News Item Archive
To obtain a subset of news items select a country, region or year:
Alternatively, click All news items for the complete list
Displaying first 25 items in reverse date order (default)
Urgent Asbestos Warning
Dec 6, 2013
On Thursday, December 5, 2013, experts from New Zealand and Australia addressed a conference in Christchurch and issued grave warnings about the post-earthquake consequences of asbestos exposure. Australian authorities on the asbestos hazard Craig Simmons and Professor Bill Musk used language which left the hundreds of delegates in no doubt as to the seriousness of the situation. Professor Musk said he was shocked by the huge potential for exposures in the city and warned that the country needs to immediately ban imports of asbestos. See: Asbestos risk in rebuild unprecedented experts; also see: New Zealand's Failing Asbestos Policy!.
Injured Mine Workers Petition Rejected
Dec 6, 2013
The Baie Verte asbestos mine in Newfoundland closed in 1995. Former mine workers who have contracted asbestos-related diseases have collaborated with union leaders and academics to set up a miners' registry in order to facilitate claims for compensation. Although the authorities welcomed this initiative, the Newfoundland and Labrador government has turned down a request for legislative changes to help the Baie Verte asbestos claimants. Dan Crummell, the Minister of Service for Newfoundland and Labrador rejected the miners' petition. See: Government says no to changes to help sick mine workers.
Asbestos Lobby Hits Delhi
Dec 6, 2013
At a two-day conference in the Indian capital this week, the asbestos roadshow laid out its wares of industry-commissioned research and arguments to bolster the sales pitch of asbestos profiteers in a country which has embraced asbestos technology. David Bernstein, the industry's preferred "scientist," led the pack with a presentation used to enforce the propaganda that chrysotile asbestos can be used safely under controlled conditions; the vast majority of the delegates represented Indian asbestos industry stakeholders. As of 2012, India had used over 7 million tonnes of asbestos; India is the world's biggest importer of asbestos. See: Picture of Speakers at Asbestos Industry Event.
Controversial Bill Goes to Commons
Dec 2, 2013
Today, The Mesothelioma Bill is being debated in the House of Commons having completed its passage through the House of Lords before the Summer recess. Asbestos victims, who have given a qualified welcome to the legislation, are urging MPs to make improvements which will recognize the suffering of all asbestos victims, increase payments to the injured and withdraw taxpayers' support for the insurance industry which, after extensive back room lobbying, is due to receive "Government largesse on an unprecedented scale." See: Press Release by Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK; also see: The Mesothelioma Bill - A Gift to Insurers.
Asbestos in Imported Rolling Stock
Nov 30, 2013
Veteran journalist Matt Peacock knows a thing or two about asbestos. He has spent the last 3 decades investigating asbestos stories in Australia and abroad. A Peacock exposé on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's primetime TV news show "7:30" on Tuesday (Nov. 26) is amongst the best he has done. Peacock revealed that ten locomotives imported from China which had asbestos-free certificates were not in fact free of asbestos. The trains were, according to specialists, contaminated with chrysotile asbestos. An eight-minute segment can be viewed online along with relevant documents including the analyst's report. See: Asbestos scare strikes Chinese imports to Australia.
Hazards of Increasing Asbestos Use
Nov 28, 2013
The occupational risks for people in the growing asbestos industry in Laos were highlighted in an article uploaded yesterday which predicted that national consumption could reach 9,000 tonnes/year. Ignorance about the human health hazards posed by asbestos exposures has enabled sales to increase without government or civil society opposition. This is changing. In July 2013 a 2-day conference entitled Working towards a National Strategy on Asbestos in Laos attracted widespread participation including the attendance of government officials from eight ministries, trade unionists, academics and experts. See: Fight Against Asbestos Goes Global.
Asbestos Alert in Kathmandu
Nov 27, 2013
The Executive Director of the [Nepal] Centre for Public Health and Environmental Development Ram Charitra Sah has warned the authorities of the hazards posed by the lack of care taken regarding the use and storage of asbestos-containing products. "Asbestos is," he told a reporter for the Himalayan Times "piled up in different parts of Kathmandu, including Maitighar, for use in road construction work…" In an article citing the official positions of the World Health Organization and the International Labor Organizations, Mr. Sah called on the Government to ban the use, import and export of asbestos products. See: Handle asbestos carefully: NGO.
Asbestos Exposure in Indian Workplaces
Nov 27, 2013
Media reports published today highlight the deplorable situation of Indian migrant laborers who have contracted fatal asbestos-related diseases from workplace exposures. Raghunath Manwar, President of the Occupational Health Association, confirmed the situation citing the case of S.R. Gaunder's widow who has, since his death 3 years ago, received no support or compensation as her husband was a migrant from Tamil Nadu. Gaunder, who had been employed as a laborer at a notorious asbestos-cement factory, died in 2010 from asbestos cancer. Similar examples are documented along with comments from activists helping the injured. See: Vapi hellhole gets worse for migrant workers.
Queries over Journal's Ethical Failings
Nov 26, 2013
In a letter to the editor of the journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology, serious questions are asked about the lack of disclosure by the authors of a 2013 article entitled: Health Risks of Chrysotile Revisited. The authors of the letter, who believe that the "article violates ethical standards of disclosure that all scientists and scientific publications are expected to uphold," cite incorrect information provided by David Bernstein and Jacques Dunnigan about the funding of the paper and their ties to asbestos industry stakeholders. Links between the Editor in Chief Roger McClellan and an asbestos firm are also mentioned. See: Complaint submitted to Editor of scientific publication regarding hidden asbestos industry ties.
Online Resource: London Health Reports
Nov 26, 2013
The Wellcome Library has digitized 124 years of reports by Health Officers for London boroughs; this archive is an invaluable resource for researchers investigating the history of asbestos knowledge. Items written in the 1930s by Dr Williams, the Medical Officer of Health for Barking - the borough in which a notorious factory belonging to Cape Asbestos was located - are informative. Williams' was described by Dr. Merewether - co-author of the seminal 1930 Merewether and Price asbestos report - as being "obsessed with the subject [asbestos]." See: London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972.
Launch of Ban Asbestos Network
Nov 25, 2013
On November 23, 2013, at the culmination of a 2-day meeting of the Asian Ban Asbestos Network in Dhaka, a new organization was launched: the Bangladesh Ban Asbestos Network (B-BAN). Calling for urgent action, occupational health and safety campaigner and co-host of the meeting Repon Chowdhury said "Bangladesh cannot close its eyes to the asbestos issue." Asbestos activists, victims and trade unionist delegates at the meeting endorsed the new organization and pledged to continue international collaboration to achieve an Asian ban on the use of asbestos. See: Press Release.
Illegal Asbestos Imports
Nov 25, 2013
In 2012, the import of asbestos-contaminated cars from China caused a huge uproar in the Australian media. Today, news has been released that the import of hazardous materials is continuing due to a systemic failure by the Customs authorities. Asbestos contamination has been recently found in imported train engines. This news has led to an outcry from asbestos victims' groups and trade unions over the potential for deadly exposures from unidentified imports. In June, tests revealed that imported motorcycles contained asbestos; they were destroyed. See: Imported asbestos products getting past Australian customs.
Medical Workshop on Asbestos
Nov 20, 2103
Ban asbestos activists from Indonesia and Korea are today holding a medical workshop on asbestos in Jakarta (see: workshop poster) to highlight the ongoing risk posed by occupational and environmental exposure to a substance widely used in Indonesia (see: Growth of Asian Asbestos Markets). Speakers invited by the Ban Asbestos Network of Korea (BANKO) and the Indonesian Ban Asbestos Network (Ina-ban) will reveal details of the incidence of asbestos-related disease identified amongst workers from an asbestos textile factory in Cibinong, Indonesia; the company which owns this factory moved its operations from Korea to Indonesia in the 1990s.
Asbestos Alert for Investors
Nov 20, 2013
A 27-page Australian report by financial analysts at Citi Research has today been issued to alert potential investors to the asbestos trading of stock market-listed companies. Amongst the names mentioned are mining companies in Russia (Uralasbest), Brazil (Eternit), Kazakhstan (variously described as DAGOK Kustanaiasbest, or Kustanai Minerals); information on mining companies in China was not available. Also listed were companies involved in the manufacture of asbestos-containing construction and automotive products; eight Indian producers of asbestos-cement construction material were named. See: Asbestos: Assessing Exposure of Certain MSCI World Index Sectors.
Fear and Loathing in Asbest, Russia
Nov 19, 2013
Journalists working on a project on the future of Russian monotowns reported a high level of anxiety and fear in the Russian town of Asbest, home to Ural Asbest's open-pit asbestos mine. There is, they found, widespread concern about the future of the company which employs 10% of the population, in light of perceived threats from the "mysterious forces of the international anti-asbestos campaign." Security service personnel maintained a watchful and threatening eye on the journalists' activities and a person interviewed was summarily fired for speaking to them. According to the article: "Every second person [at Ural Asbest] has asbestosis." See: The People of the Pit.
Eternit Asbestos Continues to Kill
Nov 18, 2013
More than 700 cases of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma have been diagnosed in a district in North Lebanon which was formerly the location of an Eternit asbestos-cement factory. Former employees, family members and residents are amongst the dead. Local people bought Eternit waste to make concrete which was used in and around homes. As a result, there is widespread environmental contamination. The company's owner, Stephan Schmidheiny, sold the asbestos operations in Chekka (Koura district) to Lebanese businessmen who continued production until 1991. See: North Lebanon: Closed Asbestos Factory Still Kills.
Asbestos Contamination in Tenerife
Nov 18, 2013
Seventeen homeless people sheltering in a theater named after a famous Spanish literary figure face eviction should the Canaries' Government decide to act on the recent discovery of asbestos-cement pipes in the dilapidated structure. A technical expert who inspected the premises in Tenerife this weekend concluded that urgent action was needed including the removal of the remaining 40 meters of contaminated pipes. A decision by the municipal authorities is expected this week. See: El Pérez Minik será desalojado tras detectarse tubos de Amianto (Evictions from Pérez Minik [theater] after discovery of asbestos pipes).
ABREA's Role Acknowledged
Nov 15, 2013
A 24-page segment in a magazine [see: magazine cover] published today by the Brazilian Federal Public Ministry of Labor focuses on the pivotal role played by ABREA, the national asbestos victims' group, in the struggle against the country's notorious asbestos group: Eternit. The text exposes the company's attempts to deceive and co-opt workers into signing extra-judicial agreements absolving their former employer of its liabilities for the negligent and hazarous occupational exposures to asbestos which took place at the Eternit asbestos-cement factories. See: A morte lenta e silenciosa dos empregados da Eternit [The slow and silent death of employees of Eternit].
Thousands in Asbestos-riddled Homes
Nov 14, 2013
In 1985, Sonatrach, an Algerian-government owned oil and gas consortium which is the largest company in Africa, built accommodation for its employees in Sicel city. The asbestos-cement construction products used on the blocks of flats, now abandoned by the company, are in an advanced state of decay exposing 2,000 occupants to cancerous fibers; media reports say that 20 residents have died of asbestos diseases. Despite negotiations between Sonatrach, local authorities and federal officials, no efforts have been made to address this and other hazards posed by the deterioration of the infrastructure. See: Plus de 600 familles exposées à l'amiante [More than 600 families exposed to asbestos].
Allegations that Eternit Bribed Victims
Nov 13, 2013
Eternit, S.A., Brazil's foremost asbestos company, has been charged over attempts to entice asbestos-exposed ex-employees to sign agreements absolving the company of liability through an outreach social program for the "Eternit family" workforce. Letters on this issue have been submitted as part of a legal action by ABREA, the national group representing the asbestos-exposed, many of whom worked for Eternit. Activities offered included barbecues and TV screenings of World Cup games. See: Eternit 'cortejou' ex-funcionários contaminados com amianto para evitar ação na Justiça, diz MPT [Eternit "courted" asbestos-exposed ex-employees to prevent legal action].
Prosecution of Olivetti Executives
Nov 12, 2013
The former President, Vice President, Managing Director and CEO of Olivetti are amongst twenty people being investigated for overseeing a regime which failed to prevent hazardous exposures to asbestos at industrial premises in northwest Italy. It is alleged that their negligence resulted in twenty former workers dying from the asbestos cancer, mesothelioma between 2003 and 2013. From the late 1970s until the early 1990s, the deceased had worked in Olivetti departments contaminated with asbestos. See: All'Olivetti operai uccisi dall'amianto [Olivetti workers killed by asbestos].
Dismantling of US "Ghost Ships"
Nov 11, 2013
The arrival in Hartlepool in 2003 of the Caloosahatchee, a rusting US warship, set off ten years of protest by local campaigners. Friends of Hartlepool objected to their town becoming "the dumping ground of the world"; during the struggle, legal and environmental objections were raised to the dismantling in Hartlepool of toxic US "Ghost Ships" which contained nearly 2,000 tonnes of asbestos as well as mercury, cadmium, chromium and other toxins. As a result, only four US ships were processed at the Able UK yard and work was stopped in January 2011. The dumping of the yard's hazardous waste in local landfills remains a contentious issue. See: The Legacy of Hartlepool's US Navy 'ghost ships'.
Deadline for Asbestos Judgment
Nov 8, 2013
The French Supreme Court has announced it will hand down its decision on landmark asbestos cases on December 10. Charges in this litigation relate to the responsibility of government officials, scientists and industrialists for hazardous asbestos exposures experienced by French citizens which resulted in their contracting asbestos-related diseases. ANDEVA, a national asbestos victims' group, has challenged the lower courts' decisions and the Advocate General's recommendation to acquit the defendants. See: Amiante: décision en cassation le 10 décembre sur deux dossiers emblématiques [Court decision on two landmark asbestos cases on December 10].
Saskatchewan's Asbestos Registry
Nov 8, 2013
With the enactment on November 7 of The Public Health (Howard's Law) Amendment Act, Saskatchewan has become the first Canadian Province to establish a mandatory web-based asbestos registry for crown corporations, school districts, health regions and facilities and provincial government buildings. "This registry will," said Health Minister Dustin Duncan "improve the health, safety and well being of our workers and their families… In addition to the registry, publications that address the safe removal and handling of asbestos are available." See: Province Makes Asbestos Registry Mandatory. See also: Saskatchewan First Province to Require Mandatory Asbestos Reporting.
Award for Asbestos Diseases Society
Nov 8, 2013
The Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia (ADSA) was honoured last month at the 15th World Conference on Lung Cancer in Sydney when it received the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer's Patient Advocacy Award. A travel bursary providing funds to cover the costs of attending the conference was provided to the ADSA President Robert Vojakovic. The ADSA has been Australia's leading patient advocacy group for asbestos victims for more than thirty years. See: IASLC Gives 5 People Advocacy Travel Award. Also see: Confronting Australia's Asbestos Catastrophe.