Award for Latin American Activist: Fernanda Giannasi 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



On May 7, 2014 at a prestigious ceremony in an iconic Brazilian museum in São Paulo, the work of veteran ban asbestos activist and former labor inspector Fernanda Giannasi was publicly commemorated when she was presented with an award for excellence by the editors of CIPA Magazine, a widely read publication focusing on issues related to occupational health and safety.


The recipients of the “Premio Destaque Award 2014” were nominated and voted for by CIPA’s readers with the final selection being made by occupational safety and health professionals.1

The choice of venue for this celebration was ironic given that when the museum was due to reopen after extensive refurbishment some years ago, an art installation was interdicted by Ms. Giannasi as it contained corrugated asbestos sheeting. After heated debates with the curator of the exhibition, the set designer and the museum, the contaminated material was replaced with asbestos-free alternatives and the toxic debris transported to a landfill for hazardous waste. The photographs below from Ms. Giannasi’s archive show the remediation work undertaken at the museum to eliminate the contamination.


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Commenting on the significance of this honor, Eliezer João de Souza, President of the Brazilian Association of the Asbestos-Exposed (ABREA), said:

“The latest award received by Fernanda Giannasi, a founding member of ABREA, is very well deserved. For more than 25 years Fernanda has been working with Brazil’s asbestos victims to assist them in their struggle for justice and to help them obtain the medical and financial support they need. ABREA warmly welcomes this award and thanks CIPA magazine for recognising the outstanding work of one of Brazil’s most effective grassroots activists. In receiving this award, Fernanda paid tribute to ABREA members saying that the progress which has been made has been a joint effort. We congratulate her on this special day and pledge to continue to work together for an asbestos-free Brazil.”

May 15, 2014


1 Fernanda Giannasi recebe Prmio Destaque 2014 da Revista CIPA. May 8, 2014



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