March 19, 2019

Asbestos 'needs a ban and a plan' – petition presented

Workers have today presented a petition signed by over a thousand New Zealanders calling on the Government to ban the importation of asbestos and develop a comprehensive plan for the removal of all existing asbestos in New Zealand.

“Asbestos is the biggest workplace killer in New Zealand. It kills at least 170 workers annually: more than twice as many workers as accidental deaths at work. The number of people dying from asbestos related diseases (lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis) is increasing and the Government projections are that it will peak at 300: higher than the road toll,” said CTU Secretary, Sam Huggard.

“New Zealand is out of step with other developed countries. We are still importing asbestos containing products. Australia prohibited the import of all asbestos containing products in 2003. Similar bans in the United Kingdom date to the late 1990s.”

“The CTU, on behalf of all workers, calls for the Government to implement a total ban on the importation of asbestos containing materials. This action is overdue and well behind the action which other countries have taken.”

“We are very concerned about asbestos exposure in Christchurch. Public health experts continue to raise concerns about what the impact will be for workers will be in the decades to come.”

“New regulations are proposed that will significantly assist in the management of asbestos: These should be given the highest priority.”

“However, much more action is needed. The CTU recommends a twelve-point plan to deal with asbestos.”

“Many hundreds more people will die as a result of exposure in the next 50 years. We should act now to ensure that this is the lowest number possible, and that there are no more unnecessary exposures to asbestos,” said Huggard.

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Asbestos 'needs a ban and a plan' – petition presented

Contractors disturb asbestos at Berridale Public School

Students at Berridale Public School might have been exposed to asbestos as workers cut into bonded asbestos sheeting during the first week of the new school year.

The school is on the NSW Government School Asbestos Register and the room was listed as being presumed to have asbestos present.

WorkCover NSW confirmed it visited the school, located between Cooma and Jindabyne, after parents raised concerns.

Contractors hired by the NSW Department of Education were installing airconditioning in a demountable building at the school on Wednesday last week when students returned for their first day. They drilled into the ceiling, which contained bonded asbestos.

WorkCover said that according to its investigations, the workmen only “discovered potential asbestos-containing material while drilling into the ceiling”.

In 2008, the NSW Department of Education launched a $3 million asbestos register to reduce risk of exposure to the toxic substance.

It is not known whether the workmen were aware of the asbestos before they began drilling. But WorkCover said they stopped work immediately and attempted to restrict the entry of children to the site. The demountable building is used as a lunch room when it is raining and students were inside that day, because it was raining.

WorkCover said the students were moved to another building and access to the demountable building was cut off. Asbestos warning stickers and barriers were then erected.

One parent, who did not wish to be named, said she assumed work was only halted because WorkCover had been notified.

She said it was not good enough that children had been in and around the area while fibres had potentially been released into the atmosphere. She also questioned why the work was not completed during the holidays.

“What I don’t understand is how work began on this site when it is listed on a public registry as having presumed asbestos.”

A spokesman for WorkCover NSW said a licensed asbestos removalist undertook testing on the building and the asbestos was removed. A clearance certificate had been issued by an occupational hygienist.

“WorkCover is satisfied that the school and contractor have acted in accordance with work health and safety laws.”

A spokesman for the NSW Department of Education said “the work to install airconditioning in the school’s two demountable classrooms was carried out in accordance with the department’s Asbestos Management Plan and WorkCover NSW requirements”.

“The department has received a clearance certificate for the subject area. WorkCover has inspected the site and will provide a written report to the school when it is ready. The school principal is keeping parents informed about the situation.”

Meanwhile, work to remediate asbestos contamination at Copper Tom Point on Lake Jindabyne has been delayed by wet weather.

Work was due to be completed by the end of February, and members of the public have been asked to avoid the area until the remediation works are complete.

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Contractors disturb asbestos at Berridale Public School

Italy court annuls conviction for Swiss billionaire in asbestos scandal

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s top court has overturned an 18-year jail sentence for a Swiss billionaire convicted over his role in the country’s biggest asbestos scandal, saying too much time had passed since the alleged wrongdoing.

Stephan Schmidheiny was found guilty in 2012 of negligence at his company’s Italian factories in the 1970s and 80s, which eventually led to almost 3,000 asbestos-related deaths.

However, in a ruling that stunned relatives of the dead, Italy’s highest court annulled the verdict late on Wednesday, saying the statute of limitations had kicked in.

The decision means that the Swiss businessman will also escape having to pay millions of euros in fines and compensation ordered by Italian courts in 2012 and 2013.

Prosecutors in the original trial said Schmidheiny had not taken sufficient measures to protect the health of workers and nearby residents from the asbestos used at the Italian plants of his building material firm Eternit.

The factories had used asbestos in the production of cement. The plants closed in 1986, but workers and local residents continue to suffer the consequences, with Italy’s biggest union saying that the latest victim of an asbestos-related disease was only buried on Saturday.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said the ruling underscored the need to reform Italy’s notoriously snail-paced judicial system. “We need to ensure that trials take less time, and change the statute of limitations,” he told RTL 102.5 radio on Thursday.

Schmidheiny had been accused of causing an environmental disaster — a charge which expires under Italy’s statute of limitations. Prosecutors said they were now reviewing other possible legal avenues to bring the case back to court.

Schmidheiny’s spokesman called for all legal proceedings to be halted, saying the company had already paid “many tens of millions of euros” in compensation to the victims since 2008.

The company said Schmidheiny had never played an operational role in the management of its Italian activities and said it had only been the major shareholder in the Eternit unit for 10 out of its 80-year history.

According to prosecutors, Eternit’s products were used to pave streets and used as roof insulation around its plants in northern and southern Italy, resulting in years of exposure for the unsuspecting local population.

Asbestos became popular from the late 19th century onwards as a way to reinforce cement. But research later revealed that the inhalation of asbestos fibres can cause lung inflammation and cancer. It is now banned in much of the world.

(Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Crispian Balmer)


Italy court annuls conviction for Swiss billionaire in asbestos scandal

Major Asbestos Violations Result in $370,000+ in Fines for Two Companies

An investigation by Washington’s Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) into a demolition project at a Seattle apartment building found a total of 19 willful and serious safety and health violations. As a result, the two businesses involved in the project have been fined a total of $379,100.

Partners Construction Inc., of Federal Way, Wash., was cited for a total of 14 willful and serious violations and fined $291,950. Asbestos Construction Management Inc., of Bonney Lake, Wash., was fined $87,150 for five willful and serious violations.

The violations were for asbestos exposure to workers, asbestos debris left on site and other violations that occurred during demolition of an apartment building in the Fremont neighborhood. The three-story, five-unit apartment building was originally constructed with “popcorn” ceilings, a white substance containing asbestos fibers, as well as asbestos sheet vinyl flooring.

Asbestos is an extremely hazardous material that can lead to asbestosis, a potentially fatal disease, as well as mesothelioma and lung cancer. Removal of asbestos-containing building materials must be done by a certified abatement contractor who follows safety and health rules to protect workers and the public from exposure to asbestos. The contractor also must ensure proper removal and disposal of the asbestos materials.

Partners Construction Inc., a certified asbestos abatement contractor at the time, was hired by the building owner to remove the asbestos before the apartment building was demolished.

After several weeks, Partners provided the building owner with a letter of completion indicating that all asbestos had been removed. When L&I inspectors responded to a worker complaint, the inspectors found that the removal work had not been done and approximately 5,400 square feet of popcorn ceiling remained throughout, as well as asbestos sheet vinyl flooring.

Partners came back to finish the abatement work; however, due to a prior history of willful violations, L&I was in the process of revoking Partners’ certification to do asbestos abatement work. In May, Partners was decertified and went out of business.

A new company, Asbestos Construction Management Inc. (ACM), owned by a family member of the Partners owner, took over the job using essentially the same workers and certified asbestos supervisor as Partners, and sharing the same equipment.

A subsequent L&I inspection of ACM found many of the same violations as in the Partners’ inspection. L&I has initiated decertification action against ACM.

The employers have 15 business days to appeal the citation.

Penalty money paid as a result of a citation is placed in the workers’ compensation supplemental pension fund, helping injured workers and families of those who have died on the job.

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Major Asbestos Violations Result in $370,000+ in Fines for Two Companies

2 companies fined $380,000 over asbestos exposure

OLYMPIA — After state regulators cited and decertified Partners Construction for exposing its workers to asbestos at a Seattle apartment project, a family member from the company started a new business to take its place on the same project.

That business, Asbestos Construction Management, shared workers and equipment used by Partners Construction.

Together, the businesses are being fined about $380,000, according to the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

The violations occurred during the demolition of an apartment building in the Fremont neighborhood where the companies were supposed to remove asbestos before the building was torn down. A three-story building with five units, it featured “popcorn” ceilings and vinyl floors that both contained asbestos.

An L&I investigation between February and May revealed nearly 19 “willful and serious” safety and health violations between work done by the two companies. Workers were exposed to asbestos, and hazardous debris was left on site, according to a statement Friday from L&I.

Donald Murray, listed in state documents as the owner of Asbestos Construction Management, did not return a call or email seeking comment.

Asbestos, a mineral fiber found in soil and rocks, has been used in buildings and automobiles, among other things, and today is used in small amounts in a few products. It can cause mesothelioma and lung cancer, and even has its own potentially fatal disease named after it: asbestosis.

The state fined Partners Construction, which was based in Federal Way, for $291,950 for 14 violations. Asbestos Construction Management, of Bonney Lake, was fined $87,150 for five violations.

Before Partners Construction was decertified to handle asbestos and went out of business, it provided the apartment building’s owner in March with a letter stating that all asbestos had been removed.

But when L&I inspectors responded to a worker complaint, they found the site “grossly contaminated,” with about 5,400 square feet of popcorn ceiling and some vinyl flooring remaining in the building.

The companies have 15 business days to appeal the citations. Money paid toward the citations are put in a workers’ compensation pension fund to help injured workers, as well as families of workers who have died.

And L&I is pursuing further action against Asbestos Construction Management.

“We are taking steps to decertify that company,” said Elaine Fischer, spokeswoman for L&I. “We’ve begun the process; they’ve been notified.”

Joseph O’Sullivan: 360-236-8268

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2 companies fined $380,000 over asbestos exposure

No prosecutions in Chch asbestos investigation

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

An investigation into how asbestos was managed in Christchurch after the 2011 earthquake has found some deficiencies but no reason to prosecute anyone.

WorkSafe New Zealand has completed its review of asbestos management in the Canterbury Home Repair Programme.

WorkSafe launched the inquiry earlier this year after allegations surfaced about possible inadequacies in the Earthquake Commission (EQC) and Fletcher EQR’s systems for identifying and managing asbestos hazards during early stages of the Canterbury rebuild.

Gordon MacDonald, WorkSafe chief executive, said the investigation did find some deficiencies in the management of asbestos during early parts of the Home Repair Programme.

However, WorkSafe said the risk of harm to workers and residents was very low and prosecution was not justified. The risk to residents was likely to have been even lower, WorkSafe said.

“Given the scale of work in Canterbury it’s inevitable there were instances where work was not up to best practice and our investigation did identify shortcomings with the management of asbestos,” Mr MacDonald said.

“It has to be remembered that in the weeks and months after the Canterbury earthquakes there was an incredible amount of work done – both demolitions and emergency repairs. People and organisations were stretched and conditions were far from ideal,” he added.

Mr MacDonald said contractors had significantly improved the way they managed asbestos. He said WorkSafe and its Canterbury Rebuild Safety Charter partners had also educated tradespeople and contractors about health risks asbestos posed.

WorkSafe said the investigation included reviews of EQC and Fletcher EQR documentation, their systems and processes. It also included interviews with management, contractors and residents.

Investigators also carried out property inspections and asbestos testing in a few houses – including surface and air testing.

WorkSafe said it also hired independent experts to review research conducted on behalf of Fletcher EQR into breathable fibre release during certain types of repair work.


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No prosecutions in Chch asbestos investigation

Canterbury asbestos investigation: No charges to be laid

WorkSafe New Zealand has concluded its investigation into the management of asbestos in the Canterbury Home Repair Programme and has decided not to lay any charges.

WorkSafe launched an investigation earlier this year in response to allegations about the adequacy of the Earthquake Commission and Fletcher EQR’s systems for identifying and managing the hazard of asbestos during the initial stages of the Canterbury rebuild.

WorkSafe’s chief executive, Gordon MacDonald, says that the investigation found that there were some deficiencies in the management of asbestos during the early phases of the Home Repair Programme. However, given what we know about the type of work carried in the Home Repair Programme the risk of harm to workers and residents was very low and prosecution was not justified.

“Exposure to asbestos is a very real occupational health hazard, and one that WorkSafe takes very seriously. That’s why we undertook a thorough investigation of the circumstances.”

That investigation included:

– extensive reviews of EQC and Fletcher EQR documentation, their systems and processes

– interviews with management, contractors and residents

– property inspections and asbestos testing in a limited number of houses – including surface and air testing WorkSafe also contracted independent experts to review research conducted on behalf of Fletcher EQR into breathable fibre release during certain types of repair work

The investigation found there were some deficiencies in the management of asbestos and the process of testing for its presence prior to work beginning during the early phases of the Home Repair Programme. However, the level of asbestos likely to have been released was very low, as was the risk to workers. The risk to residents is likely to have been even lower.

“Given the scale of work in Canterbury it’s inevitable there were instances where work was not up to best practice and our investigation did identify shortcomings with the management of asbestos. But based on our investigation and expert advice WorkSafe is satisfied the over-all risks from asbestos in the Home Repair Programme have been very low.

“It has to be remembered that in the weeks and months after the Canterbury earthquakes there was an incredible amount of work done – both demolitions and emergency repairs. People and organisations were stretched and conditions were far from ideal.

“Over the course of the Home Repair Programme considerable improvements have been made in the way asbestos has been managed by contractors, and WorkSafe and its Canterbury Rebuild Safety Charter partners have worked hard to educate tradespeople and contractors about the occupational health risks asbestos pose.

“Let me be absolutely clear about this; asbestos is not something to be taken lightly and the risks of exposure need to be very carefully managed. WorkSafe will continue to work with all companies involved in the rebuild to ensure that asbestos is managed appropriately – and to ensure the lessons learned in Canterbury are heeded nationwide,” says Gordon MacDonald.

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Canterbury asbestos investigation: No charges to be laid

Asbestos proves to be a microscopic road block near Boulder City


L.E. Baskow

UNLV geology professor Brenda Buck and associate professor Rodney Metcalf confer over samples in their lab. They found asbestos in Boulder City that is delaying construction of a highway bypass.

In November 2011, two UNLV scientists touched carbon tape to a sample of bluish-grey mineral on the face of a rock found south of Henderson, then placed it under a microscope. The computer screen showed telltale white fibers, long and slim, like miniature straws.

Asbestos is a mineral fiber found in rock and soil. In the ’60s and ’70s, it was a popular building material.

• Eldorado Hills, Calif.: Naturally occurring asbestos was found in this Sacramento suburb in September 2003 in the soil of the high school. In less than a year, after about $2.5 million in cleanup costs, the EPA and Oak Ridge High significantly cut the health risk to students by landscaping to reduce dust and prevent asbestos fibers from getting airborne.

• Clear Creek Management Area, Calif.: Atop one of the largest asbestos deposits in the world, this recreation area sits on a 29,000-acre serpentine deposit in San Benito and Fresno counties. Inside is the Atlas Asbestos Mine Superfund site, which first got the EPA’s attention in 1984 when large amounts of erosion caused asbestos to flow downstream into the California aqueduct. Since then, the water has been cleaned up, all the mines closed and measures taken to stop erosion. The Bureau of Land Management designated the area as hazardous and propped asbestos warning signs up at entrance points.

• Libby Superfund Site, Mont.: Libby, a former mining town of fewer than 3,000, has been on the EPA’s National Priorities List of most contaminated sites since 1983. In June 2009, it was designated a public health emergency. Contamination was town-wide, partly because residents used vermiculite as a soil additive in their gardens.

• North Ridge Estates Superfund Site, Ore.: Also on the National Priorities List, North Ridge Estates is a residential subdivision near Klamath Falls. Asbestos remnants were found across 50 acres of the neighborhood. The source: demolition debris from the Marine Recuperational Barracks, a complex of about 80 1940s-era buildings that housed soldiers recovering from tropical illnesses. In 2005, exposure risk was determined to be so high that residents were temporarily relocated for the summer when children were on school break and the climate was driest and windiest.

• Torch Lake Superfund, Mich.: From 1868 to 1968, copper mining and smelting operations dumped an estimated 200 million pounds of toxic tailings containing asbestos into Torch Lake on the east side of Lake Michigan. The primary concern is the ecosystem, particularly bottom-dwelling animals whose volume was, pre-cleanup, 20 percent contaminant.

• Carter Carburetor, Mo.: Carter Carburetor, a gasoline and diesel engine manufacturing plant just outside of St. Louis, was active from the 1920s to about 1984, when it was dismantled. Asbestos, found in machinery, furniture and building parts, along with toxic polychlorinated biphenyls and trichloroethylene used in the manufacturing process, were found at unacceptable levels.

It was what they feared: asbestos.

Asbestos used to be modern society’s friend — its strong, flexible, heat-resistant fibers mined and spun into insulation, fireproofing and decorative ceiling finishes. Only later was it discovered that, in certain forms, it can cause respiratory problems including scarred and inflamed lungs and, in extreme cases, cancer.

When UNLV geoscientists Brenda Buck, Rodney Metcalf and their colleagues published a scientific paper eight months ago on the presence of naturally occurring asbestos in Clark County, the effects were immediate and potentially far-reaching.

The discovery has stalled plans, more than 10 years in the making, to build a $490 million highway detour around Boulder City so traffic can move smoothly between Las Vegas and Arizona. Until that new highway is built, tourists, truckers and commuters must use Highway 93, which slices into town and slows miserably on busy days.

Beyond that, the first evidence of naturally occurring asbestos in Clark County may conceivably affect development not yet imagined. Asbestos becomes dangerous when disturbed, when it can be inhaled. That means construction potentially could whirl up a deadly cloud. Because the asbestos is a part of the landscape, cleanup is tough.

Bypass delays have frustrated the town.

“We can’t handle the traffic,” Boulder City Mayor Roger Tobler said. “If there’s an accident, it shuts down the whole town. I think this community is tired of what’s going on, and they have been for 10 years.”

The Nevada Department of Transportation and Regional Transportation Commission, partners in the bypass project, are frustrated too, with their own questions: Where exactly is the asbestos-carrying rock? Will construction activity stir it into the air? What is the health risk to workers and travelers?

Construction was scheduled to begin this spring but was put on hold in April to allow for asbestos testing and analysis. Results are expected next month.

NDOT, which is leading Phase I of the project — a 2.5-mile connector heading east from Highway 95 — is prepared to begin construction as soon as it gets the green light. The RTC’s work — a 12.5-mile stretch that finishes the bypass to near the Colorado River — isn’t scheduled to begin until early 2015.

But construction plans may have to be adjusted to reduce workers’ exposure to dust, and bids still need to be sought for contractors.

“Everyone wants to make sure that we proceed in the right manner, and I think we’re doing that,” Tobler said. “I don’t think (the asbestos) is going to hurt the project like it has in other places. I think we’ll be able to move forward.”

But asbestos has a history of slowing major public work projects. In Ambler, Alaska, its presence in a gravel pit stalled an airport expansion and sewage lagoon project for more than a decade. Outside San Jose, Calif., it delayed a $718 million dam replacement for at least three years, and workers now are required to wear protective clothing and decontaminate before leaving the site.

There are no federal regulations for dealing with naturally occurring asbestos. It’s left to states to create regulations based on Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines addressing dust control, monitoring of air and soil, and worker exposure.

Nevada hasn’t created such regulations. Native asbestos doesn’t fall under county air quality standards, and Nevada OSHA has yet to address worker protection. For the most part, everyone is waiting for the test results or for the problem to come knocking on their door. Even the EPA, though aware of the Boulder City asbestos and acting as an adviser for mitigation, is waiting for a request from local officials before getting directly involved.

Meanwhile, Buck and Metcalf continue the research that sparked the issue.

Buck, who specializes in medical geology, started the asbestos study in 2011. A sample from the McCullough Range in Clark County, just south of Henderson, showed mineral actinolite — one of the six regulated forms of asbestos.

They teamed with scientists from the University of Hawaii, home to leading researchers on medical asbestos exposure, and started writing proposals for additional research funding, which they received in spring 2013. The mineral trail led them from the rolling, rocky hills of the McCullough Range overlooking Lake Mead to Highway 93 at Eldorado Dry Lake, a popular site for off-roading and Fourth of July parties, to the heart of Boulder City, beside Martha P. King Elementary School, and the outskirts of its southern and eastern neighborhoods. Every sample contained the fibrous amphiboles.

What was particularly concerning was that the type of asbestos fibers the geologists discovered are known to be particularly dangerous, and their breadth was much more extensive than what the UNLV team originally had thought.

“As soon as we found this out, we worked as fast as we could and as hard as we could to get the data published so that we could inform the public,” Buck said.

The fibers were similar to those found in Libby, Mont., where asbestos-rich mineral vermiculite was mined, leading to the town’s designation 15 years ago as a Superfund site. Many Libby residents have been diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses, including cancer, due in part to their churning vermiculite into their gardens and vegetable patches as a soil conditioner.

The size and shape of the fibers, along with the type of mineral, determine how toxic it is. If it’s small enough, it becomes respirable. Of the fibers Buck and Metcalf found, 97 percent were respirable.

Dormant, undisturbed asbestos isn’t typically a problem. It’s often left in buildings and insulation because it isn’t dangerous unless it becomes airborne. In fact, the act of removing it often presents more danger than leaving it alone.

But that won’t be possible in construction of the highway bypass because explosives are needed to cut a route through the hills.

Thus the challenge: How to ensure the health of construction workers and motorists?

Part of the task includes assessing how extensive the asbestos is. To that end, the geologists are training the transportation departments’ asbestos analysts to spot the kind of rock that hosts the fibers.

There is no known amount of safe exposure to asbestos. But Michele Carbone, a leading researcher of mesothelioma, the cancer linked with asbestos exposure, said the immediate health risks are minimal. Risk rises with the amount of exposure and the concentration of fibers. Signs of the disease may not be evident for 40 years or more.

“Obviously, there is a significant risk, but the odds are you won’t get cancer,” Carbone said. “It takes significant, prolonged exposure. It’s not like shaking hands with someone, and you get the disease. People shouldn’t panic.”

Carbone, of the University of Hawaii, is working with Metcalf and Buck to test their samples on animal and human cells. His colleague Francine Baumann, an epidemiologist specializing in asbestos exposure, is looking at rates of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses in Southern Nevada to determine if the population already is at risk. She’s looking for trends of disease in young people and women, people least likely to be affected from working in places where asbestos might be present.

Nevada is not a hot spot for the disease; as of 2009, mesothelioma struck only about 20 Nevadans a year, keeping pace with the national average.

“Until we know more, one solution is to try and reduce exposure,” Buck said.

Off-road enthusiasts, for instance, may be encouraged to ride somewhere other than the Eldorado Valley.

Today, Buck and Metcalf are mapping the area where the asbestos may lurk, looking into areas with similar geology such as Searchlight, Laughlin and Lake Mead. And they’re trying to get funding to collect air samples, to determine the risk of exposure from different activities, including four-wheeling, horseback riding or simply taking a walk in areas that contain the asbestos.

When they go into the field, they’re careful, wearing respiratory devices and protective clothing. They take their own cars instead of the UNLV geoscience department’s vehicles, so they don’t expose students. They’ve notified UNLV geology, biology and anthropology departments to close down contaminated zones to fieldwork.

They’re worried about their own exposure, having spent years in the field kicking up dust and hammering into contaminated rock. They’re hoping it’s not as bad as it could be.

But they won’t know the answers until their research is complete.

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Asbestos proves to be a microscopic road block near Boulder City

Asbestos exposure in schools case sees cancer sufferer paid £275,000 by Devon County Council

Chris Wallace

Chris Wallace was awarded an out of court settlement by Devon County Council after claiming he developed cancer after being exposed to asbestos in school in South Molton in the 1990s and 1980s.

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A “UNIQUE case” where a man claimed he was exposed to asbestos as a schoolboy in South Molton and developed cancer has seen a £275,000 payout by Devon County Council.

Between 1982 and 1993 Chris Wallace went to Yeo Valley Primary School, Yeo Valley Junior School, South Molton JuniorSchool and South Molton Community College.

The 36-year-old was diagnosed with asbestos-related terminal cancer of an organ lining at the age of 30.

Known as peritoneal mesothelioma, this form of cancer grows in tissues covering the abdomen and can lie dormant for up to 40 years.

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Mr Wallace’s claim was settled by the council just weeks before the case went to court and it awarded him the money without admitting liability.

Mr Wallace, who has since moved to Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, took great care in recollecting times of when he may have come into contact with asbestos during school.He collated examples ahead of the case, which will now not be heard.

Mr Wallace was reported as saying: “It was a very difficult case, having to prove you were there and that you were exposed to a certain level.

“The council has to take a large chunk of responsibility. They know it’s in the building and children are at risk of getting to it.

“It’s down to them to ensure it’s removed safely.”

Devon County Council said this was the first case of a former pupil taking such legal action.

A spokesman for Devon County Council said: “This is a unique case and the only time a former Devon school pupil has taken legal action in these circumstances.

“We obviously have every sympathy with Mr Wallace for his illness. But it is important to point out that the case was settled out of court without any admission of liability from Devon County Council.

““Devon County Council takes great care to manage asbestos in its buildings and that includes regular inspections. Asbestos is safe as long as it isn’t disturbed.

“All Devon schools have been surveyed for asbestos and each school holds a full record of any asbestos in its buildings.

“This identifies where asbestos is located, its condition and our safety policies. Contractors are also required to sign the asbestos list on any visit which has the potential to disturb the asbestos.

“Schools have their own Asbestos Management Plans which detail their local arrangements, including communication between the school, parents and staff.”

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Asbestos exposure in schools case sees cancer sufferer paid £275,000 by Devon County Council

Asbestos found in Waukesha renovation project

WAUKESHA- A viewer contacted CBS 58 recently, concerned about whether she and her fellow tenants were being exposed to deadly Asbestos, we looked into it.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said on Wednesday that at least four workers at a renovation project at 260 South Street in Waukesha were exposed to Asbestos.

The DNR also did more tests at the site on Wednesday.

Mark Davis with the DNR said when the building owner, Berg Management, recently began renovating the garage portion of the building into downtown apartments, they violated NR-447, meaning an Asbestos inspection was not done prior to tearing out some ceilings and building materials.

He also added that materials were put in a dumpster and not properly disposed of.

Initial DNR samples showed Asbestos levels ranging from 19 to 24 percent, anything over one percent is regulated.

Berg Management explained that this may have been an oversight in their planning.

They currently have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Berg said that when they started construction they had all the valid permits from the city.

Construction is currently at a standstill as the investigation continues.

The company insists they will do the proper remediation and hope that construction will kick back up in one or two weeks.

Citations can be given in situations and, if it is serious enough, the Wisconsin Department of Justice can get involved.

The DNR thinks that a furnace may be spreading the asbestos to other tenants, but that isn’t conclusive at this point.

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Asbestos found in Waukesha renovation project