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Displaying first 25 items in reverse date order (default)
 

Victory for Asbestos Claimants

Feb 8, 2019

The families of three workers (2 from the dockyards and 1 from a hospital) who died from mesothelioma due to workplace asbestos exposures have won lawsuits in the Malta Court. Judge Joseph R. Micallef awarded €10,000, €15,000 and €20,000 respectively to the families for the breach of their rights due to the employers’ negligence in protecting the deceased from toxic exposures and their failure to take “effective precautionary measures” despite the knowledge about the health hazards posed by asbestos use. See: Relatives of workers who died from asbestos-induced illness awarded €45,000. Court rules right of applicants to protection of life had been breached.
 

Asbestos Attack on UN

Feb 8, 2019

Under the umbrella of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) – representing Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia – steps are being progressed to defeat United Nations efforts to regulate the global trade in asbestos under the Rotterdam Convention (RC) which will next meet in Geneva in April-May 2019. Following a meeting in Moscow on February 5, 2019, the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission announced that EEU members will work together to defeat UN attempts to list chrysotile asbestos on Annex III of the RC. See: Страны ЕАЭС намерены выработать общую позицию по хризотиловому асбесту [EAEU countries intend to develop a common position on chrysotile asbestos].
 

Two Deadly Powders

Feb 8, 2019

An operation at the Port of Santos in Brazil’s São Paulo State uncovered 266 kilograms of cocaine hidden within a shipment of raw asbestos fiber. The joint Federal Police and Customs of the Federal Revenue of Brazil taskforce found the drugs on Friday, February 1. The cargo was destined for Chennai, India – the world’s largest asbestos-importing country – with a stop en route in Antwerp, Belgium. A sniffer dog alerted the officials to the presence of the drug. See: Receita Federal apreende 266 kg de cocaína no Porto de Santos [Federal Revenue seizes 266 kg of cocaine in the Port of Santos].
 

Parliamentary Mesothelioma Debate

Feb 6, 2019

On February 6, 2019, Sarah Newton, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, moved that the draft Mesothelioma Lump Sum Payments (Conditions and Amounts) (Amendment) Regulations 2019, laid before the House of Commons on January 15, be approved – they were. The 2019 regs increase the rates of payments set out in the Mesothelioma Lump Sum Payments (Conditions and Amounts) Regulations 2008 by 2.4%; the last uprating for the rates of payment had been on April 1, 2018. MPs – including Dennis Skinner, John Woodcock, Mike Amesbury, Ann Clwyd, Tracy Crouch, Peter Grant and Paul Scully – debated the motion. See: Hansard: House of Commons debate – Social Security.
 

From Mining Town to Ghost Town

Feb 6, 2019

Almost all of the aboriginal men who transported shipments of blue asbestos from the mine at Wittenoom Gorge have died from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma, as have thousands of other people who worked at the now infamous mine in Western Australia or lived in the mine town. Small-scale mining began in the late 1930s in the gorges near Mulga Downs and from 1944 production under the Colonial Sugar Refining Company (CSR) continued for a further 22 years. None of the workers at the mine or people in the community were informed of the human hazards of exposures to asbestos. See: How mesothelioma devastated this Indigenous community in the Pilbara.
 

Update: Madrid Metro

Feb 6, 2019

The Collective Trade Union of Machinists of Madrid Subway (SCMM) has criticized the Chief Executive Officer of the Madrid Metro Borja Carabante who has, over the last two years, failed to deliver the quality and level of services deserved by the company’s passengers and staff. The SCMM highlights the decrease in the workforce and rolling stock including 50 trains which are out of service due to asbestos contamination. The lack of rolling stock has led to “chaos and crowds in suburban stations, causing serious situations of lack of security.” See: El SCMM denuncia “la mala gestión” de Borja Carabante: 50 trenes paralizados por el Amianto [SCMM denounces “the bad management” of Borja Carabante: 50 trains paralyzed by asbestos].
 

Honoring the Asbestos Dead

Feb 6, 2019

A proposal to erect a monument commemorating those whose lives had been sacrificed to asbestos is working its way through the municipal legislature of Osasco, formerly the center of Brazil’s asbestos-cement sector, under the sponsorship of Mayor Rogério Lins. Thousands of workers and members of the public had died in Osasco from asbestos-related diseases and it was in Osasco in 1995 that the Brazilian Association of the Asbestos-Exposed was formed. See: Projeto prevê monumento às vítimas do amianto em Osasco [Project proposes monument to asbestos victims in Osasco].
 

Toxic Talc

Feb 5, 2019

Government and industry specialists have admitted that Bangladesh lacks the capacity to test samples of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) baby powder for the presence of asbestos. Until such time as the authorities in India report on the tests they are currently undertaking, no action will be taken in Bangladesh to forestall or curtail imports. Sri Lanka has banned imports of J&J baby powder. India's drugs regulator ordered J&J to stop manufacturing baby powder in two of its factories until test results show it is free of asbestos. See: Bangladesh fails to test Johnson and Johnson Baby Powder for asbestos.
 

Asbestos Remediation: Schools

Feb 5, 2019

The potential risk posed by the continued presence of asbestos-containing products in hundreds of schools in Algeria was the subject of a question asked in Parliament. Answering the question, Minister of National Education Nouria Benghabrit-Remaoun Benghabrit reassured colleagues that the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance would be taking “preventive measures” to address the situation. See: Amiante dans les ecoles: La ministre de l’Éducation Nationale réagit [Asbestos in schools: Algerian Minister of Education reacts].
 

Asbestos at Dry Dock

Feb 5, 2019

Judge Alberto La Mantia from the second civil section of the Court of Genoa, Italy has awarded the sum of €670,000 in a civil case against the Ministry of Defense (MoD) to the wife and two children of a worker from the naval military arsenal at La Spezia who died in 2012 (aged 62) from mesothelioma contracted from occupational exposure to asbestos. The deceased had worked as a carpenter at the MoD’s dry dock in La Spezia from 1967 to 1994. The Judge ruled that the MoD had been negligent in failing to prevent toxic workplace exposures. See: Amianto, ministero condannato [Asbestos, ministry condemned].
 

Free Asbestos Removal

Feb 5, 2019

Residents from the Polish commune of Jerzmanowice-Przeginia, a rural area in southern Poland, are being encouraged by the Mayor to submit requests for the free collection of asbestos-containing products under a municipal contract financed by the Regional Operational Program of the Małopolska Voivodship; as per the program, collections are available throughout the year (2019). See: Akcja usuwania azbestu w Jerzmanowicach-Przegini [Asbestos removal campaign in Jerzmanowice-Przegini].
 

Asbestos Propaganda

Feb 4, 2019

In an article published online on January 31, 2019 by Andrei Golm, Co-President of the Russian non-profit organization Chrysotile [Asbestos] Association, Golm reassured consumers and workers that: “Scientists and doctors from Russia and other countries agree: chrysotile asbestos is safe for controlled use” and that “chrysotile (white) asbestos with controlled use does not pose a threat to health.” In addition, Golm noted: “Products made of chrysotile cement are approved for use in construction in the Russian Federation in accordance with the hygienic standards GN 2.1.2 / 2.2.1.1009-00 approved by the chief sanitary doctor of Russia.” See: 6 самых важных фактов об асбесте [6 most important facts about asbestos].
 

Italy’s Asbestos Legacy

Feb 4, 2019

In Casale Monferrato, the town at the center of Italy’s asbestos scandal, one person is diagnosed every week with the asbestos cancer, mesothelioma. The hospice which provides caring for the injured is at the heart of the community and undertakes outreach work with schools and the public to ensure that the history of industrial abuse caused by the operations of the Eternit asbestos-cement factory remains part of the daily discourse. This article highlights the work of healthcare and other professionals who provide the care and outlines plans to increase the services on offer and the compensation to the victims. See: Reportage. A Casale Monferrato, tra gli “angeli” dell'amianto [Reportage. In Casale Monferrato, among the "angels" of asbestos].
 

Asbestos Alert: Quebec

Feb 4, 2019

A 23-page submission by AVAQ – Association des victimes de l'amiante du Québec [the Association of Quebec Asbestos Victims] – to the Quebec government recaps the history of occupational asbestos exposure in Quebec and concludes with facts detailing the current situation in which Quebec’s allowable occupational exposure limits to asbestos– despite vocal protests from provincial experts and civil society groups – remain far higher than those elsewhere. AVAQ calls for an immediate lowering of the exposure limit to 0.1 f/cc with a further decrease to 0.01 f/cc as soon as possible. See: Mémoire de l’AVAQ au comité de révision de la RSST.1 – Amiante [AVAQ submission to the RSST.1 review committee – Asbestos].
 

Asbestos Mortality in Italy

Feb 4, 2019

A paper published in December 2018 was based on a retrospective study of 188 subjects who died from asbestos-related diseases in Italy in 2000-2017; most of the deceased had worked and/or lived in Broni, Italy, where the Fibronit company operated a large asbestos-cement factory from 1932 until 1993. Amongst the asbestos-exposed factory workers, most of whom were men, the majority died from mesothelioma although some died from asbestosis; however, each of the 73 women, whose exposures were either environmental or via household contact, died from mesothelioma. See: Impact of asbestos on public health: a retrospective study on a series of subjects with occupational and non-occupational exposure to asbestos during the activity of Fibronit plant (Broni, Italy).
 

Scandal: US Asbestos Exemptions

Feb 1, 2019

The Attorneys General (AGs) from 15 US states are petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to introduce a mandatory reporting rule that will require US asbestos importers to furnish the EPA with more data on its use; currently, asbestos importers are exempt from having to provide the EPA with information about imports of raw asbestos or products containing it. The AG from Massachusetts Maura Healey said: “Each year, tens of thousands die from exposure to asbestos. We urge Acting Administrator Wheeler to issue a rule that will protect the lives of thousands of workers, families and children in Massachusetts and across the country.” See: 15 AGs petition Trump administration to draft asbestos rule.
 

Ban on Baby Powder Imports

Feb 1, 2019

The Reuters news agency has reported that Sri Lanka has embargoed the imports of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Baby Powder until J&J India, which exports the popular product to Sri Lanka, provides evidence that the baby powder is free from asbestos. The import license held by the distributor of J&J baby powder in Sri Lanka – A.Baur & Co – expired in December 2018 and will not be renewed until “quality reports from an accredited laboratory to ensure there is no asbestos in their products” are provided, said Kamal Jayasinghe, chief executive of Sri Lanka’s National Medicine Regulatory Authority. See: Exclusive: Sri Lanka halts imports of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder pending asbestos tests.
 

Mesothelioma: Personalized Treatment

Feb 1, 2019

The Mesothelioma Stratified Therapy (MiST) trial, into the use of personalized treatment for mesothelioma, has opened in Leicester Hospital under the aegis of Professor Dean Fennell, Chair of the Mesothelioma Research Programme at the University of Leicester and scientific lead for the MiST trial. Explaining the rationale for the new protocols, Professor Fennel said: “By matching new drugs to the individual’s type of mesothelioma, for the first time, we have an unparalleled opportunity to rationally choose drugs most likely to control a patient’s mesothelioma. We hope that MiST will accelerate advances in extending survival and quality of life for patients with this aggressive cancer.” See: Treat mesothelioma: Medical trial opens to treat asbestos-related cancer.
 

Toxic Talc: Update

Feb 1, 2019

On January 29, 2019, U.S. Senator Patty Murray – the top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions – sent a letter to Johnson & Johnson (J&J) asking for information related to allegations that for decades the company had known about the presence of asbestos in its talc-based baby powder but had nevertheless continued to sell this product. A spokesman for the company acknowledged receipt of Murray’s letter which requested documents and information related to testing of J&J talc products for the presence of carcinogens and “how it presented that information to regulators and consumers.” See: US senator asks J&J for documents on talc, baby powder safety.
 

Canada’s Asbestos Ban

Jan 29, 2019

The process by which Canada banned asbestos and the multiple exceptions which the regulations allow are the subject of a blog by Canadian activist Fe De Leon who highlighted exemptions for the: processing of asbestos mining waste in Quebec; nuclear industry till 2023; chlor-alkali industry for 11 years. Fe de Leon is “convinced that Canada needs a national asbestos strategy that includes the creation of a registry for exposed workers and buildings containing asbestos, alongside the establishment of an expert review panel to deliberate on issues related to legacy asbestos.” See: Moving Forward on Asbestos in Canada.
 

Asbestos in Schools

Jan 29, 2019

One hundred and thirty-four schools in the Murcia Region of Spain have asbestos-cement roofing. Despite assurances from the Ministry of Education that “there is no danger to the health of citizens if the material containing asbestos has not suffered any kind of damage”, parents and trade unionists are demanding that urgent action be taken to remove the toxic substance. Thirty-four of the affected schools are located in the town of Cartagena with 32 in Murcia, 11 in Molina de Segura, 5 in San Javier, 5 in Eagles, 4 in Mula and 4 in Alhama de Murcia. See: Miles de niños murcianos bajo el Amianto [Thousands of children in Murcia under asbestos [roofs]].
 

Asbestos Alert at Schools

Jan 29, 2019

An alert has been issued over the potential hazard posed by deteriorating asbestos products in 120 schools in Western Australia (WA). While WA’s Department of Education (DoE) has provided $6m for 2018-2020 for the removal of higher-risk asbestos-containing materials from public schools, Victoria has invested $200 million to remove asbestos from schools by 2020; Queensland has spent $18 million and South Australia $15m. Although WA’s DoE admits that “where an asbestos-containing material becomes damaged… or has deteriorated to the extent that it presents a potential risk to human health, it is replaced under controlled conditions with a non-asbestos product”, it seems in no hurry to do so. See: High risk asbestos in WA schools.
 

Asbestos Manslaughter Trial

Jan 29, 2019

On April 12, 2019, the latest of several Italian trials against international asbestos businessmen is due to commence in a court in Naples. Swiss asbestos billionaire Stephan Schmidheiny is facing charges of manslaughter over cancer deaths of six former workers from the Eternit factory in Bagnoli, Naples and two relatives who were exposed to the company’s asbestos. He will be tried in the Naples Court of Assizes which consists of two professional judges and six lay judges. The Court has jurisdiction to judge crimes with a maximum penalty of at least 24 years imprisonment such as terrorism and murder. See: Eternit ex-CEO indicted in asbestos-linked deaths.
 

Shipyard Victory

Jan 28, 2019

Following legal action by asbestos-injured workers taken in 2015 against Malta’s Director General of Public Health, the CEO of the Occupational Health and Safety Authority and the Attorney General, a Maltese civil court has awarded compensation of €3,000 (each) to 17 former shipyard workers or their families for occupational asbestos exposures. The court ruled that: “the Maltese Government knew or ought to have known of the dangers arising from exposure to asbestos at least as from the early 1970s.” The defendants had argued that the applicants could not prove that shipyard exposures to asbestos had caused their health problems. See: Ex-shipyard workers awarded compensation for asbestos exposure.
 

Asbestos and Public Health

Jan 28, 2019

On January 22, 2019, delegates from communes in Mai Chau – a rural district of Hòa Bình Province in Northwest Vietnam – took part in activities to raise awareness about the public health asbestos hazard pursuant to plans for banning imports of chrysotile asbestos by 2023. The workshop was organized by the Provincial Farmers’ Association and Australia’s Union Aid Abroad; addressing the meeting were members of the local community as well as scientists from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Science and Technology and the Center for Communication Development. See: Truyền thông nâng cao nhận thức về amiăng trắng tới sức khỏe cộng đồng [Communication to raise the awareness of chrysotile (asbestos risk) to public health].