News Item Archive

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Displaying first 25 items in reverse date order (default)
 

Canada Bans Asbestos

Dec 13, 2018

Canadian prohibitions on the mining, manufacture, import, export, sale and use of asbestos and asbestos-containing products come into force on December 30, 2018. The distribution of asbestos products after this time such as those in inventories or stock will be prohibited and suppliers have been warned that compliance with the regulations is mandatory: “It is expected that automotive stakeholders would comply with the regulations by switching from imports of friction materials containing asbestos to asbestos-free friction materials, such as ceramic brakes pads or materials with synthetic fibers.” See: Canada's ban on asbestos products takes effect December 30.
 

Supreme Court: No One Guilty!

Dec 13, 2018

On December 11, the French Supreme Court upheld the cancellation of indictments for asbestos “homicides and involuntary injuries,” against 8 officials charged for their parts in asbestos scandals at Jussieu University, Paris and the Normed shipyards, Dunkirk. Appeals against the dismissal of the indictments had been made by the Anti-asbestos Committee of Jussieu University and the Association of Asbestos Victims of Nord-Pas-de-Calais. The Court dismissed the appeals bringing to an end 20+ years of litigation to hold those in power responsible. See: Amiante: la Cour de cassation annule les mises en examen pour homicides et blessures involontaires [Asbestos: Court of Cassation overturns indictments for homicides and involuntary injuries].
 

Asbestos in the Boilers

Dec 13, 2018

In the Russian occupied Ukrainian city of Kerch in the east of Crimea, workers have protested over a week of toxic exposures experienced during the replacement of a boiler containing asbestos under hazardous conditions. Their complaints to the company went unanswered. After contacts were made with the authorities and trade union, nine respirators were provided for 27 at-risk workers. According to those affected: no measurements of airborne asbestos levels have been taken. See: РАБОТНИКИ ЦЕНТРАЛЬНОЙ КЕРЧЕНСКОЙ КОТЕЛЬНОЙ ДЫШАТ АСБЕСТОВОЙ ПЫЛЬЮ (ФОТО И ВИДЕО) [Workers of the central Kersch boiler room breathe asbestos dust (photo and video)].
 

Asbestos in Hospitals

Dec 13, 2018

Information received pursuant to Freedom of Information requests made to all 243 NHS trusts in Britain by the BBC confirmed that “about” 9 out of 10 NHS trusts have hospitals containing asbestos.” The BBC identified 352 legal claims against health trusts made between January 2013 and December 2017 by people who had developed asbestos-related diseases from exposures in NHS buildings. The trusts say those claims resulted in payouts of ~£6.8m; three law firms told the BBC they had secured compensation of more than £16.4m in the same period for asbestos exposures in healthcare settings. MP Jo Stevens, chair of the Parliamentary Asbestos Sub-Group, is urging action to prevent more toxic exposures in hospitals. See: Nine out of 10 NHS trusts have asbestos in hospitals.
 

Alert: Toxic Talc

Dec 6, 2018

On December 5, 2018 Health Canada, the government agency responsible “for helping Canadians maintain and improve their health,” issued a national warning regarding the dangers of using products containing talc, and announced plans to: “prohibit or restrict the use of talc in a limited number of product types, such as certain cosmetics, natural health products and non-prescription drugs.” Draft proposals – Risk management scope for talc – will be published and a public consultation ending on February 6, 2019 will take place. In the US, multiple court cases have established the link between the use of asbestos-contaminated talc and the occurrence of ovarian cancer. See: Ottawa évalue les risques des produits contenant du talc [Ottawa assesses risks of products containing talc].
 

Sea King Asbestos Scandal

Dec 6, 2018

On December 5, 2018, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) issued a media release updating the extent of asbestos-containing products present on Sea King helicopters and now admits that they are still contaminated: “the risk remained that asbestos-containing components could still be fitted to Sea King aircraft. Action has been taken to remove these components from the supply chain.” Veterans, former and current civilian employees and serving members of the armed forces are advised of what action they can take if they have concerns about asbestos exposures on these aircraft. See: Sea king helicopters, asbestos.
 

Victim’s Verdict

Dec 6, 2018

On December 4, 2018, it was reported that a Santiago court ordered Pizarreño Industries to pay compensation to the surviving family of Mrs. Julieta Bernal Trigo, a woman who contracted and died (in 2016) from the asbestos cancer, mesothelioma, having lived near the company’s asbestos cement plant in Maipú City, and washed her father’s contaminated work clothes; her father had worked for the company. See: Condenan a Pizarreño en insólito caso de mujer que murió de cáncer por asbestos [Pizarreño condemned in unusual case of woman who died of cancer due to asbestos].
 

Mesothelioma Amongst Veterans

Dec 6, 2018

A paper uploaded on December 4, 2018 to the website of the International Journal of Radiation Biology examined the incidence of mesothelioma amongst former military personnel who were present during above-ground nuclear weapons testing held between 1945 and 1962. The researchers reported that: “Although jobs with high potential for exposure to asbestos products were held by only 20% of the enlisted naval population, sailors with these jobs (machinist's mate, pipe fitter, boiler technician, water tender and fireman) experienced 55% of mesothelioma deaths.” See: Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma Mortality among Atomic Veterans.
 

Ban Asbestos Colombia!

Dec 5, 2018

The “Ana Cecilia Niño law,” which will ban asbestos nationwide, has been approved by the Colombian Senate; companies will have five years to make the transition to asbestos-free technologies. According to Senator Nadia Blel, the sponsor of this legislation: “Over the past five years, 1,744 people died of lung cancer as a result of their exposure to asbestos and more than 250 died of mesothelioma thanks to that silent enemy that is still being marketed in our country.” The bill now goes to the House of Representatives. See: Senado aprobó ley que elimina el uso de asbesto en Colombia [Senate passes law that eliminates the use of asbestos in Colombia].
 

Christmas in Perth

Dec 5, 2018

A check for $80,000 was presented to mesothelioma researchers from the National Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases at the December 2, 2018 Christmas barbecue held by the Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia (ADSA) at Whiteman’s Park in Perth, Western Australia. The money was raised by donations to the ADSA 2018 walk for medical research and asbestos awareness which took place in September and saw participants cover the 300 kilometers between Hyden and Perth. The funds will support the research of Dr ‘Melvin’ Wee Loong Chin, the recipient of the ADSA PhD Scholarship in Mesothelioma Research. See: Group Photo.
 

Asbestos-Free Water System

Dec 5, 2018

Work to remediate the water delivery system of the Italian municipality of Terranuova has been completed after two years and €200,000 expenditure. All the asbestos-cement (ac) pipes formerly used to deliver water have been replaced by cast iron alternatives. According to Mayor Sergio Chienni, the ac pipes had constituted only 1.5% of the total network and with the completion of replacement work in the commune of Ciuffenna, the water system in Terranuova is now asbestos free. See: Rinnovata la rete idrica: via le tubazioni in cemento amianto. Sostituite con quelle in ghisa [Water network renewed: asbestos cement pipes replaced with cast iron ones].
 

Asbestos: The Public Health Hazard

Dec 5, 2018

Three cases of South African women aged between 58 and 70 with malignant mesothelioma were analysed in this new paper which highlighted the ongoing hazard posed by secondary, domestic and environmental exposures to asbestos, a substance banned in 2008 in South Africa. The authors predicted that: “a significant number of cases of non-occupational mesothelioma will be seen in many countries for several decades given the extent of asbestos containing materials.” See: The significance of non-occupational asbestos exposure in women with mesothelioma.
 

Asbestos Profits!

Dec 4, 2018

This article about the rising level of Russian non-commodity exports, states that “Asbestos products… [are] the leaders of growth.” According to government data, from January to November, 2018, Russia exported 400,000 tonnes of raw asbestos fiber to more than 20 countries including: India, China, Indonesia, Uzbekistan and Thailand. Diversification of the industrial asbestos sector has improved economic prospects with the production of asbestos-containing building materials such as asbestos roofing and asbestos-cement pipes proving lucrative. See: Несырьевой экспорт продолжает рост [Non-commodity exports continue to grow].
 

Ban Asbestos Action Plan

Dec 4, 2018

A series of meetings, formal events and discussions in Laos during the week beginning November 26, 2018 progressed actions by government and civil society stakeholders to protect citizens from asbestos cancer following the signing on November 23, 2018 of an order by the Minister of Health to ban the import and use of chrysotile asbestos in Laos by 2020. Recent consumption of chrysotile asbestos in Laos has been very high at 1.2 kg/person, most of which went into the production of roofing materials. See: Strong support as Lao Government demonstrates action on preventing future cancers in Laos with launch of National Action Plan to Eliminate Asbestos-Related Diseases including a planned ban on chrysotile asbestos 2020.
 

Addressing Asbestos Challenges

Dec 4, 2018

An Australian Ministerial Media Release on November 30, 2018 announced new government measures to ensure public access to information about the asbestos hazard and prevent the import of banned asbestos-containing products into Australia. Assistant Minister for Home Affairs, Senator Linda Reynolds said: “The Government intends to bring forward amendments to strengthen offences and penalties for the illegal importation of products containing asbestos.” In addition, Australia will continue to play a leading role in regional moves to ban the mining, production and use of asbestos. See: Coalition continues to take action to mark National Asbestos Awareness Week.
 

Asbestos On Board

Dec 4, 2018

A study entitled Medical Asbestos Cohort by personnel from the Army Training Hospital will begin in 2019 to assess occupational asbestos exposures experienced by hundreds of serving or retired French naval personnel. Speaking at a conference on November 29, 2018, the program’s supervisors Drs. Pégorié and Rivière said: “We want to propose a job-exposure matrix. Depending on the time of boarding, the type of ship and the job, we will be able to evaluate the degree of exposure to asbestos risk and then adapt the medical follow-up.” See: Amiante. L’exposition des marins à l’étude [Asbestos. An investigation into the exposure of sailors].
 

Asbestos Vacuum

Dec 3, 2018

The failure of the Brazilian Supreme Court to publish its full ruling a year after it declared the commercial exploitation of asbestos in Brazil unconstitutional has been soundly criticized by civil society activists who condemn the current situation in which states that do not have current laws banning asbestos can continue to mine, produce and export asbestos despite the Supreme Court’s verdict. Ban asbestos activist Fernanda Giannasi says: “We're still in limbo. The decision continues to be violated by Sama, by Precon from Minas Gerais, and by Precon Anápolis /Goiás from the Eternit group.” See: Um ano após banir o amianto no Brasil, STF ainda não publicou sentença [One year after banning asbestos in Brazil, STF has not yet issued a ruling].
 

Rising Asbestos Losses

Dec 3, 2018

A US report issued on November 28, 2018 which reported that asbestos and environmental claims continued to grow, estimated total losses from these categories at $146 billion. There was an average of additional asbestos losses per year between 2013 and 2017 of $1.9 bn: “‘Quantifying the industry’s ultimate loss exposure is difficult, given the significant advancements in medical effectiveness, as well as developing litigation strategies,’ said the report, which states its net ultimate asbestos loss estimate of $100 billion remains the same.” See: Asbestos, environmental losses continue to grow: A.M. Best.
 

Occupational Asbestos Exposures in Turkey

Dec 3, 2018

A newly published paper explores the reasons why there have been no recognized mesothelioma compensation cases in Turkey, a country where it is the usual practice to explain asbestos-related diseases as having been caused by environmental exposures to asbestos. The researchers concluded that: “Low awareness of occupational asbestos exposure risk, especially among physicians, discourages seeking compensation for occupational exposure.” They recommended that surveillance and prevention programs be implemented to prevent hazardous occupational as well as environmental exposures. See: Asbestos-Related Diseases in Turkey: Not Only Caused by Naturally Occurring Fibers, but Also by Industrial Exposures.
 

Asbestos in Schools

Dec 3, 2018

On November 21, 2018 MP Jim Cunningham (Coventry South) tabled a Parliamentary question to the Secretary of State for Education asking “what steps his Department is taking to assist with the removal of asbestos from schools in England.” The response received on November 26 reinforced public concern regarding the health emergency posed by widespread asbestos contamination of schools: “While asbestos will be removed over time from the school estate as part of any rebuilding or refurbishment programme, the Department has not committed to the phased removal of all asbestos by a specific date.” See: Schools: Asbestos:Written question – 194035.
 

Asbestos Ban by 2020!

Nov 29, 2018

At an asbestos workshop on November 28, 2018 in Vientiane, the capitol of Laos, strong support was expressed by stakeholders for plans to end the use of asbestos by December 2020, as per an order approved by the Ministry of Health (MoH) on November 23, 2018 to ban asbestos imports and use by December 2020. The event was organized by the Laos MoH and supported by: the World Health Organization: Western Pacific Region; the International Labor Organization; and the Australian Embassy in Laos. See: Strong support as Lao Government demonstrates action on preventing future cancers in Laos with launch of National Action Plan to Eliminate Asbestos-Related Diseases including a planned ban on chrysotile asbestos.
 

G20 Told: Ban Asbestos

Nov 29, 2018

As leaders of G20 countries prepare to meet in Buenos Aires on November 30, a call for global action on the asbestos menace was issued by campaigners who wrote: “In the context of the many problems you will be addressing in Buenos Aires, asbestos stands out as an exceptionally well documented, focused issue where much progress has been made in the world; and where those countries which have banned asbestos stand ready to support others who wish to take the same path.” The English, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese versions of the text of this letter are available at the link below. See: Em carta aos líderes do G20, ativistas antiamianto mundiais apelam por ação global para proibir a fibra assassina [In a letter to G20 leaders, global anti-asbestos activists call for global action to ban killer fiber].
 

New Asbestos Victims Group

Nov 29, 2018

In just a fortnight, a new group called “SOS Amianto,” which was created by the environmental organization Quercus to support asbestos victims in Portugal, has received 20 enquiries from people concerned about occupational asbestos exposures, asbestos contamination of schools and other issues. Commenting on the high level of public interest, an SOS spokesperson said: “the growing concern about this issue and the lack of means to clarify” the multitude of asbestos challenges being faced in Portugal validates the need for an independent body to assist those affected by asbestos exposures. See: SOS Amianto recebeu 20 denúncias em menos de duas semanas, diz Quercus [SOS Asbestos received 20 complaints in less than two weeks, says Quercus].
 

Asbestos Disposal in São Paulo?

Nov 29, 2018

The lack of regulated and supervised locations for the authorized disposal of asbestos waste in São Paulo was exposed in a television broadcast on November 27, 2018 in a primetime news bulletin. According to the report, asbestos-containing building and other material is routinely being dumped on roads and embankments as a result of the failure by the public authorities to act on the environmental hazard posed by the widespread incorporation of toxic products within the country’s infrastructure. See: Falta de locais adequados impede descarte correto de amianto em SP [Lack of adequate locations prevents correct asbestos disposal in SP].
 

Court’s Asbestos Hazard

Nov 27, 2018

The September 2018 mesothelioma death of 62 year old magistrate Hélène Bienvenu, who had worked at the Créteil court for 10 years, has once again focused public attention on the long struggle of trade unions to force the Ministry of Justice to address the multiplicity of problems posed by asbestos contamination of the court building. An asbestos survey in 2006 found asbestos in floor slabs, and wall and office partitions. The archives room was closed because of high levels of contamination: 38 fibers per liter (the legal threshold is 5 fibers). In Spring 2019, a €5.2 million asbestos removal programme will begin. See: Au tribunal de Créteil, l'amiante sur le banc des accuses [At the Créteil Court, asbestos is in the dock].