Autumn Catch-Up 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



Significant findings were reported in a paper published in Environmental Health Perspectives, Volume 115, No. 7, July 2007 entitled Modeling Mesothelioma Risk Associated with Environmental Asbestos.1 The authors M. M. Maule, C. Magnani et al conducted research in Casale Monferrato, an Italian town which was home to a major asbestos-cement factory for several decades in the 20th century. This paper, which can be accessed online, concludes that there is:

“strong evidence of an increased mesothelioma risk from asbestos environmental pollution from an industrial source. Although it is generally believed that environmental exposure is a less powerful determinant of MM risk than occupational exposure, this study shows that the strength of the effect of pollution from industrial sources on the general population can reach alarming magnitudes, up to one-third of the risk for asbestos industry workers. Conversely, failing to adjust for environmental exposure may lead to serious underestimation of the relative risk due to occupational exposure in population-based case-control studies carried out in such settings.”

On August 29, 2007, the (Australian) Court of Appeal issued its decision in the case of Vero Industries Limited v Power Technologies Pty Limited [2007] NSWCA 226. The judgment confirmed that in a case of mesothelioma, injury occurs at the time asbestos fibers are inhaled and not at the date of symptom manifestation.2 The case under consideration involved public liability insurance cover for the period 1968 to 1973. The plaintiff in the primary proceedings, Mr. Barlow, had been exposed to asbestos while employed by various transport companies at power stations owned and occupied by Delta Electricity. Delta Electricity compensated Mr. Barlow and then instituted proceedings against Power Technologies which, in its turn, made a claim against Vero Insurance.3

September 25, 2007



2 This decision is in contrast to the UK decision in the case of Bolton Municipal Borough Council v The Municipal Mutual Insurance Limited & Commercial Union Assurance Company Limited [2006].




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