News Item Archive
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Displaying first 25 items in reverse date order (default)
Banned Asbestos Enters UK
Oct 20, 2016
An alert has been raised this week over the import to the UK of thermos flasks manufactured in China. Some batches of model number 0-57024 of the “thermate,” brand of 1.3 litre stainless steel vacuum jug flasks contain asbestos fibers. The importer has recalled these products which contravene EU REACH regulations. Other imports from China are also being investigated by the HSE due to questions regarding their contamination by asbestos; the suspect goods are asbestos-containing building materials for construction projects in London which have been imported by Yuanda (UK) Co. Ltd. (See HSE letter). See: Thermate Thermos Flask Recalled as they contain ASBESTOS fibres (which are Carcinogenic).
Asbestos Trade Data
Oct 19, 2016
The United States Geological Survey (USGS), which collects data on global asbestos consumption and production, has uploaded provisional figures detailing production in 2015 (which appear very similar to the figures from 2014): Russia 1,100,000t (tonnes), China 400,000t, Brazil 311,000t and Kazakhstan 215,000t. Provisional total global production for 2015 was 2,030,000t. The final 2015 consumption figures should be available from the USGS in early 2017. See: Asbestos Statistics and Information.
Assessing Post-earthquake Asbestos Hazard
Oct 19, 2016
In the aftermath of the earthquake which hit central Italy in August, 2016, investigations have been progressing regarding the public health hazard posed by the liberation of asbestos fibers during the disaster. “The earthquake, at worst, produced a pulverization of asbestos cement, contaminating the environment and water. Fibers may also be dispersed from the debris.” Under orders issued by chief prosecutor Michele Renzo, police in the investigative unit were designated to accumulate evidence about the current situation including the risks to emergency personnel as well as to local people. See: Sotto il terremoto, l’amianto [Under the earthquake, asbestos].
Environmental Asbestos Exposures
Oct 17, 2016
As the number of cases of mesothelioma in Korea continues to rise, research has been undertaken to identify geographical locations with high levels of contamination caused either by naturally occurring materials or the processing and/or the manufacture of asbestos-containing products. Asbestos hotspots were identified in Chungnam, Gyeonggi, Busan, Gyeongnam, Gyeonggi and Daejeon. The information on environmental asbestos exposures will, say the authors of this paper, be useful for establishing individual causal relationships as well as medical treatment plans. See: Environmental asbestos exposure sources in Korea.
Deadly Asbestos Legacy
Oct 17, 2016
In the Netherlands, a country of 17 million people, since 2005 five hundred people have been diagnosed with mesothelioma every year. The number of those affected doubled between the early 1980s and 2005. The majority of patients are males over 65 years old, most of whom die within a year. These and other statistics have been reported in a publication by the Netherlands Institute for Asbestos Victims (Instituut Asbestslachtoffers-IAS). See: Pays-Bas: environ 500 cas de mésothéliome chaque année [Netherlands: 500 cases of mesothelioma each year]. (On this same page see also the referenced link to: L’amiante n’est pas un problème du passé [Asbestos is not a problem of the past].)
Who Pays for Asbestos Contamination?
Oct 17, 2016
A report commissioned by the City Council of Toledo has estimated that the eradication of toxic asbestos waste created by the operations of Ibertubo – a former manufacturer of asbestos building products – in and around the residential area of Santa Maria de Benquerencia could cost nearly €11 million. It has been estimated that the volume of waste to be removed constitutes at least 3,000 truckloads of hazardous material. Any actions taken will need to be approved by principal stakeholders including the authorities at City Hall. See: Tratar las 90.000 toneladas de amianto de Toledo costará más de 10 millones de euros [Remediating 90,000 tons of asbestos in Toledo will cost more than 10 million euros].
Asbestos Alert in Zimbabwe
Oct 13, 2016
Zimbabwe's newly formed Labour Party (ZsLP) has committed itself to taking a proactive approach to the asbestos hazard, according to comments reported in an article uploaded on October 11, 2016. Zimbabwe, previously a major global asbestos producer, has played a crucial role in promoting industry’s “controlled use” argument to international agencies and organizations. Citing evidence which showed the Zimbabwe government knew of the risk asbestos posed to workers and the public, the ZsLP spokesman said a ZsLP government would ban asbestos and provide asbestos medical check-ups. See: Why There Is Need To Rebuild Housing For The African Zimbabwean.
Delays to Asbestos Removal Program
Oct 13, 2016
The fulfilment of a government pledge to remove all asbestos roofing in Rwanda by 2016 has run into delays due to the wide prevalence of toxic roofing and the high cost of removal work. Gisele Ihozo, coordinator of the asbestos eradication project at Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA), told reporters that it is likely the deadline will have to be extended to allow the removal of asbestos roofing on public and private buildings. The RHA is proposing the adoption of a centralized multimillion dollar remediation program to accomplish the eradication of this toxic substance. See: Govt mulls extension of deadline to rid country of asbestos roofing.
Ban Asbestos Now!
Oct 13, 2016
The Globe and Mail, Canada’s most widely read newspaper, published an editorial yesterday condemning the Prime Minister’s failure to make good on a pledge to ban asbestos, claiming that: “no sensible person can argue against making decisions based on the best available scientific evidence…” A plethora of data on the impact of asbestos use was cited in an article published on October 11, 2016 headlined: Liberals under fire for delay on asbestos ban. Calculations show high levels of asbestos cancer, huge healthcare costs and widespread contamination in Canada. See: What happened to Justin Trudeau’s promise to ban asbestos?.
Asbestos Banned in New Zealand!
Oct 1, 2016
Today, October 1, 2016, the New Zealand ban on the import of asbestos-containing materials has come into effect. One hundred and seventy asbestos deaths occur in New Zealand every year and that number is predicted to keeping rising until 2040. New Zealand and Australia are the only two countries in the Pacific region to have banned asbestos; the total number of countries worldwide which have done so now stands at 58. Concerns are high over the toxic effects of asbestos use in other Pacific countries which say they are unable to protect their populations from harmful exposures. See: Concerns over flow of asbestos into Pacific as New Zealand's import ban comes into effect.
Disposal of Jersey’s Asbestos Waste
Sep 30, 2016
Asbestos waste stockpiled in deteriorating containers at a site at La Collette, Jersey has been a problem for several years. A consultation has now been launched on proposals which may finally pave the way for a permanent resolution of this issue by making provisions for the long-term disposal of this toxic material. Submissions regarding proposals should be emailed by October 25, 2016 to Dr T du Feu, Director of Environmental Protection, Department of the Environment (firstname.lastname@example.org). More information can be found on the Jersey Government website. For report see: La Collette may store asbestos permanently.
Asbestos Protest at School
Sep 30, 2016
On September 29, 2016, dozens of schoolchildren and their parents took part in a protest over asbestos roofing at the Vasco Nunez de Balboa primary school in Benidorm. The dilapidated and leaking asbestos-cement corrugated roof was installed 41 years ago and, say the parents, constitutes a health risk to the schoolchildren and staff. Parents say calls for urgent remediation and repair work to the school have repeatedly been ignored by the authorities including the Ministry of Education and the City Council. See: Clamor contra el amianto en el Vasco [Outcry against asbestos at Vasco school].
Clarification of Import Protocols
Sep 30, 2016
Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection issued a notice on September 16, 2016 clarifying the assurances required from importers and licensed customs brokers by the Australian Border Force (ABF) which prove that imported goods do not contain asbestos. Sampling and testing of goods by an accredited Australian laboratory is preferred as certification of samples tested outside of Australia will only be accepted if the lab is accredited by international accreditation authorities (that are National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) recognised equivalents). See: Assurances that imported goods do not contain asbestos.
Asbestos Contamination of Hospital
Sep 29, 2016
Radio reports regarding the presence of asbestos-containing roofing products at the Prince Wellington Ngu hospital in Tonga have been broadcast. John Lee Taione, the Chief Medical Superintendent, has said there is evidence that children are being affected by exposure to asbestos from the leaking roof after heavy rain. Specialist contractors will remove the roof and other asbestos products in the hospital next month (October 2016). Unless provisions can be made to safeguard patients from toxic exposures during the work, doctors may need to treat patients at their homes. See: Children in Tongan hospital inhaling asbestos.
India’s Asbestos Policy
Sep 29, 2016
An online commentary documents the growth of activism amongst local people and campaigners in India to address hazards posed by exposures to asbestos despite the existence of powerful political and commercial vested interests. The author cites dangerous conditions in shipyards where end-of-life vessels are dismantled: “The condition of the workforce is worse than the worst industrial sector - the mining industry.” There is hope that the draft National Health Policy 2015 may introduce measures to “to prevent preventable but incurable diseases that are more prevalent in certain occupational groups.” See: Asbestos: more than 50 nations have banned it. Why is India refusing?
Asbestos Mobilization in Brazil
Sep 28, 2016
Brazil’s Ministry of Labor and the Inter-Union Department of Studies and Research of Health and Work Environments are hosting a two-day meeting on asbestos in Campinas in October 2016 to explore social and judicial factors related to asbestos use. Shortly after those sessions end, the Brazilian Association of the Asbestos-Exposed will hold an event to examine global strategies for: ending asbestos use, obtaining justice for the injured and ensuring decontamination of contaminated areas. See: Proibição do amianto no Brasil é foco de Congresso Internacional e Encontro de Vítimas em Campinas [Brazilian asbestos ban is the focus of international congress and victims’ meeting in Campinas].
Calls for Canada to Ban Asbestos
Sep 28, 2016
Citing data detailing the value of Canadian imports of asbestos brake materials, a feature on the website: Automotive News Canada has called for asbestos imports to be banned. The text states that: over the last twenty years, $100m has been spent importing asbestos brake pads and brakes to Canada; this material can contain up to 80% asbestos fiber; US dust measurement in garages found huge levels of asbestos contamination. For all these reasons, the author states, the import and use of all types of asbestos-containing products should be banned in Canada. See: Asbestos kills, but it's still allowed in Canadian brake parts.
Hefty Removal Bill for Landowners
Sep 28, 2016
Twenty property owners who bought land in an area in the Manly suburb of Sydney are facing huge bills for decontamination of bushland plots which are contaminated with asbestos. Fines of up to $250,000 plus $60,000 for each day the land is left contaminated could be imposed by the Environment Protection Authority. According to reports “No one is claiming responsibility for the asbestos dump” found on the property originally owned by the Metropolitan Aboriginal Local Land Council. See: Twenty landowners discover asbestos dumped on their land.
New Delhi Asbestos Workshop
Sep 25, 2016
On September 24-25, 2106 a workshop was held within the framework of the 3rd International Conference on Occupational and Environmental Health (ICOEH 2016) in New Delhi. The title of this workshop was: The Elimination of Asbestos Related Diseases in India. This session was organized by grassroots groups from India and Asia in partnership with the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat. Key speakers who addressed the event included: Sugio Furuya (Japan), Sanjiv Pandita (Hong Kong) and Yeyong Choi (Korea) from the Asian Ban Asbestos Network and Mohit Gupta from the Occupational and Environmental Network of India. See: Workshop Banner.
Asbestos Cancer Epidemic
Sep 25, 2016
In Mexico, hundreds of people die every year from the asbestos cancer, mesothelioma. Despite this, no asbestos ban has been implemented and the country remains Latin America’s leading manufacturer of asbestos products. Data reported show that the country is paying a high cost for the medical care of mesothelioma patients; in 2005, treatment of 500 mesothelioma patients cost the health sector 45 million pesos. Healthcare experts have repeatedly warned that without a national policy banning the production and use of asbestos, the asbestos cancer epidemic will persevere for decades to come. See: Aumenta Mesotelioma por Asbesto en México [Asbestos Cancer Increases in Mexico].
Rise in Asbestos Mortality despite Ban
Sep 25, 2016
An update on the incidence of mesothelioma in Sweden using data from 1961-2009 and information from a job exposure matrix found “a significantly increased risk of mesothelioma in 24 occupations, as well as a clear sex difference. Among men, increased risks of mesothelioma of the pleura were observed in male-dominated occupations, with the greatest increase among plumbers … Among women, an increased risk was observed in sewing workers, canning workers, packers, cleaners, and postmen.” In all cases, mesothelioma was associated with exposure to asbestos. See: Occupation and mesothelioma in Sweden. Updated incidence for men and women up to 27 years after asbestos ban.
Public Outrage over Asbestos Dumpsite
Sep 23, 2016
On the evening of September 21, 2016, hundreds of local people, provincial representatives and campaigners took part in a vigil to manifest widespread opposition to the construction of a new landfill for asbestos-cement waste in Ferrera, a town in the Italian commune of Sannazzaro de Burgondi, 45 km south-west of Milan. The site will be up and running in June 2017. Having created a large “no” out of candles on the piazza, the silent procession took to the streets after which speeches were given outlining legal, political and judicial strategies for forcing closure of the contentious site. See: Settecento fiaccole contro la discarica di amianto [700 torches against plans for asbestos landfill site].
Sep 23, 2016
An online commentary in the Azerbaijan media has extolled the virtues of chrysotile (white) asbestos-containing products and announced that demand for them remains strong. Recapping facts about the history of the commercial exploitation of asbestos, the commentary cites misleading information as assurances that products containing it are safe to use. The name of the author of this text is not given nor is any data about the country’s levels of asbestos consumption. In 2014 and 2015 usage was reportedly 319 and 410 tonnes, respectively. See: Так ли опасен асбест? Стройматериал возвращается на рынки [Is asbestos dangerous? Building material returns to the markets].
Criminal Charges against Hospital
Sep 21, 2016
On September 28, 2016, a criminal trial will begin against the management of the University Hospital of Besançon which is accused of endangering the lives of others by failing to prevent toxic occupational exposures to asbestos from 2010 to 2013. Four trade unions have denounced multiple failures by the management since 2010 to ensure that adequate workplace safeguards to avoid asbestos exposures are in place. This is the first time that such charges have been brought against a health facility in France. See: Procès amiante à l'hôpital Minjoz : les syndicats accusent [Asbestos trial against Minjoz hospital: unions’ accusations].
Improving Diagnosis of Mesothelioma
Sep 21, 2016
A paper published this month in the British Medical Journal examined the efficacy of multidisciplinary teams in providing care for UK mesothelioma patients. The researchers examined evidence relating to the work in 2014 and 2015 of one UK specialist mesothelioma multidisciplinary team and found that more cases were diagnosed more accurately and faster through this collaborative process. The team’s deliberations were also effective in “providing recommendations for further investigations of treatments.” See: What is the role of a specialist regional mesothelioma multidisciplinary team meeting? A service evaluation of one tertiary referral centre in the UK.