Thursday, 14 May 2015

Rotterdam Convention COP 7 (May 13th 2015). ROCA /WECF Side Event on “Chrysotile Asbestos and the question: Who pays the Bill?”

More than 70 people attended a successful, informative and emotional Side Event at COP 7 in Geneva
Testimonials and Dialogue

The ROCA/WECF Side event “Chrysotile Asbestos and the question: Who pays the Bill?” with its testimonials of victims who suffer from lifelong health effects from the exposure to chrysotile asbestos showed once more the urgent need to listing chrysotile asbestos to Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention. The event, attended by more than 70 people, was a real contrast to the numerous interventions of Parties in the morning plenary of COP7, opposing the listing of chrysotile asbestos by disseminating the claim that they are not aware of any health impacts resulting from the exposure to asbestos.

 The event was accompanied by a key note message from Elizabet Paunovic, head of WHO European Centre of Health and Environment, calling all Parties of the COP finally to take responsibility and vote for listing. ROCA/WECF screened WHO’s new film “Chrysotile Asbestos – Voices from South-East-Asia” which makes the voices of asbestos victims heard. A highlight was the presence of the Indian worker Sharad Vittnal Sawant, who pleaded for listing of the substance. He and his wife suffer, after working with chrysotile asbestos for 40 years, from asbestosis and made the audience to witnesses of what kind of incredible impact chrysotile asbestos has and who in reality has to pay the bill.
The panel of speakers consisted of Tran Tuan from the Vietnam Research and Training Centre for Community development, South Korean activist and researcher Yeyong Choi, and Sanjiv Pandita from the Asia Monitor Resource Center. The presentation of Tran Tuan pointed out that action by Civil Society could move things forward in a positive way and very fast, like the Vietnam example is showing. Yeyong Choi delivered insights on how the asbestos industry shifts their production to countries with less strict regulation, and this effects workers and residents in the factories neighborhood. Sanjiv Pandita pointed out how important objective medical investigations are to make sure asbestos related diseases like cancer, asbestosis get know as this.



 The side event was organized by the Rotterdam Convention Alliance (ROCA) and was facilitated by  Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF). The WECF's Johanna Hausmann chaired the session, a taxing job not made any easier by the boorish behaviour of Russian Chrysotile trade Union representatives who tried to interrupt the proceedings on more than one occasion. They accused WHO being a propaganda organization due to the fact WHO is supporting movies such as the one screened in the side event which shows the real impacts of chrysotile asbestos.

The panelists and many speakers from the plenary, such as representatives from WHO, ILO, victim action networks, trade unions etc. attending the side event were in agreement regarding the crucial importance of listing chrysotile asbestos on Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention; they called on delegates to make every effort to resolve the current impasse over chrysotile in order to protect human health.

WECF / ROCA intervention at COP7 of Rotterdam Convention

Mr President, thank you for giving us the floor, I speak on behalf of WECF as a member of the Rotterdam Convention Alliance. 
(held by Alexandra Caterbow)

Distinguished delegates, the objective of the Rotterdam Convention is to protect health and the environment.

Instead we are witnessing blocking of chrysotile asbestos for the fifth time, to protect industry interests instead of protecting health and environment. We see a very active industry here, but we also recognize that this industry is a dying one. So many countries are thinking about banning chrysotile asbestos now, since without listing, the Rotterdam Convention does not allow them to access their right of prior informed consent and to protect their borders.

The listing was not supported because there is a problem of science, nor a problem of meeting the criteria of the convention, but a problem of lack of political will.
                                                                                                                   
We see that there are countries, that are quite new parties to the convention, who are using their status to block the convention - this is shameful. Some of the blocking countries committed at the Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in Italy to eliminate all asbestos related diseases and now they want to prevent other countries to access their right on prior informed consent.

Those opposing the listing of chrysotile asbestos, state that listing would cause extra costs. This argument is wrong, as it omits the enormous health and economic costs caused by chrysotile asbestos, which is already up in the hundreds of billions of dollars. While industry takes the profits, the cost is put on the shoulders of the public taxpayer and the hundreds of thousands sick victims.

We strongly urge Parties to continue efforts towards listing of chrysotile asbestos, including inter-sessional work and in cooperation with civil society.

I would like to invite you to our side event in room 3 during lunch time today. And I would like to introduce you now to Mr SHARAD VITTNAL SAWANT, a chrysotile asbestos victim from India. He came here to speak to you all, because you are the ones who can make a huge difference this week.

Thank you

Mr Sawant:
I am SHARAD VITTNAL SAWANT; I come from Bombay, India, I have worked for 40 years at the factory Hindustan Ferodo (now Hindustan Composits), which uses chrysotile asbestos. I am suffering from asbestosis and my wife as well. Another 400 of my colleagues have been diagnosed as well. I came here to request you to put chrysotile asbestos in the PIC List of the Rotterdam Convention.

NGO colleagues are standing in solidarity behind Mr Sawant 




Tuesday, 5 May 2015

ROCA Position Paper COP 7 in Russian

Position Paper

In preparation to the COP 7 of the Rotterdam Convention in May 2015, we would like to present the Position Paper of the Rotterdam Convention Alliance.





ROCA Position Paper COP 7 in English

Position Paper

In preparation to the COP 7 of the Rotterdam Convention in May 2015, we would like to present the Position Paper of the Rotterdam Convention Alliance.




ROCA FAQ COP7


In preparation to the COP 7 of the Rotterdam Convention in May 2015, we would like to present the FAQ Paper on Chrysotile and Rotterdam Convention Alliance.


Expose of the sabotage of the Rotterdam Convention

The Rotterdam Convention conference is all about Russia and Kazakhstan
Kathleen Ruff, RightOnCanada.ca
In 2013, almost a million tonnes of asbestos was exported by a tiny number of asbestos mining countries.
  •  Just two countries – Russia and Kazakhstan – were responsible for 80% of global asbestos export.
  • Russia on its own was responsible for close to two thirds of total global asbestos export.
What this means is that the attack on the Rotterdam Convention to prevent chrysotile asbestos being listed as a hazardous substance is really all about Russia and Kazakhstan. They are sabotaging the Convention because they want to continue practicing irresponsible trade and to export chrysotile asbestos with no safety warnings required.
Protecting profits, not people’s lives, is their mission.
Brazil, which exported 125,832 tonnes of asbestos in 2013, has not to date ever opposed the listing of chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance.
For more please click here.

One in three Europeans potentially exposed to asbestos, new UN study shows

30 April 2015 – A high-level meeting on environment and health in Europe today appealed urgently to all European countries to eliminate asbestos-related diseases, as a new United Nations report showed that one third of the 900 million people living in the region are potentially exposed to asbestos at work and in the environment.
“We cannot afford losing almost 15,000 lives a year in Europe, especially workers, from diseases caused by exposure to asbestos,” Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab, the World Health Organization’s Regional Director for Europe was quoted as saying in a press release issued in Haifa, Israel, where more than 200 delegates met from 28-30 April to evaluate progress on environment and health in Europe.
“Every death from asbestos-related diseases is avoidable,” Dr. Jakab said. “We urge all countries to leave the Haifa meeting to fulfil their 2010 commitment and develop policies by the end of this year that will eliminate asbestos-related diseases from the face of Europe.”
“There is very little time left for that,” she said.
Elimination of asbestos-related diseases was one of the major issues discussed at the Haifa meeting, according to WHO.
For more please click here.

Video Message to President Obama, Legislative Updates, and Events from the AFL-CIO, U.S. Senate, and Community


Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO)

The ADAO message to the 2015 delegates is: “ADAO urges the Rotterdam Convention delegates to list chrysotile asbestos on the PIC List now. Everyone has the right to safe water, soil, and air free from hazardous chemicals. The life you save may be your own.”

This year's International Asbestos Awareness conference marked 11 years of progress towards an asbestos-ban while highlighting monumental strides in global asbestos awareness and prevention. With Nearly 40 expert presenters from nine countries, the weekend served as an incredible educational resource, discussion forum, and starting point for future collaborations.
Video message: Experts from Five Countries Urge President Obama to Ban Asbestos.

For more please click here.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Indian Environment Minister takes "note" of reasons for India disassociating itself from Russia & other white chrysotile asbestos producers at UN Meet

Seventh Conference of Parties (CoP 7) of UN's Rotterdam Convention commences in Geneva from today 


May 4, 2015: In a remarkable move India's Minister of Environment Forests & Climate Change ( MoEFCC), Prakash Javadekar has communicated today that he has "noted", the contents of the letter addressed to him in the context of Seventh Conference of Parties (CoP 7) of UN's Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade  ahead of the commencement of CoP 7 in Geneva.In the letter it has been argued as to why India must disassociate itself from Russia & other white chrysotile asbestos producers at CoP 7 in Geneva. The letter from ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) dated May 3, 2015 is attached and pasted below. CoP is underway in Switzerland from 4th May to 15th May 2015. 

The minister has communicated the same to Shri Shashi Shekhar, Special Secretary, Chairman, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Union Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change who responsible for Hazardous Substances Management Division and international negotiations in the ministry. The minister's response within hours of having received the letter underlines the seriousness with which he is involved in the matter.     

The text of the Rotterdam Convention was adopted by the Conference of the Plenipotentiaries (Rotterdam, 10 September 1998). The text was subsequently amended by the First Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Geneva, 20 - 24 September 2004), the Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Rome, 27 – 31 October 2008), the Fifth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Geneva, 20 - 24 June 2011) and the Sixth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Geneva, 28 April – 10 May 2013).  There are 72 Signatories and 154 Parties to the Convention. India gave its consent for Accession to the Convention on 24th May, 2005.  

To achieve its objectives the Convention includes two key provisions, namely the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure and Information Exchange. The PIC procedure is a mechanism for formally obtaining and disseminating the decisions of importing Parties as to whether they wish to receive future shipments of those chemicals listed in Annex III of the Convention and for ensuring compliance with these decisions by exporting Parties. The Convention facilitates information exchange among Parties for a very broad range of potentially hazardous chemicals. The Convention requires each Party to notify the Secretariat when taking a domestic regulatory action to ban or severely restrict a chemical.

The Conference of the Parties oversees the operation of the Convention and makes decisions regarding amendments to the Convention, including the addition of chemicals to Annex III.  

The purpose of the Convention is to promote responsible trade. Indian delegation should be advised to:
  • to support responsible trade
  • to support the recommendation of the Convention's scientific committee (the Chemical Review Committee) to list chrysotile asbestos
  • to support the purpose of the Convention, which is to provide the right to Prior Informed Consent, based on the recommendations of the Convention's scientific committee 

The Chemical Review Committee is a subsidiary body of the COP. Its members are government designated experts in chemicals management. Its responsibilities include reviewing notifications and proposals from Parties, and making recommendations to the COP on the addition of chemicals to Annex III.

The Convention is based on a process under which the Chemical Review Committee examines the evidence before recommending whether a substance should be put on the Convention's list of hazardous substances. Some countries like Russia who are promoting transfer of harm to countries like ours due to their incestuous relationship with the asbestos industry are rejecting the scientific process and refusing to act as per the recommendation of the scientific committee in the matter of white chrysotile asbestos.

Taking cognisance of Hon'ble Supreme Court’s judgment dated 27th January, 1995, the Ministry of Environment of Forests came out with its 19 page long Vision Statement on Environment and Human Health (Para 4.3.1) wherein it is stated: “Alternatives to asbestos may be used to the extent possible and use of asbestos may be phased out” on page no. 12 This is available on its website. Source: moef.nic.in/divisions/cpoll/envhealth/visenvhealth.pdf.
In a concept paper Union Ministry of Labour disclosed at the two-day 5th India-EU Joint Seminar on “Occupational Safety and Health” on 19-20th September, 2011 that "The Government of India is
considering the ban on use of chrysotile asbestos in India to protect the workers and the general population against primary and secondary exposure to Chrysotile form of Asbestos." It has noted that
"Asbestosis is yet another occupational disease of the Lungs which is on an increase under similar circumstances warranting concerted efforts of all stake holders to evolve strategies to curb this
menace". The document is readily available at http://www.labour.nic.in/lc/Background%20note.pdf)

In a notice dated December 24, 2014, Hon’ble National Human Rights Commission has asked the Ministry of Labour regarding steps taken in pursuance of its concept paper.

Notably, US Environment Protection Agency says, “No safe exposure threshold (with respect to for inhaling asbestos fibers) has been established, but the risk of disease generally increases with
the length and amount of exposure.”
Source :http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/OWCM.NSF/0/1892d33bca669504882566d700671e50?OpenDocument
The same is reiterated by World Health Organization (WHO) at http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2006/WHO_SDE_OEH_06.03_eng.pdf

It is noteworthy that in a recent inter-ministerial meeting held last month, MoEFCC took a position which was quite sensitive to enviro-occupational health in the matter of hazardous ship breaking industry. The migrant workers in this industry are admittedly exposed to hazardous and carcinogenic substances like asbestos fibers. In the light of these reasons, there is a compelling logic for MoEFCC to disassociate itself from Russia.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI)- ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Mb: 08227816731, 09818089660
E-mail-1715krishna@gmail.com, Blog:banasbestosindia.blogspot.in
Web: www.toxicswatch.org, Website of Rotterdam Convention Secretariat:  http://www.pic.int/

Asbestos industry lobbyists will go to Geneva to sabotage Rotterdam Convention

Kathleen Ruff, RightOnCanada.ca

Two dozen asbestos industry lobbyists will be attending the Rotterdam Convention conference in Geneva this month to seek to prevent chrysotile asbestos from being put on the Convention’s list of hazardous substances.

Read more here: http://www.rightoncanada.ca/?p=2937

NGO calls for blanket ban on import of asbestos by Centre, state govt

 dna correspondent @dnaahmedabad

Ahmedabad: Days before an international convention scheduled in Rotterdam takes up the issue of health hazards of asbestos, a Gujarat-based non-governmental organization has demanded that the central government put a blanket ban on the import of asbestos.
The Occupational Health and Safety Association (OHSA) pressed for a blanket ban, saying asbestos is a killer product and has been banned by more than 55 nations across the world.
The Gujarat Cancer and Research Center has confirmed that 108 asbestos-based cancer patients have received treatment at the center between 2008 and 2014.
OHSA’s Jagdish Patel alleged that the central government as well as the state government have been insensitive to the issue and do not care for the health of workers. Patel said the Indian government should announce at the Rotterdam convention on May 8 that it is going to ban asbestos import and that it will not support exporters of asbestos.
Raghunath Manvar, another OHSA activist, said many infected workers fight till the last for compensation as there is no guarantee that they will get it. There are cases, he said, where the ESI has not released compensation amounts even after the courts have ordered and that the orders have often been challenged, making workers’ lives miserable.
--

Jagdish Patel
Peoples Training And Research Centre
43,Srinathdham Duplex,
Dinesh Mill -Urmi Rd
VADODARA-390007
Gujarat, INDIA
Ph: +91- 0265- 2345576 (R)
M-94264 86855
Website: www.peoplestraining.org

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Korea has achieved a total ban

Another country changed its position towards the use of asbestos. Korea has achieved a literal total ban on asbestos on April 1st by issuing the Notice 2015-89 (Ministry of Labor under the Industrial Safety and Health Act (ISHA) ) to removing the below delegations:
- asbestos containing gasket for submarine and missile and
- asbestos containing insulation for missile.

Japan has achieved a total ban on March 1st, 2012. We can say there is no usage for which non asbestos
substitute is available (at least in Korea and Japan).

Japan has adopted 0.1% standard since 2005 even if there is an argument that 0.1% is below the detection limit and that it will be not enforceable.


Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Asia’s emerging asbestos epidemic

Asbestos-related diseases (ARD) represent a growing global epidemic. Yet little is known about the current status of asbestos and ARD in Asia. Now, new research from the UNU International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH) attempts to fill this void.
Growing awareness about the risks posed by asbestos — and the acquisition of asbestos-related diseases (ARD) data — has, in several cases from the region, correlated with a reduction in asbestos use. However, other Asian countries have been slow to learn these lessons.
Will the marked increase in asbestos use in Asia since the 1970s trigger a surge of ARD in the immediate decades ahead? What policy and public health measures can counterbalance a rise in asbestos-related diseases and mortality?

Asbestos related diseases — The global dimensions

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes that asbestos is one of the most significant occupational carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). In 2006, it declared the need to eliminate the rise of ARD and asbestos use.
WHO estimates that, globally, some 107,000 deaths annually are caused by ARD; these include asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.
Despite gradually growing international awareness, at the regional level the analysis of asbestos use and ARD in Asia has been limited. The first regional-level discussions of the issue only took place in 2002, and a comparative understanding of the situation is patchy at best.

Asbestos in Asia — Filling the research gap

Ongoing data limitations make the task of filling the knowledge void on asbestos is Asia particularly challenging. ARD are known to be generally rare and difficult to diagnose. Furthermore, questions on data validity emerge in countries that have limited experience in diagnosing ARD. Similarly, under-reporting and inconsistent reporting of both asbestos use and ARD create additional barriers to obtaining a comprehensive picture: Of 47 Asian countries studied, 30 had data available for asbestos use only (not ARD), 15 countries had data available for both asbestos use and ARD mortality, and 2 countries only had data available for ARD mortality.
Nevertheless, using the indicators of per-capita asbestos use (measured in kilograms per capita per year) and age-adjusted mortality rates (AAMR, measured in cases per million population per year), recent groundbreaking research from the UNU International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH) attempted to map the dimensions of Asia’s asbestos situation. Drawing on a comparative assessment of public data, this research compared the impact of asbestos in 47 selected Asian countries over the observation period of 1920 to 2007.
Overall, asbestos use in Asia from 1920 to 2007 totaled 55.5 metric tons, or 29 % of the world’s asbestos use. Asia’s proportion of global asbestos use increased significantly overall, from a 14 % share in 1920-1970 to 33 % in 1971-2000, then rising to 64 % in 2000 – 2007. In terms of ARD, 12.5 % of ARD deaths (or 12,882 deaths, or which 12,012 were mesothelioma) were recorded cumulatively in Asia.
During the observation period (1920 to 2007), most individual Asian countries (60 %) increased their asbestos use: Between 1920 and 1970 (period A), 5 countries recorded high values of asbestos use (greater than 1.0 kg/capita/year), while 13 countries recorded high values from 1970 to 2000 (period B). This spike in asbestos use was followed by a dip, back to 5 countries that recorded high values between 2000 and 2007 (period C).
Kazakhstan was the only county studied that maintained high values during all three periods. Cyprus and Lebanon both had high values for periods A and B and Kyrgyzstan, UAE, Thailand and Uzbekistan had high values for the two later periods (B and C). China, Thailand, India and Indonesia all increased their use of asbestos over the three periods.
Asia’s overall share of worldwide asbestos use is summarized in the chart below:

Linking asbestos use and ARD mortality

The chart highlights that prior to 1970, Asian countries only accounted for a minor proportion (14 %) of global asbestos use. This is reflected, at least partially, in the current situation for ARD, where only 17 of the 47 countries analysed in Asia recorded ARD. Only around 13 % of global ARD has occurred in Asia. (These figures are low for a region that, in 2000, represented 61 % of the word’s population.)
The situation is fluid, however, and has continued to change dramatically since Asian countries increased their share of world asbestos use from 1970 onwards.
Analysis of available data implies a linear correlation between the volume of a country’s past asbestos use and rates of ARD mortality (suggesting that recent and current usage will influence future ARD rates).
For example, peak asbestos use in Japan exceeded 2.0 kg/capita/year between 1970 and 1990, which was followed by a linear increase in ARD mortality. Asbestos use in the Republic of Korea peaked at just below 2.0kg/capita/year from 1975 to 1995, and this has also correlated with a rise in ARD. Singapore recorded a sharp peak in asbestos use around 1975 (to almost 4.0 kg/capita/year), followed by an almost four-fold increase in ARD mortality. China and India also have shown steep increases in asbestos use, but data on ARD is not available.
Among countries reporting ARD data for at least three years during the observation period, Cyprus, Israel and Japan had the highest rates of asbestos-related mortality.
“Countries reduced their asbestos use after realizing the burden of ARD. Although the reduction of asbestos use may correlate with a country’s own acquisition of ARD data, the ‘lessons’ of other countries are not easily learned.”
The rise in asbestos use in Asia generally correlates with rising asbestos-related mortality over time. As a general trend, the ARD epidemic curve follows the asbestos-use curve after several decades (where the initial rising of the presumed ARD curve coincides with the final waning segment of the asbestos use curve).

Taking a toll for years to come

These correlations suggest that asbestos is likely to continue to take its toll on public health in Asia for years to come.
Several countries in Asia have moved to reduce (or ban) asbestos use after realizing the burden of ARD; however, the availability of national data plays a key role. Particularly since 2001, countries that had data available for both asbestos use and ARD have substantially reduced their asbestos usage. In contrast, countries where available data only covered asbestos usage (and not ARD) substantially increased their asbestos use over the same period.
Thus, although the reduction of asbestos use may correlate with a country’s own acquisition of national ARD data, countries that do not have this data available are slow to learn these important “lessons” from their neighbours.
These observations suggest that Asia’s increased asbestos use since 1970 will continue to take its toll in upcoming years. That is, countries will continue to experience ARD even after asbestos use decreases significantly, in a manner reflective of historical asbestos use.
An accurate sketch of regional trends, however, is limited by data availability. In particular, it is highly unlikely that ARD are absent in countries such as China and India, both of which have used large volumes of asbestos but have not reported/do not report the related numbers. (In China and India, the large volume of asbestos use is also diluted by their large populations, i.e., per capita rates remain moderate.) The moderate per capita use of asbestos in populous countries, therefore, cannot be overlooked.

The case for a regional ban

What political measures are Asian countries taking to counter the damage caused by asbestos use? Has weak political will to improve the situation, combined with ongoing limited resources to diagnose ARD, compounded an ARD epidemic?
Public sentiment has a role to play in motivating political will. Japan, which was a major asbestos user, experienced the Kubota Shock (media exposure of a cluster of ARD victims) in 2005 and, as a result, adopted a total ban on asbestos in 2006. Similarly, the Republic of Korea also promulgated a ban, in principle, in 2006 and imposed a total ban in 2009, after recognizing a surging number of ARD cases. Momentum is gradually growing and, at present, several South-East Asian countries are also at various stages of considering a ban.
The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Asbestos Convention (1986) commits signatory states to protect workers from potentially harmful occupational asbestos exposure. In Asia, ratification of this important ILO convention is significantly lower than the global average (just 6 % of Asian countries — namely Cyprus, Japan and the Republic of Korea are signatories — compared to 17 % of countries globally). The %age of Asian nations that have implemented a total asbestos ban, however, is more on par with the global average (28 % of Asian countries, compared with 30 % of countries worldwide).
The adoption of such bans can contribute to a significant reduction in ARD mortality.
As a practical recommendation, Asian countries should look to ban asbestos as soon as possible, minimize exposure and ratify the ILO convention. No matter what is done, however, a surge of ARD in Asia should be anticipated in the coming decades. Asian countries, therefore, should not only cease asbestos use but also prepare for an impending epidemic. – United Nations University

Korea Prohibits All Use of Hazardous Asbestos

In Korea, more than 20 individuals have been diagnosed with occupational diseases due to asbestos exposure. It is expected that there will be more cases of individuals diagnosed with diseases caused by exposure to the carcinogenic material, considering the long incubation period and the large amount of asbestos used in the early years of Korea’s industrialization.

For more read here.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Govt under pressure to enforce 2011 'ban' in interests of trade

The Prayut Chan-o-cha government should express a clear stance on banning chrysotile asbestos, activists say.
The campaign to ban Russian asbestos began years ago when the group T-Ban was formed to head the Thailand Ban Asbestos Network and protest the product to the Russian embassy in Bangkok.

Please find out more on Bangkok post about Activists urge 'clear stand' on asbestos with Russian PM.

Friday, 3 April 2015

EWG Action Fund:Senators Seek Answers Regarding Asbestos in Nation’s Schools

The EPA requires every public school district and private non-profit school to develop a plan for managing asbestos in its buildings and complying with federal asbestos regulations. Although the law’s requirements have been in place for 20 years, EPA has found that there is widespread misunderstanding and confusion about how to implement its requirements and how to manage asbestos in school buildings.
EWG Action Fund recently launched a new national public education campaign, Asbestos Nation, to raise awareness of this ongoing threat.
Read more here

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Unions call for action on asbestos

Unions have presented a petition to Parliament calling for an end to asbestos imports.
It also asks the Government to develop a comprehensive plan for the removal of all existing asbestos in New Zealand.


Read more here 

Uproar over UN Asbestos Debacle

An article has just been uploaded to the IBAS website in the run up to next week’s “Chrysotile Technical Workshop” being held under the Rotterdam Secretariat in Geneva.


For more on this workshop, please see: Uproar over UN Asbestos Debacle.
http://ibasecretariat.org/lka-uproar-over-un-asbestos-debacle.php

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Asbestos in Asia

Asbestos is a global killer. Despite lessons learned in the developed world on the use of asbestos and its hazardous pulmonary consequences, its use continues to increase in Asia. Although some countries such as Japan, Korea and Singapore have curtailed the use of this mineral, there are numerous countries in Asia that continue to mine, import and use this fibre, particularly China, which is one of the largest consumers in the world. Numerous factors ranging from political and economic to the lack of understanding of asbestos and the management of asbestos-related lung disease are keys to this observed trend. Awareness of these factors combined with early intervention may prevent the predicted Asian ‘tsunami’ of asbestos diseases.

For more read here.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Ford Can't Duck Worker's Overseas Asbestos Exposure Suit

By Sindhu Sundar


Law360, New York (March 02, 2015, 5:11 PM ET) -- A New York appellate court has ruled that Ford Motor Co. must face a former mechanic’s suit claiming his exposure to asbestos in Ireland lead to his mesothelioma, with the panel citing Ford's "substantial role" in the design of auto parts distributed by its U.K. subsidiary.
The appellate panel dismissed Ford's U.K. subsidiary Ford Motor Co. Ltd. from the case for lack of jurisdiction, but said in a ruling Thursday that there were "issues of fact" about whether Ford USA can be held liable in the case brought by plaintiff Raymond Finerty, a U.S. resident who claimed his work in Ireland from the 1960s to the 1980s with automotive parts, including car brakes, caused his illness.

The ruling affirms a lower court's decision in October denying Ford USA's summary judgment motion, and reverses that court's decision denying its U.K. subsidiary's motion to dismiss the suit, according to the order.

"The record demonstrates that Ford USA acted as the global guardian of the Ford brand, having a substantial role in the design, development, and use of the auto parts distributed by Ford UK, with the apparent goal of the complete standardization of all products worldwide that carried the signature Ford logo," the panel said in its ruling.

"Thus, issues of fact exist whether Ford USA may be held directly liable as a result of its role in facilitating the distribution of the asbestos-containing auto parts on the ground that it was 'in the best position to exert pressure for the improved safety of products' or to warn the end users of these auto parts of the hazards they presented," the court said.

Finerty, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in December 2009, had brought his suit in the following year against a number of defendants including Abex Corp., a producer of hydraulic systems. He has resolved his claims against all defendants except for Ford, his attorneys at Levy Konigsberg LLP told Law360 Monday.

"We're very pleased with the court's decision, and it could have wide-ranging effects because the court found that Ford can be responsible for exposing people to its products around the world," Amber R. Long of Levy Konigsberg said.

"For decades, they have exported poisonous products, and since that time they've been able to avoid liability by hiding behind a scheme of complicated corporate hierarchy that amounts to a shell game," Brendan Tully of Levy Konigsberg said. "This is the first time we've been able to show Ford's direct role in its European products."

The attorneys said that they hope the suit will go to trial within the next few months.

According to the order, Ford USA had argued that it could not be held liable for parts made and sold by its U.K. subsidiary, saying that there was "no basis" to pierce the corporate veil, in which a company's owners can be held responsible for their units' liabilities.

The panel agreed with this aspect of Ford USA's argument, but ruled the suit should nonetheless proceed against it because of its potential role the products' design, according to the order.

Representatives and an attorney for Ford USA could not immediately be reached for comment late Monday.

The plaintiffs are represented by Amber R. Long and Brendan Tully of Levy Konigsberg LLP.

Ford is represented by Elliot J. Zucker of Aaronson Rappaport Feinstein & Deutsch LLP.

The case is Raymond Finerty et al. v. Abex Corp. et al., case number 190187/10 14344 14343, in the Supreme Court of New York Appellate Division, First Department.

--Editing by Emily Kokoll.