Asbestos in the News: Issue 24

Asbestos in the News: Issue 24
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 14 stories we thought may interest you!
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The right move on asbestos: There isn’t much reason to celebrate the victory of Pauline Marois this week, but there is one very thin silver lining: She has promised that under her leadership, the Quebec government will stop propping up the province’s asbestos industry. It’s one thing to allow the continued export of asbestos from Canada to countries such as India. It’s another for governments to actively work to keep that industry alive, as the federal government has done with its rogue international stance on the question of whether it should be listed as a dangerous substance. The Quebec government, under now-defeated premier Jean Charest, actually helped to revive the industry by providing a $58-million government loan to reopen the Jeffrey Mine. All for the sake of a few hundred jobs.
PQ expected to live up to promise to end asbestos production: Anti-asbestos advocates plan to hold the newly-elected Parti Québécois government to its promise to cancel the $58-million government loan to the Jeffrey Mine and put an end to this province’s long history of production and export of the deadly fibre. That promise was made in the final days of the election campaign by PQ candidate Daniel Breton, now the newly-elected MNA for the Plateau Mont Royal riding of Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques and a long-time environmental activist. PQ Leader Pauline Marois confirmed the commitment last Thursday, promising to cancel the loan and instead invest the money in economic diversification for the asbestos-producing region. But a spokesperson for the Jeffrey Mine said no discussions have yet been held with the new government, and work to expand underground and reopen the mine is continuing, he said. “Look, we have an agreement with the government, work is continuing, and we have no further comment,” Guy Versailles said.
B.C. groups push for better asbestos disease detection: A team at the B.C. Cancer Agency is trying to convince WorksafeBC that lives would be saved if it were to cover the costs of routine CT scans for all workers in the province who have had long-term exposure to asbestos. New research has shown that X-rays are not nearly as effective as CT scans at detecting lung cancer, for instance. Many people who worked at an asbestos mine closed 20 years ago in Cassiar, B.C., told CBC they believe they are healthy because their X-rays are clear.
Will a PQ government mean the of end to Quebec’s asbestos mining and exports?: The outgoing Charest government in Quebec received a lot of flack over the summer for offering a $58-million loan to an industry that was on its last breath – the mining and export of asbestos. (Incriminations came from international labour and health groups, editorials in most of the Canadian papers and even the Fraser Institute – see links below.) But now that the PQ will be taking over the reins in the National Assembly there may be no resuscitation for the Jeffrey Mine.
In a historic shift, three of the four parties that elected members to the National Assembly – including the victorious PQ pledged to end the province’s long-standing and myopic support of the toxic industry. The Liberals were the holdouts. Prior to the election the CBC quoted Premier-to-be Pauline Marois as saying that asbestos is “an industry from another era” and relinquishing it is “the path forward that now seems to be clearing.” The story notes that the PQ, CAQ and Quebec Solidaire received kudos from the Canadian Cancer Society for their positions.
Asbestos: The deadly material that lurks in 75% of Northern Ireland schools: Thousands of pupils are returning for the new term this week in buildings which contain potentially deadly asbestos. The dangerous fibres — which can cause serious illness, including lung cancer — are present in 75% of Northern Ireland’s schools’ estate. The close on 900 schools affected include dozens of nurseries and primaries. In some cases the buildings contain crocidolite, also known as blue asbestos, which is the most lethal type of the material.
Asbestos hits start of term at primary school: A primary school has been forced to delay the start of the new school year after asbestos was discovered during maintenance work. Tradesmen working at Ryders Hayes School, in Pelsall, disturbed the potentially-harmful asbestos during the school holidays. Parts of the Gilpin Crescent school have been quarantined following surveys by asbestos specialists, who were called in immediately.
There is no minimum safe exposure level for any form of asbestos fibres, according to the World Health Organization: More Australians have died from asbestos poisoning than died during the First World War so the Australian Government has just announced the creation of the Office of Asbestos Safety following the receipt of the Asbestos Management Review (pdf). Its aim to to complete the removal of all asbestos from Australian buildings by 2030. Asbestos is a global issue, and while Australia is keen to eliminate its use Canada is still mining and exporting the toxic substance which keeps turning up everywhere.
Study Looks at Children and Asbestos Wittenoom, Australia no longer exists. It’s literally been wiped from the map, a decision made by the federal government after the asbestos mining industry destroyed the town and wreaked havoc with the health of its citizens. Now, a new study is taking a close look at the long-term health of children who grew up in this Western Australia mining town, and the findings are appalling. According to an article in the Herald Sun, the study is the first to truly examine the effect that Wittenoom’s blue asbestos had on the children of miners and others who lived in the town. An asbestos mine operated there from the 1930s until 1966, when it was closed due to lack of profitability and growing concerns about the health effects of crocidolite asbestos on those who worked at the mine and/or lived near it.
Asbestos workers to receive free CT scans: Workers suffering from illnesses caused by on-the-job asbestos exposure will soon be eligible to receive diagnostic CT scans funded by WorkSafeBC in an effort to diagnose lung cancer sooner and reduce mortality from the disease. Recent research conducted by Dr. Stephen Lam and his team at the BC Cancer Agency found CT scans were more effective than chest X-rays in the early detection of lung cancer, reducing mortality by 20 per cent in heavy smokers between the ages of 55 and 74. Very little research has been done on lung cancer screening for asbestos-exposed workers, Lam said in an interview Friday.
Asbestos remains a danger: CONFUSION and a lack of accountability have been blamed for the failure to clean up dangerous asbestos fibres in a building that remains open to the public in the grounds of Rozelle’s former mental hospital. The building, owned by NSW Health and under the management of the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, has had fibres spilling from ceiling pipes for months but has not been cleaned up.
Judge vacates part of $90M asbestos judgment: A central Illinois judge’s decision has reduced the jury award in a 2011 asbestos case from almost $90 million to $8.4 million. The lawsuit was filed in the case of 59-year-old pipe fitter Charles Gillenwater, who was exposed to asbestos and contracted a rare type of cancer called mesothelioma (meh-soh-thee-lee-OH’-muh). A jury found four companies responsible in Gillenwater’s case. But a McLean County judge vacated the judgments against three of those companies. The judge let stand a judgment against John Crane Inc. for $8.4 million.
Family of former mill worker who died from asbestos-related cancer win battle for compensation: THE family of a former mill worker who died from an aggressive asbestos-related cancer have succeeded in their legal battle for compensation – thanks to help from Sentinel readers. Margaret Windsor, aged 73, from Clayton was given the heartbreaking news that she was suffering from mesothelioma in February 2009 and lost her fight for life less than three months later. Her husband Roy has now reached an out-of-court settlement with the insurers of Enderley Mills, Newcastle. He was able to prove his case after Sentinel readers got in touch to back claims about the working conditions at the now-closed textile factory where Margaret worked as a buttonholer between 1951 and 1979.
MISC. (1)
Course offers up history of Libby asbestos: The asbestos disaster has been a big part of Libby culture, and now a credit course about the event is being offered at Flathead Valley Community College in Libby. The Libby Legacy Project is being offered as a one credit elective course at the Libby campus. A broad-based community committee made up of healthcare professionals, environmental agencies, and the Libby school district came up with the idea for the course.

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