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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Press Release November 19th after Court of Cassation Verdict on Eternit

Posted on November 22, 2014

Press Release November 19th after Court of Cassation Verdict on Eternit

Eternit JusticeWe express our strongest indignation and disagreement for the shameful and unfair verdict of the Court of Cassation issued on the 19th of November 2014. Schmidheiny, the CEO and co-owner of Eternit Italy had been sentenced to 18 years in prison for permanent wilful disaster. In the Court of Cassation the Swiss billionaire was not acquitted, it was the crime that fell under the statute of limitations: in fact both Chief Public Prosecutor, and even his lawyer described him as guilty.

It is a monstrosity and an outrage to apply the statute of limitation to a crime which has already caused 3,000 deaths, is still killing and still will, and that in Casale alone murder a person a week: today as we write these words Schmidheiny’s disaster has killed another victim.

This verdict violates the fundamental principles of International Conventions on Human Rights: the legal guarantees of the defendants must in no way not cancel the rights of the thousands of victims of the crime. The verdict says that personal responsibility for corporate crime can be annulled by arbitrary legal technicalities.

Our struggle continues: we shall pursue all the legal avenues and social mobilization throughout the world, including any case against Eternit, such as the case against Schmidheiny for murder soon to be heard in Turin. The international coordination, convened in Casale on November the 21st, 2014, voices its solidarity with the victims, to their relatives the world throughout and in Casale.

This shameful verdict will not stop us.

The international coordination of the Asbestos victims and relatives and representatives of the Italian Trade Unions (CGIL, CISL and Uil) and representatives from trade unions of several other countries and continents, jurists and experts

Afeva (Italy)
Andeva (France)
Abrea (Brasil)
Abeva (Belgium)
Fedavica (Spain)
Asarea (Argentina)
VAO (Switzerland)
Asbestos Victims’ Support Group Forum UK (Great Britain )
Ban Asbestos Network Japan (BANJAN)
Asian Ban Asbestos Network (A-BAN)

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Asbestos: “Art, Science, and Politics” Conference Update from Dr. Barry Castleman

Posted on November 10, 2014

Art, Science, and Politics Conference“A conference was held in Bogota called “Art, Science, and Politics” on November 5-7.  Prior to this event, there were some reports in the local newspaper, El Tiempo.

The spokesman for the asbestos industry (Ascolfibras), a businessman with a medical education, assured readers in one of these newspaper reports that, “The type of asbestos used in Colombia is regulated and is safe.”  This man was invited to the conference, but neither he nor anyone else from the industry came to address the meeting (he may have sent observers).  A response to his claims in the newspaper was prepared for the editor, co-signed by doctors in Colombia and foreign participants.

Colombian asbestos use has risen steeply from 2008-2012 to 26,000 m.t./yr, with imports mainly from Brazil and Russia.  The chrysotile asbestos mine in Colombia reopened after the cessation of Canadian asbestos exports in 2011.  Canadian asbestos regulations contain vague language about industry doing what is “possible”; asbestos-cement waste is categorized as ordinary waste.  Colombia adopted ILO Convention 162 on asbestos in 1998.  Whether there has been any enforcement action by the government is unclear.

Colombian conference speakers included a prominent unionist who said asbestos should be banned and Prof. Juan Pablo Ramos Bonilla of University of the Andes.  Juan Pablo Ramos Bonilla reported that there was no information publicly available on conditions in the country’s asbestos industry or the results of any medical surveys.  His group had done sampling in shops where mechanics did brake and clutch work and found significant exposures, often above the exposure limit of 0.1 f/cc.  Some of his work has been published and the rest will be.

The conference was organized by artist Guillermo Villamizar, who spoke of the influence of rich collectors such as Stephan Schmidheiny on the art world.

Foreign speakers included Fernanda Giannasi (Br.), Arthur Frank (US), Eduardo Rodriguez (Arg.), Paola de Castro (It.), Tania Munoz (Chile), and me.  The last three of these speakers shared experiences from banning asbestos in their countries.  Fernanda shared her experiences and observations on building a social movement on the asbestos issue.  Additional meetings were held with interested medical educators and government officials.  There was some media interest, and most of the proceedings were recorded.  Doctors, students, and others in attendance at the conference gave reason for optimism that a new campaign to ban asbestos in Colombia has started.  Paola de Castro suggested that establishing a new asbestos list in Spanish would be helpful in supporting campaigns in Latin America.

Some of the other participants may post pictures taken last week in Colombia.”

Barry CastlemanDr. Barry Castleman, ScD is an Environmental Consultant trained in chemical and environmental engineering. He holds a Doctor of Science degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. He has been a consultant to numerous agencies of the US government and other governments, international bodies, and environmental groups dealing with a wide range of public health issues. He has testified as an expert in civil litigation in the US on the history of asbestos as a public health problem and the reasons for failure to properly control asbestos hazards. Dr. Castleman has spent the past 40 years working on asbestos as a public health problem.  Dr. Castleman is a member of the ADAO Science Advisory Board.


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BRAZIL: Asbestos Added to the National List of Carcinogenic Agents for Human Beings

Posted on October 9, 2014

portaria 9I am pleased to share the publication from the Ministerial Decree No. 9 of 2014, the Brazilian Ministry of Labor, Social Security, and Health, establishing a National List of Carcinogenic Agents for Human Beings (LINACH), based on the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classification of groups.

Among the agents confirmed as human carcinogens, include asbestos, in all its forms including chrysotile asbestos and minerals such as talc or vermiculite containing asbestos in its composition.

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ALU Press Release: Chrysotile Information Center Agent Fails to Muddle Process in Raising Philippine Standard for Asbestos in the Workplace

Posted on October 6, 2014

ALU Press Release

ALU-TUCPChrysotile Information Center Agent Fails to Muddle Process in Raising Philippine Standard for Asbestos in the Workplace

An agent of the lobby group Chrysotile Information Center (CIC) tried but failed to muddle the tripartite technical working group meeting of the National Programmes for the Elimination of the Asbestos-Related Diseases (NPEAD) in finalizing the Philippine standards for asbestos in the workplace a few days ago.

The partners in banning asbestos in the Philippines, the Associated Labor Unions (ALU) and the Building Woodworkers International (BWI) lobbied for Philippine government to lower the country’s threshold limit value for asbestos toxic dust from 0.5 to 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter of air in an 8-hour work span by revising the guidelines for the implementation of asbestos safety program in the workplace.

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Australia’s 1st International Conference on Asbestos Awareness and Management by Lou Williams

Posted on September 15, 2014

Asbestos Safety and Eradication AgencyI am so excited to announce that the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency is hosting the inaugural International Conference on Asbestos Awareness and Management 2014 in Melbourne, Australia, to be held on 16 to 18 Nov 2014. Further details and registration on the website.

As the Global Ban Asbestos Network Director for Australia and a Mesothelioma Warrior, the 1st International Asbestos Conference in Australia is monumentally important to me.

Since my father, Norman Heritage, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1985 at the age of 54, I have believed in raising awareness and helping in unity to help ban asbestos on a global scale. Continue reading

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ADFA Media Release: Asbestos victims don’t die by instalments: James Hardie shouldn’t compensate by instalments

15 Sept 2014 – Sydney, NSW

Media release – Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia (ADFA), Barry Robson, President

Asbestos victims don’t die by instalments: James Hardie shouldn’t compensate by instalments

Asbestos groups are outraged by the announcement that the James Hardie asbestos compensation fund will seek approval from the Supreme Court to pay victims by instalments following a forecast shortfall of funds within three years.

The Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia said the move was a slap in the face to victims, especially as James Hardie had recently found $500 million to pay in dividends to shareholders and given pay rises to top executives, with CEO Louis Gries now earning $11 million a year.

ADFA president Barry Robson said the reason for the funding shortfall was because the number of Australians dying from James Hardie asbestos products was still climbing, with a particular spike in the number of cases of mesothelioma, an incurable cancer caused by asbestos.

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Alessandro Pugno, from the Associazione Familiari Vittime Amianto, “Action Mesothelioma Day” Speech

Posted on August 1, 2014

On Friday 4th July 2014, I was invited by the Greater Manchester Asbestos Victims Support Group to give a speech about the story of Casale Monferrato in the town hall of Manchester.  It was an honor to share my story on behalf of my family and Associazione Familiari Vittime Amianto (AFeVA) from Casale where more than 200 asbestos victims, activists, and lawmakers gathered for Action Mesothelioma Day.

Alessandro Pugno’s “Action Mesothelioma Day” Speech

Alessandro“My name is Alessandro, I’m a filmmaker and I come from Casale Monferrato in Italy . In many ways, my story is not very different from yours.

Casale is a beautiful town surrounded by vineyards and gentle hills. It is a deeply human landscape that has been lovingly taken care of for centuries. A Tolkien landscape really, a sort of shire where you would expect hobbits to live.

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Lou Williams: “Keynote speaker Canberra, ACT, 14 July 2014 PGARDS/ASEA”

Posted on July 29, 2014

Thursday 10 and Friday 11 July were 2 terrible days for me – my body came down with infection, pain and fatigue.   I was due to fly up to Canberra, Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Sunday 13 July.  I slowly came good Sat and by midday Sunday apart from the extreme fatigue I felt okay and was determined to get on that plane for Canberra where I was to speak on Monday 14 July at Parliament House, Canberra to the politicians.
Luckily a special and dear girlfriend Vicki and husband were able to pick me up from the airport and I stayed the night with them in Canberra and was thoroughly spoilt and pampered.  By Monday morning I was ready for Parliament House although a bad back pain was annoying me so I took a morphine based tablet and slowly is went to the background of my health and determination!  Vicki kindly drove me to Parliament House and came inside with me until I was met by Geraldine – Senator Lisa Singh’s aide/personal assistant.  Geraldine and Lisa kindly offered me the use of their office for day to rest and recuperate if I needed to do so.  I met with Lisa for a while and we discussed the global ban on asbestos and asbestos in Australia.   Lisa’s portfolio is a huge one and I am not sure where she gets her energy to carry on/embrace everything as she does so efficiently.
We made our way to the parliamentary luncheon just prior to midday where Peter Tighe (head of ASEA Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency) was waiting for me along with others that he introduced me to including various politicians.
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An European Court for Human Rights Verdict in Favour of Asbestos Victims by Yvonne Waterman

Posted on July 26, 2014

ECHROn July 24th, 2014, the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) has condemned the Maltese government for exposing shipyard workers to asbestos at its docks during the last decades of the previous century.

Malta argued in court that the workers had accepted the occupational dangers of working with asbestos, pointing out that they were provided with such protective clothing and masks as seemed sufficient at the time. Also, that the mere fact that the workers used protective clothing and masks was enough to fulfil the employers’ duty of information that their work was obviously of a dangerous nature; and that the danger money they had received on top of their salaries in compensation of continuous occupational asbestos exposure made the present liability claims unjustified. Unsurprisingly, the ECHR made short shift of these arguments, which are hardly fitting in this age and remind of the terrible English labour law in Victorian times.

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Strage Eternit, il magnate Schmidheiny accusato di omicidio volontario || Eternit Slaughter. The Tycoon Schmidheiny is Charged With Willful Murder

Strage Eternit, il magnate Schmidheiny accusato di omicidio volontari  

Eternit Slaughter. The Tycoon Schmidheiny is  Charged With Willful Murder

Chiusa l’indagine bis sugli stabilimenti del gruppo svizzero: l’imputazione riguarda 213 morti di mesotelioma. Il difensore: “Accusa pesante, ma infondata”

The investigative phase for the second trial on the plants belonging to the Swiss group: 213 mesothelioma deaths. The defendant’s lawyer:’ A very heavy but groundless accusation.


EternitOmicidio volontario anche per Stephan Schmidheiny, il magnate elvetico rimasto l’unico a rispondere dell’infinita strage da amianto della Eternit. La notizia circolava da un anno, quando il pm Raffaele Guariniello aveva pensato di contestare al milionario svizzero la stessa accusa formulata per l’amministratore delegato della ThyssenKrupp Harald Espenhahn. Ora il magistrato torinese, assieme al sostituto procuratore Gianfranco Colace, ha firmato l’avviso di chiusura delle indagini dell’inchiesta cosiddetta “Eternit bis”, che sarà notificato tanto all’imputato che alle famiglie delle 213 vittime colpite da mesotelioma pleurico.

Willful murder for S Schmidheiny,  the Swiss tycoon, the only defendant left in the long lasting Eternit asbestos massacre. News of the indictment had been circulating for a year, since Public Prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello had started  considering the same charge which had been brought against Harald Espenhahn, the ThyssenKrupp CEO. The Turin Public Prosecutor (PP) with Deputy Prosecutor Gainfranco Colace, has closed the investigative phase of the so called Eternit bis case  which the defendant and the families of the 213 pleural mesothelioma victims will be informed of.

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