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September 18, 2018

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

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.

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Asbestos at federal building was a surprise to electrician

Asbestos risk 'very low' in quake repairs: Worksafe

Asbestos risk ‘very low’ in quake repairs: Worksafe

CECILE MEIER

Last updated 17:38, December 8 2014

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) failed to manage asbestos risks in earthquake home repairs, a report says.

WorkSafe New Zealand has released its findings from an investigation into EQC’s Canterbury home repair programme, which began in 2011. It found deficiencies but not enough to lay charges because the risks to homeowners and contractors had been “very low”.

The investigation found:

– Prior to June 2012, asbestos was seldom discussed or tested for.

– EQC contractors took waste from repairs to a dump that was not approved for asbestos-contaminated material.

– Within a sample of 35 home repairs, WorkSafe found contractors often started repairs “without [providing] any record of an adequate safety plan”. There were only 12 safety plans in the sample of 35 home repairs.

– Six out of 10 homes tested as part of the investigation contained asbestos. In these houses, repairs had been completed without prior testing.

Canterbury medical officer of health Dr Alistair Humphrey questioned the findings because 10 homes only had been tested as part of the investigation.

“To hold such firm conclusions after testing on such a small sample seems to be drawing an extremely long bow knowing at least 9000 homes are likely to contain asbestos,”he said.

EQC chief executive Ian Simpson defended his organisation, saying EQC prioritised the “most pressing needs” of Cantabrians after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. 


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The investigation was inconclusive about how many houses were tested but found testing had been insufficient, especially in the programme’s first year.

EQC’s safety system had been inadequate and lacked monitoring and feedback processes. The report said poor management of asbestos risk may have extended to quality management of the repairs.

It also said EQC had not sought clarification of the potential risks before deciding this year not to retrospectively test repaired homes. No clear reason for this decision was provided, the report found.

However, experts said overall the risks associated with the type of repair work being carried out was “unlikely to cause any asbestos-related deaths”. 

Simpson said the research found even in a worst-case scenario, the risks did not reach a level where a single worker could be expected to develop mesothelioma or lung cancer. 

“Our priority was to get people into safe and warm homes as soon as possible.

“We focussed first on removing potentially lethal hazards such as unstable chimneys, providing or repairing heating before the onset of winter, and ensuring homes were weather tight.”

Contractors had been required to manage health and safety risks on site – including asbestos – from the start of the programme, he said. 

The independent research cited in the WorkSafe report was commissioned by Fletcher EQR and conducted by Australian health risk consultants Greencap NAA. WorkSafe’s experts reviewed this research as part of its investigation.


– The Press

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Asbestos risk 'very low' in quake repairs: Worksafe

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) Selected to Present at Australian Asbestos Safety and Eradication …

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), the largest independent non-profit organization in the U.S. which combines education, advocacy, and community to help ensure justice for asbestos victims; has been selected to present at the Australian Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA)’s 1st International Conference on Asbestos Awareness and Management on November 16-18, 2014 in Melbourne.

“ADAO is tremendously honored to have been formally invited, alongside many of the world’s top ban asbestos leaders, to participate and present in this world class event,” stated ADAO President and Co-Founder Linda Reinstein. “I am pleased about the level at which this event furthers our efforts as a truly global organization focused on helping to implement a worldwide ban. We applaud ASEA for their leadership and continued proactive stance to help build an extensive system to protect its citizens – a plan that many other countries would like to emulate.”

ADAO’s participation in the event, titled “Working towards an asbestos free Australia”, is diverse:

  • Dr. Richard Lemen, Co-Chair of the ADAO Science Advisory Board, will give the international keynote on “Asbestos and Public Health: A US Perspective” at the plenary session on November 17.
  • ADAO President and Co-Founder, Linda Reinstein, will be presenting a keynote speech on “The importance of building and sustaining strategic global and domestic partnerships” followed by a panel discussion with Paul Bastian, National Secretary at Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union and Kate Lee, Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA, Australian Council of Trade Unions at afternoon session on November 17.
  • Ms. Reinstein will also participate in the “Creating an Environment for Change” panel on November 18, which also includes Dr. Ken Takahashi, Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre, Japan; in addition to Peter Tighe, Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency Chief Executive Officer; and Laurie Kazan-Allen, Coordinator, International Ban Asbestos Secretariat.

Peter Tighe, ASEA Chief Executive Officer, remarked: “November is (Australia’s) National Asbestos Awareness Month and the [ASEA] agency has organized a conference featuring well renowned international experts in asbestos management, health, advocacy and governance to challenge delegates into thinking how Australia can drive change in our region and globally when it comes to the continued manufacturing and distribution of asbestos containing materials. This event will provide a stimulating and entertaining environment for delegates and stakeholders to discuss the big issues facing them in raising awareness about the dangers of asbestos in our work and domestic environment and how it can be managed into the future.”

Interested parties can obtain more information at ADAO’s conference webpage and obtain a full program at the ASEA conference site.

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.

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 www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org.

Contact:
Media:

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO)

Kim Cecchini, 202-391-5205

Media Relations


Kim@asbestosdiseaseawareness.org

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Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) Selected to Present at Australian Asbestos Safety and Eradication …

Garlock Sealing Technologies Files Amended Plan of Reorganization

CHARLOTTE, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC (GST), a subsidiary of EnPro Industries, Inc. (NPO), today will file an amended plan of reorganization that provides $275 million for resolution of all unsettled current asbestos claims as well as future asbestos claims against GST. The plan will be filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina and incorporate the Bankruptcy Court’s determination that $125 million is sufficient to satisfy GST’s aggregate liability for present and future mesothelioma claims. The plan document will be posted in the Investor Relations section of the company’s website, www.enproindustries.com, after the plan is filed.

The plan calls for (1) a $245 million Settlement Facility that would receive and settle claims for cash payments based on objective criteria outlined in the plan and (2) a $30 million Litigation Facility that would defend suits by claimants who choose to litigate. Under the plan, in addition to paying claimants choosing to settle, the Settlement Facility would contribute amounts necessary to defend and resolve each claim subject to litigation up to the settlement amount for which a litigating claimant would qualify under the Settlement Facility’s resolution procedures. The Litigation Facility would pay all costs in excess of such amount. In addition, the plan requires asbestos claimants alleging they reached legally binding settlements with GST before GST’s Chapter 11 filing on June 4, 2010 to file proofs of claim. Any such claimants proving they have binding settlements will be paid in full by GST; these payments will be in addition to GST’s payments to the Settlement and Litigation Facilities.

“GST’s amended plan of reorganization provides fair compensation to claimants and permanent resolution to all asbestos claims against GST,” said Steve Macadam, president and chief executive officer of EnPro. “By providing funding greater than GST’s legal liability, the plan will facilitate the resolution of the vast majority of claims by settlement rather than litigation, saving litigation costs and ensuring that claimants are paid in full. It is solidly based in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and supported by precedents in other non-asbestos bankruptcy cases.”

The $245 million Settlement Facility will be funded by a $215 million lump-sum cash contribution from GST and a $30 million lump-sum cash contribution by Coltec Industries, Inc., GST’s parent company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of EnPro Industries. Coltec’s $30 million contribution will permanently settle derivative claims seeking to hold Coltec and its affiliates, including EnPro, liable for asbestos diseases allegedly caused by GST’s products. At confirmation of the plan, GST will ask the court to confirm the plan, discharge asbestos claims against GST, approve the settlement with Coltec, and issue an injunction prohibiting claimants from bringing derivative claims against Coltec and its affiliates. The contributions to the Settlement Facility will be made when the plan is confirmed.

During the confirmation process, GST will offer expert and other evidence that the amounts provided for the Settlement Facility and Litigation Facility are sufficient to resolve all mesothelioma claims, other types of asbestos-related cancer and non-cancer claims, and to pay all costs associated with administration of the facilities. The Settlement Facility will be managed by an independent trustee applying objective medical and product exposure criteria. The plan assures that all future claims will receive equivalent treatment to similar current claims and provides sufficient funding to cover all current and future claimants.

Claimants who choose not to resolve their claims through the Settlement Facility will be entitled to litigate their claims against the $30 million Litigation Facility. The Litigation Facility will be funded and managed by GST’s affiliate, Garrison Litigation Management Group, Ltd. Claimants who seek litigation will be entitled to have their cases heard before a jury in federal court under federal rules of evidence and civil procedure. Litigation will be centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. Importantly, claimants choosing litigation must abide by a case management order that will require the disclosure of information about their claims, and thereby reduce litigation costs for the Litigation Facility and protect the Litigation Facility from the abusive litigation practices that the Bankruptcy Court found inflated GST’s settlements and verdicts prior to the bankruptcy case. Claimants will be required to disclose all of their asbestos product exposures and submit to audit procedures that prevent them from making inconsistent exposure allegations against bankruptcy trusts.

In the confirmation process, GST will offer evidence, including opinions from experts, that the amount proposed for the Litigation Facility is more than sufficient to pay judgments and litigation costs for all claims that are likely to be litigated. GST will also demonstrate that the vast majority of projected claimants will choose settlement over litigation.

“While we continue to believe a consensual plan would offer the most expedient path to resolution,” Macadam said, “we are confident GST’s plan can be approved by the Bankruptcy Court as submitted and provide final and permanent resolution of all asbestos claims against GST.”

Conference Call and Webcast Information

EnPro will host a conference call on Friday, May 30, at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time to discuss the plan with investors. Investors may access the call by dialing (800) 851-4704 and the access code 52058732. The call will also be webcast on the company’s website, www.enproindustries.com.

Forward Looking Statements

Statements in this press release that express a belief, expectation or intention, as well as those that are not historical fact, are forward-looking statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. They involve a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause actual events and results to differ materially from such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: the risk that GST may be unable to obtain necessary Bankruptcy Court approval of the plan, the actions and decisions of creditors and other third parties that have an interest in the bankruptcy proceedings, the terms and conditions of any reorganization plan that is ultimately approved by the Bankruptcy Court, delays in the confirmation or effective date of a plan of reorganization due to factors beyond GST’s control, and risks and uncertainties affecting GST and Coltec’s ability to fund anticipated contributions under the plan as a result of adverse changes in their results of operations, financial condition and capital resources, including as a result of economic factors beyond their control. Our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013, describe other risks and uncertainties. Except as may be required by law, we do not undertake to update any forward-looking statement made in this press release to reflect any change in management’s expectations or any change in the assumptions or circumstances on which such statements are based.

About EnPro Industries

EnPro Industries, Inc. is a leader in sealing products, metal polymer and filament wound bearings, components and service for reciprocating compressors, diesel and dual-fuel engines and other engineered products for use in critical applications by industries worldwide. For more information about EnPro, visit the company’s website at http://www.enproindustries.com.

Contact:
EnPro Industries, Inc.
Don Washington, 704-731-1527
Director, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
don.washington@enproindustries.com

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Garlock Sealing Technologies Files Amended Plan of Reorganization

Locals criticise asbestos waste plan

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Locals criticise asbestos waste plan

Nearby asbestos shuts down Mooers Elementary

MOOERS — Asbestos detected in the debris of a building here halted cleanup in its tracks and prompted closure of Mooers Elementary School.

There will be no classes there on Monday — and not until after the school and grounds are tested and found clear of contamination, Northeastern Clinton Central School Interim Superintendent Paul A. Scott said.

‘AS IF ASBESTOS’

The Elementary School is located about a block from the debris of the former E.F. Drown Funeral Home on the corner of Route 11 and Maple Street, which collapsed on Jan. 11. ;

Property owner Eloi Duguay, who lives in Quebec, let a 60-day deadline go by without hauling away the rubble, said Mooers Code Enforcement Officer Jess Dixon, who is also public-safety officer.

Meanwhile, Town Supervisor Jeff Menard ;was looking into the protocol for removal of debris with possible asbestos. He was told to contact the State Department of Labor.

That agency, he said, told him that since the structure had already been razed the rubble should be treated as if the contaminant were there.

But they got no further guidance, the town supervisor said.

So he tapped Bedard’s Excavation for the job, as it has, he said, some kind of asbestos-removal certification.

“He said they would watch for asbestos as they were clearing (the debris).”

‘TURNED US IN’

Work began on Monday, April 7, and resumed the next day, with about 80 tons of debris hauled away.

But then the Department of Labor showed up, ordered the effort halted and checked for asbestos.

“Apparently, somebody got jealous because they didn’t get the (cleanup) contract and turned us in,” Menard said.

Dixon said the state representative who came to Mooers that day didn’t outline what steps needed to be taken next.

“They took their samples and headed back to Albany,” he said. “It was irritating.”

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Nearby asbestos shuts down Mooers Elementary

Asbestos dumped outside public toilet

Asbestos sheets left outside public toilet on Elm Road, Leigh, for more than two weeks

Echo: Risk to the public – construction worker Nigel Low with asbestos dumped outside the public toilets on Elm Road

Risk to the public – construction worker Nigel Low with asbestos dumped outside the public toilets on Elm Road

A BUILDER has hit out at the council for waiting more than two weeks to remove dumped asbestos from a public toilet.

The asbestos was identified by Nigel Low, 45, a construction worker of Leamington Road, Southchurch, who spotted it outside the toilets in Elm Road while walking his dog.

He believes the council has been slow in removing it, claiming he first called them about it three weeks ago.

Mr Low said: “I work on sites in London and have been given asbestos awareness training, so I knowwhat the material looks like.

“People are using the toilets and walking past and don’t even know what it is.

“It’s a public health risk, but the people I was speaking to at the council were nonchalant about it.

“I couldn’t believe it.”

A spokesman for the council said staff had been out to inspect the asbestos, but as it was not broken up, did not consider it an immediate risk.

Steven Crowther, Southend Council’s group manager for waste and environmental care, said: “A report was received on March 24 regarding two undamaged asbestos sheets that had been flytipped in Leigh.

“An environmental care officer visited the site the next day to assess the public health risk and begin an investigation. The asbestos sheets were solid, fully intact, undamaged, outside and deemed to pose no risk to the public in their undamaged state.

“The officer made several return trips to re-assess the risk.

“An investigation was undertaken as we have a duty to find out who dumped the material, potentially prosecute and ensure the offenders dispose of the material correctly and at their own cost.

“However, the investigation proved inconclusive, so we raised an order with our specialist contractor on April 9. Their contract with us means they have to remove waste for us within 48 hours.

“We would urge people to dispose of hazardous waste correctly and through authorised and licensed waste carriers, whose details are available on our website.”

Asbestos was popular for its sound absorption and resistance to heat, electrical and chemical damage, but can cause illnesses such as lung cancer.

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Asbestos dumped outside public toilet

'I just put on gloves and got on with it'

The asbestos was left on the verge for two months before the woman moved it back into her backyard.

The asbestos was left on the verge for two months before the woman moved it back into her backyard. Photo: Echo Newspapers

The Swan shire has come under fire for leaving a pile of asbestos on a verge in Middle Swan for around two months, without covering it or putting on any signage to warn people of the health hazard.

The debris was created when a resident on the corner of Bishop Road and Brown Street pulled down the fence and dumped it in the yard of the house next door – before she erected a new fence.

When unwitting tenants moved into the house on Brown Street they assumed the asbestos was fibro and took the pile to the tip.

But the tip refused to accept the asbestos because the hazardous material was not properly wrapped.

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Following his unsuccessful trip to the tip, the worried tenant put the asbestos on the verge to keep it away from his partner and her two children, and the pile has sat on the verge uncovered since before Christmas.

Brown Street resident Rita Reinholdtsen said at least six phone calls had been made to alert the shire about the asbestos on the verge by concerned neighbours, but it was not removed.

“Instead the owner of the fence kept getting extensions on the timeframe she was given to move the asbestos pile she had created.”

“At the very least the shire should have covered it or put tape around it or signs to alert people of the health risks.

“There’s a young lass next door who is pregnant, she walks to school with her four-year-old and her mother-in-law and they walk right past it every day.”

The Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia president Robert Vojakovic agreed the shire had been irresponsible.

“It has been reported to the city, they know it’s on the verge, they can remove the asbestos and recoup the cost,” he said.

“The fact it has been allowed to sit on the verge since before Christmas is extraordinary.

“There is also the issue of risk management – you can’t expect ordinary people to clean this up.”

Shortly after Echo News put an enquiry in to the city the resident who originally pulled the fence down was told by a council representative she had to remove the pile as a priority.

So she, and her two teenage daughters, picked the asbestos sheets up off the verge and threw them back over the fence into thier backyard.

Mrs Reinholdtsen said she was horrified to watch them handle the asbestos without any masks on.

“They just had gloves and shorts on – no protective clothing and obviously they don’t understand that fibres get stuck in your clothing and lungs.”

The woman who removed the asbestos said she recieved no help from the shire.

“I would have been fine paying back the shire if they removed the asbestos and then billed me but when I asked them who could I contact to remove the pile for us, if they knew a contractor, I was told to use Google.”

She said she felt pressured after a phone call from the shire on Tuesday, so she put on some gloves and just got on with it.

But Slater & Gordon asbestos lawyer Laine McDonald said residents who cleaned up disturbed asbestos risked being exposed, especially without adequate respiratory protection.

“Around 250 Western Australians die every year from asbestos-related diseases and as long as asbestos products remain in our community we continue to be at risk.”

A Department of Health spokesperson said the City of Swan’s environmental health officer was the first point of contact for residential asbestos issues.

The spokesperson said if a resident had problems contacting the shire they could call the Health Department’s Environmental Health Directorate on 9388 4999.

“[The directorate] will follow-up with the relevant local government to ensure that any potential risk to public health has been appropriately managed.”

The spokesperson said it was not the City of Swan’s responsibility to remove the asbestos.

“But it can do if there is a default in complying with a notice, and costs can be recouped at a later stage.

“Under the Health (Asbestos) Regulations there is no set timeframe when asbestos needs to be removed.

“However, a notice or verbal advice would normally specify that this would be expected as soon as possible and practical.”

Mr McDonald said anyone who was worried about exposure to asbestos should add their details to Slater & Gordon’s online register.

“These important particulars are recorded in perpetuity, so that people don’t have to remember vital details if they’re dealing with an asbestos-related disease in decades to come.”

The City of Swan was contacted for comment.

– Echo Newspapers

Continued here:

'I just put on gloves and got on with it'

Asbestos debris left on verge for months

The asbestos was left on the verge for two months before the woman moved it back into her backyard.

The asbestos was left on the verge for two months before the woman moved it back into her backyard. Photo: Echo Newspapers

The Swan shire has come under fire for leaving a pile of asbestos on a verge in Middle Swan for around two months, without covering it or putting on any signage to warn people of the health hazard.

The debris was created when a resident on the corner of Bishop Road and Brown Street pulled down the fence and dumped it in the yard of the house next door – before she erected a new fence.

When unwitting tenants moved into the house on Brown Street they assumed the asbestos was fibro and took the pile to the tip.

But the tip refused to accept the asbestos because the hazardous material was not properly wrapped.

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Following his unsuccessful trip to the tip, the worried tenant put the asbestos on the verge to keep it away from his partner and her two children, and the pile has sat on the verge uncovered since before Christmas.

Brown Street resident Rita Reinholdtsen said at least six phone calls had been made to alert the shire about the asbestos on the verge by concerned neighbours, but it was not removed.

“Instead the owner of the fence kept getting extensions on the timeframe she was given to move the asbestos pile she had created.”

“At the very least the shire should have covered it or put tape around it or signs to alert people of the health risks.

“There’s a young lass next door who is pregnant, she walks to school with her four-year-old and her mother-in-law and they walk right past it every day.”

The Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia president Robert Vojakovic agreed the shire had been irresponsible.

“It has been reported to the city, they know it’s on the verge, they can remove the asbestos and recoup the cost,” he said.

“The fact it has been allowed to sit on the verge since before Christmas is extraordinary.

“There is also the issue of risk management – you can’t expect ordinary people to clean this up.”

Shortly after Echo News put an enquiry in to the city the resident who originally pulled the fence down was told by a council representative she had to remove the pile as a priority.

So she, and her two teenage daughters, picked the asbestos sheets up off the verge and threw them back over the fence into thier backyard.

Mrs Reinholdtsen said she was horrified to watch them handle the asbestos without any masks on.

“They just had gloves and shorts on – no protective clothing and obviously they don’t understand that fibres get stuck in your clothing and lungs.”

The woman who removed the asbestos said she recieved no help from the shire.

“I would have been fine paying back the shire if they removed the asbestos and then billed me but when I asked them who could I contact to remove the pile for us, if they knew a contractor, I was told to use Google.”

She said she felt pressured after a phone call from the shire on Tuesday, so she put on some gloves and just got on with it.

But Slater & Gordon asbestos lawyer Laine McDonald said residents who cleaned up disturbed asbestos risked being exposed, especially without adequate respiratory protection.

“Around 250 Western Australians die every year from asbestos-related diseases and as long as asbestos products remain in our community we continue to be at risk.”

A Department of Health spokesperson said the City of Swan’s environmental health officer was the first point of contact for residential asbestos issues.

The spokesperson said if a resident had problems contacting the shire they could call the Health Department’s Environmental Health Directorate on 9388 4999.

“[The directorate] will follow-up with the relevant local government to ensure that any potential risk to public health has been appropriately managed.”

The spokesperson said it was not the City of Swan’s responsibility to remove the asbestos.

“But it can do if there is a default in complying with a notice, and costs can be recouped at a later stage.

“Under the Health (Asbestos) Regulations there is no set timeframe when asbestos needs to be removed.

“However, a notice or verbal advice would normally specify that this would be expected as soon as possible and practical.”

Mr McDonald said anyone who was worried about exposure to asbestos should add their details to Slater & Gordon’s online register.

“These important particulars are recorded in perpetuity, so that people don’t have to remember vital details if they’re dealing with an asbestos-related disease in decades to come.”

The City of Swan was contacted for comment.

– Echo Newspapers

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Asbestos debris left on verge for months