Asbestos in the News: Issue 70

Asbestos in the News: Issue 70
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 22 stories we thought may interest you!
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FEATURED STORIES (3)
Countries Still Block Efforts to Restrict Asbestos Shipping: The Canadian government finally stopped defending the chrysotile asbestos industry, but seven other countries took its place last week at the United Nations’ Rotterdam Convention Conference, blocking all attempts to put the toxic mineral on a hazardous substances list. It was the fourth time the effort to tighten the worldwide shipping regulations of asbestos failed, but the first when Canada was not stopping the move. Russia, Zimbabwe, Kazakhstan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam and Ukraine all opposed the listing, while Canada remained neutral for the first time. Canada was the last Western power to stop endorsing the use of asbestos worldwide, prompted by public pressure and the closing of its last asbestos mine in 2012.
MP’s fury at insurers over asbestos: INSURANCE industry “leeches” are avoiding paying millions of pounds to victims of a deadly dust, Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn claimed this week. Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament, Mr Hepburn accused the Government of pandering to the insurers, rather than helping those suffering from terminal condition mesothelioma, caused by exposure to asbestos fibres.
Family exposed to deadly asbestos: WorkSafe ACT will refer a Canberra builder to the Director of Public Prosecutions after workers put a Kambah family at risk of asbestos-related illnesses. Last month, parents Justin and Erin Thompson were forced to leave their home for more than three weeks after builders used angle grinders to cut through asbestos sheeting during bathroom renovations, contaminating the family’s home. ”Our neighbour came over and told us he thought there was asbestos being placed out the front of our house,” Mr Thompson said.’He confronted the builder and the guy told him he didn’t know what he was talking about, so our neighbour called WorkSafe and they tested it and confirmed it was very dangerous.” Along with their five-year-old son and three-year-old daughter, the couple lived in the home during renovations, with Ms Thompson cleaning toxic fibres from surfaces in the kitchen and living area. Despite assurances from the builder that the asbestos ”was not the dangerous kind”, the family will require ongoing annual medical tests for life-threatening illnesses, including mesothelioma.
ASBESTOS in SCHOOLS (3)
South Australia Govt “failed” to inspect schools for asbestos: THE State Opposition has accused the Government of failing to properly inspect asbestos in schools or keeping inaccurate records. Opposition education spokesman David Pisoni said documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws showed there were 29,102 school sites in SA were asbestos was present. He said the documents showed many had “not been inspected for up to nine years”.
Lake Zurich District 95 lays out plans for asbestos abatement this summer: Asbestos abatement at May Whitney Elementary will continue this summer, with Lake Zurich Community Unit School District 95 officials hoping to eventually rid the entire building of the potentially hazardous mineral. Officials plan to remove floor tiles in four of the school’s classrooms, a project that Lyle Erstad, director of facilities and grounds, said will close out abatement of the tiles on the first floor of May Whitney, located at 100 Church St. in Lake Zurich.
Asbestos Contributes to Overall Failing Grades of New Jersey School District According to Architect Reports: A damning report rocked a community in New Jersey this week after the results revealed that virtually every school in the school district is facing considerable – and oftentimes, dangerous – problems. The architectural firm of Fraytak Veisz Hopkins Duthie explored each school in the Hamilton, New Jersey area and found that nearly half of the schools were contaminated with the lethal toxin asbestos and other schools failed to meet federal accessibility standards.
ASBESTOS and HEALTH (4)
Asbestos roofs: Are Ugandans being put at risk of cancer?: In Kampala and several parts of the country, you will not miss to find a building with asbestos roofs. A quick survey will see fingers pointed at schools such as Makerere College School, Kibuli Secondary School, Kololo SS, Kyambogo College School, Nabisunsa Girls School and Mengo SS. In the countryside, you will meet the roofs in schools such as Kigezi High and Ndejje SS and a number of technical colleges, police and army barracks’ among others.
Asbestos: A Killer, 40 Years Later: Anyone who has lived with someone with mesothelioma or asbestosis will tell you that such diseases, caused by asbestos exposure, are horrific and painful for their victims. Unfortunately for victims, exposure to asbestos fibers 40 years ago can result in such fatal conditions today. And it is not just the people who worked directly with asbestos that are at risk.
Asbestos Bans Influenced by Mesothelioma ‘Visibility’: Why have some countries banned asbestos while others have not? A team of Korean researchers studying the question says it is likely influenced by perception of mesothelioma risk as well as what neighboring countries are doing. Medical authorities around the world agree that the mineral asbestos is directly linked to development of mesothelioma, a virulent cancer of the linings around organs. Most often found in the pleura encasing the lungs, mesothelioma is usually the result of on-the-job exposure to asbestos dust. Asbestos was once widely used in a variety of construction materials, including wallboard, paint, floor and ceiling tiles and cement blocks. Even in countries where asbestos is now banned, the presence of the material in existing buildings can pose a mesothelioma risk to demolition or renovation crews, as well as building inhabitants.
Focusing on Tumor-Activated Protein May Lead to Personalized Mesothelioma Treatment: Mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to airborne asbestos fibers, is diffuse and can spread throughout the body by entering the blood stream or the lymphatic system. Due to the aggressive nature of the cancer, it is rare that mesothelioma cells remain confined to the site of origin and have not invaded neighboring tissue through metastasis. Now, researchers report that cancer can “physically alter cells in the lymphatic system” promoting metastasis.
ASBESTOS in PUBLIC BUILDINGS (1)
Sunderland hospital buildings on asbestos risk register: ASBESTOS is present in 28 hospital buildings across Sunderland. Twenty eight buildings are currently on the city’s Asbestos Risk Register including theatre blocks and children’s centres. But bosses at Sunderland Royal Hospital say the material presents no danger to patients and is properly managed.
LEGAL ISSUES and ASBESTOS (8)
MJC Decorating and Refurbishing fined for Poole asbestos breaches: A decorating company has been fined £45,000 after it exposed staff and members of the public to potentially fatal asbestos material in Dorset. Surrey-based MJC Decorating and Refurbishing Ltd failed to check for asbestos and use protective clothing when refurbishing offices in Poole.
Compensatory relief trust reaches ten-year milestone: The Asbestos Relief Trust (ART) marks its tenth year of existence in July, having provided compensatory relief for mineworkers suffering from asbestos-related dis- eases (ARDs) since July 2003. The ART has, to date, paid more than R250-million in claims to 3 639 qualifying asbestos workers and their dependants, as well as to claimants who lived near certain mines and suffered from environmental exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos verdict in two years: A Sydney judge has taken more than two years to make a decision in a case against the founder of the Clean Up Israel environmental campaign, who has been accused of causing land and water pollution by allegedly dumping asbestos-contaminated waste on his property in Wollondilly.
Firm Build defendants plead no contest in asbestos case: The state criminal case against three former executives of the defunct nonprofit Firm Build culminated Friday with the trio pleading no contest to felony charges of exposing high school students to cancer-causing asbestos.
Bondex May Owe $1.1 Billion Over Asbestos, Judge Says: Bondex International Inc., the bankrupt unit of Rust-Oleum maker RPM International Inc. (RPM), may owe current and future victims of asbestos poisoning $1.17 billion, a judge estimated. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Judith K. Fitzgerald in Wilmington, Delaware, today sided with lawyers representing asbestos claims and rejected the method Bondex and Specialty Products Holding Corp. used to estimate they owed no more than $575 million.
Asbestos victims in line for more cash: A NEW scheme introduced by the Government could see victims of asbestos-related illnesses receive much larger pay-outs. A bill was introduced in last week’s Queen’s Speech allowing sufferers of asbestos-related mesothelioma to claim compensation even if their former employers are no longer in business and the insurers cannot be traced. Currently, they are only entitled to receive a small percentage of what they could get through court.
House panel passes asbestos trusts transparency bill: The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday passed legislation requiring more transparency from asbestos trusts. The measure — The Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act — passed without proposed amendments from House Democrats who feared the bill would be a threat to privacy of asbestos victims. The committee voted 17-14 – along party lines – to pass HR 982. The legislation would require asbestos personal injury settlement trusts authorized by federal bankruptcy law to disclose information on their claims on a quarterly basis and respond to information requests from parties to asbestos litigation. The bill also would require the trusts to file public reports providing information with each claim for compensation they receive and would require the trusts to provide information about claims to parties in an asbestos suit upon request.
Asbestos victims in line for £100k bonus: A FORGOTTEN generation of asbestos victims in Burton and South Derbyshire are to get £100,000 payouts. Up to 3,500 sufferers of the fatal lung disease mesothelioma will share in a £355 million pot from a new insurance levy.
MISC. (3)
France: Top Politician Cleared Over Asbestos: A leading French politician has been cleared on appeal of a manslaughter charge connected with thousands of deaths caused by exposure to asbestos. The court’s decision on Martine Aubry, who led the ruling Socialist party before the court proceedings, clears the way for her to return to top-level politics.
Asbestos plan support: A NATIONAL plan to protect Australians from asbestos-related diseases has been cautiously welcomed by Gippsland’s asbestos support group as the Federal Government announces funding. The Federal Government’s recently announced budget showed $10.5 million would be allocated over the next four years to establish an Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, which should be running in July.
Fraud Made the Asbestos Illness Situation Much Worse: Your extensive coverage of asbestos (“Peter Angelos’s Asbestos Book,” Review & Outlook, April 10), highlighting fraud in the trusts created by Congress to limit the liability of asbestos companies after they exposed millions of workers to the deadly toxin, misses the point. Neither the Journal nor independent studies have documented significant fraud. The trusts were created to compensate victims while enabling companies to use the bankruptcy law to shed total liability in exchange for partial payment to victims and to continue as viable companies. But hundreds of thousands of their victims weren’t so lucky. They are dead. Many more are sick and suffering. Ten thousand more will die this year. They were never told asbestos was deadly.

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