March 19, 2019

Asbestos imports rising in Canada despite health warnings

Despite rising fears of asbestos-related illnesses, imports of products containing asbestos show little sign of slowing.

According to Statistics Canada figures, imports of asbestos-related items rose to $6-million last year from $4.9-million in 2013. The bulk of these goods consisted of asbestos brake linings and pads, which hit $3.6-million in imports in 2014, a seven-year high. Other imports included raw asbestos, friction materials and some items containing crocidolite, which is considered the most dangerous form of asbestos.

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The dollar amounts may not seem like a lot of money given Canada’s overall trade, but in terms of brake pads that translates into hundreds of thousands entering the Canadian market each year. The World Health Organization and other agencies have said that all forms of asbestos are carcinogenic and the best way to eliminate asbestos-related diseases is to stop using it.

Asbestos is by far the top on-the-job killer in Canada, accounting for almost 5,000 death claims since 1996. Many victims die of mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer, though it may take 20 to 50 years after exposures to materialize. And yet Canada continues to allow imports and exports of asbestos, unlike other dozens of countries such as Australia, Japan, Sweden and Britain, which have imposed a ban.

Canada has imported more than $100-million in asbestos brake pad and linings in the past decade. In total, more than $250-million in imports of asbestos and asbestos-containing products entered the country between 2004 and 2014. Canada was also one of the world’s largest exporters of asbestos, though raw shipments stopped in 2011 after the last mines closed. Last year, this country exported $1.8-million worth of asbestos products.

A key concern about the brake pads centres on mechanics, who often use air hoses to clean car parts while replacing them, putting dangerous dust in the air. In the past decade, 61 claims for the deaths of auto, truck and bus mechanics stemming from asbestos-related diseases have been approved, according to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada.

Brake mechanics, along with construction workers and shipyard workers, are among those most at risk of exposure to asbestos at work, according to the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. A tally by Carex Canada, a research project funded by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, showed 4,300 people in auto repair and maintenance are exposed to asbestos in the workplace.

The federal government has long maintained a policy of “controlled use” of the mineral and Health Canada says that as long as the fibres are enclosed or tightly bound, there is no significant health risk. It’s difficult to ensure, though, that fibres stay tightly bound as materials wear out.

“It’s hard to quantify the risk, but with a known carcinogen that’s associated with cancers at extremely low levels of exposure, I just don’t think you can be too cautious on this. And it’s not like there isn’t a viable alternative. There are other brake pads out there,” says Paul Demers, a University of Toronto professor in public health and director at the Occupational Cancer Research Centre at Cancer Care Ontario.

Canada’s two main opposition parties want to see the end of asbestos use in Canada.

“We need to develop a comprehensive strategy to phase out the use of dangerous materials, especially asbestos,” Liberal MP Geoff Regan said, adding that his party wants a ban of all asbestos use in Canada. “When it comes to brake pads, there’s really no need to have these products in Canada since our manufacturers have largely replaced asbestos with safer alternatives. I can’t imagine that Canadian drivers would accept the idea that these products are being used in their cars, if they were really fully aware of the situation.”

Mr. Regan wants to see more education on the dangers of asbestos, a national registry of federal public buildings with asbestos and more monitoring of asbestos-related diseases in Canada.

Ending the use of asbestos brake pads “is an excellent place to start because brake shoes are one thing that a lot of home handymen, backyard mechanics can do on their own, so therefore you are exposing people outside the industrial setting and into the residential setting. There’s unnecessary risk,” said NDP MP Pat Martin, who has been calling for a ban for nearly two decades.

A couple of U.S. states have passed laws restricting use of brake pads with asbestos and momentum is building to limit their use among manufacturers and in imports.

That effort is going national. On Jan. 21, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Environmental Council of the States, the Brake Manufacturers Council and other industry stakeholders that will limit the use of asbestos (along with copper and other elements) in all brake pads including imports, said Bill Hanvey, executive director of the Brake Manufacturers Council, in an interview.

“We’re trying to make sure we have a level playing field because asbestos is a cheaper ingredient and the North American manufacturers have eliminated asbestos from their formulations many years ago and substituted more expensive materials to avoid using asbestos,” said Mr. Hanvey, who is based near Raleigh, N.C., and is also senior vice-president of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association.

“We want to make sure we’re not put at a competitive disadvantage by the importation of products that contain asbestos.”

Safer, made-in-Canada alternatives to asbestos are available, though they cost more. Rick Jamieson is president and chief executive officer of Guelph, Ont.-based ABS Friction, an asbestos-free brake-pad factory. He wants to see a complete asbestos ban in Canada.

“We would like to see the same legislation [as some U.S. states] so that it’s a level playing field across North America and that Canada doesn’t end up a dumping ground for asbestos brake pads,” he said. “Because if they’re going to ban them in the U.S., they’re going to go somewhere.”

Marc Brazeau, president and CEO of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada, said workers’ safety is a top priority and that the organization would not object to a ban provided the industry was given sufficient notice. “If there is a phase-out period and an opportunity for companies to react, I’m very optimistic and confident that our industry would react in an appropriate way,” he said.

Concern over brake pads has prompted Ontario’s Ministry of Labour to issue a warning. Asbestos “in aftermarket replacement brake pads poses an increased risk of asbestos-related disease for auto brake mechanics,” the ministry said in a 2013 alert.

It noted that the presence of asbestos in aftermarket brake pads “poses an increased risk of exposure to hazardous concentrations of asbestos dust during the maintenance and repair of asbestos-containing friction materials for auto brake mechanics.” It recommended employers “only use brake pads that do not contain asbestos.”

In an e-mail to the Globe, the ministry said it is “aware of and continues to be concerned about the hazard, and we are looking into what more can be done to ensure the safety of workers.”

Health Canada’s website still says asbestos poses health risks “only when fibres are present in the air that people breathe.” It does not say that all forms of asbestos are a known carcinogen nor that even low levels of exposure can be dangerous. When asked last November if it plans to revise its website, last updated in October, 2012, a spokesperson said in an e-mail that “there are no plans to update it as the health risks to asbestos have not changed and there’s nothing to add at this point.”

The department said asbestos brake pads do not pose a significant health risk to consumers. Regarding the risks to mechanics’ health in working with asbestos brake pads, Health Canada said “in the workplace, exposure associated with the use of brake pads containing asbestos could occur during installation, removal, and inspection processes if fibres become airborne.”

Continued imports of asbestos brake pads is a concern, given that most garages and body shops aren’t unionized, and subject to little regulatory oversight, says Jim Brophy, adjunct professor of sociology at the University of Windsor and former director of the Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers in Windsor and Sarnia.

“Why would we be importing it especially into operations like brakes, where the very nature of brakes is that there is a wearing down of the pad. It’s endemic to the design of the thing.”

He’s critical of Health Canada’s message that asbestos doesn’t pose a big risk if fibres don’t become airborne. “That doesn’t talk about the real world. They don’t put asbestos in a bottle and leave it on the shelves. People are actually grinding it, they’re tearing it off, they’re blowing it around. This is what you do with brake shoes and other products that have asbestos (such as pipes).”

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Asbestos imports rising in Canada despite health warnings

Council agrees pay-out after school cleaner's asbestos death

A COUNCIL says it is managing and monitoring asbestos in its schools, after it agreed to pay compensation for the death of a cleaner following exposure to the deadly fibres.

Durham County Council says it is meeting its legal responsibilities on the now-banned material, which was in common use until the 1970s, despite having admitted liability and agreed to pay out to Alan Hamilton over the death of his wife Laura from the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma in June 2011.

Mrs Hamilton worked as a cleaner at Belmont Comprehensive School, Durham, in the mid-1980s, when industrial illness lawyer Philip Thompson, who represents her husband, says not only was there asbestos present, but large amounts of brown asbestos was damaged and therefore likely to give off deadly loose fibres.

The out-of-court settlement, of an undisclosed sum, was reached following a three-year legal battle.

Mr Thompson, of Thomson and Co Solicitors, said: “We are delighted to have settled this claim.

“Our client has been determined to prove the extent of asbestos exposure that took place at the school at the time and we had extensive evidence to prove that exposure had taken place.

“Nothing will ever bring back Mrs Hamilton, but this decision will give Mr Hamilton some degree of closure.”

Sean Durran, the council’s senior asbestos officer, said: “We have a comprehensive asbestos management policy and system in place for all council premises, including schools.

“This ensures that asbestos containing materials are managed and monitored in accordance with legal responsibilities.”

Asbestos was commonly used in fireproofing and thermal insulation during the 1960s and 1970s and only banned in the UK in 1999.

Recent reports suggest it is still present in nearly 86 per cent of UK schools.

The Health and Safety Executive says it is “endemic”; and removing it all would cost billions and take decades.

Undisturbed, it can be managed safely; but pressure is growing for the Government to do more.

Mesothelioma claims 2,500 lives in the UK every year – more than the country’s roads – with 300 of those deaths attributed to schools.

Nearly 300 teachers have died of mesothelioma since 1980, including 158 in the last decade, and the rate is increasing – from three in 1980 to 19 in 2012.

The Government is producing new guidelines on managing asbestos in schools and continuing to fund its removal “where appropriate”.

Mr Thompson said: “We are reaching the stage where instances of people who have worked in schools, or who have attended schools as pupils, are contracting asbestos related illnesses with increasing frequency, and the Government is rightly under increasing pressure to address the matter.”

He added: “While cases of this kind will never be as widespread as those we saw from shipyards in the region, they are certainly growing more frequent – and people will want reassurance that there is no ongoing danger from asbestos in schools.”

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Council agrees pay-out after school cleaner's asbestos death

Asbestos at federal building was a surprise to electrician

Ottawa electrician Denis Lapointe says he was exposed to asbestos and other toxins at work for 16 years, and only recently learned the full extent of his potential exposure after filing access to information requests.

The 54-year-old licensed electrician and former public servant had a right to know he was working around hazardous substances.

Now he wonders how many other workers at the Canada Revenue Agency buildings at 875 Heron Rd. may have been inadvertently exposed to asbestos.

Lapointe worked for the CRA from 1992 to 2008 and over that time, the Heron Road taxation facility accommodated thousands of workers.

His job involved drilling and pulling wires through walls, floors and ceilings. He says since he didn’t know he could be disturbing asbestos all those years — his fellow workers wouldn’t have known either.

“I was exposed and I wasn’t properly protected, and here I was walking through this place, using air hoses and whatnot and blowing it to other people, so I have a conscience…That eats me up,” says Lapointe.

Lapointe has obtained documents that show the asbestos contamination was and continues to be present on all floors of the building where he worked. Lapointe says he had to get the reports through access to information requests.

Denis St. Jean, the national health and safety officer for the Public Service Alliance of Canada, says Lapointe should have been informed of the dangers in his workplace.

“Since 1986 the Canada Labour Code applies. There should have been at least some risk assessments on whether or not these buildings have asbestos containing materials … so they can have readily available that information for their workers,” St. Jean says.

A 2014 consultant's report found the CRA building at 875 Heron Rd. would need to remove asbestos containing materials and debris in order to comply with federal regulations. (Julie Ireton/CBC)A 2014 consultant’s report found the CRA building at 875 Heron Rd. would need to remove asbestos containing materials …Poll question

On mobile?Click here to vote on whether employers should have to tell their employees about asbestos or not.

Years of asbestos reports

Decades of asbestos assessment reports for 875 Heron Rd. show contamination in certain areas that would be of concern to tradespeople or maintenance workers.

A consultant’s report from October 2014 reads: “Based on the findings of the reassessment, the facility is not in compliance. In order to bring the subject facility into compliance with applicable regulations, GEC [the consultant] recommends repair and or removal of damaged ACMs [asbestos containing materials] as well as asbestos-containing debris.”

It is not clear what policy or code the building does not comply with.

Public Works and Government Services Canada owns the building.

In a statement, the department says it “proceeds regularly with assessments of all building conditions including asbestos-containing materials. This report pertaining to 875 Heron Rd. is part of our regular due diligence, to ensure that the building conditions comply with all codes and regulations.”

The department says there are only small amounts of asbestos in remote areas of the building. But as a tradesperson, Lapointe assesses it differently.

– DATABASE: 16 carcinogens in Canadian workplaces

“It’s everywhere. It lines all kinds of piping, it lines ventilation piping, it’s in plaster, it’s in grout that finishes the walls, it’s in the cement where you’re chipping, and the tiles. It’s identified everywhere,” he says.

Bob Kingston, a health and safety expert and national president of the Agriculture Union, a component of the country’s biggest public service union, says the federal government is too often allowed to get away with safety breaches.

“In the federal public service they just say we’re working on it and that’s good enough. They come back every year, and as long as they have some report saying they’re working on it everything is fine,” Kingston says.

Lapointe sent for health testing in 1998

For years, Lapointe, a non-smoker, has suffered from poor health and breathing problems, although he has not been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease. He’s been searching for answers from his former employer – CRA – as well as other departments, including Public Works and Health Canada.

He’s trying to figure out what he was exposed to in the workplace and what could be making him sick. He knows the latency for asbestos-related disease can be 10 to 40 years.

During Lapointe’s sleuthing, he says he discovered correspondence showing his employer knew he’d potentially been exposed to asbestos as far back as 1998, when he and three other electricians were sent for chest X-rays and pulmonary tests.

The letter from CRA to Health Canada reads: “There is a possibility that in performing their duties over the past few years that one or all of them could have been inadvertently exposed to asbestos-containing material.”

Lapointe says he wasn’t told about the potential asbestos exposure. He thought he was tested because of chemical exposure in the building.

Denis Lapointe filed access to information requests to try to find out what he might have been exposed to in the workplace, which may have led to health problems. (Julie Ireton/CBC)Denis Lapointe filed access to information requests to try to find out what he might have been exposed to in the …“What other reason would there have been? I can’t say what I thought then because I really didn’t know. Just the fact I wasn’t being provided [the information] is a pretty good start that I wasn’t supposed to know.”

Lapointe says he was never given the results of those medical tests, but documents he’s received show he was diagnosed with pulmonary restrictions on several occasions. The testing stopped in 2004 without explanation, he says.

“They never told me there was any concerns,” he says.

Labour Canada now investigating

Lapointe’s concerns about the building and his health issues have now led to an investigation by the federal Labour Department.

A health and safety officer is now looking into asbestos, air quality and other potential safety issues. Lapointe and two other workers filed joint grievances detailing their health concerns and took their issues to the Public Service Labour Relations Board.

Occupational health and safety specialist Laura Lozanski says in her experience there’s a lack of enforcement and political will when it comes to protecting workers.

The former nurse who oversees occupational health for the Canadian Association of University Teachers says this case raises serious issues.

“Workers have the right to go into a workplace and expect their workplace to be safe. That’s the law,” she says.

Also Read

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Asbestos at federal building was a surprise to electrician

Mesothelioma Victims Center Strongly Urges Diagnosed US Navy Veterans or Shipyard Workers to Call Them About How Vital …

WASHINGTON, March 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — This week the Mesothelioma Victims Center is urging diagnosed victims of mesothelioma who were exposed to asbestos while serving in the US Navy or while working at a shipyard to call 866-714-6466 or visit http://MesotheliomaVictimsCenter.Com to ensure they really are talking to one of the nations most skilled mesothelioma lawyers.

Photo –

Photo –

The Mesothelioma Victims Center says, “If a shipyard worker or a US Navy Veteran has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, we are urging them to call us at 866-714-6466 so we can carefully explain how incredibly vital it is to have a specialist mesothelioma compensation lawyer involved in advancing their financial claim that could easily exceed a million dollars.

“Our passion is to make certain all diagnosed victims of mesothelioma in the United States get the best compensation, and as we would like to explain there is a correlation between the nation’s best mesothelioma attorneys, and the best compensation settlements for diagnosed victims.

“The US Navy Veteran could have been exposed to asbestos while working in a ship’s engine room, ammunition storage area(s), or as a plumber, electrician, or member of a maintenance crew on a ship.

“The shipyard work was probably exposed to asbestos on a daily basis, because in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and a portion of the 1980s the rules protecting workers from asbestos exposure was minimal. This meant an uneducated workforce being subjected to toxic asbestos fibers on a daily basis and for years on end. We are providing a list of common shipyards used by the US Navy but also want possible workers or family members to understand that compensation is still possible, even if you no longer live in the state where asbestos exposure occurred.

“The shipyards could have been located in:
Norfolk, Virginia
Bremerton, Washington
Bangor, Maine
Groton, Connecticut
Hunters Point, California,
Treasure Island, California
Baltimore, Maryland
Honolulu, Hawaii
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“We are also the nation’s only group offering free services that connect diagnosed victims and/or their family with one of the nation’s top mesothelioma attorneys. We constantly tell those we speak with to think outside of the box and go national when it comes to hiring a lawyer to advance a mesothelioma compensation claim. Get the best possible lawyer, and call us at 866-714-6466 so we can ensure that is exactly what happens.” http://MesotheliomaVictimsCenter.Com 

The Mesothelioma Victims Center is urging diagnosed victims of mesothelioma to compare current OSHA guidelines for shipyards in the United States and asbestos exposure, as opposed to asbestos exposure guidelines for shipyard workers, or US Navy Veterans in the 1950s, 1960s, or 1970s.

Information About Mesothelioma For Diagnosed Victims And Their Families From The Mesothelioma Victims Center

High risk work groups for exposure to asbestos include Veterans of the US Navy, power plant workers, shipyard workers, steel mill workers, oil refinery workers, factory workers, plumbers, electricians, miners, auto mechanics, machinists, and construction workers. Typically the exposure to asbestos occurred in the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s, or 1980’s. http://MesotheliomaVictimsCenter.Com

According to the CDC the states indicated with the highest incidence of mesothelioma include Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, Louisiana, Washington, and Oregon. However, based on the calls the Mesothelioma Victims Center receives a diagnosed victim of mesothelioma could live in any state including New York, Florida, California, Texas, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada,  New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Idaho, or Alaska.

For an up to date map from the CDC showing the states with the highest incidence of mesothelioma please refer to their web site on this topic.

The Mesothelioma Victims Center says, “If you call us at 866-714-6466, we will see to it that you have instant access to the nation’s most skilled mesothelioma attorneys, who consistently get the best possible financial compensation results for their clients.” http://MesotheliomaVictimsCenter.Com

For more information about mesothelioma please refer to the National Institutes of Health’s web site related to this rare form of cancer:

Media Contact:
M. Thomas Martin


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Mesothelioma Victims Center Strongly Urges Diagnosed US Navy Veterans or Shipyard Workers to Call Them About How Vital …

Implants 'as dangerous as asbestos'

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Implants 'as dangerous as asbestos'

ADAO Announces Global Experts to Present at the 2015 Conference


The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), which combines education, advocacy, and community to help ensure justice for asbestos victims, today announced the speakers scheduled to present at the upcoming 11th Annual Asbestos Awareness Conference, “Where Knowledge and Action Unite” , April 17-19 2015 at the Crystal Gateway Marriot in Arlington, VA. ADAO also will be celebrating its 11th year of asbestos awareness success since the organization’s inception in 2004. ADAO is the only U.S. nonprofit that organizes annual conferences dedicated to preventing and eliminating asbestos-caused diseases.

Nearly 40 renowned experts and asbestos victims from ten countries will present the latest advancements in disease prevention, global advocacy, and treatment for mesothelioma and other asbestos-caused diseases. The April 18, 2015, conference includes four powerful, cutting–edge sessions:

  • Progress and Challenges from the Frontline
  • Medical Advancements: Diagnosing and Treating Mesothelioma and Other Asbestos-Related Diseases
  • Prevention: What Is It? Where Is It? What Do I Do?
  • Advocacy: Global Ban Asbestos Action

The conference underscores ADAO’s new “Hear Asbestos. Think Prevention.™” campaign, which is focused on continual global efforts aimed at preventing asbestos exposure to help end the tragedy of asbestos disease. ADAO began as a grassroots advocacy, spurred by Alan Reinstein’s mesothelioma diagnosis, beloved husband of the organization’s Co-Founder and President, Linda Reinstein.

“I look at where ADAO has come since I began this journey as the confused and angry wife of an innocent asbestos victim and it has made me realize even more how we are all connected by a strong thread of hope that weaves itself across continents and lives,” stated Ms. Reinstein. “As we celebrate the 11th year anniversary of ADAO and welcome our global supporters and speakers to this year’s conference, I’m reminded more than ever that there is strength in numbers.”

Collaborating with organizations around the world for a global asbestos ban since its inception in 2004, ADAO has become a leader in social media advocacy and community outreach for asbestos victims, their families, and loved ones to share support, resources, and provide hope. ADAO has shifted education and awareness activities into high gear – with an unparalleled effort to educate the public and medical community about asbestos-related diseases and preventing exposure. Responsible for three Surgeon General asbestos warnings and ten Senate Resolutions designating April as Asbestos Awareness Week each year, ADAO is recognized as one of the largest organizations fighting for justice on behalf of asbestos victims in the US and abroad.

The recently finalized conference list of speakers includes a highly esteemed group of research, advocacy, and medical experts from ten countries:

  • Arturo Aguilar, Filmmaker, Mexico
  • Syed Mezab Ahmed, World Asbestos Congress, Pakistan
  • Troi Atkinson, Mesothelioma Patient and 2015 Honoree, USA
  • Emily Bankhead, Mesothelioma Widow and 2014 Honoree, USA
  • Dr. Brad Black, Chief Executive Officer and Medical Director at Center for Asbestos Related Disease and ADAO Science Advisory Board, USA
  • Jill Cagle, Mesothelioma Widow and Singer, USA
  • Dr. Robert Cameron, University of California, Los Angeles and The West Los Angeles VA, USA
  • Barry Castleman, ScD, Author of the “Asbestos: Medical and Legal Aspects,” and ADAO Science Advisory Board, USA
  • Mark Catlin, Service Employees International Union, USA
  • Earl Dotter, Photojournalist, USA
  • Geoff Fary, Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, Chairman, Australia
  • Professor Dean Fennell, Chair of Thoracic Medical Oncology, University of Leicester and 2015 Honoree, United Kingdom
  • Dr. Raja Flores, Chairman, Department of Thoracic Surgery, Mount Sinai Health System and Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization Science Advisory Board, USA
  • Dr. Arthur Frank, Professor of Public Health and Chair Emeritus of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Drexel University School of Public Health and ADAO Science Advisory Board Co-Chair, USA
  • Fernanda Giannasi, Associação Brasileira dos Expostos ao Amianto (ABREA), Brazil
  • Marc Hindry, Association Nationale de Défense des Victimes de l’Amiante (ANDEVA), France
  • Dr. Philippe Gomes Jardim, The Brazilian Labor Public Ministry, Brazil
  • Doug Larkin, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, Co-Founder, USA
  • Richard Lemen, PhD, MSPH, Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS (ret.), Rear Admiral, USPHS (ret.) and ADAO Science Advisory Board Co-Chair, USA
  • Dr. Guadalupe Aguilar Madrid, Mexico
  • Dr. Luis Antonio Camargo De Melo, General Labour Prosecutor, Brazil
  • Captain Aubrey K. Miller, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Medical Advisor, Office of the Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, USA
  • Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH, Professorial Lecturer Dept of Environmental & Occupational Health Milken Institute School of Public Health George Washington University, USA
  • Patrick J. Morrison, Assistant to the General President for Occupational Health, Safety and Medicine, USA
  • Sandra Neuenschwander, Mesothelioma Mother, USA
  • Dr. Christine Oliver, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization Science Advisory Board, USA
  • Ellen Patton, Mesothelioma Patient and 2015 Honoree, USA
  • Dr. Jorma Rantanen, Professor at International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH) and 2015 Honoree, Finland
  • Linda Reinstein, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, President/CEO, USA
  • Barry Robson, Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia (ADFA), Australia
  • Domani Tripam, Mesothelioma Daughter, USA
  • Ellen Tunkelrott, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization Board Member, USA
  • Sue Vento, Widow of the late Congressman Bruce Vento, USA
  • Cameron Von St James, Mesothelioma Husband, USA
  • Yvonne Waterman, Ph.D. LL.M., The Netherlands
  • Dr. John Wheeler, Associate Director for Science at CDC/ATSDR, USA
  • Lou Williams, Mesothelioma Patient and Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia (ADFA), Australia
  • Jordan Zevon, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization Spokesperson and Musician, USA

Despite its known dangers, there is still no global ban on asbestos, and it continues to claim lives. Exposure to asbestos, a human carcinogen, can cause mesothelioma, lung, gastrointestinal, laryngeal, and ovarian cancers; as well as non-malignant lung and pleural disorders. The World Health Organization estimates that 107,000 workers around the world will die every year of an asbestos-related disease, equaling 300 deaths per day.

ADAO will hold its Eleventh Annual International Asbestos Awareness Conference on April 17 – 19, 2015, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA.

About the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) was founded by asbestos victims and their families in 2004. ADAO is the largest non-profit in the U.S. dedicated to providing asbestos victims and concerned citizens with a united voice through our education, advocacy, and community initiatives. ADAO seeks to raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure, advocate for an asbestos ban, and protect asbestos victims’ civil rights. For more information, visit


Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO)

Kim Cecchini

Media Relations


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ADAO Announces Global Experts to Present at the 2015 Conference

Asbestos all-clear for Naval Service ships as LÉ Orla readies for high seas

Work on removing potentially lethal asbestos on the Naval Service ship LÉ Orla has been completed, although it will be a few weeks before she becomes fully operational again.

When back on patrol, it will mean that the Naval Service is back to its full complement of eight ships as the LÉ Ciara was also dry-docked for several months while asbestos was removed from it.

A specialist contractor was employed to remove the substance and send it for disposal to Germany.

While the cost of the operation hasn’t been disclosed by the Department of Defence, industry experts say it is likely to top €1m.

Both ships were put out of commission on May 28 last year when significant amounts of asbestos was found onboard. The clean-up operation was overseen by the Health and Safety Authority.

The Naval Service said it has completed a fleet-wide asbestos review and can now confirm a clean bill of health for all vessels.

In 2000, the Department of Defence commissioned consultants to examine all the fleet and reported there was no asbestos onboard any vessels.

The company which carried out that examination has since ceased to exist, meaning that the taxpayer will have to foot the bill for the clean-ups.

In the 1980s, asbestos was widely used in the ship-building industry, especially in engine rooms to insulate pipes and boilers. At the time, it was considered the best and most cost-effective insulating material and was also fire-resistant.

A total of 116 Naval Service personnel and civilian workers are understood to have come in contact with asbestos onboard the ships or at the Naval Service’s headquarters on Haulbowline Island, Cobh.

They have been medically examined and have been promised regular screening in the years to come, as it can take up to 40 years for the symptoms to manifest.

In the meantime, Naval Service sources say they’re hopeful that the latest addition to the fleet, LÉ James Joyce, will arrive at their Haulbowline headquarters in Cork harbour around St Patrick’s Day.

However, this will depend on there being no hiccups during her sea trials.

The €50m vessel is being built at a shipyard in Appledore, Devon, by the same company which supplied the LÉ Samuel Beckett, which became operational last year.

The LÉ James Joyce will replace the LÉ Aoife, which is in the process of being decommissioned and is set to be sold off through auction.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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Asbestos all-clear for Naval Service ships as LÉ Orla readies for high seas

New figures reveal compensation for deadly diseases

New figures reveal compensation for deadly diseases

Beccles Library.
Beccles Library.

Monday, February 16, 2015

8:55 AM

New figures have revealed how victims of asbestos-related diseases have been paid more than £200,000 in compensation from councils around the region over the past five years.

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Great Yarmouth High School.
December 2013.

Picture: James Bass

Great Yarmouth High School.
December 2013.

Picture: James Bass

And local authorities have acknowledged potentially deadly asbestos is still present in scores of schools, homes, libraries, fire stations and other council properties in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

While councils stress the substance is not a risk to health if left undisturbed, compensation has been paid to former council workers who developed asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma, after they were exposed to the dust during their employment.

Mesothelioma is a lung cancer which kills nearly 50 people a week in the UK. It is caused by exposure to specks of asbestos, which used to be used as coatings and insulation.

According to figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), there were 713 deaths from mesothelioma in Norfolk between 1981 and 2011; 593 in Suffolk; and 332 in Cambridgeshire.

What is mesothelioma?

-Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that can develop in the tissues covering the lungs or the abdomen.

-Pleural mesothelioma, the most common type, is in the tissue covering the lungs, while peritoneal mesothelioma is in the lining of the abdomen.

-Symptoms include pain in the chest or lower back, shortness of breath, a fever or night sweats, abdominal pain, unexplained fatigue, no appetite and weight loss.

-More than 2,500 people in the UK are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year, and men are five times more likely to be diagnosed than women.

-Mesothelioma is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a soft, greyish-white material that used to be widely used in building construction as a form of insulation and to protect against fire.

-The outlook for mesothelioma is poor because it is usually diagnosed at an advanced stage. Most people diagnosed with mesothelioma will die within three years of being diagnosed, and the average person survives for around 12 months.

-Every year in the UK, there are around 2,300 deaths from the condition and it is estimated that, by 2050,

90,000 people in the UK will have died as a result of mesothelioma.

Figures revealed council compensation payments for asbestos-related diseases since 2009 included three former Norwich City Council workers. A 65-year-old received £156,000 in 2009, while a 78-year-old and a 60-year-old received £35,300 and £10,700 in 2010. A 2012 claim by a 79-year-old has yet to be decided.

Other payments were to a former West Norfolk Council worker who repaired prefabricated council houses, who received more than £2,700 and just over £9,400 to an ex-Waveney District Council housing maintenance worker. There were no claims in Breckland, Broadland, South Norfolk or North Norfolk, while two claims to Great Yarmouth Borough Council were not successful. Cambridgeshire County Council has had four claims since 2009, of which one was successful, while Suffolk County Council has had three claims, of which two are ongoing.

One of those claims is from a former Suffolk pupil who claims to have developed the condition while at one of the county’s schools.

Norfolk County Council has received seven claims since 2009, for a total of just under £15,000. The council refused to reveal how many claims had been successful or how much had been paid.

Which buildings contain asbestos?

Council-owned Norfolk and Suffolk buildings which have been found to have asbestos:

-County Hall, Norwich

-Castle Museum

-Strangers’ Hall

-Wensum Lodge

-Sprowston High School

-Great Yarmouth High School

-Benjamin Britten High School, Lowestoft

-Cromer Fire Station

-Wymondham Fire Station

-Acle Fire Station

-King’s Lynn Library

-Beccles Library

-Brundall Library

-Swaffham Library

-Diss Register Office

-Thetford Register Office

But a spokesman did say it had spent more than £2m over the past five years to remove materials which contain asbestos from its buildings.

Dozens of schools, libraries, fire stations, Norwich Castle and County Hall itself, all contain such materials, the council confirmed.

Derryth Wright, health safety and wellbeing manager at Norfolk County Council, said: “The HSE states that asbestos does not pose a risk to health when it is intact and in good condition, and our programme of work reflects this position.

“All of our schools have had a survey undertaken to identify and assess the condition of asbestos containing materials (ACM).”

Norwich City Council says 2,327 properties, including council houses, are identified as having low-risk types of asbestos, such as in some types of Artex or vinyl floor tiles.

A spokesman said it was “highly unlikely to release asbestos fibres in normal use” but that there were plans for removal in 636 properties.

Are you taking legal action after developing an asbestos-related disease? Email



    New figures reveal compensation for deadly diseases

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    Low Levels of Libby Asbestos Exposure Linked to Lung Abnormalities

    Low Levels of Libby Asbestos Exposure Linked to Lung Abnormalities

    Long-Term Changes Seen at Relatively Low Exposure Levels

    Released:6-Jan-2015 8:30 AM EST
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    Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
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    Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

    Newswise — January 6, 2015 — People exposed to asbestos from mining in Libby, Mont., show long-term changes in lung imaging and function tests, even with relatively low asbestos exposure, reports a study in the January Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

    Thirty years after the Libby mine was shut down, abnormalities are still found on chest computed tomography (CT) scans and lung function tests in more than half of workers exposed to Libby amphibole asbestos (LAA). “[T]hese changes occur at substantially lower cumulative fiber exposure levels than those commonly associated with commercial asbestos,” writes Dr James E. Lockey of University of Cincinnati and colleagues. The study was sponsored by the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry.

    The researchers followed up 431 living workers, from an original group of 513 LAA-exposed workers first studied in 1980. The workers were exposed to a particularly hazardous form of asbestos from contaminated vermiculite that had been mined in Libby for decades.

    Of 191 workers with available CT scans, 53 percent had asbestos-related changes of the tissue lining the lungs (pleura), while 13 percent had changes of the lung substance (parenchyma). Greater involvement on imaging scans was related to greater average reductions in lung function (forced vital capacity): up to 18 percent for those with extensive pleural and/or parenchymal changes.

    The CT scan abnormalities were present even in workers with lower levels of estimated lifetime exposure to LAA—about three to ten times below current standards for commercial asbestos exposure. The asbestos-related lung abnormalities “can be particularly relevant when potentially combined with other respiratory [diseases] that can occur over a person’s lifetime that can impact lung function,” Dr Lockey and coauthors conclude.


    About the Author
    Dr Lockey may be contacted for interviews at james.lockey(at)

    About ACOEM
    ACOEM (, an international society of 4,500 occupational physicians and other health care professionals, provides leadership to promote optimal health and safety of workers, workplaces, and environments.

    About Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
    The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine ( is the official journal of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Edited to serve as a guide for physicians, nurses, and researchers, the clinically oriented research articles are an excellent source for new ideas, concepts, techniques, and procedures that can be readily applied in the industrial or commercial employment setting.


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    Low Levels of Libby Asbestos Exposure Linked to Lung Abnormalities