Reflecting on Three Informative, Inspiring Days of Brazil’s Asbestos Seminar

ADAO’s RESOURCE PAGE for Brazil’s International Seminar on Asbestos: A Socio-Legal Approach

October 6, 2016: On the Frontlines of Change: Day One of Brazil’s International Seminar on Asbestos: A Socio-Legal Approach

October 7, 2016: On the Frontlines of Change: Day Two of Brazil’s International Seminar on Asbestos: A Socio-Legal Approach 

October 11, 2016: Reflecting on Three Informative, Inspiring Days of Brazil’s Asbestos Seminar

Brazil Group Pic

Over 200 asbestos victims, lawmakers, trade unionists, and lawyers gathered in Brazil.

Posted on October 11, 2016 

After three days of seminar programming in Brazil, I am leaving filled with so much inspiration and admiration. It was an honor to join such passionate and knowledgeable advocates discussing how the global anti-asbestos community can partner for prevention. Continue reading

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EPA Takes Action on PBT Chemicals – Pressure to Name Asbestos on Top Ten List Remains Fierce

tsca-begins-canva-1Posted on October 13, 2016

I want to clarify some confusing news you may have seen this week about asbestos and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced five persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) chemicals from the EPA’s 2014 Workplan list for expedited review under the new TSCA Section 6 (h).

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Exciting NEWS: U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer Introduces the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2016

Press Release: ADAO President Urges Congressional Support of Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2016, Introduced Today by Senator Barbara Boxer

Posted on September 30, 2016

ar-ban-bill-2016-fb-canvaSince the inception of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer has been the strongest champion asbestos victims could ask for. Today, she solidified this position by introducing the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2016, with co-sponsorship from U.S. Sen. Jon Tester.

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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

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AFeVA COMUNICATO: Sentenza Corte Costituzionale

Posted on July 21, 2016

Casale Monferrato, Giovedì 21 luglio 2016

COMUNICATO

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

ASBESTOS MEMORIAL SERVICE

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

OFFICIAL WELCOME – Geoff Provest

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

10.25
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.

Sincerely,

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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