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Displaying first 25 items in reverse date order (default)

Toxic Shipbreaking on the Beaches

Oct 2, 2023

The insightful article cited below was uploaded on September 28, 2023 by Human Rights Watch. The text documented the deadly price paid by workers in Bangladesh’s shipbreaking yards who are routinely exposed to dangerous substances and unsafe conditions without even the most basic of protective equipment. One of the occupational hazards is asbestos. According to a report issued by the Bangladesh Occupational Safety, Health, and Environment Foundation (2017) more than one third of shipbreaking workers reported experiencing health complications from asbestos exposures. See: Trading Lives for Profit: How the Shipping Industry Circumvents Regulations to Scrap Toxic Ships on Bangladesh’s Beaches.

Asbestos on the McGill Campus

Oct 2, 2023

The third story in an ongoing series of articles about asbestos in The Tribune – a student newspaper at Canada’s McGill University – was uploaded on September 26, 2023. The article documented the fear and outrage of McGill students and staff members who spoke out at an Asbestos Town Hall meeting on September 22. “Some of us,” said PhD student Hiba Kamel “are traumatized. Some of us have actually interacted with the dust... It’s nothing short of criminal to not even tell people that ‘hey, this building has asbestos.’” Deep Saini, the Principal of McGill, admitted that there had been a “broad-scale process failure.” See: “Some of us are traumatized”: McGill student pleas over asbestos exposure.

New Mesothelioma Assessment Protocol?

Oct 2, 2023

The article cited below by Professor of Lung Cancer & Mesothelioma Daniel Murphy from Glasgow University included information about the occurrence and causation of mesothelioma and an update on progress by UK researchers into learning about the disease and how to treat mesothelioma patients. Murphy was hopeful that the development of “genetically engineered mouse models of Mesothelioma that combine controlled introduction of the same mutations that commonly arise in human Mesothelioma with a single injection of Asbestos to incorporate chronic inflammation in our models,” would help researchers “distinguish high risk from low risk of Mesothelioma development, enabling earlier treatment of high-risk patients than is currently possible…” See: The risk of malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Initiative to Raise Mesothelioma Awareness

Oct 2, 2023

To spread awareness of Japan’s mesothelioma epidemic, the Tokyo-based NGO Mesothelioma, Pneumoconiosis, and Asbestos Center has set up a competition which will begin receiving applications from October 1. Entrants can submit their work under one of four categories: photos, essays, literary arts and research promotion. The pieces will be judged by their effectiveness in raising public awareness of the signature cancer associated with asbestos exposure. Monetary prizes will be given to the successful competitors. See: アスベスト問題を未来の世代にもわかりやすく 写真や文芸に賞を創設 [Establishment of awards for photography and literature to make asbestos issues easier to understand for future generations].

Successful Ruling in Mesothelioma Case

Oct 2, 2023

Last week, Palermo’s Court of Appeal overturned the decision of a court in Marsala, Italy which had denied compensation to a mesothelioma widow. The Appeal Court ordered INAIL – Italy’s Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work – to pay €45,000 (US$48,000) for the 2020 death of the shipyard worker from Trapani, Sicily. See: Trapani, Mori per L’Amianto: L’INAIL Condannara a Risarcire I Familiari di un Operaio [Trapani, Died from Asbestos: INAIL Condemned to Compensate the Family members of a Worker].

Award for Council Training Program

Oct 2, 2023

On September 15, 2023, it was announced that a one-day training program for council employees to increase their ability to identify and manage asbestos had won an award from the government of the Australian State of New South Wales. The instruction included information on a variety of matters such as legislative, regulatory requirements, site risk assessment, identification, types of asbestos, PPE requirements and notification requirements. One of the designers of the course said that it: “better equips local government officers across the state with the basics so that they can quickly determine the safest course of action when they’re called out to an inspection or identify asbestos in waste materials and landfill.” See: Asbestos course for council workers wins training award.

Post-earthquake Asbestos Hazard

Sep 29, 2023

A 7+ minute video uploaded on September 25, 2023 to the website of a German public service broadcaster detailed the environmental disaster now being endured by survivors of the February earthquakes which devastated Turkish towns earlier this year. Investigations carried out in Hatay Province showed the presence of airborne asbestos near temporary camps providing shelter to the homeless. Building rubble dumped in waste sites near containers used for housing and near a high school was also found to contain asbestos as did samples collected from the car of the investigators. See: Turkey: Asbestos contamination could lead to many more deaths after the earthquake.

British Tanks Sent to Ukraine Toxic

Sep 29, 2023

Scores of Russian articles like the one cited below were uploaded on September 22/23, 2023 reporting news published in the British tabloid, the Daily Express, that 2,000 pieces of military equipment sent to Ukraine by Britain could contain asbestos. Amongst the contaminated items were Challenger 2 tanks, Warrior infantry fighting vehicles and Bulldog armored personnel carriers. See: СМИ узнали, какой ядовитый "сюрприз" зашит в британской технике, отправленной для ВСУ [The media found out what a poisonous “surprise” was incorporated within British equipment sent to the Armed Forces of Ukraine].

The Recife Charter

Sep 29, 2023

At a meeting of asbestos victims and experts which took place in the Brazilian city of Recife, in the State of Pernambuca earlier this month, participants issued a document called the “Recife Charter” which demanded that workers who had been exposed to asbestos by their employer be provided with the free medical care mandated by Brazilian Law 9,055/1995. Asbestos-injured employees and their family members said that the Brasilit/Saint-Gobain company in Pernambuco was not fulfilling this legal obligation, as a result of which the injured were not able to access medical care. See: Associação Pernambucana dos Expostos ao amianto (APEA) Carta de Recife [Pernambuca Association of those Exposed to Asbestos (APEA) Recife Charter].

Protecting Workers from Asbestos

Sep 29, 2023

A September 22, 2023 briefing uploaded by the European Parliament explained recent developments intended to improve asbestos protections for European workers; historic exposures to asbestos are responsible for 70,000 deaths of Europeans every year. A proposal to lower the mandatory occupational exposure limit for asbestos was approved by the European Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs on September 7, 2023. In October, there will be a vote on the first reading of the revised Directive. See: Protection of workers from asbestos at work briefing.

Asbestos Anxiety Compensation

Sep 29, 2023

On September 21, 2023, an asbestos victims’ group in Toulon received news from Frédéric Boccaletti, a member of the National Assembly representing the constituency of Var – home to seafarers who’d been exposed to asbestos at the shipyards of La Seyne-sur-Mer and the military arsenal. Boccaletti said the Minister of the Armed Forces had agreed to streamline the process for seafarers to obtain compensation for asbestos anxiety. As the current levels of compensation were insufficient, Boccaletti said, he planned to lobby the Minister for an increase. See: Marins exposés à l’amiante: une procédure assouplie monter un dossier d'indemnisation pour le préjudice moral d’anxiété [Seafarers exposed to asbestos: a relaxed procedure for preparing a compensation case for anxiety moral damage].

RAAC and Asbestos in Schools

Sep 29, 2023

The commentary cited below examined the double whammy posed to school users by the presence of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) and asbestos throughout the UK. Both substances were widely used from the 1950s through the 1990s so it is not uncommon to find that schools contain both. If a building collapses due to the deterioration of RAAC, the damage could very well liberate asbestos fibers into the air. “I believe,” wrote the author that “we should now be moving the debate firmly away from managing asbestos in school buildings to a proactive management approach of systematic removal – and this latest issue clearly demonstrates why.” See: Concrete closure fiasco is yet another reason asbestos has no place in our schools.

Asbestos Alert to Homeowners!

Sep 25, 2023

An article uploaded to a Kenyan news portal last week warned members of the public of the dangers posed by using potentially toxic building products in order to decrease the construction price of a new home. The author of the article cited below said that despite the fact that Kenya had banned the use of asbestos in 2006 – this fact remains unsubstantiated – the use of asbestos-cement roofing continued. When this material is disturbed it can release “fibers into the air. Exposure to air containing the fibers increases the risk of inhaling the fibers and developing the associated diseases…” See: Asbestos Roofing: Banned & Cancerous Material Kenyans Are Still Using.

Asbestos Trade Data 2023

Sep 25, 2023

New global trade data for the asbestos industry was uploaded in August 2023 to the website of the United States Geological Survey (USGS). This data is best viewed as an indication of trends; as the raw data are sourced from national governments, the figures are not always reliable. Various points of interests included: global production increased in 2022 from 1.28m tonnes (t) in 2021 to 1.33mt with Russia still the biggest producer; five countries accounted for 85% of all asbestos consumed: India, China, Russia, Uzbekistan and Indonesia; consumption in Russia jumped by nearly 60% from 2021 to 2022 – it is not known whether this asbestos was used or warehoused due to difficulties with export shipments as a result of Western sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. See: USGS Global Asbestos Trade Data.

José Alberto Siqueira Ate Asbestos

Sep 25, 2023

A rather curious article was uploaded on September 19, 2023 to a news portal in the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais; it told the tale of a truck driver who had ingested asbestos fibers after a traffic accident in 1987. When his truck overturned, eight tons of asbestos were scattered on the highway. To reassure reporters on the scene concerned about the hazard posed by the scattered asbestos, driver José Alberto Siqueira ate a handful of it. Now 77 years old, Siqueira told a journalist that he wouldn’t eat asbestos now. See: Estado de Minas descobre vivo o homem que comeu amianto [State of Minas discovers man who ate asbestos alive].

Asbestos Roofing Toxicity Reminder

Sep 25, 2023

Asbestos roofing which is popular in Indonesia has been banned in many parts of the world because of the health hazard it poses to workers who handle it and people who live in buildings containing it. The article cited below reviewed the content of a short video about this subject uploaded to YouTube which explained that exposure to asbestos fibers liberated by toxic roofing could cause a number of cancers as well as respiratory diseases. See: Kenapa Atap Asbes Dilarang? Awas Bahaya Penyakit Paru-paru yang Tidak [Why is asbestos roofing banned? Beware of the Dangers of Incurable Lung Disease].

Asbestos in Municipal Water Delivery System

Sep 25, 2023

Danny Johnson, the Mayor of the US city of Marked Tree, announced last week that the authorities in Arkansas had secured a $500,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture for the removal of 50-year old asbestos water pipes from the urban infrastructure. Work on the upgrade of the town’s water delivery system will begin in January 2024. According to the National Cancer Institute, asbestos is a human carcinogen. This is why the town routinely monitors the quality of the water. See: City working to remove asbestos from water pipes.

Asbestos in Schools: Update

Sep 25, 2023

An electronic bulletin circulated on September 20, 2023 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announced that the: “HSE will be carrying out a programme of inspections of primary and secondary schools in England, Scotland and Wales from October 2023 onwards.” The majority of UK schools contain asbestos material and the hazard this poses to children and staff has been front-page news in light of the discovery this summer of deteriorating reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) in more than 150 schools. HSE inspectors will be contacting schools before the asbestos audits are carried out to arrange a suitable date and time for the inspections.

Asbestos at the Bank

Sep 22, 2023

A decision last week by the Rome Court of Appeal ordered Italy’s National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work (INAIL) to pay compensation of €200,000 (US$213,400) plus a life-time annuity to a 44-year old bank worker who contracted mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos at the San Paolo bank where he had been employed for 14 years. INAIL had challenged the ruling of a lower court which had also supported the victim’s claim. See: Amianto nella filiale in cui lavorava, mesotelioma a 44 anni. L’Inail dovrà risarcire il dipendente della banca [Asbestos in the branch where he worked, mesothelioma at 44 years old. Inail will have to compensate the bank employee].

Toxic Talc!

Sep 22, 2023

An exclusive feature by Steve Boggan in the Saturday September 16, 2023 issue of the Daily Mail detailed how the incurable cancer contracted by 48-year old Hannah Fletcher had been caused by her use of cosmetic products containing asbestos fibers. To avoid going to court, this summer, American manufacturers Avon and Estee Lauder, and its subsidiary Clinique, reached a confidential settlement with Hannah who, before her mesothelioma diagnosis in 2016, had held senior executive positions with NatWest, Visa and other well-known firms. See: Your makeup may be killing you like it's killing me: City high-flyer and mother of two Hannah was diagnosed with incurable cancer that she blames on the cosmetics she enjoyed since childhood.

Supporting Gwangju’s Asbestos Victims

Sep 22, 2023

On September 19, 2023 officials in Gwangju City, in the southwest of South Korea, announced an expansion of the city’s efforts to support citizens who contract asbestos-related diseases as a result of environmental exposures, including those who had lived near asbestos-using factories. The municipality is increasing its budgetary allocation for its asbestos relief program and streamlining the application process to ensure swift payment of benefits – within 60 days – to victims and/or bereaved family members. See: 광주시, 석면피해 구제급여 확대한다 [Gwangju City expands relief benefits for asbestos damage].

Mesothelioma Case to Proceed

Sep 22, 2023

A motion by the defendant Avondale for the dismissal of a personal injury mesothelioma case on the grounds that the action was pre-empted by federal law was dismissed on September 8, 2023, by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. As a result of the findings cited in the three-page verdict, litigation by surviving family members of the deceased shipyard worker Felton Robichaux will proceed. The late Mr Robichaux had been exposed to asbestos whilst employed at Avondale Shipyard from 1961 to 1979 as an insulator and carpenter. See: US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana Verdict Robinchaux, et al. versus Huntington Ingalls Inc. September 8, 2023.

Asbestos Risks Highlighted in Video

Sep 22, 2023

A five-minute video uploaded to youtube on September 17, 2023 by the NGO Indonesian Ban Asbestos Network explained why the continued use of asbestos posed a deadly health risk to members of the public as well as to workers, especially in light of the numerous natural disasters which occur in the country. Dr Anna Suraya explained that exposure to asbestos can cause a variety of diseases including mesothelioma (cancer) and asbestosis. Seventy per cent of the asbestos used worldwide every year is consumed in Asian countries; most of the asbestos used in Indonesia is for the manufacture of building materials. See: Kenapa Rumah di Indonesia Masih Tetap Pakai Atap Asbes? Ini Jawabannya [Why Do Houses in Indonesia Still Use Asbestos Roofs? Here’s the Answer].

Asbestos Legacy in the Marche Region

Sep 22, 2023

The Italian city of Pesaro has announced plans to streamline efforts to eradicate the asbestos hazard by the inauguration of a bipartisan asbestos task force. An asbestos helpdesk will be run by the municipality to seek practical assistance as well as financial support from national and European sources for efforts to deal with the deadly contamination posed by decades of asbestos use. Local councillors will work closely with communities to ensure that all voices are heard in this potentially life-saving initiative. See: Una task force da schierare contro i rischi dell’amianto [Task force to be deployed against the risks of asbestos].

Asbestos Meeting in Qinghai

Sep 21, 2023

The annual meeting of China’s Asbestos Trade Association – the Chrysotile Asbestos Professional Committee (the Committee) – took place earlier this month. The remit of the Committee is to promote asbestos sales; expand the industry; and support the industry’s best interests. Presentations and recommendations made during the event considered measures to preserve the status quo so that the use of asbestos-based products in China could continue. Asbestos mines in China, the world’s third largest asbestos producer, are in Qinghai, Xinjiang, Shanxi, Gansu and Yunnan Provinces. See: 专家“会诊”为温石棉产业高质量发展献计 [Expert “consultation” provides suggestions for the high-quality development of the chrysotile asbestos industry].