News Item Archive

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Displaying 25 items in reverse date order starting from item 2570
 

Russian–US Asbestos Ties

Jul 11, 2018

A commentary detailing the asbestos connections between Russia and the US in the run-up to the upcoming Putin–Trump summit in Helsinki points out that Russia is poised to become the biggest asbestos exporter to the US now that Brazil has banned asbestos. On June 25, a Russian asbestos producer Uralasbest went as far as publicly thanking Donald Trump for his support of their industry in a Facebook post. The same day, Kostanai Minerals, the largest chrysotile asbestos producer in Kazakhstan, shared the Uralasbest post on its Facebook page. See: Russian Asbestos Giant Praises Trump Administration Actions to Keep Deadly Carcinogen Legal.
 

Calls for Asbestos Action

Jul 11, 2018

Despite massive public support for Colombia to ban asbestos and the adoption in October 2017 by the Senate of draft prohibitions, the current congressional session has ended with no action being taken. A recent commentary deplored the current stalemate, pointing out that Colombia’s current asbestos policy ignores warnings by international agencies regarding the dangers to human health posed by exposures to asbestos at work and at home. Ivan Duque, who was elected President last month (June 2018), is urged to fulfil his promise to save Colombian lives by adopting a ban asbestos decree. See: Presidente Duque proteja la vida, destierre el asbestos [President Duque protect life, banish asbestos].
 

WHO Asbestos Policy

Jul 9, 2018

An article entitled “71st World Health Assembly concludes, shedding no light upon asbestos or related diseases” which appeared on a Sri Lanka website (see: http://epaper.dailymirror.lk/epaper/viewer.aspx) on July 5, 2018 alleged that the World Health Organization (WHO) “seems to be changing its policy direction towards asbestos…. in future WHO will likely regard asbestos as an ‘environmental risk’ and asbestos-related diseases as ‘environmental diseases’ …” Responding to a press enquiry, a spokesperson for the WHO on July 6, 2018 stated categorically: “WHO confirms there is no change in its position [on asbestos].”
 

Asbestos in Island’s School

Jul 9, 2018

The Chief Minister of the Island of Jersey has been urged to take action on the hazard posed by asbestos in Jersey’s schools by Chris Keates, the general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union and Women Teachers (NASUWT). In an open letter to Senator John Le Fondré, she wrote: “More than 300 UK teachers have died of mesothelioma since 1980 in the UK, with the rate still increasing. These deaths are normally due to asbestos exposure in schools, which again is entirely preventable. NASUWT members in Jersey have also died of this disease.” See: Call to support Islanders suffering from asbestos-related condition.
 

No More Asbestos Houses!

Jul 9, 2018

On July 6, 2018 scores of protesters took to the streets of Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius, to demand decent housing, free of asbestos contamination. The demonstrators came from towns around the country including Henrietta, Case-Noyale, Grand-Gaube and Piton. According to a spokesman for the organizers of the event, although the government is aware of the health hazards posed by the thousands of asbestos houses on 59 sites no action has been taken to protect residents or remediate the contamination. See: Maisons en amiante: “Le relogement des habitants est une urgence nationale” [Asbestos houses: “Relocation of residents is a national emergency”].
 

Asbestos Textile Production

Jul 9, 2018

A paper published by Korean researchers documents the high levels of occupational and environmental asbestos contamination generated by an asbestos textile factory in Indonesia. Previously, the textile plant for this company had been sited in Korea. The asbestos concentrations inside and outside of the factory in Indonesia were about the same as those measured in Korea in the 1980s and 1990s. It is recommended that a larger-scale study of various asbestos exposure sources, including asbestos cement factories, shipyards, and mines, be undertaken. See: Monitoring and Simulating Environmental Asbestos Dispersion from a Textile Factory.
 

Banning Asbestos in Russia?

Jul 6, 2018

An online Russian article considers the inconceivable – what would happen if Russia banned asbestos. Detailing the economic importance of Uralasbest – the asbestos mining company which employs 5,000 of the 66,000+ inhabitants in the monotown of Asbestos – the author highlights steps taken by vested interests to prevent prohibitions including the mobilization of popular support, the implementation of political stratagems at home and abroad and the war of words between Russian asbestos lobbyists and global ban asbestos campaigners. See: Полмира считает асбест смертельно опасным веществом. Что будет, если его запретят в России? [Half the world considers asbestos a deadly substance. What will happen if it is banned in Russia?].
 

Say it with Flowers!

Jul 6, 2018

At the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show this week there are many ornamental gardens designed to raise awareness for special causes amongst which is one inspired by the work of Mesothelioma UK, a charity which provides support for UK asbestos victims, and designed by David Domoney. In Domoney’s blog, he explains the the garden layout; on one side “a single border brimming with lush planting represents life before disease. On the other side, a propeller water feature resembles the fluidity of life and the sea. A sweeping porcelain Pavestone path in stark white invites the onlooker to take a journey between the two sides.” See: HS Hampton Garden Displays.
 

Asbestos Documentary

Jul 6, 2018

A film review in the current issue of The Lancet considers a 2018 US documentary entitled Dirty Laundry about the quest of two cousins to understand their grandmother’s death from mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Although the piece by Caroline Lucas is somewhat critical of the filmmakers failure to get to grips with the extent of the corporate greed responsible for the deadly contamination of Libby, Montana, it concludes on a more positive note saying: “Dirty Laundry represents a new generation of awareness raising in the grassroots anti-asbestos movement in the USA, which is much needed as the delayed effects of exposure come home to roost.” See: Miracle mineral of mesothelioma: cancer and asbestos in the USA.
 

Shipbreaking and Asbestos

Jul 6, 2018

The legacy of Taiwan’s shipbuilding history includes illnesses contracted by former workers caused by occupational exposures to asbestos. The case of one 74-year old worker from Kaohsiung City who had worked in shipbuilding for 20 years was recently reported; the patient was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. His treating physician recommended that other at-risk workers have regular chest X-rays and seek medical attention if they have symptoms such as a persistent cough, chest pain or asthma. See: 醫病》長期暴露於石棉工作環境罹癌7旬翁獲百萬職災理賠[“Medical disease” after long-term occupational exposure to asbestos].
 

UK Mesothelioma Mortality

Jul 5, 2018

The latest mesothelioma statistics have been published by the Health and Safety Executive and show that the number of deaths in 2016 from this asbestos cancer was 2,595. Since 2010 (2,360), the number of annual mesothelioma fatalities has risen by 10%, despite predictions that the national epidemic would peak at 2,040 per year by 2016. The reality of the situation is much graver than had been acknowledged by the authorities as the 2016 figures are 27% worse than had been forecast. With much of the 7 million tonnes incorporated within the national infrastructure still in place, there seems little chance that this epidemic will end any time soon. See: Mesothelioma in Great Britain.
 

NCARD News

Jul 5, 2018

Issue 12 of the Australian National Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases (NCARD) newsletter has just been published. Prominent among the items covered was the change of leadership at the Center, Australia’s leading asbestos cancer research facility, with Professor Bruce Robinson handing over to Professor Anna Nowak, both of whom having pioneered scientific studies into the causation and treatment of mesothelioma – a killer cancer widely feared in Australia, which has a mesothelioma mortality incidence amongst the highest in the world. Other developments covered in this issue include news of presentations and scientific advances accomplished by NCARD personnel. See: Newsletter of the National Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases, Australia.
 

Ban Asbestos Demos

Jul 4, 2018

Korean, Indonesian and Japanese asbestos activists held protests outside the Russian, Chinese and Kazakhstan embassies in Seoul, Korea on July 3, 2018, urging these countries to end the mining of deadly asbestos. At a press conference, the demonstrators explained that the majority of asbestos exported from these producing nations is sent to Asian countries which have few, if any, regulations for preventing deadly exposures to workers or members of the public. See: 환경단체 “러시아·중국·카자흐스탄, 죽음의 광물, 석면 채광 중단해야 [Environmental groups “Russia, China, Kazakhstan, should stop deadly asbestos mining”].
 

Progress: Asbestos Training

Jul 4, 2018

On June 25-29, 2018, the 15th program for asbestos removal specialists was run successfully, under the supervision of Mr. Furkan Yildiz, Assistant General Manager of Occupational Health and Safety, in compliance with legislation aimed to raise asbestos awareness amongst operatives working in the asbestos removal industry. To date, up to 40 training sessions have been run and 405 work safety experts have been awarded Asbestos Dismantling Specialist certificates. Last week’s course resulted in 24 candidates qualifying as Asbestos Removal Specialists. See: Asbest Söküm Uzmanlığı Eğitimleri Gerçekleştirilmiştir [Mandatory Asbestos Training Program].
 

Asian Victims’ Mobilization

Jul 2, 2018

This week a series of events is taking place in Seoul organized by the Ban Asbestos Network of Korea which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Participating in this program are representatives from victims’ groups, campaigners and technical experts from Korea, Japan and Indonesia. Starting off the week, will be a symposium held at Seoul National University on July 2. From July 4 to 8, Japanese and Korean asbestos cancer patients and their supporters will have the opportunity for discussions in Seoul, Kwangchun and Pusan. See: Korean Poster.
 

DfE: Failing Britain’s Children

Jul 2, 2018

In the annual report published by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), multiple failings of the Department of Education (DfE) were cited. The headline “The DfE does not know how to deal with asbestos,” says it all. Commenting on the new report, PAC Chair MP Meg Hillier said she was “appalled” to learn about the “prevalence of asbestos in schools” and the DfE inability to address the threat to school users. “Asbestos is,” she said “a ticking time-bomb which will need central government support to tackle. The risk of asbestos poisoning of pupils and staff should not be a reality in 2018.” See: The DfE is ‘unrealistic’ about school cuts and 6 other morsels from the PAC’s annual report.
 

Toxic Talc Condemned!

Jul 2, 2018

On June 29, 2018, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Ana C. Viscomi upheld a plaintiff’s verdict totalling $117 million in damages against Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier in a landmark mesothelioma case brought by Stephen Lanzo III and his wife. Commenting on this development, the Lanzos’ lawyer Moshe Maimon said: “both Johnson & Johnson and Imerys knew of the asbestos in the talc and designed and implemented testing programs intended not to detect it. Both defendants were warned of the dangers of asbestos — but chose not to warn the innocent users of their products. All the while a perfectly safe alternative — corn starch — was available.” See: J&J, Talc Supplier Can't Escape $117M Verdicts In NJ.
 

Asbestos Regime: New Regulations

Jul 2, 2018

On July 1, 2018, a decree enacted by the Council of Ministers in French Polynesia will come into force which stipulates that: “no company or institution working in the fields of hydraulic works and building works can intervene in a place likely to contain asbestos without having established an adequate procedure.” Furthermore, employees engaged on the site must have received asbestos training from an approved organization paid for by the employer. Unfortunately, few employers have undertaken the measures required to comply with the new requirements. See: Du retard dans les formations sur l’amiante [Delays in asbestos training].
 

Mesothelioma Nursing Grant

Jul 2, 2018

On June 20, 2018, Mesothelioma UK announced that a £25,000 grant had been awarded to Dr. Catherine Henshall, Senior Nursing Research Fellow at Oxford Brookes University, for a project to improve follow-up care for mesothelioma patients to enable them to “live well” with their condition. Dr. Henshall will interview mesothelioma patients from three NHS Trusts to better understand patients’ experiences of follow-up care. Her findings will be used to improve future treatment protocols and ensure that new policies are evidence-based and patient-focused. See: Mesothelioma UK awards funding for research into improving follow-up care for patients.
 

Our Asbestos is Safe!

Jun 29, 2018

A Russian language article highly critical of the Russian asbestos industry published on June 20, 2018 has been attacked by Uralasbest, a Russian company which is the world’s largest asbestos producer. The company accuses the author of bias and ignorance using well-worn and discredited industry propaganda: chrysotile (white) asbestos is safe, chrysotile fibers incorporated in cement products are safe as they are “locked” into a cement matrix, inhaled chrysotile fibers are decomposed by acid in the lungs, etc. See: Спор об асбесте: уральское предприятие вступило в дискуссию с изданием «Медуза» [Asbestos dispute: Ural enterprise enters into discussion with publication on Medusa website].
 

Laos Calls for Asbestos Ban

Jun 29, 2018

On June 20, 2018, the Laos Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Dr Khampheng Saysompheng announced that Laos intends to eliminate occupational asbestos-related diseases by banning asbestos. The Minister called for universal action to end asbestos consumption, highlighting the need for member states of ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) to immediately prohibit the use of asbestos-containing construction materials. He said: “Urgent action is required to prevent the extended use of asbestos as a construction material and banning all forms of asbestos to protect lives, support safer economic growth and ensure social stability in the country under the National Action Plan.” See: Plans to end asbestos-use, related disease nationwide.
 

Protecting Workers from Asbestos

Jun 29, 2018

Spain’s CCOO trade union has demanded urgent action on asbestos contamination of Madrid’s Registry Office, operated by the Ministry of Justice. Specific actions stipulated should include: an asbestos audit of the premises and medical examinations for at-risk workers. Despite awareness of the asbestos hazard, to date the Community of Madrid has failed to address these matters giving bland reassurances such as: “necessary measures will be taken to solve this serious problem.” See: CCOO exige medidas urgentes a la Comunidad de Madrid por el amianto del Registro Civil de Pradillo [CCOO demands urgent measures by the Community of Madrid on asbestos at the Pradillo Civil Registry].
 

Donald Trump: Asbestophile

Jun 26, 2018

The pro-asbestos position maintained by Donald Trump over many years has been recognized and appreciated by workers at the Uralasbest factory who have produced a batch of chrysotile asbestos which has been stamped with a sticker saying: “Approved by Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States.” The writing and an image of Trump, both of which are in red, are placed within a red circle as a gesture of gratitude for the President’s support of their industry in the face of growing global support for the ban asbestos movement. See: Уральское предприятие выпустило партию хризотил-асбеста с наклейкой «Одобрено Трампом» [Ural company produced a batch of chrysotile-asbestos with a sticker “Approved by Trump”].
 

Russian Asbestos-free Brakes

Jun 25, 2018

On June 21, 2018, a 50 million ruble facility was opened in the Altai Territory in western Siberia to produce asbestos-free brake pads worth 200 million rubles a year. Speaking at the formal ceremony to commission the plant, Viktor Tomenko, Acting Governor of the Altai Territory, recognized the global trend to ban asbestos and the need to produce safer substitute materials. Director of the enterprise Artem Shamkov said: “Initially, the finished products will be destined for the secondary market of asbestos-free brake pads for global manufacturers of trucks and buses, like Mercedes, Volvo and others.” See: Барнаульский завод АТИ будет выпускать продукцию для Mercedes и Volvo [Barnaul plant ATI will produce products for Mercedes and Volvo].
 

National Asbestos Profile

Jun 25, 2018

Last week, discussions were held in Phnom Penh to progress work on a draft of the National Asbestos Profile of Cambodia. Taking part were representatives from 13 ministries, trade unions, employers, the World Health Organization, the International Labour Organization and the Australian Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA. Research findings were reported from samples of building and friction materials that were collected in Cambodia and shipped to Australia for analysis. Over 50% of the items sampled contained asbestos. See: Photograph from meeting.