Welcome to GBAN!

November 15, 2010 Press Release

The power of social media is undeniably revolutionary, dynamic, and essential for grassroots organizations. Decades of work from around the world to educate, advocate, and ultimately ban asbestos has culminated in the creation of a new social media based community effort called the Global Ban Asbestos Network (GBAN).

GBAN is a non-profit and independent initiative established to promote and facilitate collaboration, communication, and action to achieve a global asbestos ban.  GBAN is being launched two months earlier based news and need, and will continue to add additional Charter Members representing their country and content to our website.  Our connected social media resources will pioneer innovative methods to improve the efficacy of grassroots efforts to combat the global asbestos threat. The Facebook page was the first part of the network and has hundreds of followers already within just a few weeks.

GBAN is proud to introduce the first 24 Charter Members representing 17 countries who have joined in solidarity and support. Initial charter members will be joined by other leading ban asbestos individuals from across the globe as GBAN rapidly expands. Each Charter Member can regularly contribute content to the site, providing an additional one-stop resource representing the world’s preeminent asbestos authorities. Technology allows the GBAN website portal to translate postings into nearly 60 different languages. In addition, visitors will be able to utilize a variety of social media programs including Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Picasa Photos to post comments, pictures, videos, etc. while easily sharing information with the click of a mouse.

It’s exciting to look at how all of our global efforts are now coming together through this kind of extensively linked social media network. GBAN is a strong and powerful reminder that the voices of ban asbestos advocates are truly united.

GBAN was founded by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and the Brazilian Association of the Asbestos-Exposed (ABREA).

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Join Us at the Asbestos Disease Support Society (ADSS) Symposium on the 19 October

Posted on September 29, 2016

Lou Williams, GBAN Australian National Director

Lou Williams, GBAN Australian National Director

My next venture will be to Brisbane to speak at the Asbestos Disease Support Society (ADSS) Symposium on the 19 October. I am particularly looking forward to catching up with other Meso Warriors after the event for a high tea so we can all have a big hug session. These events are very special to my heart. I will be joining three expert speakers at the Symposium who will aim to educate us on asbestos related disease from their perspective. Professor Niko van Zandwijk from ADRI will touch on the many advancements and developments in the treatment for Mesothelioma. Dr Katherine Semple will be clarifying the distinction between the various asbestos related diseases and Dr Edwards will talking about how chest X-rays and CT scans can be used to diagnose asbestos disease. I will be talking about my journey and my fight to have Keytruda put on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme her in Australia. I understand that the speakers will be filmed and their sessions available on the ADSS website www.adss.org.au shortly after the event. Should people wish to attend they can contact ADSS on 1800 776 412.

Lou Williams, GBAN Australian Director

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Lou Williams, GBAN Australian Director: I’m back on Keytruda after break of 6 months!

Posted on September 10, 2016

Please read and share this update on my journey with Keytruda and my efforts to have it made available to mesothelioma patients through Australia’s Pharmacetical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Currently Keytruda is on PBS for Melanoma cancer only (as of Sept 2015).  Melanoma patients now pay $6 for infusions of Keytruda while patients who are having Keytruda as a life saving drug pay $5,000 to $10,000 per infusion! I know firsthand the benefits of this drug: I have been battling mesothelioma for 13 years, but thanks to Keytruda I am able to continue doing asbestos advocacy work daily, in particular serving as a resource for newly diagnosed patients.

Please join thousands of others and sign my petition to help make this life-saving drug available to Australia’s Mesothelioma Warriors!

PETITION UPDATE: Lou Williams back on Keytruda after break of 6 months!

Lou Williams, GBAN Australian National Director

Lou Williams, GBAN Australian National Director

In March 2015, I was on death’s door: A couple of weeks of living on oxygen 24/7, morphine, 42 kilos, red blood cells stopped producing, needing blood transfusions, appetite non-existent, body shutting down fast, and bed ridden.

At a cost to us, I was given a lifeline to Keytruda. It brought me back to good health within 3 months; my weight improved, appetite returned, no need for oxygen or high morphine—meds giving me excellent quality of life and my life back! Tumours shrunk significantly and fluid decreased in peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma. I continued on Keytruda infusions every 3 weeks for 1 year.

I had a scan in February of 2016 showing 2 nodules growing inside chest wall. As my immune system was high thanks to Keytruda, my oncologist Dr. Allan Zimet took me off Keytruda to hit these nodules with new chemo Vinoralbine combined with carboplatin. Unfortunately, I had a severe reaction to the chemo steroid drug dexamethasone on this new chemo regime and the build up of it in my body over 13 years of treatment. Basically I went into a coma at home and was rushed to hospital where it was a life and death situation. I pulled through (again) learning to eat, walk, and get back to quality of life. This caused my pancreas to shut down and me becoming a diabetic type 1, injecting daily.

I had 3 months of the chemo minus steroid dexamethasone and had scan at end of July showing this chemo did zilch–tumours now on the rise inside my chest wall and a tumour on my liver growing.

After 6 months break since finishing Keytruda I am now back on 3 weekly infusions to shrink these little buggars! I will never never never give up!

Huge, huge thank you to my friends and fellow Mesothelioma Warriors for all the support, love, and strength you send my way:

“You are amazing ! I look forward to keytruda zapping the crap outta those tumors and the Lord bring you back to good health #GODISBIGGER! He has truly kept you this far and I will pray that he continues.You’re a legend LouYou are a complete joy!”

– Rachel Shaneyfelt

Hi Lou Williams, thank you so kindly for sharing your update of your past problems and about your progress too.I wish you and your family all the best for the future too.

– John Clapp

“Sending lots of good thoughts.”

– John Steele

   “You are in our prayers.”

–  Geraldine Howard


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AFeVA COMUNICATO: Sentenza Corte Costituzionale

Posted on July 21, 2016

Casale Monferrato, Giovedì 21 luglio 2016


AFEVA Logo“È chiaro che, anche dal punto di vista rigorosamente materiale, la morte di una persona, seppure cagionata da una medesima condotta, dà luogo ad un nuovo evento, e quindi ad un fatto diverso rispetto alla morte di altre persone”.

Più chiara di così, la Corte Costituzionale non poteva davvero essere: il processo Eternit bis “s’ha da fare” eccome!

È questa l’unica, inequivocabile indicazione che si può ricavare dalla lettura della sentenza della Corte Costituzionale, finalmente depositata oggi. Nonostante, infatti, la Corte riconosca fondata, in termini generali, la questione sollevata dal Gip di Torino, ne disinnesca completamente la portata pratica nel processo, con argomenti, oltre che giuridici, di comune buon senso.

Al giudice di Torino, che riteneva di essere di fronte a un caso di bis in idem per il solo fatto che le azioni di Stephan Schmidheiny erano già state prese in considerazione nel primo processo, la Corte risponde in modo a dir poco tranciante: “Non vi è (…) alcuna ragione logica per concludere che il fatto, pur assunto nella sola dimensione empirica, si restringa all’azione o all’omissione, e non comprenda, invece, anche l’oggetto fisico su cui cade il gesto, se non anche, al limite estremo della nozione, l’evento naturalistico che ne è conseguito, ovvero la modificazione della realtà indotta dal comportamento dell’agente”.

Noi, che giuristi non siamo, lo avevamo detto fin dal primo giorno, con un linguaggio certamente meno elevato: non ha nessun senso parlare di bis in idem rispetto a casi di omicidio che non sono MAI stati presi in considerazione da nessun giudice, soltanto perché Stephan Schmidheiny, l’ex proprietario dell’Eternit, è già stato sottoposto a processo per l’accusa di disastro, fatto completamente diverso rispetto alle morti dei singoli lavoratori e cittadini.

La regola di giudizio cui si dovrà attenere il Gip di Torino è quindi la seguente: “Sulla base della triade condotta-nesso causale-evento naturalistico, il giudice può affermare che il fatto oggetto del nuovo giudizio è il medesimo solo se riscontra la coincidenza di tutti questi elementi, assunti in una dimensione empirica, sicché non dovrebbe esservi dubbio, ad esempio, sulla diversità dei fatti, qualora da un’unica condotta scaturisca la morte o la lesione dell’integrità fisica di una persona non considerata nel precedente giudizio, e dunque un nuovo evento in senso storico. Ove invece tale giudizio abbia riguardato anche quella persona occorrerà accertare se la morte o la lesione siano già state specificamente considerate, unitamente al nesso di causalità con la condotta dell’imputato, cioè se il fatto già giudicato sia nei suoi elementi materiali realmente il medesimo, anche se diversamente qualificato per il titolo, per il grado e per le circostanze”.

Insomma: per i casi nuovi, mai stati oggetto di contestazione nel primo processo, si può e si deve andare avanti; stesso discorso per i decessi che invece erano già indicati nel primo capo di imputazione, dal momento che neppure questi sono stati oggetto di specifico accertamento.

La speranza, a questo punto, è che il Tribunale di Torino fissi quanto prima la nuova udienza, in modo da porre termine a questa stasi del processo che, come ha chiarito la Corte, è stata, ai fini di questo processo, del tutto inutile.

Avanti senza esitazioni, dunque: finché la gente continuerà a morire di amianto, a Casale e nel resto d’Italia, ad opera delle scriteriate condotte di Stephan Scmidheiny e della società da lui diretta, si potrà e si dovrà continuare a chiedere giustizia per le vittime.

Questo AFEVA ha fatto, negli ultimi trent’anni; questo è quello che continuerà a fare, finché sarà possibile. AFeVA

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Asbestos Memorial Service, Asbestosis & Mesothelioma Association of Australia (AMAA) 8 July 2016 by Lou Williams

Posted on July 6, 2016

Lou Williams

Lou Williams, GBAN Australian National Director

I have been invited by AMAA (Asbestosis & Mesothelioma Association of Australia) to speak at their Annual Asbestos Memorial Service.

It is very special and heartwarming to have been invited to attend and speak.  I am looking forward to meeting many members of AMAA.

Annual Asbestos Memorial Service
Asbestosis & Mesothelioma Association of Australia (AMAA)
 Friday 8 July 2016

AMAA Headquarters at Seagulls Club 80 Gollan Drive Tweed Heads West
PO Box 1178, Tweed Heads, NSW 2485
Tel: 07 5587 9006 or 1800 017 758 – Mob: 0417 705 534
Email: info@asbestosassociation.com.au – www. asbestosassociation.com.au
ACN:  602 979 000


The members and friends of the Asbestosis and Mesothelioma Association of Australia welcomes you to our annual asbestos memorial service. Your presence here today is heart warming and we hope you draw comfort from the friendship and support AMAA offers you.

MC Professor Mike Capra (AMAA Patron)

9.50    Bagpipes – Sandra Capra   (AMAA Patron)

10.00    Mike Capra introduces Seagulls Club CEO Stuart Burrows

Stuart Burrows introduces Geoff Provest MP for Tweed


Brisbane Combined Unions Choir

10.10    Barry Robson – President ADFA introduces Lou Williams

10.15    Lou Williams – Social Media Voice ADFA & Australian National Director GBAN
(Global Ban Asbestos Network) – Leading the National Campaign to have the Mesothelioma Immunotherapy drug Keytruda listed for PBS.

Brisbane Combined Unions Choir  –  Asbestos Song

Prayers of Remembrance

“We come together as a community today in prayer to express our gratitude to the volunteers and community representatives who work to give greater respect, dignity and care to individuals affected by asbestos.  May these organisations, including the Asbestosis and Mesothelioma Association of Australia, continue to grow in strength as they give a voice to the most needy in our community”. Amen
“We recognise the dedication and commitment of the tireless medical staff, allied health professionals and clinicians who seek to give sufferers of asbestos related diseases dignity and respect.”  Amen

“We commemorate the sacrifice and service of members of the defence forces who have given tirelessly to protect our people and in doing so may have been exposed to asbestos.  May we acknowledge their bravery and offer them our unfailing support and gratitude both now and in the future.”  Amen

“We pray for the many carers, friends and family members who have stood by their loved ones as they undergo treatment for asbestos related conditions.  May they find strength to continue with their selfless and unfaltering efforts.”  Amen

“We offer encouragement to representatives of industry, government and the trade union movements to continue their efforts to protect the community from asbestos exposure.  May you work cooperatively and proactively to minimise the impact of asbestos both in Australia and internationally.” Amen

10.45    Bagpipes (played by Sandra Capra) as flag lowered to half mast by AMAA     Member and high school student Ethan Carr.

Minute Silence

Brisbane Combined Unions Choir  –  Waltzing Matilda

11.55     Peter Tight CEO ASEA – Thanks and Close

Lou Williams, GBAN Australian National Director

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Lou Williams, GBAN Australian Director: “There Is No Safe Asbestos! ALL ASBESTOS KILLS!”

Posted on May 6, 2016

Lou Williams, GBAN Australian National Director

Lou Williams, GBAN Australian National Director

I am constantly amazed to read/hear various reports around the world that continue to pop up saying that not all forms of asbestos are dangerous/deadly! Some for their own reasons choose to believe that chrysotile (white asbestos) is not harmful to humans! I have peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma (asbestos cancer).  It is a deadly aggressive brutal painful cancer. Having seen many many beautiful people die of this awful cancer including my darling dad – all asbestos kills – NO DEBATE – END OF STORY! Below are postings that may help to alleviate this debate and give some thought to this absurd questioning as to whether chrysotile is not harmful as a carcinogenic causing deadly asbestos cancer (Mesothelioma). Worldwide nearly 125 million people are exposed to asbestos at the workplace and according to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, more than 107 000 deaths each year are attributable to occupational exposure to asbestos.

loLinda Reinstein, Co-Founder of Global Ban Asbestos Network (GBAN) and Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) recently blogged that “There is no debate or discussion for ADAO. As the World Health Organization (WHO) states, ‘exposure to asbestos, including chrysotile, causes cancer of the lung, larynx and ovary, mesothelioma (a cancer of the pleural and peritoneal linings) and asbestosis (fibrosis of the lungs).’I strongly RECOMMEND the WHO “Chrysotile Asbestos Report”.


Dr. Richard Lemen: “All Forms of Asbestos Cause Cancer”

Dear Drs. Dean Fennell and David Waller,

richardI would like to urge the IMig 2016 Conference, of which you are Co-Chairpersons, to adopt a resolution condemning the continued use of all forms of asbestos, including chrysotile.  Yesterday you held a discussion chaired by Dr. Jim te Water Naude, South Africa and Ms. Laurie Kazan-Allen, United Kingdom, concerning chrysotile asbestos, a substance that has been extensively studied and proven to cause asbestos-induced cancers, including mesothelioma. Now that this discussion is over and both speakers, Dr. David Egilman and Dr. Julian Peto have reiterated that chrysotile asbestos causes asbestos-induced cancers, including mesothelioma, I ask that you and the leadership of iMig 2016 join the World Scientific Community in condemning further use of all forms of asbestos, including chrysotile.

Recently, I and other scientists have put together a Chrysotile Fact Sheetsummarizing the scientific consensus of its dangers.  I am attaching this Fact Sheet and I hope you will make it available to your entire attendance.  In it you will see clear consensus that chrysotile asbestos cannot be used safely nor is it a safe form of asbestos.

I hope that during IMig 2016 your organization will now join the clarion call for a worldwide ban on the use of all forms of asbestos including chrysotile. As I understand iMig is “an independent international group of scientists and clinicians working to understand, cure and prevent mesothelioma.”  Thus, what better time to fulfill this mission and provide leadership through passing a resolution condemning the further use of asbestos worldwide and stopping the mushrooming epidemic of asbestos-related diseases.  I wish IMig continued success.


Richard A. Lemen, Ph.D., MSPH

Assistant United States Surgeon General,

United States Public Health Service (retired)


World Health Organization Asbestos Facts:

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals with current or historical commercial usefulness due to their extraordinary tensile strength, poor heat conduction, and relative resistance to chemical attack. For these reasons, asbestos is used for insulation in buildings and as an ingredient in a number of products, such as roofing shingles, water supply lines and fire blankets, as well as clutches and brake linings, gaskets and pads for automobiles. The main forms of asbestos are chrysotile (white asbestos) and crocidolite (blue asbestos). Other forms are amosite, anthophylite, tremolite and actinolite.

Why is asbestos a problem?

All forms of asbestos are carcinogenic to humans. Exposure to asbestos, including chrysotile, causes cancer of the lung, larynx and ovaries, and also mesothelioma (a cancer of the pleural and peritoneal linings). Asbestos exposure is also responsible for other diseases such as asbestosis (fibrosis of the lungs), and plaques, thickening and effusion in the pleura.

Currently, about 125 million people in the world are exposed to asbestos at the workplace. According to the most recent WHO estimates, more than 107 000 people die each year from asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis resulting from exposure at work. Approximately half of the deaths from occupational cancer are estimated to be caused by asbestos. In addition, it is estimated that several thousand deaths annually can be attributed to exposure to asbestos in the home.

It has also been shown that co-exposure to tobacco smoke and asbestos fibres substantially increases the risk for lung cancer – and the heavier the smoking the greater the risk.

WHO Response

The World Health Assembly Resolution 58.22 on cancer prevention urges Member States to pay special attention to cancers for which avoidable exposure is a factor, including exposure to chemicals at the workplace and in the environment. With Resolution 60.26, the World Health Assembly requested WHO to carry out a global campaign for the elimination of asbestos-related diseases “…bearing in mind a differentiated approach to regulating its various forms – in line with the relevant international legal instruments and the latest evidence for effective interventions.” Cost-effective interventions for prevention of occupational lung diseases from exposure to asbestos are among the policy options for implementing the global action plan for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (2013-2020), as endorsed by the Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly in resolution WHA66.10 in 2013. Eliminating asbestos-related diseases is particularly targeted at countries still using chrysotile asbestos, in addition to assistance in relation to exposures arising from historical use of all forms of asbestos. WHO, in collaboration with the International Labour Organization and other intergovernmental organizations and civil society, works with countries towards elimination of asbestos-related diseases in the following ways:

  • by recognizing that the most efficient way to eliminate asbestos-related diseases is to stop the use of all types of asbestos;
  • by providing information about solutions for replacing asbestos with safer substitutes and developing economic and technological mechanisms to stimulate its replacement;
  • by taking measures to prevent exposure to asbestos in place and during asbestos removal (abatement);
  • by improving early diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation services for asbestos-related diseases;
  • by establishing registries of people with past and/or current exposures to asbestos and organizing medical surveillance of exposed workers;
  • by providing information on the hazards associated with asbestos-containing materials and products, and by raising awareness that waste containing asbestos should be treated as hazardous waste.

Let us continue the fight until asbestos is banned throughout the world.

Lou Williams, GBAN Australian National Director

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ADFA Press Release: National asbestos response grinds to a halt as Federal Government withholds funding

MEDIA RELEASE: Tuesday 29 March 2016

ADFANational asbestos response grinds to a halt as Federal Government withholds funding

Asbestos victim support groups have slammed the Federal Government for allowing the national response to the deadly mineral to grind to a halt over a funding dispute with the independent government agency tasked with overseeing its eventual eradication.

Setup with bipartisan support in 2013, the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency has been working with state and territory governments on a coordinated plan to address ageing asbestos products located in millions of homes, workplaces and public buildings.

But support groups say that process has ground to a halt because the Agency has been unable to access the funding needed to implement the plan.

“The whole situation is like a bad episode of Yes Minister,” Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia president Barry Robson said.

“We have an agency that was created to address a serious issue, that has spent several years developing a national strategic plan that was agreed to by every state and territory, yet now can’t access previously committed funding to actually put that plan into action.”

Mr Robson, who is also a member of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council that advises the agency, said the Federal Government was refusing to allow the agency to access $3 million that was unspent in previous years to roll out the plan.

“A public service hiring freeze delayed the setup of the agency, while the need to ensure every states and territory was happy with the strategic plan slowed down its adoption, meaning some of the funding from the first two years went unspent,” he said.

“Now that those issues are resolved and there’s a clear course of action on the table, the Federal Government is refusing to allow the agency to access that money to put the plan into action.

“It’s an absurd situation that has left support groups around the country asking whether the agency has lost bipartisan support and whether this financial strangulation is simply closure by stealth.”

Mr Robson said ASEA has already dealt with a range of major issues in its short life, from coordinating the inspectors who oversaw the remediation of Telstra pits after asbestos concerns halted the construction of the NBN, to addressing the ongoing importation of asbestos products, located in items ranging from trains, boats, and electrical equipment to Dora the Explorer crayons.

“It took more than a decade of lobbying for this agency to be created and for the Federal Government to take the lead to eradicate the millions of tonnes of asbestos still in our community,” he said.

“It’s heartbreaking to think that all that work could be lost because of a dispute over a few million dollars.”

Media comment: Barry Robson — 0407 235 685

Further information: Tim Vollmer — 0404 273 313

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ADFA Press Release: Asbestos victims slam James Hardie over slashed compensation funding

Media Release: Friday November 20, 2013

Asbestos victims slam James Hardie over slashed compensation funding

ADFAAsbestos victims are outraged following the revelation that James Hardie has almost halved its contributions to its compensation fund, despite increasing cash flow and profit.

Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia president Barry Robson said the move was a devastating blow for asbestos victims and a sign that once again James Hardie was placing profits over human lives.

“This is simply morally bankrupt,” Mr Robson said.

“The James Hardie company only exists because of the profits made from asbestos products – products they knew would kill.”

Figures released in James Hardie’s interim profit announcement revealed contributions to the Asbestos Injury Compensation Fund (AICF) fell to $US62.8 million this financial year, down from $US113 million the year before.

“That is a massive reduction of 44 per cent, which not only risks leaving asbestos victims high and dry, but will force taxpayers to shoulder the burden,” Mr Robson said.

“The funding cuts came despite a rise in interim profit from $US156.1 million to $US190 million, and operating cash flow increasing by 160 per cent.

“James Hardie spent decades knowingly selling these deadly products.

“To this day, nearly one third of Australian homes contain asbestos — leading to a whole new generation of Australians at risk from asbestos related disease in the years to come.”

Mr Robson said the funding reduction followed an urgent intervention by the New South Wales Government earlier this year to extend further credit to the AICF, which was facing an $183 million shortfall by 2017 and had proposed moving to an instalment scheme to cover the gap.

“Australians were outraged by the way this company behaved 10 years ago when it tried to leave Australian without compensating victims,” he said.

“James Hardie seem to be trying to shirk their responsibilities once again, showing continued contempt to the thousands of people killed by their unsafe product.

“It is time for James Hardie to stop playing games and to genuinely commit to looking after the innocent victims of their asbestos products.”

For media comment please call ADFA President Barry Robson on 0407 235 685

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Guest Blog: “Cause-effect” Relation between White Asbestos and Mesothelioma” by Francisco Báez Baquet

Guest Blog: “Cause-effect” Relation between White Asbestos and Mesothelioma” by Francisco Báez Baquet

The demonstration of a causal relationship between chrysotile and mesothelioma, it is essential to justify the ban on industrial use of the mineral.



This is so, because of that, to cause mesothelioma, weak enough, small doses, as determined by short, sporadic or even specific and unique exhibits, as evidenced by the experimental and epidemiological studies demonstrating these latter, even exhibitions of only several minutes, or even a single inhalation, may be sufficient to cause malignancy.

Epidemiological studies show that because of non-occupational exposure, in which fiber concentrations given in atmospheres, well below those corresponding to those generated in the workplace, determined, however, detectable increases in the rate of mesothelioma incidence compared with background, for the whole nation or geographical area considered. That morbid effect, extending around the industrial source of pollution, to expressible distances in complete kilometers, depending on the direction of prevailing winds, which is an additional element of conviction of the truth of causation.

Furthermore, it is affecting those who have not had any employment relationship with chrysotile, as in the case of pets that have lived in the vicinity of the industrial centers of the use of that mineral.

In these conditions, it is impossible alleged “safe and controlled use” of chrysotile, and the only effective alternative is the absolute prohibition of use.

Click here to view the full text of our article about all these issues.

Francisco Baez Baquet
Former clerk of the sales office in Sevilla, of the firm manufacturing asbestos cement, Uralita SA
Former member co-founder of the “National Commission of Asbestos.”
Former member of the General Council of the “National Institute for Safety and Health at Work” (INSHT), on behalf of the Trade Union “Comisiones Obreras”


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Exclusive ADAO Guest Asbestos Blog by Alok Gupta “Crayons of Cancer”

Posted on July 12, 2015

bows4uhH14e59lWNHuDqX3qtkkxYBRZdPUdnml4wjwMThe Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization is honored to have talented journalist Alok Gupta write about the new study finding Asbestos in children’s toys. Voices like Alok’s are necessary to inspire change and ADAO is beyond grateful for his bravery and honesty.

Alok Gupta was born and raised in one of India’s poorest and lawless state of Bihar. After witnessing violent crimes and injustice in the society, he took up journalism to change things for better. He specializes in development and environment journalism. He feels that majority of environment issues impacts the poor more than the rich. It’s the aboriginal who face the stigma of displacement and disease due to mining, drought and floods due to extreme weather is destroying farmers.


Crayons of Cancer

Deadly asbestos laced crayons might be making children severely ill.

By: Alok Gupta

A non-profit, Environment Working Group Action Fund’s Asbestos Nation has found traces of lethal cancer causing asbestos in children crayons and crime scene toy kits. Around four out of 28 samples of four crayon brands tested positive for asbestos in the US.

This is not the first time that asbestos has been detected in crayons. Similar tests in the year 2000 and 2007, considerable amount of asbestos were detected in the crayons. Agencies like Consumer Product Safety Commission that monitors toy safety in the US have remained silent on these killer crayons that might be creating havoc on children’s health.

The current findings nails four brands Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Saban’s Power Rangers Super Megaforce and those made by Amscan. EWG report claims that package labels of asbestos containing crayons mention product ‘Made in China’ and imported to the US.

Dr. Philip Landrigan, professor of pediatrics and preventive medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York observes that asbestos in toys poses an unacceptable risk to children, today as it did in 2000 and 2007, the last time tests found the deadly substance in these children’s products.

Campaigners at Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, a non-profit that exposed asbestos presence in children toy in 2007 are outraged after the findings of EWG. Linda Reinstein, president of ADAO says, “Since asbestos was found in children’s crayons in 2000, an estimated 150,000 Americans have died from preventable asbestos-caused disease and the USA has consumed more than 55,000 metric tons of asbestos. This killer chemical has caused one of the largest manmade disasters in history, yet imports continue.”

Interestingly, in 2007 when ADAO found asbestos in five consumer products including a child’s toy, it submitted a detailed report to The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) but agency didn’t initiate any action.

ADAO raised alarm over asbestos in Planet Toys CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit, DAP “33” window glazing, DAP Crack Shot spackling paste, Gardner Leak Stopper roof patch, and Scotch High Performance Duct Tape.

Damage caused by asbestos inhalation can show its impact even decades after the exposure has stopped. Inhalation of asbestos fibers for prolonged time can trigger serious and fatal illnesses it includes malignant lung cancer, Asbestosis and mesothelioma.

One of the most common diseases caused by asbestos are asbestosis and pleural abnormalities.

Beyond America

Asbestos contamination in the crayons and crime scene testing kit toys is apparently not just limited to the US. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that crayon that have tested positive for containing asbestos is also available in Australia.

Report also states that the National Toxics Network (NTN) has attempted unsuccessfully to alert the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the body responsible for the safety of products in Australia about the potential problems.

A simple Google search on availability of four brands Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Saban’s Power Rangers Super Megaforce and those made by Amscan shows that these products are also available in British and Indian markets

It’s baffling why law-implementing agencies have refused to crack whip on importers or products for playing with children health. Now, the hope hinges on non-profits like International Council of Toy Industries, a non-profit that work to ensure safety standards of toys. ICTYI recently started its Hong Kong chapter that might work towards making safe toys in China, a world leader in toy manufacturing.

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“The 1st Conference of the European Asbestos Forum – Meeting the Need to Share” by Yvonne Waterman

Posted on June 10, 2015

EAFOn May 27th 2015, Amsterdam was the exciting scene of the first international conference of the European Asbestos Forum (EAF). The long held dream of our Charter Member and EAF founder, Dr. Yvonne Waterman, the EAF aims to improve networks and sharing asbestos knowledge across both borders and asbestos sectors.

All day, the motto ‘Sharing makes us stronger!’ resonated across the venue, gaining strength by the hour as the many visitors from over ten countries and three continents became visibly enthused by this concept. Flawlessly chaired by Hans van der Wart of Shield Group International, the conference proceeded at a fast pace.

Richard Lemen EAFThe Opening Speech was provided by the Director General Work of the Ministry for Social Affairs and Employment, Marcelis Boereboom. He was followed by Wayne Williams, who represented the English IATP, Mark Wit and Linda Reinstein. Dr. Richard Lemen closed the morning session by giving a very varied, profound and impressive Keynote Speech – when he warned of the combined dangers of asbestos and tobacco, you could hear a pin drop.

In the afternoon, three simultaneous sessions were held to allow for a wide array of asbestos specialists. Sadly, Nicola Pondrano, who was to have spoken on the Italian fight against Eternit, was ill. But his colleagues in the session Asbestos & Labour, Arco Engelen, Lydia Charlier, Wayne Williams, Christian Lahnstein and Dilan Yesilyurt provided very interesting insights in the asbestos awareness problems faced on the work floor and in schools, and subsequently the problems encountered in the legal process and the insurance aspects. Lydia for instance pointed out the huge discrepancies in compensation between various countries for one and the same case.

During the session on Asbestos & Technological Developments, new innovations and technologies regarding asbestos were the main topic, with speeches provided by Ruud Janssen, Nick Garland, Tony Rich, Mark Winter, Joris Gribnau and Herm Zweerts. We learned about new removal techniques, comparative methods and legislations and the importance of a real estate asbestos register.

The third session related to European Policy & Raising Awareness, where Gonzalo Zufia, Barry Robson, Linda Reinstein, Prof. Gert van der Laan, Prof. Thomas Kraus and Prof. Nico van Zandwijk used different approaches to this subject. Prof. Kraus for instance showed that the incidence of asbestos related lung cancer is several times as high as the mesothelioma incidence, and yet these patients are very neglected from every angle.

The EAF’s special honour, the Dr. J. Stumphius Recognition Award, was awarded to Prof. Nico van Zandwijk, who spoke on his ground-breaking discovery of a new and hopeful treatment of mesothelioma. His research is truly equal to that of Nobel Prize winners. The Award, showing a glass plate supported by a bronze base, signifying a large burden carried by many people, was proudly sponsored by Shield Group International, also a very supportive Main Sponsor.

Since the conference, enthusiasm for the concept of building and improving the asbestos network has grown daily by leaps and bounds, as word of the EAF spreads. Many visitors admitted to being stunned by the diversity of methods, techniques and insights and the many possibilities that combining forces could provide for all. Indeed, many allowed it was the first time they even realised they had an insular approach to asbestos; and how much there was to be gained in saving lives, raising awareness, improving safety and health on the work floor etc. by sharing.

This conference is sure to have a follow-up in 2016! News on this as well as many of the presentations may soon be found regularly on www.europeanasbestosforum.org.

Yvonne Waterman Ph.D. LL.M., GBAN Charter Member for the Netherlands.



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