News Item Archive

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Displaying first 25 items in reverse date order (default)
 

US Mesothelioma Treatment

Jan 24, 2020

There are more cases of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) diagnosed in the US every year than in any other country. The authors of this paper examined the experience of seven patients and revealed areas where the medical treatment and support they had received had failed to address their physical and psychological needs. Concerns reported by multiple interviewees included: uncertainty about the future, the high symptom burden and the ability to adapt to their changing situation. The authors concluded that: “Timely, coordinated, and personalized care as well as skilled communication should be the cornerstone of care for persons with MPM.” See: The Lived Experience of Persons With Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma in the United States.
 

Asbestos Industrial Legacy

Jan 24, 2020

On January 18, there was a manifestation of community solidarity when students, teachers, parents and citizens joined representatives of asbestos victims’ groups, trade unions and other associations, to unveil a mural aimed at raising awareness of the legacy of asbestos exposures at the Bologna railway repair shops operated by the Officine Grandi Riparazioni Bologna (OGR). The artwork – which consisted of four colorful panels – was created by students from the De Andrè school and was sited in via Casarini, opposite the former OGR plant. To date, 300 deaths from asbestos-related diseases have been recorded amongst workers from the OGR plant. See: GLI Studenti e l’Amianto in OGR [Students and Asbestos in OGR].
 

Asbestos Film Online

Jan 24, 2020

A 42-minute segment of the 70-minute 2018 documentary entitled “Breathless,” which was made by Belgian film-makers, is now available to watch on a youtube site hosted by DW, the German state-owned public international broadcaster. The film shows the devastating consequences for individuals and communities who worked for or were the located near Eternit asbestos factories. The film, which premiered at the International Film Festival in Brussels on the June 24, has also been shown in London, Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Jaipur, Coimbatore, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kymore and other locations. See: Breathless.
 

Environmental Asbestos Exposure

Jan 24, 2020

Research by scientists investigating the risks posed by environmental asbestos contamination at sites in the Italian town of Bari substantiated the public health hazard posed by the deterioration of asbestos in situ and the uncontrolled removal of asbestos, both of which were found to raise the concentration of asbestos fibers in urban air. The authors concluded that asbestos roofing at a derelict asbestos-cement factory and on military barracks in Bari had contributed to an increased risk of malignant mesothelioma for the resident population. See: Health impact of exposure to asbestos in polluted area of Southern Italy.
 

Victim’s Verdict in Spain

Jan 24, 2020

A Court in Bilboa has ordered two Spanish companies to pay compensation of ~€325,000 (US$ 360,000) to a subcontractor who was exposed to asbestos whilst in their employ and subsequently contracted the asbestos cancer, mesothelioma. The claimant had been a pipefitter who had worked with asbestos insulation products on the construction of the Lemoniz nuclear power plant (1979-81) and at sites owned by Petronor, a Spanish oil and gas company based in the Basque Country. He did not receive protective clothing nor was he warned about the health hazards posed by occupational exposures to asbestos. See: Nueva condena por enfermedad tras uso de amianto [New conviction for illness after use of asbestos].
 

Asbestos in Schools

Jan 24, 2020

On January 22, 2020, the President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Jerry Jordan announced that the union was suing the school district over mismanagement of the asbestos, lead and other problems at the city’s schools. The lawsuit asked a judge to allow the union to hire environmental experts to assess the situation alongside district officials and to ensure that periodic testing was undertaken to monitor environmental safety. So far this year, six schools have been closed in Philadelphia due to the discovery of asbestos. Commenting on the failure of the authorities to adequately address the situation, a union lawyer said that: “The school district of Philadelphia is violating the law.” See: ‘We are not crying wolf’: Philly teachers union to sue district over asbestos, other hazards.
 

Asbestos Trial Begins

Jan 24, 2020

The preliminary hearing for Eternit Bis [the name used to refer to litigation against Swiss billionaire Stephen Schmidheiny in the long-running legal battle to get justice for Italian asbestos victims] has begun in the Northern Italian city of Vercelli. Schmidheiny is charged with the voluntary murder of 392 people from the town of Casale Monferrato. During early sessions of the proceedings, Schmidheiny’s defense reasserted their argument that the trial was illegitimate on the “ne bis in idem principle” which restricts the possibility of a defendant being prosecuted repeatedly for the same crime. See: Eternit bis: la difesa chiede l’assoluzione [Eternit bis: the defense asks for absolution].
 

Asbestos: Post-Disaster Hazard

Jan 22, 2020

The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency of Australia has uploaded a series of information sheets from various States, government agencies and departments aimed at informing people in communities affected by the bushfire crisis how to deal with asbestos in building debris and damaged premises. The problem is both serious and widespread given the deadly consequences to human health of asbestos exposures and the widespread use of asbestos building products throughout Australia. Although asbestos use was banned in 2003, huge numbers of homes, public buildings and business premises still contain asbestos materials. See: Asbestos safety after bushfires.
 

Asbestos: Post-Conflagration Hazard

Jan 22, 2020

A newspaper report on testimony given on January 21, 2020 to the French Senate’s hearings about the 2019 fire at the Lubrizol chemical factory – owned by American billionaire Warren Buffett – featured evidence by scientist André Picot supporting public fears that the fire in Rouen had contaminated local neighborhoods, thereby putting at risk the health of local people as well as firefighters. Picot said: “A rain of asbestos dust fell.” Picot’s views contradicted those of the local authorities who had said that there were no asbestos fibers in the air. See: Incendie de Lubrizol: « Il est retombé une pluie de poussière d’amiante » [Lubrizol fire: “A rain of asbestos dust fell”].
 

Asbestos in Schools

Jan 22, 2020

On Tuesday, January 21, 2020, parents, students and teachers of the Mário de Sá Carneiro School in the Portuguese city of Loures held a public demonstration to highlight the failure of the educational and local authorities to remediate the dangerous and degrading asbestos-containing material which remained in the school. “It is necessary,” said André Julião, of the Schools Without Asbestos Movement, “once and for all, to create a strategic plan for the removal of asbestos from schools and [also necessary to] start investing seriously in updating the premises….” See: Protesto contra amianto em escola de Camarate [Asbestos protest at Camarate school].
 

Eternit Embraces Asbestos-Free Future

Jan 22, 2020

Eternit S.A., formerly Brazil’s largest asbestos conglomerate, is positioning itself as a frontrunner in the campaign for a clean and sustainable environment with its announcement of new photovoltaic roofing tile material – which is asbestos-free. According to the company, this product range is an example of a new corporate orientation to use cutting edge technology to find 21st century solutions to meet the needs of Brazilian citizens. See: Eternit Solar | Programa Cidades e Soluções da GloboNews [Eternit Solar | Globo News Cities and Solutions Program].
 

Occupational Asbestos Exposure Risks

Jan 20, 2020

Data on asbestos-related diseases is extremely limited in Indonesia, a country where asbestos-containing products remain a popular choice for consumers. A collaborative study by Indonesian and international researchers investigated the risk of contracting lung cancer from occupational exposure to asbestos and found a “significant association between the duration of asbestos exposure... and the risk of lung cancer.” The co-authors of this paper also found a “positive additive and multiplicative interaction between smoking and asbestos [exposure]...[and] that the chance of getting lung cancer more than doubled among exposed subjects compared with unexposed subjects.” See: Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer: A Hospital-Based Case-Control Study in Indonesia.
 

Our Hometown: Asbest

Jan 20, 2020

A Russian website has translated and uploaded a Danish article analysing the attraction of living in the Russian town of Asbest (Asbestos). Despite the fact that asbestos is a carcinogen responsible for thousands of deaths every year, local people still have strong ties to the city and a desire to follow family members into the asbestos industry. The reporter quoted spokesmen who said the city was a “victim of the hysterical anti-asbestos lobby… In Asbest, it is widely believed that the asbestos ban is part of an international conspiracy invented in Europe to give an advantage to the production of other materials competing with asbestos.” See: Jyllands-Posten (Дания): здесь люди живут благодаря асбесту [Jyllands-Posten (Denmark): people live here thanks to asbestos].
 

Toxic Talc

Jan 20, 2020

Advice from an expert panel convened by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have, according to one legal expert: “shot several of J&J’s (Johnson & Johnson’s) defenses out of the water.” The panel endorsed asbestos testing standards for cosmetics that recommended that small mineral particles found in talc should be counted as potentially harmful, even if they were not asbestos, on the grounds that both were suspected of causing similar pathological reactions. The new recommendations will be discussed in February at the first FDA hearing on analytical methods for testing asbestos in cosmetics and talc since 1971. See: Government experts urge new talc testing standards amid asbestos worries.
 

Asbestos Compensation Scheme

Jan 20, 2020

With 40,000 asbestos deaths in Spain to date, people living with these diseases have routinely been denied compensation via a hostile legal climate. Calls by a number of groups representing the victims have highlighted the vacuum which exists and demanded that a national compensation scheme be established to expedite compensation for the injured, many of whom were routinely exposed to asbestos at work by companies such as Uralita, formerly Spain’s largest asbestos-cement manufacturer. It has been estimated that 1,900 people die from asbestos-related diseases in Spain every year. See: Las víctimas del amianto luchan contra la burocracia que frena sus compensaciones [Asbestos victims fight the bureaucracy that stops their compensation].
 

Russian Cancer Epidemic

Jan 17, 2020

An article uploaded to the website of the Moscow Post on January 14, 2020, highlighted the deplorable living and working conditions for the population of the Russian asbestos mining town “Asbestos,” saying: “there are no healthy children in the city… [and], there are a lot of cancer patients.” In 2012, the cancer incidence in the city at 493 cases per 100,000 people was the highest in the Sverdlovsk Region; in 2015, this figure had risen to 572 and there was a mortality rate of 292 cases per 100,000 – the average regional rate was 218. See: “Дорожная карта” Шмотьева в “обход” закона? [“Shmotiev's Roadmap” to “circumvent” the law?].
 

Asbestos in Children’s Products

Jan 17, 2020

A laboratory analysis of eye shadow contained in a children’s make-up kit sold under the brand name Princess Girl’s All-in-One Deluxe Makeup Palette found more than 4 million asbestos fiber structures per gram. The tests were commissioned by the Washington D.C. based non-profit organization: Environmental Working Group (EWG). Commenting on these findings, an EWG spokesperson called on all US retailers including online outlets to recall these products and said: “Taking steps to safeguard children from exposure to one of the deadliest carcinogens in the world should always come before profits.” See: Alert: Tests Find High Levels of Asbestos in Children’s Makeup Kits.
 

Asbestos Workplace Hazard

Jan 17, 2020

Tests conducted on 148 workers, former and retired workers from a factory in Bogotá, Colombia which used chrysotile asbestos in the manufacture of friction products, revealed that 19 had changes in their X-rays consistent with exposure to asbestos; in most of those examined, pulmonary function had not altered. Most of the workers who developed disease did so within 20 years of their first exposure. The researchers concluded that asbestos disease was “clearly present among Colombian factory workers…” See: Radiographic Changes in Colombian Asbestos Factory Workers.
 

Asbestos in Schools

Jan 17, 2020

A citizens’ lobbying group – Movimento Escolas Sem Amianto (MESA) [Schools Without Asbestos] – set up in Portugal at the end of 2019 has identified 102 schools contaminated with asbestos. The group is calling for action to protect the health of both students and staff as part of a phased program which (1) prioritizes work on friable or degrading asbestos-containing products and (2) is accomplished through the use of state-of-the-art equipment and according to the highest safety protocols. Complaints made by MESA to the General Directorate of School Establishments have, to date, received no response. See: 102 schools with asbestos structures documented.
 

Bushfire Crisis & Asbestos

Jan 16, 2020

This week Australia’s Master Builders Association (MBA) raised concerns about the threat posed by asbestos liberated by bushfires in New South Wales and Victoria with Prime Minister Scott Morrison during round-table discussions. MBA’s main preoccupation was ensuring that people were provided with appropriate safety information in order to minimize hazardous exposures during clean-up operations. MBA chief executive Denita Wawn said: “Our concern is making sure that if people are doing their own clearing, they are taking appropriate asbestos safety precautions [and]… that people in those locations are made aware of those risks when they start to do their site clearance.” See: Bushfires: communities face asbestos threat as clean-up begins.
 

Nakuru City to Remove Asbestos Roofs

Jan 16, 2020

Local authorities in Nakuru – a major city in Kenya, northwest of Nairobi – have begun a remediation program to remove asbestos roofing due to concerns over the hazard it posed to public health. At a recent press conference, County Public Health Officer Samuel King’ori reaffirmed the risk of asbestos exposures and announced that work would be undertaken first on public buildings such as hospitals and afterwards on residential buildings. King’ori confirmed that material removed would be treated as hazardous and be dealt with according to guidelines set by the National Environmental Management Authority. See: Nakuru County Set To Get Rid Of Asbestos Roofs.
 

Asbestos Charity Faces Funding Crisis

Jan 13, 2020

Glasgow City Council has turned down an application from the renowned charity Action on Asbestos – formerly called Clydeside Action on Asbestos – due to an administrative error. Once this mistake was spotted, the charity sent the appropriate document to the Council and resubmitted the application but by then the decision had been made. The £50,000 grant which had been awarded in previous years had been the only source of public funding for this organization which had supported asbestos victims not only in Glasgow but throughout Scotland for over thirty years. See: Glasgow asbestos charity fears for future after council refuses to consider its funding application.
 

Behind Closed Doors

Jan 10, 2020

The Supreme Court of Brazil (STF) has announced that it will issue a decision regarding the constitutionality of a law adopted by the State of Goiás which, contrary to a STF 2017 ruling banning asbestos, allowed asbestos to be mined, processed, sold and exported from the SAMA chrysotile asbestos mine in Goiás. Despite the life and death issues involved, the STF’s Minister Alexandre de Moraes has scheduled proceedings to be virtual with no oral submissions. The decision of the court will not be announced in public but will be available only once the decision is published. See: vai julgar virtualmente lei goiana para proteger indústria [STF will judge Goiás law virtually to protect asbestos industry].
 

Asbestos Outreach Workshop

Jan 10, 2020

On January 8, 2020 a workshop entitled “The Environment and Health: Toxicity of Chrysotile (Asbestos) in Fibro Cement Roofing” was held at the Institute of Natural Resources, Environment and Community Development in Hanoi. The objective of this event was to provide updated and independent information regarding the hazard posed by the use of asbestos – a substance not yet banned in Vietnam – to inform the national asbestos dialogue and help progress ongoing efforts to implement a national asbestos ban. Although Vietnam has developed a roadmap to cease asbestos use by 2023, lobbyists are trying to derail efforts to protect the population from avoidable toxic exposures. See: Bàn giải pháp ngừng sử dụng Amiăng trắng ở Việt Nam [Table of solutions to stop using chrysotile in Vietnam].
 

Asbestos Odyssey in India

Jan 10, 2020

An online article describes the decades-long campaign by activist Raghunath Manwar to support workers in India, in particular those injured by occupational exposures to asbestos. Through his work establishing the NGO Occupational Health and Safety Association, the septuagenarian raised awareness regarding exposure to workplace toxins and assisted those affected to claim compensation and access medical care. In this quest for justice, Manwar confronted government bodies, powerful corporations and vested interests pursuing restitution via the courts as well as media outlets. See: Asbestos Poisoning: Raghunath Manwar’s Fight for Safer Work Conditions.