Osasco Conference Report Abstract 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



The Global Asbestos Congress took place in Osasco, São Paulo, Brazil from September 17-20, 2000. More than four hundred delegates from thirty-two countries participated in events which included plenary sessions, workshops and round-tables, a photographic exhibition, video screenings and a musical tribute to the asbestos victims. The international significance of this conference was reinforced by the participation of the International Labour Organisation and other international and national trade unions, victim support groups and occupational and environmental health associations.

Bringing together leading international asbestos experts from many subject disciplines and professions produced interesting discussions from which emerged plans for new initiatives:

the founding of a quarterly Latin American journal on asbestos issues;
an asbestos conference on South American issues to be held in Buenos Aires in August, 2001;
a new telephone hotline for asbestos and other occupational illness victims in Japan;
cooperation between Italian delegates and UK specialists on a mesothelioma nursing program;
discussions between Slovenian and Italian health and safety activists on joint ventures;
the launching of anti-asbestos campaigns in Malaysia and India;
cooperation on compensation issues between South American and European lawyers;
a possible consumer boycott of goods produced by companies which deny compensation to asbestos victims;
the establishment of a Global Asbestos Congress Virtual Network.

The conference also prompted:

the stunning declaration by the Mayor of Osasco that he would encourage his city council to make Osasco one of the first cities in Brazil to ban the use of asbestos;
the announcement of a joint medical initiative between the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and the Osasco Hospital;
a statement signed by the trade unionists calling for an international ban on asbestos;
an offer from São Paulo's House of Deputies to exhibit the South African photographic exhibition during the period when the state's ban asbestos law will be discussed.

A Congress CD, which will include many of the plenary and poster presentations and extra-Congress submissions (as approved by the CD editors) is being compiled. A notice will appear on the IBAS website (www.ibas.btinternet.co.uk) when the CD is available.

November 21, 2000



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