Eternit Negligent for Toxic Waste!
On February 27, 2007, a Dutch Judge awarded compensation to a mesothelioma victim who was exposed to waste containing asbestos which was given away free of charge to local people by Eternitfabriek, a Dutch subsidiary of the Belgian multinational Eternit.1 Harrie Jansman was exposed to the asbestos debris between 1967-1971 when he lived on his father's farm as a small child; in 1967, Mr. Jansman Senior had paved the farmyard using industrial waste from the nearby asbestos-cement factory. Although Eternit had known that its waste was toxic, it continued to give it away without alerting recipients of the potential dangers.
The Judge found that the company knew or should have known of the dangers by 1967 and so issued the first verdict to compensate a Dutch victim of environmental asbestos exposure. During the trial, archived documents were presented which showed that the parent company was actively discussing measures to prevent dust-related lung disease more than 60 years ago. The Judge remained unconvinced by Eternit's attempt to blame the plaintiff's mesothelioma on non-asbestos causes.
This groundbreaking decision2 is important not only for Mr. Jansman and his family but for many others who were exposed to Eternit waste in the Netherlands. Research has found asbestos-contaminated waste at 500 locations within a 14 mile radius of the Eternit asbestos-cement factory; scientists estimate that every year, five individuals contract mesothelioma from environmental exposure such as that experienced by Mr. Jansman.
April 7, 2007
2 Hermannus Laurentius Jansman vs. Eternit Fabrieken B.V. http://international.sp.nl/publications/070227_jansman_vs_eternit.pdf