Asbestos in the News: Issue 20

Asbestos in the News: Issue 20
At Got Mold? our goal is to keep our followers aware of asbestos related news stories. Each day, we scour the internet looking for relevant information. Here are 13 stories we thought may interest you!
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FEATURED STORIES (2)
Health minister showing criminal negligence on asbestos: Canada’s Minister of Health is guilty of criminal negligence on the asbestos file, says veteran anti-asbestos campaigner Kathleen Ruff. Writing on her website Right On Canada on August 19, Ruff says that in Italy, industry magnates have been prosecuted for their criminal negligence around exposing workers to the known carcinogen, and cites recent statements from Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq that Ruff calls “callous” to support the suggestion the Tory minister ought to face the same legal consequences. Aglukkaq recently declined an invitation to attend a memorial event organized by citizens of Sarnia, Ontario, who have lost family members to the cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
People dying from asbestos is not a health issue, says Canada’s Health Minister, Leona Aglukkaq: Two women, who lost their father to asbestos, have invited Canada’s Minister of Health, Leona Aglukkaq, to attend an event in Sarnia, Ontario to remember victims of asbestos and to call for action to prevent any further people dying terrible and unnecessary deaths from asbestos, either in Canada or overseas. Sarnia, an industrial city which used a great deal of asbestos in the past, has one of the highest rates of asbestos diseases and deaths in Canada. In addition, asbestos is the highest single cause of occupational death in Canada and the number of asbestos disease victims continues to climb each year.
ASBESTOS in SCHOOLS (3)
Asbestos ‘likely to be in 70% of Gloucestershire schools’: More than 70% of schools in Gloucestershire are likely to contain asbestos, the BBC has learned. Figures obtained by a Freedom of Information (FOI) request reveal more than 200 of the 302 state schools in the county could contain the material. More than 140 teachers in the UK have died from the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma in the past 10 years. The county council said asbestos in schools is not dangerous “unless it is disturbed”. In response to the FOI request, Gloucestershire County Council said: “It is likely that 70% plus of Gloucestershire County Council schools contain asbestos of some type (including low risk products). “Many of our schools built before the year 2000 contain some form of asbestos.”
Resident concerned about asbestos in old high school: A Bracebridge resident is raising concerns about effects of asbestos as construction crews are renovating the old Bracebridge high school. Tim Gaffney says he has “serious concerns” about the spread of asbestos from the McMurray Street building, where debris is currently being removed to make way for a condominium project. Gaffney said he learned about the presence of asbestos there from the developer, John Davies of McMurray Street Investments Inc., during a public meeting earlier this year. Gaffney says he is also worried that years of vandalism inside the school have disturbed the asbestos, leaving the community at risk. “I’m concerned with the way it’s being handled,” he said. “There are windows that have been broken out of the building for a long period of time.” Bracebridge chief building official Tom Hookings, however, said crews on-site are performing their jobs properly. “The contractor/owner has completed a study on the old school and is following all procedures as required through the Ministry of Labour for the removal of asbestos or any other hazardous materials that may be contained in the building,” he said in an email.
NACS construction delayed by precautionary asbestos abatement: Construction at Northern Adirondack Central Middle/High School will not be completed in time for the start of the 2012-13 academic year. Capital improvements to the building have been delayed until vermiculite, an insulation material installed in the school’s exterior walls in the late 1970s, can be removed. The abatement is expected to be completed before the end of summer vacation, and classes will still begin, as scheduled, on Wednesday, Sept. 5, said Northern Adirondack Superintendent Laura Marlow. However, the building’s library and most of its High School classrooms, which were expected to be ready at the start of the school year, will still be undergoing renovations.
ASBESTOS and HEALTH (2)
“No way” to use asbestos safely, say epidemiologists: A group of international health organizations is calling on Canada and other asbestos-producing countries to stop mining and exporting the hazardous material commonly used in construction and manufacturing. The position statement was issued in late July by the Joint Policy Committee of the Societies of Epidemiology, a consortium of international epidemiology organizations including the Canadian Society for Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the American College of Epidemiology. More than 180 individuals and public health groups from 21 countries have endorsed the statement. After a broad review of available epidemiology evidence, the Joint Policy Committee concluded that all types of asbestos are dangerous and capable of causing cancer of the lung, ovaries and larynx as well as asbestosis, mesothelioma and other lung diseases. Asbestos includes several types of fibrous minerals used in building materials such as roofing, flooring and insulation. The statement should put to rest any uncertainty about the health hazards of asbestos and dispel notions that some types are not dangerous, said Colin Soskolne, professor of epidemiology at the University of Alberta and a member of the Joint Policy Committee.

Asbestos exposure killed Alcan staff: TWO former Alcan employees died as a result of exposure to asbestos at the factory, four years after the Banbury firm closed its doors for the final time. At Oxford County Hall on Tuesday, two separate inquests were held into the deaths of former Alcan employees Terence Jordan and Philip Harper. Both men died at hospices in Banburyshire earlier this year from lung cancer-related diseases resulting from exposure to asbestos during their working lives. Coroner Darren Salter recorded verdicts of death by industrial disease for both men.
ASBESTOS in PUBLIC BUILDINGS (1)
‘Logistical Nightmare’ As Oswego County Social Services Preps for Asbestos Decontamination: A Central New York county will face a “logistical nightmare” as it prepares to shut down operations while asbestos-laden ceiling tiles are removed from the building. The Oswego County Department of Social Services will temporarily relocate to another location this fall during the asbestos remediation. As first reported in Syracuse’s The Post-Standard, the “logistical nightmare” is to coordinate operations of 300 employees of the Department of Social Services along with clients.
LEGAL ISSUES and ASBESTOS (2)
Unions push for asbestos removal by 2030, government review reports results: Australia’s manufacturing union and the council of trade unions are pressing for the nationwide removal of asbestos by 2030 following the release of a comprehensive federal report on the hazardous substance. “Australia has the unenviable record of having the highest incidence of asbestos related diseases in the world,” Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) president Paul Bastian wrote on the union’s site. “That’s why the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union, the ACTU [Australian Council of Trade Unions], the Cancer Council Australia, and asbestos support groups are now calling for the removal of all asbestos from public and private buildings by 2030,” Bastian stated.
Asbestos compensation scheme heavily criticised: A scheme to compensate some victims of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma has been criticised by a national asbestos victims’ charity. The scheme of fixed tariff payments, just announced by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), and reported by the BBC yesterday, claims to compensate those who succumb to the terminal asbestos cancer but cannot trace the particular Employers Liability insurance policy that covered such occupational risks. Experts acknowledge that it takes from 10-50 years after exposure to deadly asbestos fibres from disease to become apparent.
MISC. (3)
Asbestos, possible mustard gas discoveries lead to closure of part of Horn Island: Gulf Islands National Seashore superintendent Dan Brown announced this morning that part of Horn Island is closed to the public effectively because of the discovery of asbestos materials and possibly mustard gas, according to a news release. About 30 acres of Horn Island around an area known as “The Chimney” will be closed indefinitely. “We received confirmation Thursday that there are asbestos materials on the ground on the northwestern shore of the island in an area that contains the remains of a military facility that was active in the 1940s,” Brown said in the release. “A preliminary test also indicated the possible presence of a chemical agent known commonly as mustard gas. We are still awaiting confirmation of that.”
More than 200 Asbestos containers at La Collette: A Jersey campaign group says there are 217 containers with asbestos in at the Energy for Waste Plant. Save Our Shoreline (SOS) initially thought there were 40 containers with the material in, but there is actually more than five times that amount. SOS are concerned the units are not air or watertight, meaning asbestos fibres could seep out into the atmosphere. If they do and are inhaled they can cause lung damage, although the symptoms can take many years to appear.
NZ bypasses recall for asbestos use: Asbestos use in car components has caused the recall of 24,000 vehicles in Australia but the models won’t be recalled in New Zealand. Engine and exhaust gaskets in Chinese-made Great Wall and Chery vehicles are both made of materials containing asbestos, a hazardous substance that is banned in Australia. The parts will not be replaced but the cars will get warning stickers that asbestos is present.

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