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Displaying first 25 items in reverse date order (default)

Prime Minister Calls for Asbestos Justice

Nov 30, 2015

A message sent by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to the chair of this week’s meeting of the National Assembly on Asbestos confirms his “personal support” and “shared commitment to implement policies and actions that allow for the closure, once and for all, of this open wound caused by asbestos.” In his message of solidarity, the PM writes of the progress achieved in dealing with Italy’s asbestos legacy but acknowledges that much remains to be done. See: Amianto: Renzi,ferita aperta va chiusa una volta per tutte [Asbestos: Renzi, open wound should be closed once and for all].

New Asbestos Awareness Resources

Nov 30, 2015

On Friday, November 27, 2015, near the end of Australia’s asbestos awareness month, one of the country’s leading asbestos awareness websites launched two new modules to help homeowners identify asbestos-containing materials in and around their homes. These resources consist of a video (Asbestos in Your Home) and a database listing common products (Online Asbestos Product Database) This material is a result of collaborative efforts led by the Asbestos Education Committee.

Prosecution over Toxic Helicopters

Nov 30, 2015

Investigations by the Turin Public Prosecutor into allegations made by military personnel exposed to asbestos in twenty helicopters are proceeding. According to lawyer Carla Delle Fave who is representing claimants, the situation is clear: as a result of criminal exposures which took place because of the negligence of managers, individuals inhaled carcinogenic fibers. The malignant diseases which have been contracted are a consequence of these exposures. See: Roma, amianto sugli elicotteri della Finanza: piloti ammalati [Rome, investigations proceeding over pilots’ asbestos illnesses due to the contamination of helicopters].

Unsafe Asbestos Removal Program

Nov 30, 2015

Refugees on the island of Nauru have told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that they had been hired to remove asbestos from the island’s houses without protective equipment or clothing and that the debris was being carelessly disposed of as part of a multimillion dollar housing renovation program being funded by the government. The authorities have told the ABC that: “This program is safe… (and) No refugees are involved in this project.” According to the ABC, photographs of unsafe working conditions and lack of basic protection substantiated the allegations. See: Safety concerns for refugees and workers as Nauru asbestos removal program kicks off.

Decisive Victory for Asbestos Victims

Nov 27, 2015

After a 2014 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights which condemned the Swiss time bar that prevented most asbestos victims from bringing personal injury lawsuits, yesterday (November 26) a federal tribunal gave leave for the case brought by the daughters of a Swiss asbestos victim who died in 2005 to be referred to the Baden Labour Court for a rehearing. In 2009, the Labour Court dismissed this claim because of a ten year limitation period; two other courts upheld that decision. See: Pour le TF, la prescription dans les affaires d'amiante n'est plus absolue [A decision by the Federal Tribunal ruled that the time bar regarding asbestos claims is not absolute].

Bystander Verdict for Bartender’s Family

Nov 27, 2015

The family of a bartender who died aged 74 on December 25, 2014 from asbestos diseases was awarded compensation of €740,000 by a Labour Court on November 25, 2015. The bar where he worked for twenty years was across the street from Bologna’s railway yard where thousands of workers had been exposed to asbestos on a daily basis. It is possible that further claims for damages will be brought in this case. See: Bologna, barista morì per l’amianto: risarcita con 740mila euro [Bologna: barista dies from asbestos; compensation paid €740,000].

Mesothelioma Surgery: New Research

Nov 26, 2015

In a paper published online by Swiss medical researchers, the influence of second-line treatment after the recurrence of malignant pleural mesothelioma in patients who had previously undergone multimodality treatment between September 1999 and October 2014 is considered. The findings from the cohort studied suggest that although repeated surgical intervention can produce a “good long-term outcome in selected patients,” more research is needed to confirm these results. See: Relapse pattern and second-line treatment following multimodality treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Ban Asbestos Initiative in Asia

Nov 26, 2015

Leading Australian asbestos campaigners told reporters in Canberra yesterday that Australia had an obligation to help eradicate the asbestos hazard in Asia. Peter Tighe, the CEO of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, said: “We don't want that [asbestos] legacy to increase because manufactured goods in Asia still contain this deadly carcinogen,” after he, Senator Lisa Singh and Senator Nick Xenophon met a delegation of ban asbestos campaigners from Laos and Vietnam at Parliament House; the activists had spoken at a meeting of the Parliamentary Group on Asbestos earlier in the day. See: Australia should help Asia ban asbestos.

Mental Anxiety from Asbestos Exposure

Nov 26, 2015

On November 17, 2015, a Parliamentary response was promulgated which responded to a question put on February 3, 2015 by Josette Pons, MP for the district of Var to the Minister of Social Affairs regarding the status of compensation for asbestos anxiety for people exposed to asbestos at work. The Ministerial Statement reviewed the agencies and parties upon whom workers can make claims for this condition and acknowledged the “specific anxiety [of] harm” and the “psychological disorders engendered by the knowledge of this risk by employees.” See: Compensation for “Asbestos Anxiety” in France; Government Response to Written Question.

Top Prize for Asbestos Expose

Nov 25, 2015

At a ceremony in New Delhi on Monday, November 23, 2015, New Delhi-based correspondent Katy Daigle received the foreign correspondent Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Award for her 2014 series exposing the damage done to public health and the environment by India’s asbestos industry. The award, considered to be India’s most prestigious journalism prize, was presented by India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for Daigle’s features which highlighted how sales were flourishing in India of a substance widely regarded by the developed world as a deadly poison. See: AP Staffers Win Prestigious Indian Journalism Awards.

Environmental Asbestos Hazard

Nov 25, 2015

Italy’s Asbestos Observatory (ONA) is holding a conference on Saturday, November 28, 2015 in Modena to examine the hazards posed by asbestos contamination of drinking water, public buildings, domestic properties and workplaces. According to epidemiological data collected by ONA there is a “higher incidence of gastrointestinal and biliary tract (cancer) among workers exposed to asbestos and citizens who ingested asbestos dissolved in the water.” These findings substantiate conclusions reached by the International Agency for Research on Cancer regarding the asbestos cancer risk. See: Amianto, Ona: rischi anche nell'acqua potabile [Asbestos, ONA: risks in drinking water].

Council Off-loads Asbestos Waste

Nov 24, 2015

Contracts worth millions of dollars have been signed, whereby Dunedin City Council will allow contractors from Christchurch to dispose of thousands of tonnes of asbestos-contaminated soil at the Green Island landfill dumpsite. The transport of the waste, which began last month, should be finished by Christmas according to Nic McEwan, Managing Director of McEwan Haulage. McEwan admitted that the decision to move the waste, which resulted from excavations carried out by the New Zealand Transport Agency during road building, was made on financial grounds. See: Christchurch asbestos fill headed for Dunedin.

Olivetti Trial Proceeding in January 2016

Nov 24, 2015

Due to the scale of the legal proceedings against former Olivetti executives and the number of parties involved, the trial which will begin on January 11, 2016 has been moved from the assigned courtroom to a music school auditorium in the town of Ivrea. Amongst those who have been indicted for manslaughter and failing to protect former employees from asbestos exposures are Olivetti executives, directors and managers from the 1970s to 1990s. See: Processo Olivetti, respinte le richieste delle difese sulle parti civili [Defense requests rejected in Olivetti case].

Labor Federation Call for Asbestos Action

Nov 24, 2015

On November 20, 2015, the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) reaffirmed its call on the European Commission to take urgent action on the EU’s asbestos crisis by seeking innovative solutions to multi-faceted challenges such as remediating asbestos contamination in conjunction with renewing building stock and improving energy efficiency. “The EFBWW sees in this both an opportunity for growth and innovation in the construction sector, and the opportunity to join a range of related, but in our view insufficiently connected, policy areas in a holistic way.” See: Letter by the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers, November 20, 2015.

Mesothelioma Alert in Chile

Nov 23, 2015

Speaking on CNN Chile yesterday (November 22, 2015), oncologist Dr. Francisco Javier Orlandi issued a stark warning that the incidence of the deadly asbestos cancer mesothelioma is due to rise in Chile amongst at-risk cohorts, such as construction workers, in the decades to come. The medical expert called for preventative action to be taken by the government to eradicate the hazard and protect human health. See: Francisco Javier Orlandi profundizó en el mesotelioma o cáncer de asbesto [Francisco Javier Orlandi deepened in mesothelioma or asbestos cancer].

Donation to Medical Research

Nov 23, 2015

The volunteers of the Asbestos Disease Society of Australia (ADSA) who took part in a fund-raising walk from Albany to Perth, Western Australia in September 2015 were motivated by their desire to fund life-saving research being progressed in Perth. The walkers’ efforts raised $85,000 which was presented today – the first day of Australia’s Asbestos Awareness week (November 23) – at an informal ceremony to Professor Anna Nowak, a medical oncologist and researcher who specializes in mesothelioma. For 35 years, the ADSA has supported Australia’s asbestos victims and collaborated with researchers to find a cure for deadly asbestos diseases. See: ADSA Press Release.

Agency Claims Success for Libby Clean-Up

Nov 23, 2015

Last week (November 20, 2015), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final human health risk assessment for the Libby, Montana Asbestos Superfund site. The EPA concluded that as a result of the work carried out to remediate indoor and outdoor asbestos contamination, it was now “possible to live and work in Libby and Troy without excessive exposure to asbestos.” While 7,000+ properties had been investigated, access to 700 other properties had been denied by property owners. Concerns therefore remain over asbestos levels at those sites. See: EPA finalizes Human Health Risk Assessment for Libby Asbestos Superfund site.

Council Guilty of Asbestos Pollution?

Nov 23, 2015

A municipal authority in New South Wales (NSW), Australia has been accused by a whistleblower of flouting asbestos regulations and endangering the public by failing to tackle environmental pollution caused by using asbestos-contaminated soil from the council’s storage facility on multiple sites. The whistleblower alleged that the toxic material had knowingly been distributed by Council-employed contractors over several years. According to The United Services Union, 22 sites could be affected. The NSW Environment Protection Authority has mounted an investigation. See: Liverpool Council accused of ‘turning blind eye’ to asbestos contamination.

Spain’s Invisible Victims

Nov 23, 2015

A delegation of asbestos victims, public health advocates and politicians last week went to Brussels to call on the European Parliament to act over the asbestos scandal in Spain, where cases of asbestos cancer remain unacknowledged and unsupported by medical, governmental and compensatory bodies. Epidemiologists predict a thousand people will die from asbestos diseases in Spain between 2016 and 2020. See: Lola Sánchez lleva al Parlamento Europeo las denuncias de trabajadores afectados por el amianto en Cartagena [Lola Sánchez leads delegation of Cartagena asbestos victims to denounce Spanish inaction to European Parliament].

Mesothelioma Research Findings

Nov 23, 2015

Reporting the findings of a multi-institutional study of trimodality therapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma which consisted of induction chemotherapy followed by extrapleural pneumonectomy and radiation therapy, Japanese researchers have concluded that while “this phase II study met the predefined primary endpoints… its risk/benefit ratio was not satisfactory.” See: Trimodality strategy for treating malignant pleural mesothelioma: results of a feasibility study of induction pemetrexed plus cisplatin followed by extrapleural pneumonectomy and postoperative hemithoracic radiation.

Asbestos Legacy Lives On

Nov 20, 2015

There is a reason why Ambler, Pa. has one of the highest rates of death from asbestos-related diseases in the US. The debris from decades of asbestos manufacturing continues to expose the town’s residents to hazardous levels of pollution long after production ceased. Many of those now dying were also exposed to asbestos brought home on contaminated work clothes from the factory. A new Huffington Post feature detailing the town’s deadly legacy has highlighted the ramifications of Congressional proposals which could adversely affect the rights of victims in Ambler and elsewhere in the country to access compensation. See: Pennsylvania's Asbestos Problem.

Slash in Victims’ Fund

Nov 19, 2015

Australia’s asbestos giant of yesteryear, James Hardie, has slashed its annual contribution to the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund (ACIF) for Australian victims from $119.9 million for 2013-14 to $81.1 million for 2014-15, a decrease of ~30% after a reported fall in “free cash flow.” Since 2007, the company has paid $799.2 million to the fund. According to figures released today, 296 asbestos claims were received during the first half of 2015-16; the average claim settlement was $223,000. Last year the ACIF received 665 claims, a record number. See: James Hardie cuts asbestos compensation payment by $39m.

Towards an Asbestos Ban

Nov 19, 2015

Progressing along the road to an asbestos ban in 2018, steps are being taken in Sri Lanka to improve the quality and performance of safer roofing material and lower unit costs through increased levels of production, according to news released by Mahendra Jayasekara, President of Lanka Ceramic Council, at a press briefing held in Colombo. Jayasekara said the aim is to lower the price of ceramic roofing to that of asbestos tiles and thereby eliminate the cost advantage which encourages use. In recent days, asbestos lobbyists have aggressively attacked the government’s ban asbestos policy as premature. See: Sri Lanka to set standards for red clay roofing tiles upon asbestos ban.

Guilty Verdict for Negligent Employer

Nov 19, 2015

In a ruling issued this week by Judge Zelaide de Souza Philippi of the 1st Labor Court of San José, the Junkes construction company from Biguaçu City, Santa Catarina State, Brazil was convicted of exposing workers to asbestos; the company must adopt precautionary measures to prevent future exposures as mandated by the State. The civil proceeding was brought in 2014 by the Labor Prosecutor in Santa Catarina. The decision can be appealed. See: Empresa é condenada por expor empregados ao Amianto [Company convicted of exposing employees to asbestos].

Asbestos Car Parts Recalled

Nov 19, 2015

In an unprecedented move last week (November 12), Australia’s top consumer watchdog – the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission – recalled counterfeit brake pads produced in China and available from eBay Australia from June 1, 2013 to October 19, 2015. The bogus parts, which contained chrysotile asbestos, a banned substance in Australia, were suitable for use on Toyota Hilux and Toyota Hiace vehicles, of which there are more than 500,000 on Australian roads. The supplier, Westend Spares, has been ordered to contact customers and refund all purchases made of these illegal goods. See: ACCC recalls counterfeit Toyota brake pads, containing asbestos, imported from China.