News Item Archive
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Displaying 25 items in reverse date order starting from item 4501
Partial Asbestos Ban in 3 Years?
Aug 14, 2015
On August 12, 2015, during his keynote address to a Colombo symposium on the subject of “Powering Growth through Collaboration,” Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena told delegates that his government intends to address the public health hazard posed by asbestos. Consultations at cabinet level are underway to implement a ban on the import of asbestos roofing material by 2018. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, Sri Lanka consumed 54,704, 22,953 and 52,214 tonnes of raw asbestos fiber, respectively. See: Sri Lanka President assures to take steps to ban import of asbestos roofing sheets by 2018.
Legal Victory against Eternit S.A
Aug 14, 2015
At a meeting on August 10, 2015 of a special body of the Superior Labor Court, an appeal by Brazil’s asbestos giant Eternit S.A. of a Supreme Court judgment was dismissed. As a result of this decision, the sum of US$285,000 will be awarded to the widow of an Eternit engineer who died in 2005 aged 72 from mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer, contracted during his employment during the 1960s at the company’s asbestos-cement factory in Osasco. See: TST nega último recurso da Eternit contra indenização de R$ 1 milhão a viúva de vítima do amianto [TST deny last resort to Eternit against compensation of R$ 1 million to asbestos victim's widow].
Ministry Warns of Asbestos Hazard
Aug 14, 2015
An internal seven-page document uploaded by the Ministry of Culture on August 8, 2015 warns people working in French archives of the asbestos hazard. Referencing a recent case of an archivist who contracted an occupational disease from workplace asbestos exposure, the circular mandates extra protections for people at risk of similar exposures. See: Circulaire du 05 Aout 2015 relative aux préconisations pour la prise en compte du risque d'exposition à l'amiante dans les services d'archives [Circular of 5 August 2015 on recommendations for the consideration of the risk of exposure to asbestos in the archives].
Asbestos Issues at Construction Site
Aug 13, 2015
Work at a construction site in Genoa has led to complaints by local politicians and members of the public, police investigations, and official sanctions over failures to follow safety regulations when dealing with asbestos debris. After the presence of asbestos was verified on July 22, work was shut down until the end of August for further investigation. Nevertheless, on August 6 citizens took photographs showing the handling of asbestos by workers with no protective equipment and other hazardous practices. See: Terzo Valico, per l’amianto nel cantiere di Cravasco due esposti contro Cociv [Third asbestos incident, second complaint against company].
Victims Call for Asbestos Ban
Aug 13, 2015
Asbestos cancer sufferer Ana Cecila Nilño Robles and asbestos widow Flor Riano are calling on the government to ban the production, import, use and sale of asbestos-containing products in Colombia. They have appealed to the Ministries of Environment and Health and launched an online petititon calling for action on asbestos. Ms. Robles was exposed to asbestos having lived near an asbestos-cement factory; Mrs. Riano’s husband inhaled asbestos fibers brought home on his father’s work clothes. See: Un grupo de víctimas del asbesto busca que Colombia sea el país número 57 en prohibirlo [Asbestos victims’ group pressing for Colombia to become 57th country to ban asbestos].
Asbestos-free Technology for Brazil
Aug 13, 2015
A leading Brazilian specialist in the sale of industrial goods and tools has sent personnel to Italy for training in the use of asbestos-free technology. The small team from the Armo Company received training on the use of safer alternative products for industrial sealing of fluid and vapour leaks from experts at the Carrara S.p.A company, a leading producer of asbestos-free seal systems for valves and flanges. See: Indústria: Armo vai à Itália para treinamento exclusivo sobre vedação livre de amianto [Industry: Armo going to Italy for exclusive training on asbestos-free sealing].
Industry Whitewash Withdrawn!
Aug 12, 2015
In an extremely embarrassing U-turn, a controversial report “Lessons from the Quebec Asbestos Industry: Can there be meaningful dialogue and consensus when facts come up against feelings,” published and promoted by Concordia University’s Luc Beauregard Centre of Excellence in Communications Research, has been removed from Concordia’s website after accusations of bias, inaccuracies and irresponsibility. According to Concordia’s President Alan Shepard, an investigation into the author’s alleged conflict of interests is being undertaken. See: L’Université Concordia dans l’embarras [Concordia University embarrassed].
Victory for Dying Mesothelioma Victim
Aug 12, 2015
An important precedent has been set which will allow workers in Australia’s Northern Territory (NT) to launch common law claims for pre-1987 injuries following a decision by Australia’s High Court in a mesothelioma case brought by a former employee of Alcan Gove, the owners of an alumina refinery now belonging to the global mining giant Rio Tinto. The verdict just issued upheld a March 2015 ruling by the NT Court of Appeal which awarded compensation of $425,000 to claimant Zorko Zabic. See: Rio Tinto loses court appeal against asbestosis compensation ruling to dying worker Zorko Zabic!
Federal Sanctions for Asbestos Removal
Aug 12, 2015
On Monday, August 10, the federal agency tasked with ensuring occupational safety (OSHA), issued fines of nearly $1.8m for “outrageous behaviour” by an Illinois businessman who hired eight Mexican workers to remove asbestos at a former primary school in conditions which violated federal health regulations. The workers removed asbestos-containing floor tiles, insulation and other materials unaware they were being exposed to asbestos. They were threatened with loss of employment if they spoke to investigators, OSHA reported. See: Feds: Albers firm deserves $1.8M fine for hiring Mexicans to remove asbestos.
Darwin’s Asbestos Legacy
Aug 10, 2015
Millions of tonnes of asbestos-containing debris created in 1974 by Cyclone Tracy remain hidden in and around the Australian city of Darwin. Contractors working at a site at Palmerston Regional Hospital have removed quantities of illegally dumped asbestos-contaminated soil. No one knows how long the toxic waste has been there. Tracy survivors say that in the aftermath of the storm, waste was dumped outside the city limits. As Darwin expanded, these dump sites are now prime building land. See: Asbestos illegally dumped at Palmerston Regional Hospital site as expert says millions of tonnes could be buried.
Are Children Safe in Italian Schools?
Aug 8, 2015
More than half of Italy’s school buildings are more than 40 years old, built during a time when asbestos use was in its heyday. From Monday, August 10, parents can go online to ascertain the condition of Italian schools via a Ministry of Education website which has details (though reportedly not of asbestos hazards) relating to 33,825 school buildings. According to Education Minister Stefania Giannini, the census which has been “awaited for nearly two decades…[is] a huge step forward in terms of knowledge of school buildings, awareness and planning of a series of interventions.” See: In che stato è la scuola di tuo figlio? Da lunedì lo puoi sapere online [What state is your child's school in? Monday, you can find out online].
Major Victory for Victims
Aug 8, 2015
On August 7, Électricité de France S.A (EDF) was convicted by the Labour Court in Mont-de-Marsan in the cases of 95 former employees which it negligently exposed to asbestos at its Arjuzanx power station. Damages between €1000 and €14,000 were awarded for anxiety over the hazardous exposures sustained. The charges were not proven in four cases; appeals will be launched for these plaintiffs by the CGT trade union. Given the size, scale and significance of this defeat, it is likely EDF will also appeal. See: Landes EDF condamné 95 fois pour "exposition fautive" à l’amiante [Landes EDF convicted 95 times for “negligent exposure” to asbestos].
Mesothelioma Victim Calls for Ban
Aug 7, 2015
A victim of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma has called on the Government of Colombia to end the use of asbestos. When she was growing up, she was exposed to asbestos liberated by the operations of an Eternit asbestos-cement factory near Sibaté, Cundinamarca. In an interview published on August 6, she points out the widespread ignorance about the asbestos hazard in Colombia, a country which mined, imports and uses asbestos, a substance now banned in 55 countries. She has uploaded a ban asbestos petition. See: Me enfermé de cáncer por culpa de Eternit [I have cancer because of Eternit].
Lung Cancer in Asbestos Cohort
Aug 7, 2015
Researchers studied data from a cohort of 7,000+ former asbestos workers from 2000 to 2013 which was collected under Poland’s “Amiantus” program. The scientists found “strong evidence that the lung cancer risk is associated with asbestos exposure and it increases along with the increasing exposure.” Efforts to encourage formerly exposed individuals to cease smoking were recommended as was the need to provide follow-up medical schemes for the early detection of lung cancer amongst this high risk group. See: Predictors of lung cancer among former asbestos-exposed workers.
Ban Reduces Asbestos-Related Diseases
Aug 7, 2015
A paper just published in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health by European authors provides evidence that steps taken in Sweden to address the asbestos hazard succeeded. Men and women born between 1955–79, who started their working lives after the 1982 ban, had a decreased risk of malignant pleural mesothelioma compared to men and women born between 1940–49. The authors concluded that: “the ban and other initiatives to decrease the occupational exposure to asbestos have had a measureable effect on health.” See: Emerging evidence that the ban on asbestos use is reducing the occurrence of pleural mesothelioma in Sweden.
Asbestos Hazard in US Schools
Aug 7, 2015
Two US senators have undertaken research to ascertain how many states are complying with federal legislation regarding the asbestos hazard in schools. All 50 governors responded; their replies indicated that US regulations were not being followed uniformly as a result of which school children and teaching staff were receiving hazardous exposures at school. Critics have blamed the lack of compliance on the federal government’s failure to ensure compliance by state authorities with federal law. For over thirty years asbestos was widely used in the construction of schools throughout the country. See: Authorities worry that many U.S. schools could have dangerous asbestos.
Post-Tornado Asbestos Damage
Aug 5, 2015
Public warnings have been given to the citizens of Florence in the aftermath of a storm on August 1 which wreaked widespread damage including the destruction of asbestos roofs. Wild weather, including a thunderstorm, hail and fierce winds, felled trees and ripped roofs off buildings as streets flooded and power pylons were brought down. Citizens have been told to report the location of toxic asbestos debris to the City Council and the municipal police. See: Gli Effetti del Tornado. Firenze, nubifragio: è allarme amianto sui tetti scoperchiati [The effects of the tornado. Warning about storm-damaged asbestos roofs].
Victims Rights’ under Attack in NSW
Aug 4, 2015
In a shocking move, state officials have today terminated the employment of officials at the New South Wales (NSW) Dust Diseases Tribunal (DDT) – a body which has administered NSW asbestos claims for decades – due to a government reorganization which will replace the DDT with a “user friendly” advisory body that will, so the authorities say, maintain victims’ entitlements. Campaigners and trade unionists are suspicious of the shutdown with one spokesman accusing the government of turning its “back on the dying victims of asbestos exposure.” See: Dust Diseases Board to be abolished by NSW government.
Asbestos Debris at Historic Site
Aug 2, 2015
Details have just emerged that Stonehenge, one of Europe’s best known prehistoric monuments, was contaminated with asbestos when toxic topsoil was used in landscaping work. When the accidental contamination was discovered last summer, contractors wearing protective clothing and using specialist equipment were brought in to remediate the site at a cost of £100,000. One source speculated that the week-long operations were done under cover of darkness to avoid publicity; English Heritage, the site owners, deny this. See: Stonehenge contaminated with deadly asbestos after contractors accidentally dump soil.
Toxic Swiss Trams
Aug 1, 2015
On Friday (July 30) it was announced by a spokesman for Zurich Public Transport (ZPT) that during a general inspection to enhance security, asbestos had been found in the “tram 2000 series” used in the city’s transport network. The 160 contaminated vehicles, which were manufactured between 1976 and 1990, constitute 23% of ZPT’s 700 cars. Having given assurances that workers and passengers were safe, ZPT said that decontamination of the vehicles will begin by the end of the Summer; until then, the affected units will remain in service. See: Zurich: de l'amiante dans des vieux trams [Zurich: asbestos in old trams].
Industrial Asbestos Exposure 2015
Aug 1, 2015
During a routine maintenance inspection on an industrial blast furnace in the town of Florange in north-eastern France, Laurent Longuez discovered asbestos contamination. Upon identifying the presence of the hazardous material on July 20, he asked for protective equipment; his request was denied and work continued for a further two days. Finally at noon on July 22, the company – Arcelor Mittal, “the world’s leading integrated steel and mining company,” – evacuated the site and began decontamination work. See: Découverte d’amiante sur le site des hauts-fourneaux de Florange [Discovery of asbestos in the blast furnace site Florange].
National Asbestos Eradication Plan
Jul 31, 2015
As a press conference on July 30, the (Mauritius) Minister of Housing Showkutally Soodhun committed his government to a program for the removal of asbestos from the country’s housing infrastructure. Information the Minister presented quantified the hazard: of 3,113 houses in 59 locations built with asbestos, only 665 (21%) had been remediated. The Government has allocated the sum of $12.5 million for this program. Welcoming the news, opposition politicians called for a schedule for the completion of the works. See: Soodhun: Rs 443 millions pour la réhabilitation des maisons de la NHDC [Soodhun: Rs 443 million for rehabilitation of houses NHDC].
Consumers Shun China’s Exports
Jul 31, 2015
After the 2012 asbestos scandal involving Chinese cars, Australian consumers are opting for vehicles from other countries according to an article released today. Before asbestos engine components were discovered in Chinese cars exported to Australia by Great Wall Motors, more than 12,000 Chinese cars had been purchased that year. Of the 1.1 million new vehicles bought by Australians in 2014, only 4,200 were made in China. Asbestos and asbestos containing-products have been banned in Australia since 2003. See: Haval stalls as Chinese car sales evaporate in Australia.
Federal Bill Calls for Mesothelioma Register
Jul 30, 2015
On July 29, a bipartisan bill was introduced to the U.S. Congress called the “Mary Jo Lawyer-Spano Mesothelioma Patient Registry Act of 2015” which would establish the country’s first mesothelioma registry; the data collected would be of use to mesothelioma researchers and clinicians. This draft legislation is the result of lobbying efforts spearheaded by members of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation who met with their Congressional representatives in Washington, D.C. in March 2015. See: ACTION ALERT: Mesothelioma Bill in Congress for Patient Registry.
Asbestos Scandal in Welsh Schools
Jul 30, 2015
As governments in Cardiff and London argue over who is responsible for the deadly asbestos contamination of Welsh schools, children and their teachers continue to experience daily exposures to a known carcinogen. The BBC has today published an article reporting on the repercussions of these exposures and the efforts by campaigners to lobby the Welsh authorities to “take responsibility” for a hazardous situation which appears lost in a devolutionary morass. According to research by the BBC, 1,514 Welsh schools (85%) contain asbestos products. See: Take lead on asbestos in schools, Welsh government told.