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Displaying first 25 items in reverse date order (default)
 

Another Asbestos Murder Trial!

Jun 26, 2019

On June 25, 2019, an appeal made on May 31, 2019 on behalf of defendant Stephan Schmidheiny was rejected by the Second Court of Assizes of Naples. Schmidheiny was accused of the voluntary murder of 8 people who died from exposure to his company’s asbestos; 6 of them were employees of the Eternit plant in Bagnoli and 2 were family members. The legal proceedings in Naples have now officially begun before Judge Alfonso Barbarano. The next hearing will be on September 27, 2019 and will feature the testimony of two prosecution engineers. See: Amianto, la Corte di Assise respinge la richiesta di proscioglimento per l'ex Ad Eternit [Asbestos, the Court of Auditors rejects the request for acquittal for the former Eternit CEO].
 

Forest Retreat for Asbestos Victims

Jun 26, 2019

A “healing camp” was held on June 25 & 26, 2019 in South Chungcheong Province in the west of South Korea for 70 Korean victims of asbestos-related diseases and family members. The event, which was run by the Asian Environmental Health Center of Soonchunhyang University, took place in a forest resort. Participants were able to relax in a soothing environment, visit local tourist attractions and develop new techniques for managing their illnesses. Another camp will be held later in the year for asbestos victims from other parts of South Korea. See: 순천향대 천안병원, 충남도 석면피해자 힐링캠프 개최 [Soonchunhyang University Cheonan Hospital, Chungnam Asbestos victims’ healing camp held].
 

Asbestos and Lung Cancer

Jun 26, 2019

A medical commentary on a Vietnam website stated that a third of all cancer deaths in the country were due to lung cancer; while the incidence of male lung cancer mortality was decreasing, the incidence for females was increasing. The symptoms, types and available treatments for different forms of lung cancer were discussed and the role of smoking and passive smoking in the causation of the disease were examined. The author wrote that: “Exposure to asbestos also increases the risk of lung cancer, especially among smokers (3 times higher risk than just smoking).” See: Ung thư phổi-Nguy cơ mắc bệnh cao [Lung cancer - High risk of disease].
 

Costs Rise as Supplier Numbers Shrink

Jun 25, 2019

A circular dated June 15, 2019 from Eastwell Industries Ltd. in Maharashtra, India to its customers informed them there would be a 10% increase in prices of Asbestos Textile and Friction products because of the shutdown of asbestos mining in Canada, Brazil and Zimbabwe and the total reliance on Russian asbestos exports which, as a result of the shrinking number of asbestos producers and escalation of dollar exchange rates, have risen in price by 10-35%. Under the company’s name at the top of the circular it notes that it produces both asbestos and asbestos-free insulation and mechanical packings. Perhaps the price increase of the asbestos products will prove a financial incentive to phase out asbestos use in India? See: Letter from Eastwell Industries (P) Ltd.
 

Enforcing City’s Asbestos Ban

Jun 25, 2019

Pursuant to Municipal Law No. 8,806 / 2017 prohibiting asbestos and asbestos-containing products in the Brazilian city of Campos dos Goytacaza, Rio de Janeiro State, officers have been carrying out spot inspections at retail outlets to ensure that outlawed building products were not being sold. To date, only one shop out of the 20 inspected was found to be contravening the asbestos prohibitions. The supplier was informed that the asbestos tiles on sale were illegal and they were promptly discarded. See: Procon fiscaliza depósitos de construção para coibir venda de amianto em Campos [Procon supervises construction depots to curb the sale of asbestos in Campos].
 

National Asbestos Initiative

Jun 25, 2019

A working group has been coalesced by the Italian Government to bring the country’s asbestos laws under the supervision of a single entity, working under the Ministry of Environment. The members of the asbestos commission include: retired Public Prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello, Ezio Bonanni, Giampiero Cardillo and Franco Maroni of the Casale Monferrato asbestos victims’ group (AFeVA); the members of a technical committee which was also created include Professor of Epidemiology Pietro Comba, industrial hygienist Stefano Silvestri and Giordano Bruno, Supreme Court Justice. See: Decreto Ministeriale [Ministerial Decree].
 

Confronting the Asbestos Hazard

Jun 25, 2019

A discussion on Spain’s asbestos legacy by Professor Rubio from Barcelona University recapped the chemical properties, fiber types and multiple uses. Explaining the downsides to asbestos, which remains throughout the national infrastructure, he cited the policies of international agencies favoring banning asbestos due to the health hazards posed by exposures and noted that the main tool to protect populations from asbestos-related diseases is the “total prohibition of use, the strict control of exposures (in maintenance and remediation work) and the medical control of at-risk people.” See: Debemos luchar contra la epidemia mortal del Amianto [We must fight against deadly asbestos epidemic].
 

Asbestos in the Navy

Jun 24, 2019

The Administrative Court of Rennes (Ille-et-Vilaine) handed down a verdict on June 21, 2019 awarding damages against the French State of between €3,000-10,000 to 50 former sailors based in the north of the country for “asbestos anxiety” caused by exposures to asbestos experienced during military service between 1950 and 2000. The Court found that the Ministry of the Armed Forces had failed to fulfil its obligations as an employer to take adequate measures to protect the health and safety of these workers. See: Exposition à l'amiante: des militaires de la Marine obtiennent gain de cause face à l'Etat [Exposure to asbestos: Sailors win case against the state].
 

Asbestos in the Environment

Jun 24, 2019

The UN Environment Agency issued an alert on June 21, 2019 warning of the human health hazard posed by asbestos in the natural environment, citing the US example of Swift Creek in Washington State; research by the Environmental Protection Agency has documented levels of asbestos in some dried samples from the Creek containing up to 43% asbestos. The alert also highlighted the potential threat posed by airborne and waterborne asbestos fibers and urged that measures to minimize toxic exposures be implemented. See: Asbestos in the natural environment: how safe are we?
 

Asbestos Scandal

Jun 24, 2019

A column by medical expert Dr. Liang Xiansun was published this week in Hong Kong's first free health newspaper; the text highlighted the hazard posed by human exposures to asbestos citing statistics and advice from the World Health Organization about the ubiquity and consequences of the unregulated and widespread use of asbestos both in the past and currently. The author pointed out that experts are concerned about future epidemics of asbestos-related diseases in countries which are still producing or using asbestos such as Russia, China and India. See: 石棉危機 [Asbestos Crisis].
 

Australia’s Asbestos Legacy: Update

Jun 24, 2019

An article published on June 20 in an online Australian manufacturing and industrial equipment magazine reviewed the progress in the 15 years since a national asbestos ban was implemented and highlighted concerns expressed by the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) regarding the hazards posed by exposures to all types of asbestos. Considering the widespread and unregulated use of asbestos-containing products over decades, homes as well workplaces remained potential sources of exposure. The article restated the ASEA’s opinion that “the only way to properly manage the risk of asbestos is to remove it from the environment (a task that can only be carried out by licensed asbestos removalists).” See: Asbestos Alarm.
 

Legal Victory: Asbestos & Lung Cancer

Jun 24, 2019

On June 10, 2019, a court in Pamplona, Spain issued a victim’s verdict for the wife and children of a deceased worker (AGP) who had been occupationally exposed to asbestos by Industrias del Hogar SA (which became Orbaiceta SA and is now BSH Electrodomésticos España, SA). From 1972, AGP had handled asbestos, used in the manufacture of stoves, on a daily basis as a result of which he contracted lung cancer and became permanently disabled. Despite his smoking history, the Court awarded the full amount of compensation against the company for its negligence. See: Primera condena a una empresa navarra por el ‘mal del amianto’ [First conviction of a Navarre company for the ‘asbestos disease’].
 

Asbestos at Court

Jun 24, 2019

According to a new article, French Guiana’s Department of Justice is still in turmoil months after asbestos contamination was discovered to have been widespread throughout the judicial infrastructure. The capital’s High Court has now been closed for two months and officials have had to make arrangements so that hearings could be held and judgments handed down by the High Court as well as the Court of Appeal and the District Court. The situation is unlikely to be resolved any time soon. See: Amiante: ministère de la Justice recherche nouveaux locaux désespérément! [Asbestos: Department of Justice search for new premises desperately!]
 

Raising Awareness

Jun 19, 2019

At a workshop in Vientiane, Laos on June 18, 2019, training sessions and discussions took place at The Awareness Raising Workshop on the Impact of Asbestos and Asbestos-Related Diseases. The event was an initiative of Australia’s Union Aid Abroad (APHEDA) – in particular the Lao APHEDA team – and the World Health Organization, the Lao Federation of Trade Unions, the Lao Ban Asbestos Network (LAOBAN), and the Lao Ministry of Health and Ministry of Labour (see: picture from event). On June 19, asbestos awareness sessions were held in the city for student nurses and dentists.
 

Award for Mesothelioma Researcher

Jun 19, 2019

On June 14, 2019, Professor Gary Lee was named Cancer Council Western Australia (WA) 2019 Cancer Researcher of the Year for his research into pleural effusion, a build-up of fluid in the chest which affects 8,000+ cancer patients a year in Australia including many with mesothelioma, a fatal cancer of the lining of the lung caused by asbestos exposure. Ashley Reid, Cancer Council WA CEO, said Professor Lee’s trials “have brought major advancements in pleural medicine and are contributing to greatly improved outcomes for patients.” See: Pleural medicine leader named WA Cancer Researcher of the Year.
 

Asbestos Public Health Risk

Jun 19, 2019

An article uploaded to the web on May 31, 2019 documented evidence accumulated by researchers in Thailand who identified chrysotile asbestos bodies (AB) in autopsy lung tissue from the general population. The levels found were, the scientists said, consistent with non-occupational asbestos exposures: “AB was detected in 48.5% of individuals sampled from the Thai population with a concentration of 0.19-14.4 AB/g wet lung tissue. AB was identified in the lung of a 1.5 year-old infant showing the potential for exposure at an early age. No significant correlation between age, gender or occupation and the asbestos burden was obtained from this study.” See: Asbestos Bodies Burden in the Autopsy Lung Tissue from General Thai Population.
 

Toxic Talc Verdict

Jun 14, 2019

On June 12, 2019 a jury in Oakland, California awarded mesothelioma sufferer Patricia Schmitz $12 million against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Colgate-Palmolive for their negligence in causing the disease which she contracted through a lifetime’s use of Johnson & Johnson’s iconic baby powder and Colgate-Palmolive’s Cashmere Bouquet both of which contained asbestos fibers. J&J spokeswoman Kimberly Montagnino has said the company will appeal the verdict due to “serious procedural and evidentiary errors in the proceeding that required us to move for mistrial on multiple occasions…”; Colgate-Palmolive also plans to appeal. See: California Jury Awards $12M in Talcum Powder Case Against J&J, Colgate-Palmolive.
 

Asbestos Compensation Fund

Jun 14, 2019

The current session of the Basque Parliament is once again considering plans to create a compensation fund for asbestos victims; individuals who were exposed to asbestos at work or others who have contracted diseases due to asbestos exposures in Spain would be eligible to bring a claim. Compensation payments, which would be assessed within 6 months of application, would be funded by contributions from public and private sources, including asbestos-using businesses, mutual insurance companies and others as allocated in the State Budget. See: Vuelve al Congreso la ley que exige compensar a las víctimas del Amianto [Congress returns to the law that requires compensating the victims of asbestos].
 

Portugal’s Asbestos Legacy

Jun 14, 2019

According to official figures, 3,700 public buildings in Portugal are still contaminated with asbestos; a spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment said that remediation work will be carried out on 416 of these premises during 2019. A budget of €370m has been allocated for decontamination work on 1,600 buildings over the next four years. The situation in schools is far worse than officially recognized, according to an NGO, which said that the asbestos audits undertaken only identified asbestos-cement roofing and not asbestos in materials such as floors, panels or ceilings. See: Ainda há 3.700 edifícios com amianto em Portugal. Mas pode haver mais [There are still 3,700 asbestos buildings in Portugal. But there may be more].
 

Asbestos Hazard: Urban Renewal

Jun 14, 2019

The failure to remove asbestos from buildings due to be demolished in Turkey is, unfortunately, a common problem. A recent report about the construction of the Pendik National Garden in Istanbul on a derelict 250+ acre industrial site provided a good example of warnings unheeded. On January 17, 2019, Cafer Fidan, President of the Association of Asbestos and Hazardous Wastes, reported that the factory had been demolished without an asbestos inventory having been compiled and without the asbestos being removed. As a result, asbestos fibers were dispersed throughout the area destined to be the national garden and will remain in the soil as well as the environment. See: İstanbul'daki millet bahçesinde kanser tehlikesi! [The danger of cancer in the garden of the nation in Istanbul!].
 

Uplift of Victims’ Rights

Jun 14, 2019

In April 2019, as a result of an unanimous vote by the Belgian Parliament: lung and larynx cancers were added to the list of compensable asbestos-related diseases; the National Asbestos Fund increased compensation for mesothelioma victims by €10,000; and the families of environmental asbestos victims were to be paid funeral expenses of €1000. Welcoming this news, asbestos victims’ campaigners pointed out that the scandal of asbestos in the country’s schools remained ongoing and that it was unjust that the right to sue employers or polluters was relinquished as a result of accepting compensation from the Asbestos Fund. See: Une meilleure reconnaissance des victimes de l'amiante [Better recognition of asbestos victims].
 

Asbestos Ban in Colombia

Jun 12, 2019

After 12 years and numerous attempts, a bill that banned asbestos mining, processing, use and export by January 1, 2021 was unanimously approved by Colombia’s House of Representatives on June 11, 2019. This is the first time that a Congress of an asbestos-producing country has adopted prohibitions outlawing asbestos. By the end of this session of the Congress (June 20, 2019), the language of the House bill must be reconciled with that of the Senate legislation; both chambers then vote again to confirm the final law which is then sent to the President for signature. These steps are regarded as formalities. See: Congreso prohíbe el uso del asbesto en Colombia [Prohibition of Asbestos in Colombia].
 

Raising Asbestos Awareness

Jun 12, 2019

Efforts to protect Vietnamese citizens from toxic exposure to asbestos remain ongoing. Researchers have concluded that as 95% of asbestos-containing roofing sheets are currently being used by ethnic minority groups in mountainous areas, steps must be taken in these areas to raise awareness of the human health hazard posed by asbestos exposures and the existence of safer alternative products. Such an initiative has been launched by the IRECO Institute in collaboration with community groups in Hoa Binh and Son La Provinces in Northern Vietnam. See: Ngăn ngừa amiăng trắng vì sức khỏe cộng đồng [Preventing (exposure to) chrysotile for public health].
 

Asbestos on the Metro

Jun 12, 2019

As a result of complaints from trade unions in Argentina, several underground trains on the Buenos Aires (BA) Metro line B have now been withdrawn from service due to the presence of asbestos. Reacting to news of asbestos-related diseases amongst staff working for Madrid Metro, from where the contaminated BA trains were purchased in 2011 at a cost of €4 million, 160 BA Metro workers from line B – mainly mechanics from the Rancagua and Villa Urquiza workshops – are now undergoing health checks. See: Retiran formaciones de la línea B del subte porque se sospecha que tienen Amianto [Trains withdrawn from B line of subway because they are suspected of containing asbestos].
 

Asbestos Appeal

Jun 12, 2019

Saint Gobain, the French multinational which was ordered on June 3, 2019 to pay compensation of €20,000 each to 130 workers from its Thourotte factory who have “asbestos anxiety,” has announced it will appeal the decision of the Compiegne labor court. The company’s Secretary General Antoine Vignial claimed that the decision was “not consistent with the most recent jurisprudence of the Court of Cassation which clearly describes the need to verify the individual exposure of employees.” See: Salariés exposés à l'amiante: Saint-Gobain va faire appel de la condemnation [Employees exposed to asbestos: Saint-Gobain will appeal the conviction].