News Item Archive

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Displaying first 25 items in reverse date order (default)
 

Calls for Urgent Action on a Toxic Legacy

Sep 17, 2021

A high-profile feature in a popular newspaper on September 16 detailed the deadly consequences of Spain’s “invisible” asbestos legacy, calling it a “poisoned inheritance” for future generations. In recognition of this ongoing disaster, more than 40 civil society and medical organizations have called on the government to implement a comprehensive law to tackle all aspects of the country’s asbestos legacy and to provide funding to enable work to proceed on addressing the myriad challenges posed by the presence of asbestos in Spain today. See: El amianto, una pandemia "invisibilizada" que dejará una "herencia envenenada": dónde está y cómo afecta a la salud [Asbestos, an “invisible” pandemic that will leave a “poisoned inheritance”: where it is and how it affects health].
 

Allies under the Brussels Sunshine

Sep 17, 2021

Teams of runners from Belgian (ABEVA) and French (ANDEVA) Asbestos Victims’ Groups went head to head in a 20 kilometer race in Brussels on September 12, 2021. Amongst the French runners were ANDEVA’s President Jacques Faugeron, staff members Hélène Boulot and Patrice Raveneau and two volunteers. Although the larger and better trained Belgian team was the first to reach the finishing line under the iconic arch in Bicentennial Park, ANDEVA runners vowed to return for a rematch in 2022. See: L'ANDEVA aux côtés de l'ABEVA pour les 20km de Bruxelles [ANDEVA alongside ABEVA for the Brussels 20km].
 

Immunotherapy Treatment: Update

Sep 17, 2021

A commentary on a US mesothelioma charity website highlighted research findings by a pharmaceutical company due to be released at the 2021 European Society for Medical Oncology meeting today (September 17). According to Bristol Myers Squibb, the three-year overall survival data from its CheckMate-743 study of nivolumab/ipilimumab immunotherapy in mesothelioma showed that 23% of patients were alive at 35.5 months compared to 15% of those treated with chemotherapy. No new side effects had been identified. See: Released 3-year survival data for nivolumab/ipilimumab combination immunotherapy for mesothelioma.
 

Environmental and Urban Contamination

Sep 17, 2021

Asbestos technical specialists have, once again, denounced continued failures by government officials in Turkey to address problems caused by asbestos exposures especially during urban renewal projects. Another challenge in Turkey is the ubiquity of naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) which endangers the lives of people living in many rural communities. Plans announced in the “Turkey Cancer Control Program 2013-2018,” to address this dangerous situation have not been implemented. New research has identified even more settlements affected by NOA. Whereas the earlier plan listed 19 affected villages in Elazig, asbestos was found in the soil of 103 Elazig villages. See: Asbest Türkiye'nin yeni Çernobil'i olabilir..! [Asbestos could be Turkey's new Chernobyl..!].
 

NCARD Webinar

Sep 17, 2021

On September 16, 2021, the National Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases (NCARD) held an in-person and online one-hour webinar entitled: Australia and Asbestos – from community to clinic. The presentations by Professors Richard Lake and Anna Nowak highlighted the lasting and deadly impact asbestos exposures have had in Australia and the cutting-edge research being done by NCARD scientists in developing new treatments and a cure for mesothelioma, the signature cancer associated with asbestos exposures. Their presentations were accessible and informative and gave grounds for being cautiously optimistic that, in the short-term, protocols will be found to prolong survival, and that in the long-term, the terminal disease may become a treatable condition. See: NCARD Webinar.
 

Government U-Turn: FIVA Merge Off!

Sep 15, 2021

The French Government has cancelled plans to merge the Asbestos Compensation Scheme and the Medical Accident Compensation Scheme. As a result of a rebellion by asbestos victims’ groups, trade unionists, politicians and civil society stakeholders, the project was abandoned and will not be included in the next Social Security financing bill. Objections raised included the adverse impact that the merger could have on the speed with which claims brought by dying victims would be recognized and compensated. See (subscription site): Fonds d'indemnisation amiante: le projet de fusion avec l'Office d'indemnisation des accidents médicaux abandonné [Asbestos compensation fund: the proposed merger with the Medical Accident Compensation Office abandoned].
 

Mesothelioma and Covid-19

Sep 15, 2021

Almost one in five patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) at a Barcelona hospital contracted Covid-19 during the pandemic; the findings reported by a Spanish researcher are in line with results showing an elevated likelihood of patients with lung malignancies contracting coronavirus. According to Dr. Susana Cedres: “18% of patients with MPM were diagnosed with COVID-19 infection during the pandemic, and these patients suffered a very high mortality rate of 54%... I urge health care services to pay particular attention to patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma while managing COVID-19 infections.” See: Study: Nearly one in five patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma contracted COVID-19.
 

Inequitable Ruling by Rome Tribunal

Sep 15, 2021

According to the article cited below, the Regional Administrative Court of Rome recently issued a verdict agreeing with the family of a non-commissioned Army officer who died from cancer in 2013 that his illness had been caused by “prolonged exposure to asbestos.” The soldier had enlisted in the Italian army in 1988 and served in military campaigns in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Bosnia, where asbestos was used in armored vehicles, helicopters and elsewhere. He did not receive any warning about the hazard posed by asbestos exposure. Despite acknowledging the cause of his death, the Judges did not award the family compensation. See: <“Innumerevoli missioni in teatri bellici, maresciallo ucciso dall’amianto” [“Countless missions in war theaters, marshall killed by asbestos”].
 

Asbestos on the Metro

Sep 15, 2021

Trains bought by a regional Spanish government years after the country had banned asbestos (2002) contained asbestos material. This information came to light after a July 31, 2021 crash between two subway cars on line 5 of the Madrid Metro. The Community of Madrid admitted it was aware of the asbestos contamination in these and other carriages. Enquiries are ongoing over whether laws were broken by the purchase of the train carriages. Representatives of the Madrid Metro are now consulting the train manufacturer about the presence of asbestos in the trains when they were purchased. See: Madrid tiene amianto en trenes de 2007 y estudia si se vulneró la ley en sus compras [Madrid (authorities) are investigating whether the law was violated in the purchase of trains in 2007 now found to contain asbestos].
 

Widespread Flouting of Asbestos Regs

Sep 15, 2021

For the first time since the Air Pollution Control Act was revised in April 2021, the results of spot checks – in June 2021 at 227 demolition and renovation sites – by the authorities in Osaka Prefecture were announced. Forty percent of the premises inspected were not complying with regulations that mandated obligations to prepare and display asbestos site audits prior to the commencement of work and prevent the liberation of asbestos fibers into the air. See: アスベスト規制違反 法改正後も約4割 大阪府内のパトロールで発覚 [Violation of asbestos regulations Approximately 40% noncompliance was discovered by patrol in Osaka Prefecture after revision of law].
 

Asbestos Trial over Underground Deaths

Sep 15, 2021

On September 10, 2021, the trial over asbestos-related deaths of six workers from the company which operated the underground transport system in Milan began in the Milan Court of Appeal. The deceased, who had succumbed to their injuries between 2009 and 2015, had been occupationally exposed to asbestos in subway tunnels and in railway carriages. The former manager of the transport company Elio Gambini stands accused of manslaughter, having been acquitted in the first instance by Judge Maria Idra Gurgo di Castelmenandro. See: Amianto nella metropolitana milanese, processo verso l'epilogo [Asbestos in the Milanese underground, epilogue trial].
 

Post 9/11 Cancer Epidemic

Sep 14, 2021

An article on a Polish news portal highlighted the health issues being faced by first responders to the 9/11 attack. According to the text, 18,000 of the 50,000 people who were part of the rescue operations – including manual workers involved in the cleanup – have been diagnosed with serious diseases including 9,795 cases of cancer. The number of casualties continues to grow with many Poles amongst the injured. The lethal cocktail of toxins, including asbestos, in the dust clouds covering the site could, American scientists predict, affect up to 60,000 people. See: Ratowali ludzi po zamachu 11 wrzesnia. Teraz umieraja na raka [They saved people after the 9/11 attack. Now they are dying of cancer].
 

Anxiety Claims Causing “Great Concern”

Sep 14, 2021

The contents of an advisory note contained warnings to companies operating in France and other EU countries of the implications of French verdicts supporting the right of people with asbestos anxiety to receive compensation from negligent employers and a European Commission Committee asbestos opinion highlighting “the urgent need for an effective access to justice and redress for all health damage, including that relating to anxiety.” The author of the note, clearly intended for a corporate readership, warned that not only had French courts already extended the right to claim anxiety compensation for exposure to other toxins but also that the European Commission was being urged to do likewise. See: Anxiety Damage: on the Verge of becoming Companies’ new Stress.
 

Basque Victim’s Verdict

Sep 14, 2021

On September 7, 2021, it was reported that Social Court Number 2 of the Spanish city of Vitoria had condemned the ECN Cable Group of failing to protect its workers from asbestos exposures. The Basque company was ordered to pay compensation of €165,525 (US$200,000) to the family of a bricklayer who had undertaken maintenance work for the company between July 1966 and April 1997. As a result of exposure to asbestos in roofing material and kiln bricks, he contracted mesothelioma, the signature cancer related to asbestos exposure; he died in 2017. See: Condena en Vitoria por la muerte de un trabajador por amianto [Conviction in Vitoria for the death of an asbestos worker].
 

Asbestos Eradication in South Korea

Sep 14, 2021

An update on an eradication program of asbestos-cement roofing in North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea confirmed that by September 10, toxic roofing had been removed from 3,970 houses and 600+ other structures. Work will be carried out on 2,328 additional properties by the end of the year. The annual budget for this work was increased by 18% in 2021 compared to 2020. The majority of the work is subsidized by the Province as a matter of public and environmental health. Asbestos monitoring and fact-finding by officials continue to be a priority matter for the Province. See: “석면슬레이트 제거로 도민 건강하고 보다나은 환경 조성!” [“Creating a healthier and better environment for residents by removing asbestos slate!”].
 

Pioneering Project by Swiss Group

Sep 14, 2021

Representatives of a Swiss Association of Asbestos Victims are launching an outreach program to contact former Italian workers who had been exposed to asbestos whilst employed in Switzerland. Lawyers David Husmann and Massimo Aliotta, current President of the Swiss association Verein für Asbestopfer und Angehörige (Association for Asbestos Victims and their Families) will be holding discussions and meetings in Puglia, Italy from September 16 to 19, 2021 to inform eligible claimants of government benefits available to them under Swiss schemes. See: Amianto, la tutela dei lavoratori italiani in Svizzera e il diritto di essere risarciti anche dopo 20 anni [Asbestos, the protection of Italian workers in Switzerland and the right to be compensated even after 20 years].
 

James Hardie: Asbestos Educator!

Sep 14, 2021

Last week an Australian High Court rejected an application for special leave to appeal in Werfel v. Amaca Pty Limited (formerly James Hardie & Coy Pty Limited). As a result of this ruling, James Hardie will be legally liable for undertaking an extensive public health campaign to raise awareness of the hazards posed by legacy asbestos material within the country’s infrastructure in order to prevent toxic exposures such as those experienced during home renovations. “This decision sets a precedent,” said lawyer Annie Hoffman “for any person who contracts mesothelioma due to drilling, sanding, cutting or handling James Hardie asbestos cement in their homes.” See: Australia will be a safer place as precedent setting South Australian asbestos victims court win upheld.
 

Another Brazilian Asbestos Ban

Sep 13, 2021

The Environment Commission of the Brazilian City of São Carlos, São Paulo State has proposed a law to ban asbestos which would set a deadline for the removal of asbestos-containing products from buildings. Under the draft municipal legislation, a two-year period to replace asbestos-cement water tanks would be specified; schools and health centers would have six months to remediate asbestos material. Elsewhere, asbestos products must be replaced with safer alternatives when they have are removed. See: Comissão de Meio Ambiente propõe lei para banir amianto de São Carlos [Environment Commission proposes law to ban asbestos in São Carlos].
 

Ankara Asbestos Initiative

Sep 13, 2021

An innovative educational meeting to inform municipal civil servants and officers of the asbestos hazard was held under the auspices of the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality. The content of the “Asbestos Awareness Training for Local Governments” program was provided by the Asbestos Dismantling Experts Association of Turkey whose President Mehmet Şeyhmus Ensari thanked the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality for setting an example for other provinces by recognizing the critical role that local and regional authorities had to play in protecting people from toxic exposures especially during urban renewal, renovation and demolition work. See: Farkındalık eğitimi [Awareness Training].
 

Toxic Asbestos Legacy

Sep 13, 2021

Three years after Canada banned asbestos, 30% of all work-related fatalities in the Canadian Province of Saskatchewan are due to asbestos-related diseases. A recent report by WorkSafe Saskatchewan revealed the ongoing hazard posed by asbestos hidden within buildings. Director of Prevention at the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board Annette Goski appealed to “homeowners, contractors and workers, anyone in the construction field to be aware that asbestos is still a very present and silent killer in our province’s homes and workplaces.” See: WorkSafe Saskatchewan campaign focuses on where asbestos could be hiding.
 

Mesothelioma Treatment: Update

Sep 13, 2021

A new paper by Australian mesothelioma researchers outlined advances in the treatment of mesothelioma patients. Opportunities for increasing survival rates offered by treatment with first-line checkpoint blockade therapy with ipilimumab and nivolumab, especially for patients with nonepithelioid mesothelioma, and improvements in palliative care were examined. The scientists concluded that: “chemotherapy and immunotherapy should be considered for all patients during their disease course…[In addition] a proactive, multidisciplinary approach to symptom management and the principles of management of pleural effusions are critical to manage the symptom burden of mesothelioma and optimize patient well-being.” See: Management of Advanced Pleural Mesothelioma – At the Crossroads.
 

SNCF’s New Asbestos Diagnostic Tool

Sep 13, 2021

SNCF Voyageurs, a subsidiary of the French National Railway Company, has been pioneering a computer application to detect the presence of asbestos in freight wagons with specialist technicians working alongside SNCF personnel. The new tool, which is called e-asbestos, uses artificial intelligence and smartphones to alert operatives about the presence of contaminated parts. There would be multiple advantages to using such a system which would include preventing toxic exposures, eliminating costly laboratory tests and accelerating maintenance schedules for railway workshops. As soon as official approval has been granted, the new diagnostic tool will be put into use. See: SNCF Voyageurs détecte l’amiante grâce à la computer vision [SNCF Voyageurs detects asbestos using computer vision].
 

Sama Asbestos Mine Reopens

Sep 8, 2021

Operations at Brazil’s sole remaining chrysotile asbestos mine restarted on September 3, 2021 after the Superior Court of Justice suspended an August 19, 2021 order by the Court of the District of Uruaçu-GO which had shut down mining in pursuant of a 2017 Supreme Court verdict. The August order shutting down the mining had been a response to a public civil action which had argued that the Supreme Court’s 2017 ruling had banned the commercial exploitation of asbestos throughout Brazil and that an exemption issued by the State of Goiás was invalid. The latest court order suspends the August decision until “a final decision is given…” See: Produtora de amianto controlada da Eternit, Sama retoma atividades [Eternit controlled asbestos producer Sama resumes activities].
 

More Russian Asbestos Lies!

Sep 8, 2021

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week issued blanket reassurances to representatives of India, Vietnam and other Asian countries during trade negotiations, stating that the use of Russian chrysotile (white) asbestos is “safe.” To support his statement, he cited asbestos policies of the World Health Organization and the International Labor Organization both of which, he said, espoused positions based on the “controlled use of asbestos.” This is a complete fabrication as both agencies have publicly and repeatedly stated that the only way to stop the global epidemic of asbestos-related diseases is to stop the use of all forms of asbestos, including chrysotile. See: Лавров успокоил иностранных партнеров в вопросе хризотилового асбеста [Lavrov reassures foreign partners on the issue of chrysotile asbestos].
 

N.Y. Asbestos Prosecutions

Sep 8, 2021

On September 2, 2021, the New York Attorney General Letitia James and New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Margaret Garnett announced the indictments of Certified Asbestos Investigators Valentino Buono, Jeff Ezulike, Russell Goss and Kostas Kamberis for filing multiple false asbestos inspection reports and thereby endangering the health of N.Y. workers and citizens. The accused were arraigned before Supreme Court Judge Toni Cimino in Queens County on a total of 19 counts. See: Attorney General James and DOI Commissioner Garnett Announce Indictment of Four Asbestos Investigators for Filing Fraudulent Inspection Reports.