News Item Archive
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Displaying first 25 items in reverse date order (default)
Investigation Results Announced
Oct 31, 2016
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced that an investigation sparked off by concerns of UK asbestos action groups (see: Toxic Asbestos Imports from China?) has been completed. Under the enforcement of chemical legislation including the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), samples of imports for use on a project at 1 Blackfriars, London by Yuanda (UK) Co. Ltd. were analyzed. The results “indicated that there was no asbestos present in any sample…. Given that no evidence has been found … it has been decided to close the investigation and take no further action.” See: HSE October 21, 2016 communication.
Parliamentary Debate on Mesothelioma
Oct 28, 2016
A one-hour debate on mesothelioma took place in the House of Lords on October 27, 2016 led by Labour peer Lord Wills. The debate was about mesothelioma and featured contributions from Lord Wills, Lord Alton, Lord Giddens, Lord McKenzie and Baroness Couttie, Baroness Finlay and Baroness Warwick, with a response from Lord Prior, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health. The debate covered subjects including research funding for mesothelioma research, the issue of asbestos contamination of schools, NHS drug rationing, clinical trials and improved surgical interventions. See: Mesothelioma debate in House of Lords October 27, 2016.
Asbestos Trade Data 2015
Oct 28, 2016
A new report calculates that the international asbestos trade in 2015 was worth $344 m with Russian exports valued at $191m, 56% of global exports. Between 2007 and 2015, Russia’s percentage of global asbestos markets rose from 41% to 56%. In 2015, the other asbestos producing countries were Brazil, Kazakhstan, China and India; in that year, the leading asbestos markets were in India, Indonesia, China, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Between 2007 and 2015, asbestos imports to Indonesia rose by 14.1% per year. See: Russia Strengthened Its Dominance in The Global Asbestos Exports.
Eradication of Asbestos Pipes
Oct 28, 2016
Provincial authorities have asked the Malaysian Government to finance the replacement of hundreds of thousands of deteriorating asbestos-cement pipes around Kuching, capital of the Malaysian state of Sarawak. The upgrading programme has been budgeted at over $165m and is motivated by the need to deal with water interruptions caused by underground leaks and burst pipes. The worn out asbestos-cement pipes are unable to deal with high pressure water flows and will be replaced under a phased eradication program with either metal or high density polyethylene pipes. See: Asbestos-based cement water pipes to be replaced.
Increasing Rate of Asbestos Disease
Oct 28, 2016
At a press conference in Taipei on October 24, 2016, ban asbestos campaigners from the Taiwan Occupational Safety and Health Link and the Asian Ban Asbestos Network told journalists that the incidence of asbestos mortality is rising in Taiwan amongst people exposed to asbestos at work such as shipyard workers. Interviews undertaken of asbestos disease sufferers by the Taiwan Occupational Safety and Health Link established that most of those affected had been occupationally exposed to asbestos and that few of them had any awareness of the asbestos hazard or had received any warnings from their employers. See: Press Release: Towards an asbestos-free environment.
Swedish Asbestos Expose
Oct 27, 2016
The epidemic of asbestos-related deaths in the Russian town of Asbestos has been revealed by an investigation for a Swedish daily newspaper. While asbestos industry profits remain strong, workers’ pay is low, one fifth of what it would be in Sweden, and cancer rates are high with four cases in one family interviewed by the journalist. Attempting to discredit the content of this expose, a Russian commentator reported that the “cancer incidence in Asbestos is not above average in the Sverdlovsk region” and that quotes from former municipal and regional officials were unreliable. See: Четыре раковых больных в семье — вот это шок! [Four patients with cancer in the family - that's a shock!]
Priority: Asbestos Removal from Schools!
Oct 27, 2016
A draft law has been tabled in Seville’s Congress of Deputies for the complete removal of all asbestos and asbestos-containing products from schools within ten years, to safeguard children from the harmful effects of asbestos exposures. Politicians who progressed the bill’s passage through the Committee on Health and Social Services have called for support from central government for the identification and removal of asbestos in public schools. See: Ciudadanos lleva una iniciativa al Congreso para retirar el amianto de todos los colegios [Citizens Congress takes an initiative to remove asbestos from all schools].
Mexico’s Asbestos Epidemic
Oct 27, 2016
As reports are circulating of increasing mortality from asbestos cancer in Mexico, the Government announced that asbestos products will be used in the “Housing for All” program which provides low income families with bricks and asbestos sheets to construct dwellings. Last month, it was reported that ~1,730 people had died of pleural mesothelioma in Mexico; this number was, said the scientists, a gross underestimate. They believed more than twice that number of people were dying from this asbestos cancer every year (500 deaths/year) with 1,000 more deaths from asbestos lung cancer. See: Aumenta la mesotelioma por asbesto en México [Mesothelioma due to asbestos exposures increasing in Mexico].
Launch of National Asbestos Profile
Oct 21, 2016
At a meeting in Kathmandu today (October 21, 2016), the Center for Public Health and Environmental Development (CEPHED) launched a new publication – The National Asbestos Profile of Nepal – which is intended to progress work on ensuring safer working and living conditions in a country which has banned the use of asbestos and asbestos-containing products (with one exemption). Attending the session were guests and delegations from the government and private sector, including personnel from the Ministry of Population and Environment, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Labour and Employment and the Ministry of Finance. See: CEPHED Press Release.
Russian Propaganda Onslaught
Oct 21, 2016
Russia’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alexander Karchava publicly challenged plans to outlaw white asbestos at a meeting earlier this month, during which he called on stakeholders including members of the Sri Lanka-Russia Business Council to exert pressure on politicians to safeguard the interests of Russia’s asbestos industry by preserving the status quo. The Ambassador said he had discussed this issue with President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in meetings which “bore positive results.” Karchava offered to bring experts to Sri Lanka “to educate the people on the safe use of chrysotile asbestos.” See: Russian experts ready to educate Lankans on safe use of chrysotile asbestos: envoy.
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 (email@example.com). 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?