

Oct 15, 2018

On October 11, 2018, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued a 4:3 ruling in the case of Quisenberry v. Huntington Ingalls which confirmed the responsibility of an employer for asbestos injuries sustained by an employee’s family member, declaring that the company also had a duty of care to nonemployees. The case was referred to the Court by U.S. District Judge Arenda Allen of the Eastern District of Virginia who asked for clarification regarding the employers’ liability for asbestos exposure to the nonemployee. The case has now been referred back to Judge Allen. See: Split Virginia Supreme Court Finds Duty of Care for Asbestos Exposure to Nonemployees.
 

Asbestos Victim’s Victory!

Oct 12, 2018

A Court of Appeal decision handed down in Sydney, Australia on October 10, 2018 is being heralded as a victory for asbestos victims. The case was brought by Marion Talifero, the widow of John Talifero, a painter and decorator who died from mesothelioma having been occupationally exposed to James Hardie (JH) asbestos. JH argued that as British-born Mr Talifero had also been exposed to asbestos when he had served as a stoker in the Royal Navy, JH should only pay 52% of the compensation awarded. While the Supreme Court had agreed with them the Court of Appeal did not and ruled that JH pay 100% of the compensation awarded. See: Widow's court win halts company bid to slash asbestos payouts.
 

Asbestos Lobby: Update

Oct 12, 2018

The Canadian domiciled International Chrysotile Association (ICA), formerly known as the Asbestos International Association, has led global marketing efforts to promote sales of chrysotile asbestos for decades. In 2013, the ICA had 23 directors from 16 asbestos stakeholding countries; now it has just six directors, having recently lost Brazilian director Rubens Rela Filho, who had represented the Cana Brava mine. (The Brazilian Supreme Court in November 2017 ruled that the use and sale of asbestos was unconstitutional.) Concerns about the validity of the ICA’s status as a Canadian non-profit organization are discussed in the article: International asbestos lobby loses another member.
 

Raising Asbestos Awareness

Oct 12, 2018

Organizers of an asbestos educational event entitled: Strengthening knowledge and skills to diagnose asbestos-related diseases which is being held in Jakarta, Indonesia on October 13, 2018 have confirmed that all the seats to the event at Binawan University have now been booked. Delegates will hear presentations by leading asbestos medical specialists including: Dr. Anna Suraya (Germany), Professor Jeung Sook Kim (Korea), and Dr. Aziz Ghani Ikhsan and Dr. Agus Dwi Susanto from Indonesia. Attending the sessions will be a range of medical and health practitioners. See: Asbestos Seminar: Update.
 

Ban Asbestos Mobilization

Oct 11, 2018

The Indonesian Ban Asbestos Network (INA-BAN) and The Local Initiative OSH Network (LION), in collaboration with Australia’s Union Aid Abroad (APHEDA), organized a two-day asbestos awareness workshop and strategy meeting in Jakarta this week. Representatives of three trade union confederations, eleven federations and non-governmental organizations learned about conflicting legislation in Indonesia regarding the use of asbestos products, the hazards posed to workers and members of the public by asbestos exposures and the ban asbestos policies of international organizations. See: Photo.
 

Asbestos at School

Oct 11, 2018

As the new school year began in Belgium, municipal authorities have refused to publish asbestos audits showing contamination of schools, citing their belief that parents will react unreasonably to the presence of asbestos at their children’s schools. So far, only two of Brussels’s 19 communes have published asbestos inventories of their schools online. Emir Kir, Mayor of Saint-Josse commune, has refused to upload this information saying: “There is a legal obligation to have asbestos inventories, but we do have them, but I want to be very cautious with the communication of this information, which can create unnecessary fear within the population.” See: L’amiante, encore un sujet tabou à Bruxelles [Asbestos, another taboo subject in Brussels].
 

Scrapping of Toxic Trains

Oct 11, 2018

It was announced on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 that Argentinian trains purchased in 2011 for €4 million by the former mayor of Buenos Aires from the Spanish company Metro de Madrid will be scrapped because of asbestos contamination. After news was released about asbestos in the Spanish trains, an investigation was carried out in Argentina which confirmed the presence of asbestos on trains (model CAF500) on Line B of the Buenos Aires Metro. See: Argentina hará chatarra los trenes que le vendió Metro en 2011 al hallar Amianto [Argentina will scrap the trains that Metro sold in 2011 when it found asbestos].
 

Asbestos at Grenfell Tower

Oct 10, 2018

NHS England announced this week that it would provide £50 million over the next five years to fund a new health screening programme for survivors of, and first responders to, the Grenfell Tower fire – which took place on June 14, 2017 – to monitor their physical and psychological health. Asbestos-containing products were used in the construction of the North Kensington, London high rise which was built in 1974. As the latency period of asbestos-related diseases can be from 10 to 50 years, the short-term nature of this initiative will be of limited value. See: Grenfell Tower fire: NHS announces £50m health-screening programme in wake of asbestos fears.
 

Asbestos Protest!

Oct 10, 2018

On October 6, 2018, a demonstration took place involving asbestos victims’ groups from Spain, the UK, France, Belgium and Italy at the Plaça de Sant Jaume in Barcelona to make manifest the demands for recognition and support by those whose lives had been damaged by state-sanctioned exposures to asbestos during the 20th century. The protest was organized by the Associació de Víctimes Affectades per l'Amiant de Catalunya (AVAAC) and the Ronda Collective and took place after an asbestos conference and other asbestos activities on October 4 & 5, 2018. See: Las víctimas del amianto reclaman justicia en Barcelona [Asbestos victims claim justice in Barcelona].