News Item Archive

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Displaying 25 items in reverse date order starting from item 4117

Victim’s Verdict

Dec 6, 2017

The Court of Appeals of Santiago, Chile has confirmed a verdict which ordered the asbestos company Pizarreño S.A. to pay compensation of $80 million (pesos) (US$122,550+) to the children of Manuela del Carmen Marín Cabello, who died on July 18, 2012 as a result of environmental and domestic exposure to asbestos dust brought home on her husband’s work clothes. The court heard evidence documenting the company’s extensive knowledge regarding the deadly hazard of asbestos exposure. See: Pizarreño deberá pagar $80 millones a hijos de mujer que murió de asbestosis [Pizarreño must pay $80 million to children of a woman who died of asbestosis].

The End!

Dec 6, 2017

In a press release issued by Eternit S.A., Brazil’s biggest asbestos conglomerate, on December 5, 2017 the company informed its shareholders and the financial markets that it had suspended mining at Brazil’s only chrysotile asbestos mine, which was operated by the Eternit subsidiary SAMA, following the Supreme Court verdict of November 29 declaring the mining, processing, use, sale and export of asbestos and asbestos-containing products unconstitutional throughout the country. Also suspended were the activities of the Eternit subsidiary Precon Goiás, which was a manufacturer of asbestos cement tiles. See: Eternit S.A. Press release.

Asbestos in Schools

Dec 4, 2017

The Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) has issued new guidance reminding schools of the precautions needed to prevent hazardous exposures caused by pinning up Christmas decorations and exhibits in the majority of schools which still contain asbestos products. According to the Department for Education, pressing staples or pins into asbestos-containing walls or ceilings can release harmful fibers into the air. JUAC has recommended that this alert be incorporated as part of schools’ mandatory asbestos management plans in order to give staff “timely reminders.” See: Schools told not to pin up Christmas decorations in union asbestos guidance.

Port Authority Negligent

Dec 4, 2017

Announcements have been made regarding substantial compensation payments awarded by courts to family members of two men who died of mesothelioma due to occupational asbestos exposures experienced whilst employed by the Trieste Port Authority; the Simoni family was awarded €700,000 for the 2013 death of 64-year old Luigi Simioni who had worked at the port loading and unloading asbestos cargo from 1973 onwards; the relatives of port worker Gina Grube received €645,000. See: Amianto:700 mila euro alla famiglia dell'ex dipendente dall'Autorità portuale [Asbestos: 700 thousand euros to the family of a former employee of the Port Authority].

National Asbestos Profile

Dec 4, 2017

A National Asbestos Profile for Australia has been published in accordance with WHO/ILO guidelines to “provide information and define the baseline situation with regard to the elimination of asbestos-related diseases.” The 49-page document highlights the need for further research into the extent of asbestos contamination of housing stock and the cost and social implications of caring for Australians with asbestos-related diseases. The collection of additional information on these subjects will inform government decisions and enable the implementation of effective measures to prevent future exposures to asbestos. See: National Asbestos Profile for Australia.

Asbestos Ban in 2019!

Dec 1, 2017

At a press conference on Monday, November 27, 2017, Svetlana Bolokan – head of Moldova’s Department for Management of Waste and Chemicals – announced that the country intends to ban the sale and import of chrysotile asbestos-containing materials and chrysotile asbestos fiber by 2019. According to the Moldova news agency Infotag, the Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and the Environment has already issued legislation stipulating the provisions and timing of the asbestos prohibitions. See: Шифер вреден для здоровья: в чем кроется опасность? [Asbestos-cement roofing is bad for health: what is the danger?].

Eternit Surrenders!

Nov 30, 2017

On November 27, Eternit – Brazil’s Asbestos Giant – announced that due to falling demand the company would phase-out chrysotile asbestos use from December 2018. Last week, a court in Rio de Janeiro gave the company 120 days to shut down production of asbestos tiles in the State of Rio de Janeiro. Currently, Eternit factories in the cities of Rio de Janeiro (RJ), Colombo (PR),Simões Filho (BA), Goiânia and Anápolis (GO) use 60% synthetic polypropylene fiber and 40% chrysotile asbestos in the manufacture of tiles. See: Eternit deixará de usar amianto em fabricação de telhas até 2018 [Eternit to stop using asbestos in tile production in 2018].

Asbestos Ban Still on Track

Nov 30, 2017

The fact that Canada and Ukraine had signed a free trade agreement in August 2017 which stipulated that asbestos imports from Ukraine would be allowed despite a pledge to ban asbestos use in Canada in 2018 had raised serious concerns amongst health advocates. Clarification has been obtained from the Environment & Climate Change Ministry (Canada), which is overseeing the implementation of the ban: “When the new Regulations are in place, the Government of Canada will prohibit the import of asbestos into Canada, and the export of asbestos from Canada to any country including the Ukraine.” See: Canada will prohibit the import of asbestos products from Ukraine.

Asbestos Documentary Award

Nov 29, 2017

On November 26, 2017, the Japanese documentary Sennan Asbestos Disaster won the FILMeX audience award at the Singapore International Film Festival. The director Kazuo Hara accepted the award in person as he was present in his capacity as the FILMeX jury chairman. In October 2017, the film had won the Citizen’s Prize at the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival in Japan and the Mercenat Award at the Busan International Film Festival in Korea. The documentary is 215 minutes long and took 10 years of research, filming and post-production to bring to the cinema. See: Indonesia’s ‘The Seen and Unseen,’ ‘Marlina’ Share Tokyo FILMeX Grand Prize.

Dynamics behind a National Ban

Nov 29, 2017

An academic paper published in a special issue (Global Panorama of National Experiences in Public Health Actions to Ban Asbestos) of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health considers the failings of multiple stakeholders responsible for the long delay in banning asbestos in New Zealand and delineates strategies which finally resulted in prohibitions being enacted. The authors highlight the importance of maintaining pressure on Governments, public access to information about the asbestos hazard and inter-country dialogue amongst victims, researchers and officials. See: Banning Asbestos in New Zealand, 1936–2016, an 80-Year Long Saga.

Asbestos Site Concerns

Nov 25, 2017

On November 22, 2017, the All Party Parliamentary Asbestos Sub-Group was informed of concerns about environmental asbestos exposures in the Spodden Valley in the area where the former Turner Brothers Asbestos factory had been sited. The sub-group was asked to look into actions of public and private stakeholders with responsibilities for planning, remediation and public safety relating to asbestos contaminated land. Graham Dring, Chairman of the UK Asbestos Victim Support Group Forum, told the meeting: “Standard testing and remediation techniques for complex asbestos sites may not be safe enough.” See: Spodden Valley ‘Greyfield’ asbestos discussed at Westminster.

Asbestos: Mixed Messages

Nov 25, 2017

An online interview on a Belarus news portal, highlights the asbestos cancer risk to people who worked with asbestos or lived in close proximity to those workers and asserts, wrongly, that the asbestos hazard to construction workers is now “almost completely eliminated” due to the known health effects of asbestos exposures. According to data from the United States Geological Survey in the years 2014, 2015 and 2016, Belarus consumed 6,212, 7,183, and 5,525 tonnes of asbestos, respectively. See: Онколог объясняет, как находят рак, что есть, чтобы не заболеть, и какие анализы сдавать 30-летним [An oncologist explains how to detect cancer, what to eat to avoid it and what tests to take to identify it to a 30-year-old].

Asbestos at Nuclear Processing Plant

Nov 25, 2017

Asbestos contamination was discovered in thermal insulating material for pipes at the Areva nuclear waste reprocessing plant in La Hague, northern France during routine maintenance operations in September 2017. While comments from management sources were reassuring – none of the airborne samples taken have “revealed asbestos particles in suspension” – the labor inspectorate was more cautious, warning of the risk not only to those directly exposed to the asbestos but also to others who may have inhaled fibers present throughout the plant. Processing operations have ceased for the time being. See: La Hague: de l'amiante dans l'usine Areva [The Hague: asbestos in the Areva plant].

Asbestos Scandal Grows!

Nov 24, 2017

The scandal over the use of asbestos-containing shot-blasting material in EU countries has mushroomed as the true scale of the problem has begun to emerge. It had been thought that the number of Dutch companies using the product was 140; as of now, it’s believed that the true figure is 594 companies working at 842 locations in Holland. Two lawsuits have been initiated over the contamination, with the second one filed on November 23, 2017 by the Muehlhan Group, which is claiming €2.4 million for damages and asbestos testing and remediation work. See: Straalmiddel met asbest op veel meer bedrijfslocaties [Blasting agent with asbestos at many more business locations].

Spanish Victims: Protest

Nov 24, 2017

The Association of The Asbestos Injured (APENA) in Murcia, Spain is denouncing a new legal requirement imposed by the Regional Assembly which condemns surviving family members of an asbestos victim “to administrative limbo in the pursuit of their rights.” Unlike procedures in other parts of Spain and most of Europe, autopsies by a forensic doctor have been made mandatory for those who died from occupational exposures to asbestos. This complicated and time-consuming process is, APENA says, unnecessary and invasive. See: Las víctimas del amianto consideran una “humillación” el convenio aprobado en Murcia [Asbestos victims consider the agreement approved in Murcia a “humiliation”].

Demand Grows for Safer Roofing

Nov 24, 2017

HIL Ltd, formerly Hyderabad Industries Ltd, has commissioned a new manufacturing facility in Timmapur, Karnataka, India. According to Managing Director Prashant Vatkar, given the potential for the growth in eco-friendly products, the company is looking to reduce the current 75:25 production ratio of asbestos-containing roofing material to asbestos-free roofing to 60:40 in the next three years. India is currently the world’s biggest market for asbestos imports with the majority of fiber being used in the production of building materials like asbestos roofing. See: HIL commissions Timmapur Plant.

Mesothelioma Data from Turkey

Nov 24, 2017

A high national incidence of mesothelioma in Turkey has been confirmed by a new study reporting data collected by The Turkish Mesothelioma Working Group and the Turkish Public Health Institute for the Turkey National Mesothelioma Surveillance and Environmental Asbestos Exposure Control Program. Based on the statistics gathered, scientists predict that between 2013 and 2033 there could be 2,511 mesothelioma deaths in rural areas; ongoing asbestos exposure in 379 rural villages inhabited by 158,068 people in high-risk areas is a serious cause for concern. See: Turkey National Mesothelioma Surveillance and Environmental Asbestos Exposure Control Program.

Freeing Society from the Asbestos Curse

Nov 24, 2017

An academic paper published in a special issue (Global Panorama of National Experiences in Public Health Actions to Ban Asbestos) of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, details the various measures taken and reversals experienced on the way to eliminating the industrial use of asbestos in Sweden and eradicating the hazards posed by human exposures. Crucial to the prohibitions was a tripartite collaboration of government agencies, employers and trade unions to delineate the challenges faced and to design and implement effective strategies. See: The Tale of Asbestos in Sweden 1972–1986—The Pathway to a Near-Total Ban.

Calls for Tighter Import Controls

Nov 23, 2017

A report issued by the Australian Senate into illegal asbestos imports has confirmed that, despite an asbestos ban implemented in 2003, flouting of the prohibitions are common. Of 4,600 consignments identified as high-risk between July 2016 and January 2017, 290 were tested; 9 were found to contain asbestos. The authors called for tougher penalties and the setting up of a border force unit to tackle the inflow of dangerous asbestos goods. Senators, “deeply concerned’’ about the lack of asbestos awareness amongst building workers, called for mandatory training. See: Senate inquiry recommends crackdown on illegal asbestos imports.

Asbestos Update: Rio de Janeiro

Nov 23, 2017

Today (November 23, 2017) at 13:30 a public lecture will be given by Brazilian engineer Fernanda Giannasi, former labor inspector and leader of the Latin American ban asbestos campaign, on the status of Brazil’s on-going struggle to ban asbestos. Masters students from the occupational health surveillance department and others are invited to attend. The session, which will take place at the National School of Public Health in the Manguinhos area of Rio de Janeiro, will be moderated by Researcher Luis Carlos Fadel. See: Aula aberta Banimento do amianto: uma luta coletiva e continua [Open class on the banning of asbestos: a collective and continuous struggle].

Asbestos on UN Agenda

Nov 23, 2017

On November 27, 2017, schoolteacher Nirmala Gurung from Kymore, Madhya Pradesh, India will inform a UN meeting in Geneva, Switzerland about the deadly repercussions of European asbestos manufacturing operations in her town which even now remains contaminated with asbestos waste. She, like many others, has contracted asbestosis from environmental exposures. The companies which operated these factories were asbestos conglomerates from Britain (Turner and Newall) and Belgium (ETEX/Eternit). See: Madhya Pradesh village sees “slow death” of hundreds of asbestos victims caused by now closed British, Belgian subsidiary.

Spain’s Asbestos Legacy

Nov 23, 2017

As a result of negligent corporations and collusion of the government, 2,000 people die every year from asbestos- diseases in Spain. The online feature article referenced below details the deadly industrial legacy of decades of asbestos manufacturing operations by the Uralita company at its facilities in Cerdanyola del Vallès, near Barcelona. Former workers detail their struggles with asbestos diseases and their efforts to obtain justice through legal and civil actions including the formation in 2009 of the Association of Victims Affected by Asbestos in Catalonia. See: La negra història de l’amiant, un genocidi laboral que no s’acaba [The black history of asbestos, an occupational genocide that is not over].

Nirmala Goes to Geneva!

Nov 21, 2017

On November 27, 2017 Nirmala Gurung will address a United Nations forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland to highlight the ongoing hazard posed to communities living near asbestos factories. Mrs. Gurung, a former headmistress of a secondary school in Kymore, Madhya Pradesh, India is suffering from asbestosis due to environmental asbestos exposures caused by the operations of the British asbestos multinational Turner and Newall PLC and the Belgian ETEX company, both of which dumped asbestos waste on 600,000 square meters of land on which 3,000 people live. See: Environmental Exposure to Asbestos Kills Indian People. Kymore – A Slow-Motion Bhopal.

Government U-Turn?

Nov 21, 2017

In what is seen as an indication that asbestos lobbyists have succeeded in forcing Sri Lanka to reconsider plans to ban asbestos by 2024, last week Science, Technology and Research Minister Susil Premajayantha announced that a team of Sri Lankan experts from various ministries and institutions is being sent to Russia, the world’s biggest asbestos producing nation (and the biggest asbestos supplier to Sri Lanka), to learn more about chrysotile asbestos and its effects on human health. According to the Russians, asbestos can be used safely; independent experts say otherwise. See: Govt. will send experts to Russia to study chrysotile fiber: minister.

The British Asbestos Newsletter

Nov 21, 2017

The Autumn 2017 issue of the British Asbestos Newsletter is now available online. The lead article entitled “Asbestos Life and Death in Brexit Britain” considers the country’s mounting death toll caused by asbestos-related diseases and statements by some government officials suggesting that occupational asbestos safeguards will be watered down post-Brexit. The feature headlined: “Another Asbestos Debacle?” compares measures instigated in Europe to protect workers from asbestos-contaminated shot-blasting material with the failure to take action in Britain. See: Issue 105, The British Asbestos Newsletter.