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October 18, 2018

Asbestos pushed in Asia as product for the poor

VAISHALI, India (AP) — The executives mingled over tea and sugar cookies, and the chatter was upbeat. Their industry, they said at a conference in the Indian capital, saves lives and brings roofs, walls and pipes to some of the world’s poorest people.

Their product? Asbestos. Outlawed in much of the developed world, it is still going strong in the developing one. In India alone, the world’s biggest asbestos importer, it’s a $2 billion industry providing 300,000 jobs.

The International Labor Organization, World Health Organization, medical researchers and more than 50 countries say the mineral should be banned; asbestos fibers lodge in the lungs and cause disease. The ILO estimates 100,000 people die from workplace exposure every year.

But the industry executives at the asbestos conference, held in a luxury New Delhi hotel, said the risks are overblown.

Instead, they described their business as a form of social welfare for hundreds of thousands of impoverished Indians still living in flimsy, mud-and-thatch huts.

“We’re here not only to run our businesses, but to also serve the nation,” said Abhaya Shankar, a director of India’s Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers Association.

Yet there are some poor Indians trying to keep asbestos out of their communities.

___

In the farming village of Vaishali, in the eastern state of Bihar, residents became outraged by the construction of an asbestos factory in their backyard.

They had learned about the dangers of asbestos from a school boy’s science textbooks, and worried asbestos fibers would blow into their tiny thatch homes. Their children, they said, could contract lung diseases most Indian doctors would never test for, let alone treat.

They petitioned for the factory to be halted. But in December 2012, its permit was renewed, inciting thousands to rally on a main road for 11 hours. Amid the chaos, a few dozen villagers demolished the partially built factory.

“It was a moment of desperation,” a teacher said on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from the company. “There was no other way for us to express our outrage.” The company later filed lawsuits, still pending, accusing several villagers of vandalism and theft.

___

Durable and heat-resistant, asbestos was long a favorite insulation material in the West.

Medical experts say inhaling any form of asbestos can lead to deadly diseases 20-40 years later including lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis, or the scarring of the lungs.

Dozens of countries including Japan, Argentina and all European Union nations have banned it entirely. Others like the U.S. have severely curtailed its use.

The asbestos lobby says the mineral has been unfairly maligned by Western nations that used it irresponsibly. It also says one of the six forms of asbestos is safe: chrysotile, or white asbestos, which accounts for more than 95 percent of all asbestos used since 1900.

Medical experts reject this.

“All types of asbestos fiber are causally implicated in the development of various diseases and premature death,” the Societies of Epidemiology said in a 2012 position statement.

Russia now provides most asbestos on the world market. Meanwhile, rich nations are suffering health and economic consequences from past use.

American businesses have paid out at least $1.3 billion in the largest collection of personal injury lawsuits in U.S. legal history. Billions have been spent stripping asbestos from buildings in the West.

Umesh Kumar, a roadside vendor in Bihar’s capital, has long known there are health hazards to the 3-by-1 meter (10-by-3 foot) asbestos cement sheets he sells for 600 rupees ($10) each. But he doesn’t guide customers to the 800 rupee tin or fiberglass alternatives.

“This is a country of poor people, and for less money they can have a roof over their heads,” he said.

___

The two-day asbestos conference in December was billed as scientific, though organizers admitted they had no new research.

One could say they’ve gone back in time to defend asbestos.

The Indian lobby’s website refers to 1998 WHO guidelines for controlled use of chrysotile, but skips updated WHO advice from 2007 suggesting all asbestos be banned. Its executive director, John Nicodemus, dismissed the WHO update as “scaremongering.”

Many of the speakers are regulars at asbestos conferences in the developing world.

Toxicologist David Bernstein said that while chrysotile could cause disease if inhaled in large quantities or for prolonged periods, so could any tiny particle. Bernstein consulted for the Quebec-based Chrysotile Institute, which lost its Canadian government funding in 2012.

He presented an animated video showing a type of white blood cell called a macrophage breaking down a chrysotile fiber and carrying it out of the lungs.

“We have defense mechanisms. Our lungs are remarkable,” Bernstein said.

Other studies indicate, however, that chrysotile collects in the membrane lining the lungs, where the rare malignancy mesothelioma develops and chews through the chest wall, leading to excruciating death.

Research such as Bernstein’s frustrates retired U.S. Assistant Surgeon General Dr. Richard Lemen, who first advocated a chrysotile ban in 1976.

“His presentation is pretty slick, and when he puts it on animation mode, people think: Wow, he must know what he’s talking about,” Lemen said by telephone from Atlanta.

___

In Vaishali, the permit for the asbestos plant was canceled by Bihar’s chief minister last year. But Indian officials remain divided and confused about the risks.

India placed a moratorium on new asbestos mining in 1986, but never banned use of the mineral despite two Supreme Court orders.

The position of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new government is unclear.

Meanwhile, Vaishali’s resistance has sparked other protests, including in the nearby district of Bhojpur.

“Many people are not aware of the effects, especially the illiterate,” said Madan Prasad Gupta, a village leader in Bhojpur, sipping tea at the roadside tea shop he built decades ago when he had no idea what asbestos was.

Over his head: a broken, crumbling asbestos cement roof.

___

Follow Katy Daigle on Twitter at http://twitter.com/katydaigle

Original link:  

Asbestos pushed in Asia as product for the poor

ADAO President and Co-Founder Linda Reinstein Issues Statement in Opposition of the U.S. House "Chemicals in Commerce …

WASHINGTON–(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, today issued this statement from Linda Reinstein, mesothelioma widow and ADAO President and Co-founder:

“Today, the U.S. House of Representatives held theseventh hearing to discuss the need to reform the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which is the nation’s law governing toxic chemical use. While ADAO is encouraged by efforts to overhaul the outdated, ineffective, and deadly TSCA, the ‘Chemicals in Commerce Act’ revised Discussion Draft does not address the dangers of asbestos to public health. ADAO continues to voice grave concerns with House Energy and Commerce Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus’ (R-IL) on this fatally flawed bill.

“On April 2, 2014, Rear Admiral Boris Lushniak, Acting U.S. Surgeon General, issued a statement about asbestos, reconfirming that ‘scientists have long understood that asbestos can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other lung diseases when the fibers are inhaled,’ yet the Bill does not adequately protect the public from this dangerous toxin.

“At today’s hearing, Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA) strongly warned that we should not pass a bill that gives ‘the illusion of progress.’ To date, not one public health organization has supported the Bill as drafted, even with the changes discussed today.

“The fact is that asbestos remains legal and lethal in the USA. Americans have lost confidence in the chemical industries’ ability to protect us from toxins. Asbestos has caused one of the largest man-made disasters in history. More than 30 Americans die each day from preventable asbestos-caused disease, yet Congress allows for imports to continue. ADAO has seen the robust chemical industry propaganda to lobby Congress and fool Americans. TSCA reform must empower and enable the EPA to ban asbestos and other known toxins. Without responsibility, accountability, and transparency, no one is safe. The only two ways to eliminate environmental and occupational asbestos-caused diseases are prevention and a cure. It is simple: TSCA reform that allows the continued use of asbestos is not strong enough to protect Americans from toxins.”

Since 2004, ADAO has been actively engaged in stakeholder meetings, testifying at Congressional hearings to ensure Congress passes meaningful legislation to protect the public from dangerous chemicals such as asbestos.

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 seeks to give asbestos victims a united voice to help ensure that their rights are fairly represented and protected, and raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure and the often deadly asbestos-related diseases. ADAO is funded through voluntary contributions and staffed by volunteers. For more information, visit www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org.

Contact:

ADAO

Kim Cecchini, 202-391-5205


kim@asbestosdiseaseawareness.org

View post:

ADAO President and Co-Founder Linda Reinstein Issues Statement in Opposition of the U.S. House "Chemicals in Commerce …

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) Presents to the Community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn in New York Calling …

BROOKLYN, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

The Asbestos
Disease Awareness Organization
(ADAO) today announced that its
Co-Founder and President, Linda Reinstein, will be among the presenters
at a town hall meeting on April 29, 2013 at 6:30 pm in the neighborhood
of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY. The meeting will focus on the need for
increased transparency around asbestos abatement in the community, and
reaffirm the need for a U.S. asbestos ban. Ms. Reinstein will be joined
by Dr. Jay Parkinson, MD, MPH, Co-Founder of Sherpaa.

ADAO has been vigilantly following this community’s proactive awareness
campaign since first learning about the potential asbestos threat due to
asbestos abatement and demolition occurring in the neighborhood. A
recent blog entitled: Williamsburg
Community and ADAO: Demanding Truth, Answers, and Transparency about
Asbestos
, affirms ADAO’s support of the community. The upcoming town
hall meeting further reinforces this support and underscores the
importance of awareness and education when it comes to asbestos
abatement.

“The fact is that our nation’s infrastructure is aging, and wherever
there are old factories, there is typically asbestos,” stated Ms.
Reinstein. Asbestos fibers are released into the air when asbestos
materials are disturbed during repairs, renovations, or demolition, and
the removal of the asbestos in an improper manner can result in
devastation for workers and the community. Asbestos was especially
prevalent in buildings up until the late 1970’s.

“The people in the Williamsburg community are surrounded by demolition
and renovation of buildings putting them at a significant risk. The
great news is that Williamsburg is building an effective model of action
that can be emulated across the nation,” she stated. The growing
Williamsburg demographic includes young urban families in their 30s and
40s who are technologically savvy and heavily engaged with public health
and safety issues. The awareness about asbestos abatement and other
environmental issues represents a “shift to get back to the wholesome
part of being an American, the way we once were, when we recognized how
important community is,” concluded Reinstein. “Too often community
rights are usurped. I see Williamsburg as empowering its residents with
knowledge and organizing to protect public health and their environment.”

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “If the
asbestos-containing material is more than slightly damaged or could be
disturbed, there are two types of actions that can be taken by trained
and accredited asbestos professionals: repair and removal. Improper
removal may actually increase your and your family’s exposure to
asbestos fibers.”

Town Hall Meeting Information:
Monday, April 29, 6:30 PM
PICTURE
FARM

338 Wythe Avenue
Brooklyn, New York, 11211

Free to the public

Asbestos is carcinogenic to humans in all forms according to the World
Health Organization
, and unsafe at any level of exposure according
to the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency
. Despite these facts, and a second
Surgeon General warning of its hazards, asbestos continues to be
imported to the U.S., as documented by the U.S.
Geological Survey
(USGS), and the need for a U.S. ban continues. In
the U.S., ten thousand people die every year from asbestos exposure,
equaling 30 deaths a day.

About ADAO

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) was
founded by asbestos victims and their families in 2004. ADAO seeks to
give asbestos victims a united voice to help ensure that their rights
are fairly represented and protected, and raise public awareness about
the dangers of asbestos exposure and the often deadly asbestos-related
diseases. ADAO is funded through voluntary contributions and staffed by
volunteers. For more information, visit www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org.

Contact:

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO)

Doug Larkin

Director of Communications

202-391-1546


doug@asbestosdiseaseawareness.org
www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org

Continued:

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) Presents to the Community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn in New York Calling …

U.S. Surgeon General Issues Statement on the Dangers of Asbestos in Support of National Asbestos Awareness Week

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

The Asbestos
Disease Awareness Organization
(ADAO) applauds Surgeon General
Regina Benjamin’s statement today that “… there is no level of asbestos
exposure that is known to be completely safe.” ADAO joins her in urging
“all Americans to learn about the dangers of asbestos exposure and to
understand the steps they can take to protect their health.”

Since 2004, ADAO has been working with Congress and the White House to
prevent asbestos exposure in efforts to eliminate deadly
asbestos-related diseases. The 9th annual Senate
Resolution 66
, designating April 1 – 7 as National
Asbestos Awareness Week
includes a chilling list of facts about the
dangers of asbestos. “Asbestos is deadly. It does not think; it just
kills. This so-called miracle mineral gets into your body and doesn’t
show itself for years,” said Michael
Bradley
, a 28-year-old mesothelioma patient. Each day of Asbestos
Awareness Week features guest blogs, important asbestos facts and
patient stories like Michael’s.

“More than 10,000 Americans die every year from preventable diseases,
yet exposure continues. It is unacceptable to have young
students at a Middleburg Heights, Ohio school
Hurricane
Sandy victims
, or workers
repairing city water mains in Houston, Texas exposed,
” stated Linda
Reinstein, ADAO Co-Founder and President. “The time is now for Congress
to begin the steps to reduce and eventually stop asbestos imports and
ban asbestos. Fifty-five countries have banned asbestos but the U.S. is
not one of them. Millions of tons of asbestos remain in US homes,
schools, offices, and factories. The US
Geological Survey
(USGS) reported that in 2012, US asbestos
consumption was 1,060 tons in order to meet ‘manufacturing needs.’ There
is consensus from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, World Health Organization,
International Labor Organization, and International Agency for Research
on Cancer that asbestos is a carcinogen and there is no safe level of
exposure to asbestos.”

ADAO is excited to present new information each day of the 2013 Asbestos
Awareness Week campaign. Click here to read and share today’s message, “7
Facts for 7 Days
.” ADAO is using social media to distribute the
Surgeon General’s message on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and sharing
a week of asbestos and mesothelioma blogs and facts to save lives. http://ow.ly/i/1pQ4u

“Together, we can prevent the dangers associated with asbestos,” said
Surgeon General Regina Benjamin.

To read the Surgeon General’s full statement, visit: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/news/2013/04/pr20130401.html

About the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) was
founded by asbestos victims and their families in 2004. ADAO seeks to
give asbestos victims a united voice to help ensure that their rights
are fairly represented and protected, and raise public awareness about
the dangers of asbestos exposure and the often deadly asbestos-related
diseases. ADAO is funded through voluntary contributions and staffed by
volunteers. For more information, visit www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org.

Contact:

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO)


Media Contact:

Doug Larkin

Director of Communications

202-391-1546


doug@asbestosdiseaseawareness.org
www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org

Excerpt from – 

U.S. Surgeon General Issues Statement on the Dangers of Asbestos in Support of National Asbestos Awareness Week