News Item Archive
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Displaying 25 items in reverse date order starting from item 3102
IBAS Bursary Success
Jun 12, 2013
Dr. Abhijeet Jadhav, the recipient of a 2012 IBAS bursary, successfully completed his training for an ILO 2000 International Certification of Radiographs of Pneumoconioses. Dr. Jadhav is the author of a paper published in May 2013 entitled: Asbestosis: Past voices from the Mumbai Factory Floor which highlighted the terrible price being paid for India's rapid industrial development by workers, many of whom are suffering from asbestos-related conditions. Concluding the paper, he calls for an asbestos ban and a rehabilitation and palliative care program for the asbestos-injured. See: Asbestosis: Past voices from the Mumbai factory Floor.
Curitiba Conference Asbestos Agenda
Jun 11, 2013
On June 11 and 12, asbestos sessions at a conference in Curitiba will provide the opportunity for an in-depth examination of the relevance to Brazilians of the landmark appeal court judgment in the Italian case against Eternit asbestos defendants Stephan Schmidheiny and Baron Louis de Cartier de Marchienne. Italian prosecutors Sara Panelli and Gianfranco Colace and activists Bruno Pesce and Nicola Pondrano will update delegates on the June 3, 2013 Italian verdict and other developments in Turin. Brazilian asbestos experts who will be addressing the meeting include Fernanda Giannasi, Eliezer João de Souza and Urbitan de Paula Santos.
Class Action against Spanish Eternit
Jun 9, 2013
On June 10, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. legal proceedings will begin in Seville against a former Eternit subsidiary, Uralita, which is being sued by asbestos victims for over €2 million of compensation. This is the first time collective action has been taken despite the large number of those injured over the six decades during which the company produced asbestos-cement material in the Bellavista section of the city. To mark the significance of this event, asbestos victims and groups from Spain and abroad will engage in a demonstration in front of the court building in Buhaira Avenue. See: Press Release: First Collective Asbestos Trial against Uralita.
Eternit Appeal Verdict
Jun 8, 2013
A video recording of Appeal Court Judges reading a June 3, 2013 decision in a landmark Italian asbestos case has been translated into English and uploaded to YouTube. The Turin Court increased the prison sentence handed down in 2012 from 16 to 18 years for defendant Stephan Schmidheiny and ordered that as he and the other defendant were jointly and severally liable and as the other defendant died in May, that Schmidheiny pay all the costs. Damages for environmental pollution in localities excluded from the first instance judgment were raised as was compensation to some organizations and municipalities. See: Video of Eternit appeal verdict June 3, 2013.
Call for Review of Asbestos "Research"
Jun 7, 2013
On June 6, 2013, a New York Appeal Court upheld a decision which ordered an "in camera" (private) review of documentation between asbestos defendant Georgia Pacific (GP) and its in-house counsel Stewart Holm related to litigation-driven "research" intended to cast doubt on the health risk of exposures to chrysotile asbestos. GP's argument that this correspondence was covered by attorney-client privilege was dismissed by the panel of judges. See: Scientific articles, intended to cast doubt on harm caused by chrysotile asbestos, were potentially part of a crimefraud and NYC Supreme Court, Appellate Division ruling.
Eternit, Brazil says "It was not us."
Jun 6, 2013
After the landmark verdict by an Italian appeal court on June 3, Brazil's Eternit S.A. issued a news release to "make clear that it has no relationship with Eternit companies in other countries, including Italy." The company also asserted categorically that "there have been no cases of any diseases related to the use of chrysotile asbestos recorded among employees joining the Group from the 80s." There is no mention of the fact that five Brazilian states have banned the use of asbestos or that the Supreme Court is currently considering whether the use of asbestos in Brazil is constitutional. See: Eternit clarifies the asbestos issue.
Safety and Eradication Agency
Jun 4, 2013
On June 3, 2013, the Australian Federal Parliament passed legislation required to formalize the setting up of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency on July 1, 2013. The remit of the Agency is to "administer the National Strategic Plan which aims to prevent exposure to asbestos fibres in order to eliminate asbestos-related diseases in Australia." Ongoing revelations regarding asbestos contamination generated by work to roll out Australia's $37.4 billion national broadband network underscores the importance of coordinated and nation action on the asbestos hazard. See: Asbestos Safety and Eradication Bill.
Appeal to Supreme Court
Jun 4, 2013
Reacting to yesterday's decision by the Appeal Court in Turin which confirmed a 2012 guilty verdict and increased by two years the prison sentence for Stephan Schmidheiny, his lawyer Astolfo Di Amato said he was outraged by this decision and confirmed his client's intention to appeal the verdict to the Supreme Court. Welcoming the decision, Public Prosecutor R. Guariniello called it a "hymn to life"; asbestos victims claimed it as a victory for all those who have been injured by asbestos. See: Eternit, condanna di 18 anni per l'imprenditore Schmidheiny [Eternit sentence of 18 years for the entrepreneur Schmidheiny].
The Great Asbestos Appeal
Jun 3, 2013
The proceedings in the Turin Court began just after 9 a.m. Expert witness Pietro Clerici was asked by the Court to authenticate the death certificate of one of the defendants, Baron Louis de Cartier de Marchienne. When this had been done, lawyers for the deceased and for Etex, the company of which he had been a director, asked for the cases against their clients to be struck off. Public Prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello agreed that the crimes against de Cartier no longer stood. The Court adjourned until 3 p.m. for the verdict against Stephan Schmidheiny to be read.
Award for Asbestos Researcher
Jun 3, 2013
Professor Bruce Robinson was named West Australian of the Year, the State's top honor, at a ceremony in Perth on June 1. He was cited not only for his personal contribution to research into the treatment of people suffering from asbestos-related diseases but for the leadership role he has played in collaborative efforts to tackle the Australian asbestos epidemic. Bruce is a founding member and active participant in the International Mesothelioma Interest Group, the most proactive and global attempt to find a cure for the deadly asbestos cancer, mesothelioma. See: Asbestos researcher named West Australian of the Year and the NCARD Special Newsletter devoted to Bruce's award.
Italian Victims Ask Pope's Blessing
May 29, 2013
On May 30, at a public ceremony in the town of Casale Monferrato, a message from Pope Francis will be read out which responds to a request from Italians harmed by exposure to asbestos. In a letter to the Pope the victims condemned the criminal activities of the asbestos multinational Eternit and highlighted the global nature of the asbestos scandal. Around the world, they said, poor people are continually being exposed to deadly asbestos so that maximum profits can be achieved by industry. The victims' letter to Pope Francis ended with the words: "This slaughter must stop." See: Amianto, le parole di Papa Francesco [Asbestos, the words of Pope Francis], Il Monferrato, May 28, 2013.
Asbestos Death: Port Authority Guilty
May 29, 2013
Having concluded that Giancarlo Vianello died of mesothelioma caused by negligent exposure to asbestos which occurred whilst he was employed at the Port Authority in Venice, the Court of Venice ruled that his wife and four children were entitled to a payment of €670,000 ($863,480). Vianello routinely unloaded shipments of asbestos from 1960 to 1988. Evidence has shown that at least until 1979, asbestos arrived in Venice in jute bags which often broke during the transhipment process. See: Morto di amianto, condannata l'Autorità portuale: 670 mila euro alla famiglia [Port Authority Guilty of Asbestos Death: 670,000 euros to family].
Uralita Found Guilty of Negligence
May 28, 2013
More than two years after his mesothelioma death, the family of an asbestos worker from the Uralita factory has been awarded a 50% increase in monthly pension payments by a Court which found that his employer of 18 years had failed to enforce mandatory measures to minimize hazardous workplace exposures to asbestos. The Judge recognized a direct link between the tasks carried out by the defendant, which included unloading trucks delivering asbestos fiber to the factory from 1974 to 1992, and his disease. See: La autopsia confirma la muerte por amianto de un operario de Uralita [Autopsy confirms death by asbestos of a Uralita operative].
Contamination at Piedmont School
May 26, 2013
Warning signs, dated May 24, were erected in the hallways and lobby of a Piedmont school advising of the presence of asbestos in floor tiles. Children at the Silvio Canevari elementary school in Via Carlo Cattaneo were asked by the Principal not to damage the floor due to the hazard created by the liberation of asbestos fibers. A few days after these signs were posted, citizens were due to cast their votes in an election on the school's premises. They will see the signs on their way to the ballot box; will this, the reporter asked, affect their choices? See: Pericolo amianto all'elementare Canevari [Asbestos danger to Canevari elementary school].
Goa to Replace Asbestos-cement Pipes
May 25, 2013
By 2015, a massive new infrastructure project to provide water to residents in the capital city of the Indian state of Goa, Panaji, will replace 90 km of asbestos-cement water pipes with high density polyethylene pipes according to a report in The Times of India. The current pipeline network is more than 40 years old and is often subject to breakdowns, contamination and under capacity. This decision has been taken despite aggressive ongoing lobbying by the Indian asbestos-cement industry It is expected that work will begin in Panaji shortly after a choice of contractor has been made. See: 24x7 water for Panaji by 2015.
Legislative Moves will Impact on Victims
May 24, 2013
A media statement by the American Association for Justice has highlighted the negative impact that the so-called "Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2013" (FACT) would have on the dispensation of compensation to asbestos claimants. The proposed legislation, backed by asbestos defendants, would impose new requirements on private asbestos bankruptcy trusts which would inevitably slow down the processing and payment of claims. Under the new FACT regime, the trusts would also be forced to divulge extensive information about asbestos victims. See: AAJ: Controversial Asbestos Bill Offensive, Unnecessary and Must be Stopped.
Raising funds for Asbestos Research
May 22, 2013
Setting off on May 13, dozens of supporters of the Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia (ADSA) walked hundreds of kilometres through country towns and bush in Western Australia to raise awareness of a silent killer. "Would you invite a killer into your homes," was the question they asked at meetings in small communities along their route. Their arrival in Perth was marked with music and applause by local politicians and family members who joined them for the final steps of the 2013 ADSA walk. Once sore feet have healed, work will begin on planning the 2014 walk! See: Raising Awareness of a Silent Killer.
Publication of Articles on Asbestos
May 22, 2013
The current issue of The International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health features three papers relating to the asbestos hazard which focus on the diverse approaches taken by national governments to asbestos. One of the publications - Why some, but not all, countries have banned asbestos - is authored by Korean researchers as is a commentary; another commentary on this subject is by Dr. Arthur Frank who criticizes the lack of political will which allows the dangerous trade in asbestos to persist in developed as well as developing countries. See: The International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health 2013 Vol. 19, No. 2.
Death of Asbestos Defendant
May 21, 2013
It has been reported today that Baron Louis de Cartier de Marchienne, one of two former asbestos executives found guilty by a Turin court for the asbestos deaths of thousands of Italians, has died. Stephan Schmidheiny (Swiss) and Cartier de Marchienne (Belgian) were convicted of causing wilful permanent environmental disaster and failing to comply with safety rules in the 2012 landmark ruling. As a result of this development, claimants can no longer bring legal action against the Belgian or the company (Etex) he represented. An appeal court verdict, which was expected on June 3, 2013, may be delayed by a few days. See: Eternit and the Great Asbestos Trial: Appeal Proceedings.
Asbestos Giant Liable for Cleanup Costs
May 20, 2013
In April 2013, Israel's Supreme Court turned down an appeal by Eitanit Construction Products over its liability to pay 50% of the bill for asbestos decontamination work being carried out by the Environmental Protection Ministry in Northern Israel. The company had claimed that it was not the actual polluter and that Israeli law had violated its property rights and its right to equal treatment before the law by retroactively imposing a legal obligation on the company without proof of guilt and exempting other parties. The polluter pays principle was upheld. See: High Court upholds Israeli law placing onus of asbestos clean-up on company.
Tenth Anniversary of Relief Trust
May 17, 2013
In July, 2003, the Asbestos Relief Trust (ART) began distributing compensation for people suffering from asbestos-related diseases (ARDs). The Trust was established following an out-of-court settlement with former asbestos mining companies. The total compensation for 3,639 claimants who have suffered from occupational or environmental exposure exceeds US$26.6m. Tina da Cruz, who manages the ART, has said that the 10th anniversary will be marked by lectures and discussion groups in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Kuruman, the asbestos hotspots where most ART claimants live. See: Asbestos Relief Trust pays out R250m to 3 600 claimants in ten years.
Case against Former Minister Dismissed
May 17, 2013
A Paris Court today dismissed a case brought last year against Ministerial official Martine Aubrey for her failure to protect workers against the asbestos hazard in the 1980s. The "involuntary homicide and injuries" charges lodged against the former leader of the Socialist Party and a future contender for the office of Prime Minister were today dropped by a ruling of the Court of Appeal. Aubry told journalists: "The courts have recognized today that there can be no fault nor negligence attributed to me in the asbestos affair." See: Martine Aubry cleared of asbestos manslaughter charges.
Death at Asbestos Factory
May 13, 2013
Ban asbestos activist Gopal Krishna has reported the death of a 35-year-old employee at the Utkal Asbestos Limited factory in the Bhojpur District of Bihar State. Dharmendra Kumar Rawani died as a result of a workplace accident in the early hours of May 10. After a demonstration by the All India Central Council of Trade Unions, the factory was closed; calls are being made for a permanent shutdown of the facility. Elsewhere in Bihar, activists continue efforts to block construction of new asbestos factories by Utkal Asbestos and Ramco Industries, two of India's largest manufacturers of asbestos-cement building products.
Challenge to Ottawa over Asbestos Funds
May 13, 2013
Federal aid of $50 million promised for the economic diversification of Quebec's former asbestos-producing communities has not materialized. MP Jean Rousseau has openly challenged Minister Christian Paradis, who also represents a former asbestos mining constituency, over the delay, stating that benefits for the former mine workers have now run out. Despite Ottawa's reassurances, the conservatives have, Rousseau said, turned their backs on these communities. See: Fonds de 50 M$: Jean Rousseau interpelle Christian Paradis [Jean Rousseau challenges Christian Paradis over $50m].
Asbestos Contamination in Sunderland
May 13, 2013
It has been revealed that some of Wearside's most popular tourist attractions are amongst 37 properties listed on the Council's Asbestos Risk Register. These include: three museums, a market, art center, ski slope, library and tennis center. The majority of schools in Sunderland also contain asbestos. A spokesperson for the local authority told journalists that the Council's asbestos management policy complies with current legislation and that an ongoing inspection programme ensures that the asbestos risk is being carefully controlled. See: Tourist attractions, sports centres and Jacky White Market among dozens of Sunderland buildings on asbestos risk list.