News Item Archive
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Displaying 25 items in reverse date order starting from item 1939
May 10, 2012
It was reported today that "asbestos slate" will be banned in Azerbaijan by the State Committee on Standardization, Metrology and Patents (SCSMP). After enquiries with informed sources, it seems that this statement is incorrect. The Chair of this Azerbaijan Commission today told journalists about an Interministerial Commission, jointly to be formed by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and the SCSMP, which will develop new environmental standards which harmonise with EU standards. Although asbestos is not yet on the agenda it will probably be considered very soon as the asbestos threat has been under consideration in Azerbaijan for several years.
Ban Asbestos Conference
May 10, 2 012
A conference attended by 250 people took place today in Bangkok, organized by the Thailand Ban Asbestos Network (T-Ban). In a declaration issued by delegates, immediate action to implement government proposals to ban asbestos was demanded to protect workers and citizens from the hazards of exposure to asbestos. The policies of international agencies such as the ILO and the WHO, both of which acknowledge the links between asbestos exposure and various cancers and respiratory diseases, were referenced by T-Ban to substantiate the global consensus supporting the worldwide banning of asbestos. See: T-Ban Declaration May 10, 2012.
Asbestos Debate in Parliament
May 10, 2012
An adjournment speech in the Australian Parliament on May 9, 2012 by Senator Lisa Singh (Tasmania) detailed current efforts to combat Australia's asbestos scandal, including the work of the Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia, its support for thousands of asbestos sufferers and the successful completion of its 600 km fund-raising Walk for Wittenoom Children. Senator Singh highlighted the global scale of the asbestos crisis and noted Australia's determination to lead diplomatic efforts to ban asbestos by holding a "Global Alliance against Asbestos Conference" in Australia; pertinent to this event, she noted her meeting with ban asbestos campaigner Laurie Kazan-Allen. See: May 9 Speech of Senator Lisa Singh.
Partial Victory for Busan Victims
May 10, 2012
The Coordinator of the Asian Ban Asbestos Network, Sugio Furuya, reports a legal victory in the Busan District Court, where the families of two mesothelioma victims who had lived near a Busan asbestos textile factory and three asbestosis victims who had worked at that plant succeeded in their civil case for damages against the company Jeil E&S. Jeil was ordered to pay 60% of the damages for the mesothelioma claimants and 90% of the damages for the asbestosis victims. Cases brought by the victims against the Korean Government and the Japanese asbestos company Nichias did not succeed.
Praeger Handbook - Asbestos
May 10, 2012
The Praeger Handbook of Environmental Health published at the end of April 2012 includes a chapter on asbestos written by Dr. Joch McCulloch, an Australian historian. Dr. McCulloch details the history of asbestos use, the emergence of an occupational health crisis, the controversy over the status of chrysotile (white) asbestos as well as the suppression of emerging knowledge regarding the hazards of asbestos by industry stakeholders and vested interests. He highlights the role of social movements in combatting the asbestos scourge amongst which the work of the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat is singled out. See: Asbestos Chapter, Praeger Handbook.
Lobbyists under Police Investigation
May 9, 2012
Links between Brazil's asbestos lobby and criminal operations have been discovered during a major police investigation into corruption. The ongoing operation, titled "Monte Carlo," has been a huge story with coverage throughout the traditional media as well as online. Three political defenders of the asbestos industry caught up in the scandal are Senator Demóstenes Torres, Federal Deputy Carlos Alberto Leréia and Governor Marconi Perillo, all of whom represent the asbestos-mining state of Goiás. Links to personnel from asbestos companies are detailed as is the closure of the Canadain Chrysotile Institute. See: Operation Monte Carlo Reaches the Parliamentary Asbestos Lobby.
EPA Scientist Reinstated
May 9, 2012
Environmental scientist and veteran EPA employee Dr Cate Jenkins was fired from her job in 2010 for publicizing concerns over the environmental contamination caused by the events on 9/11. Even as the head of the EPA, Christine Todd Whitman, reassured New Yorkers that the air in downtown Manhattan was safe to breathe, high levels of airborne toxins were being recorded. After repeating these accusations to Congress Dr Jenkins was harassed and then sacked. Earlier this week Ms. Jenkins was reinstated when a federal court ruled in her favour. See: Asbestos Spectre Haunts Manhattan September 2002 and EPA scientist who warned of caustic dust from Ground Zero wins job back.
Asbestos Contamination in Soil
May 9, 2012
An investigation begun last year by the Ministry of Environment (MoE) has established that 42% of the soil around three derelict mines in Bibong, Yangsa and Sindoek contained asbestos fibers. Of the 2,512 hectares surveyed, 1,058 hectares were found to be contaminated. Acknowledging that this situation endangered the health of people in the surrounding areas, the MoE has promised to initiate health screening this year for 2,500 at-risk people. In 2013, health check-ups will be extended to include others who live in areas where asbestos contamination may also pose a risk to human health. See: Asbestos Contamination in Soil.
Asbestos and Compensation
May 8, 2012
A half-day workshop entitled Asbestos and Compensation will take place in Barcelona on May 18, 2012 and will provide the opportunity for experts from the civil service, academia, trade unions and legal profession to explore the evolution and scale of compensation for asbestos-related diseases in Spain. On the program are eminent speakers including Pilar Collantes Ibanez, Director General of the Basque Institute of Social Security and Health, Pedro Mondelo, Director of the Catalan Polytechnic, Labor Inspector Lucia Pancho and trade unionist Ramon Ruiz Diaz. Issues including occupational and environmental exposures will be discussed. See: Asbestos and Compensation in Spain.
Opera against Mesothelioma
May 8, 2012
Tonight is the premiere of the "Comic" Opera against Mesothelioma, a new work based on the Puccini opera Gianni Schicchi. The Casale Monferrato Municipal Theater will be the site of performances tonight and tomorrow, organized by AfeVA, the Asbestos Victims Families of Casale Monferrato. The singers, musicians and staff are all donating their services to help raise money for mesothelioma research. Casale Monferrato is the town which spearheaded public outrage over the Italian epidemic caused by the operations of the Eternit asbestos factory. For music and clips from the new opera see: http://www.ilmonferrato.it/ Also see the Asbestos in the dock webpage for Opera Gianni Schicchi.
Court Condemns James Hardie 7
May 7, 2012
On May 3, 2012, Australia's highest court issued its judgment in the case brought by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) against seven former James Hardie directors who had, the Court decided, broken the law by releasing misleading information to the Australian Stock Exchange. The decision is regarded as a major victory for the ASIC as well as for Australia's asbestos victims, many of whom contracted deadly diseases as a result of exposure to James Hardie asbestos. This case began in the New South Wales (NSW) Supreme Court and was later heard by the NSW Court of Appeal. See: High Court of Australia Judgment.
Trade Union Action to Ban Asbestos
May 7, 2012
Unionists called on the Chief Minister of Kerala to ban asbestos in the state at a rally to mark International Workers Memorial Day 2012. In a memorandum to Chief Minister Chandy, the unionists highlighted the global consensus backing the growing movement to ban asbestos. The keynote speech on April 27 was given by Sudharshan Rao Sarde, Director of the International Metalworkers Federation for South Asia who added his support for a state ban, recalling the 2009 decision of the Kerala Human Rights Commission that recognized asbestos health hazard and said asbestos should not be used in the construction of schools. See: Indian trade unionists urge Government of Kerala to ban asbestos.
Denunciation of Schmidheiny and AVINA
May 3, 2012
On April 28, 2012, Latin American and Spanish NGOs exposed "supposedly philanthropic organizations," including Schmidheiney's AVINA for ill-founded support of dangerous practices such as the use of asbestos and the spread of genetic farming. The text which highlighted Schmidheiny's 2012 conviction by an Italian Court, pointed out that his family's fortune had been built on the commercial exploitation of deadly asbestos. Some of Schmidheiny's vast fortune has gone into the AVINA foundation, which is, along with similar groups, accused of promoting destructive neoliberal policies. See: Declaration by Latin American and Spanish Groups.
Support for ADSA Walkers
May 2, 2012
As coverage of the ground-breaking initiative being rolled out in Western Australia increases and donations flow in, Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard has joined the throng of those wishing the walkers well in their trek through the outback. Acknowledging the vital work undertaken by the Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia to ease the suffering of the injured and to help improve their lives, the Prime Minster commends those participating in the ADSA fund-raising walk and thanks the Society for its "valuable contribution to the lives of those affected by asbestos-related disease." See: Message from Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Scandal Engulfs Asbestos Defender
May 2, 2012
Brazilian Federal Deputy Carlos Alberto Leréia Da Silva, defender of the asbestos mining industry, is under investigation in a high-profile corruption scandal - Monte Carlo - which is attracting massive press coverage. Leréia is from the city of Minaçu, home to the infamous chrysotile asbestos mine operated by SAMA/Eternit. He has publicly acknowledged receiving campaign contributions from asbestos vested interests and has defended the asbestos industry on TV and in the legislature. See: Brazilian Ministry of Justice Court Documentation.
Asbestos News from Victoria
May 2, 2012
The April 2012 newsletter of the Gippsland Asbestos Related Diseases Support Inc. (GARDS) is now available online. The 12-page issue details outreach work by GARDS members including the project to raise awareness of the asbestos hazard amongst home renovators and building apprentices through lectures, home visits and written material. In 2011 and 2012, GARDS personnel lectured students in the painting and decorating section of the local technical college regarding asbestos awareness so that they could take effective precautions when they were working in the community. See: GARDS Newsletter.
Australian Walk for Asbestos Victims
May 1, 2012
The charity fund-raising walk for asbestos-related disease research began this morning at 8:30 a.m. in Western Australia when two dozen walkers set off from the center of the gold-mining town of Kalgoorlie. The event, organized by the Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia, is fuelled by anger over cut-backs in government research funds for the asbestos diseases which are killing thousands of Australians every year. Perth, home to most of the walkers, is one of the world's worst affected asbestos hotspots due to the legacy of the Wittenoom Asbestos Mine. See: Anger over asbestos mine's deadly legacy.
WHO Support for Asbestos Ban
May 1, 2012
A video uploaded yesterday by the WHO makes clear its support for a global ban on asbestos stating that: "All forms of asbestos are harmful to human health including all forms of chrysotile asbestos… Eliminating all forms of asbestos will eliminate all forms of asbestos-related diseases." Text accompanying the video clip points out the continued risk to the community from the deterioration of asbestos products. The WHO is "actively working towards the elimination of asbestos related diseases. The most effective way to eliminate asbestos related diseases is to stop the use of asbestos." See: Asbestos Hazardous for Human Health.
Chrysotile Institute Shuts!
Apr 30, 2012
After more than two decades of orchestrating the global pro-asbestos lobby, Canada's Chrysotile Institute has announced its closure by notifying the Government of its intention to surrender its charter. Reports circulating over the weekend predict that this move signals the demise of the Canadian asbestos industry. As yet, Prime Minister Harper refuses to withdraw his public and political support for the asbestos mining industry; nevertheless, his withdrawal of federal funding for the Chrysotile Institute in April 2011 most definitely created the financial crisis which precipitated the Institute's closure. See: Canada Gazette (6th notice).
Asbestos Work during UN Renovations
Apr 30, 2012
The April 27th daily briefing given on behalf of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon highlighted awareness of the asbestos hazard with the Deputy Spokesperson saying that "the handling and abatement of asbestos is among the mostly strictly regulated areas of any industry in the United States." He confirmed that the UN is complying with all the asbestos abatement regulations both state and federal during ongoing renovation work. As required by law, the abatement work is under continuous monitoring by a certified independent environmental consultant. See: U.N. applies all regulations regarding asbestos abatement.
Government U-Turn, For Now!
Apr 25, 2012
Yesterday, the Justice Minister speaking in the House of Commons announced a climbdown by the government which will now exempt mesothelioma sufferers from draconian changes to the legal process being introduced in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. This Bill has made a lengthy progress from the House of Commons to the House of Lords, then back to the Commons. Although this exemption is a temporary measure, it is a tangible result of all the incredible campaigning work done by UK asbestos victims and their allies in both houses of Parliament. See: Reforms delayed amid disease doubts.
Asbestos Audits in Public Buildings
Apr 24, 2012
The Korean Government, which banned asbestos in 2009, has been under pressure from asbestos victims' groups to improve conditions for the injured and take steps to protect the population from hazardous exposures. Today (April 24), regulations were adopted at a weekly Cabinet meeting led by the Prime Minister which introduced a requirement mandating asbestos audits of larger state and public buildings; in some cases, control measures will now be required. Levels of airborne asbestos near sites being decontaminated will be limited to 0.01 part per cubic centimetre. See: Regulations on asbestos levels strengthened.
Asbestos Hazard in Ex-Mining Town
Apr 23, 2012
An Australian radio program today broadcast news about an orphanage in the near-derelict asbestos mining town of Bulembu, Swaziland. Despite the presence of mountains of contaminated waste produced by decades of mining, the staff at the home seem unaware of the risks posed to the children by the hazardous conditions. The childcare manager for Bulembu Ministries, the religious order running the orphanage, said that the "green asbestos" mined in Bulembu was "actually not the dangerous kind (of asbestos)." Although ministry personnel claim to have conducted air testing, no proof of asbestos surveys has been forthcoming. See: Asbestos threatens Swaziland orphanage.
Defendants Kill U.S. Victim?
Apr 22, 2012
Sixty-nine year old John Johnson died hours after finishing the last session in a 25-hour series of depositions regarding the legal claim he and his wife had launched against dozens of defendants who had, they alleged, exposed the former marine to asbestos. It was mesothelioma which killed him but it was, his family, his doctor and his lawyers believe, the trauma and exhaustion brought on by the endless questioning by defence attorneys that hastened his demise. As a result of his January 24 death, the value of his claim could be reduced by up to 70%. See: Mesothelioma victims deserve better than wasteful legal maneuvers.
Inferiority of Asbestos-cement Pipes
Apr 21, 2012
Research by American academics has shown that the asbestos industry's claims regarding the superior functionality of asbestos-cement pipes are unfounded. The findings by Utah State University laboratory concluded that "PVC pipe has the lowest overall failure rate when compared to cast iron, ductile iron, and concrete, steel and asbestos cement pipes." The most common failure (49.9%) for asbestos cement pipes was a circumferential crack. The causes of other failures of asbestos cement pipes were: 28.6% due to unknown causes, 11.2% to longitudinal cracks and 11% to pits or holes (corrosion). See: Water Main Break Rates in the USA and Canada: A Comprehensive Study.