Recent news

Britain: Asbestos killed youngest mesothelioma victim
An inquest has found that a 32-year-old father of three was killed as a result of childhood exposure to asbestos in the home.
Risks 237, 17 December 2005

Britain: Sufferers win drugs for asbestos cancer
A high profile campaign in north-east of England has won asbestos cancer victims the right to a life-extending treatment on the NHS. Mesothelioma sufferers from the region had faced paying £24,000 to a private hospital to get the Alimta drug treatment, or travelling down to Liverpool or London, where the drug is already available.
Risks 237, 17 December 2005

Britain: Asbestos campaigner received top honour
A woman whose search for the true cause of her husband’s death has helped protect thousands of workers’ health and ensured adequate compensation for victims of asbestos-related disease, has had her work honoured. Nancy Tait MBE, the founder of the Occupational and Environmental Diseases Association (OEDA), is this year’s recipient of the prestigious Institution of Occupational Safety and Health/Sypol Lifetime Achievement Award.
Risks 237, 17 December 2005

Britain: MPs raise concerns about asbestos law changes
Dozens of MPs have joined legal and safety campaigners to raise concerns about proposed changes to asbestos safety regulations which “could put workers, home owners and families at risk”. As of 14 December, 70 MPs had signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) critical of Health and Safety Commission proposals and calling for more research.
Risks 237, 17 December 2005

Britain: No job is safe from asbestos risk
The true extend of Britain’s asbestos disease epidemic is becoming fully apparent as more and more workers with incidental exposure to asbestos are being struck by asbestos cancers. Latest reports include a teacher and a shopfitter killed by the deadly fibre.
Risks 236, 10 December 2005

Global: Canadian union threatens James Hardie ban
A Canadian construction union leader is threatening to ban James Hardie products ahead of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver unless the company settles an agreement to compensate victims of asbestos-related diseases.
Risks 235, 3 December 2005

Britain: Abattoir asbestos killed man
A Merseyside man died as a result of asbestos exposure in an abattoir. Liverpool's Coroner's Court ruled last week that John Jackson, 78, had died of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos from lagged pipes in the building he rented for a pet food business in the 40s, 50s and 60s.
Risks 235, 3 December 2005

South Africa: No worker is safe, says asbestos expert
Workers exposed to chrysotile (white) asbestos are developing deadly diseases, discrediting industry “safe use” claims, a South African asbestos industry expert has said.
Risks 234, 26 November 2005

Britain: Britain’s continuing asbestos cancer crisis
Two things are certain in occupational health and safety – asbestos is a potent workplace killer and negligent employers will make sure it remains so.
Risks 234, 26 November 2005

Australia: Asbestos giant Hardie faces fresh boycott threat
Australian unions have warned James Hardie, the company that prompted a damaging global campaign after it tried to evade asbestos compensation payouts, it will face another round of boycotts if it doesn’t deliver on its promises to dying Australians.
Risks 233, 19 November 2005

Britain: Past asbestos exposures killing thousands
Britain’s biggest industrial killer is still claiming thousands of lives every year – and the toll is still rising.
Risks 233, 19 November 2005

Britain: Asbestos crimes leave a new generation at risk
Criminal neglect of safety laws is placing a new generation of workers at risk of asbestos disease.
Risks 233, 19 November 2005

Britain: Insurers bid to stop asbestos payouts
Thousands of people who were exposed to asbestos at work could lose the right to compensation if three senior judges overturn a ruling in a test case before the appeal court this week. At stake is more than £1bn in compensation for pleural plaques over the next few decades which insurers argue they should not be obliged to pay.
Risks 233, 19 November 2005

Britain: Workplace asbestos exposure linked to colon cancer
Men who've been exposed to asbestos run a greater risk of developing colorectal cancer. Writing in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers say men in the asbestos-exposed group were 36 per cent more likely to develop colorectal cancer than were men in the heavy-smoker but not asbestos-exposed cohort.
Risks 233, 19 November 2005

Britain: Public at risk from new asbestos rules
A planned relaxation in the law protecting the public from asbestos, announced by the government, will see families and workers facing an increased risk of asbestos-related illness, contractors, unions and experts have warned.
Risks 232, 12 November 2005

Britain: Call for action on asbestos cancer
A new “Action Mesothelioma Charter” from the British Lung Foundation (BLF) is calling for urgent measures to give more rights to people with the fatal asbestos cancer mesothelioma and for the government to make the issue a top public health priority. The organisation says every five hours someone in the UK dies from mesothelioma.
Risks 232, 12 November 2005

Britain: Amicus targets the “silent” asbestos epidemic
Private sector union Amicus is stepping up its campaign to compensation asbestos disease victims and says it has seen a marked upturn in calls from affected workers.
Risks 232, 12 November 2005

Britain: Britain’s remorseless asbestos epidemic
The asbestos cancer mesothelioma is killing five people every day in the UK – and the daily toll is rising.

Risks 231, 5 November 2005

South Korea: New restrictions on asbestos
The South Korean government is reported to be introducing new tighter regulations on asbestos. Once designated, the import, manufacture and use of asbestos will be strictly limited.
Risks 230, 29 October 2005

Britain: Husband fights to prove asbestos killed his wife
Stewart Littlemore has launched a desperate bid for help proving his wife was killed by deadly asbestos. Mr Littlemore is fighting to claim compensation after his wife Margaret died in July aged 54 of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma.
Risks 229, 22 October 2005

Japan: Asbestos deaths doubled in last decade
Deaths from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma almost doubled to a record 953 in 2004 from 500 in 1995, according to latest Japanese government statistics. The statistics highlight an enormous discrepancy between the number of cases and the relatively small number receiving compensation.
Risks 228, 15 October 2005

USA: Seven figure payout to carpenter with asbestosis
A San Francisco jury has awarded over $2.8 million (£1.6m) in damages to a carpenter with asbestosis, a disabling scarring of the lungs caused by asbestos exposure.
Risks 228, 15 October 2005

Australia: Asbestos, cancer and caring
Lorraine Kember watched her husband, Brian, deteriorate over two years from a healthy, active man in his early 50s, to being pain wracked and feeble, destined to die aged 54 from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma. In ‘Lean on me: Cancer through a carer’s eyes’ she chronicles their life together and how both she and Brian dealt with his illness, caused by exposure as a child to asbestos dumped around the town of Wittenoom, Australia.
Risks 228, 15 October 2005

Britain: Mesothelioma continues its deadly course
The asbestos cancer mesothelioma is claiming 40 lives a week in the UK and the deaths show no sign of abating.
Risks 228, 15 October 2005

Britain: Asbestos victims robbed of compensation
Asbestos cancer victims of Turner and Newall (T&N), once the world’s largest asbestos company, are to be paid less than a quarter of the compensation they are due. Federal Mogul, the US owners of the company, is responsible for hundreds of cases of cancer linked to asbestos but will pay out just 24p for every pound to which victims are entitled.
Risks 228, 15 October 2005

Britain: Asbestos widow gets six figure payout
A Worcestershire woman whose carpenter husband died after being exposed to asbestos dust at a jail is to receive a six-figure payout from the Home Office. Barry Price, 67, died in 2002 from the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma, which he contracted through his job at Hewell Grange Prison in Redditch.
Risks 226, 1 October 2005

Global: Unions protest at Canada’s asbestos exports
Unions around the world protested on 9 September at Canada’s dangerous asbestos export drive.
Risks 224, 17 September 2005

Australia: Smokers can sue for asbestos disease payouts
Thousands of people in New South Wales stand to benefit from a landmark NSW District Court ruling that opens the way for former smokers to be compensated for asbestos-related lung cancer.
Risks 224, 17 September 2005

Canada: Asbestos push makes country a global “pariah
News that a leading Conservative MP in Canada has been struck with the asbestos cancer mesothelioma has led to renewed calls for an end to the country’s energetic global promotion of the killer fibre. Tory MP Chuck Strahl's announcement that he has cancer, the result of workplace asbestos exposures in his youth, should be a wake up call for the government to support a global ban on asbestos, said New Democrat (NDP) MP Pat Martin.
Risks 222, 3 September 2005

Britain/USA: Equitas pays £167m to settle US asbestos claims
Equitas, the company set up to assume Lloyd's of London's massive liability exposures, said this week it had settled some of its largest remaining direct liabilities with a $300 million (£167.1 million) payout to six major policy holders to settle US asbestos-related claims.
Risks 222, 3 September 2005

Britain: Asbestos killing more before their time
An engineer who was suing Yorkshire Water for their negligence in exposing him to deadly asbestos has died of mesothelioma. Jonathan Kay died knowing he had won his legal fight after Kelda Group plc – formerly Yorkshire Water Authority – admitted liability, and is one of a new generation of younger workers succumbing to asbestos cancers.
Risks 222, 3 September 2005

Australia: Row erupts over asbestos payouts
Fears that Australian multinational James Hardie Industries may abandon an asbestos compensation scheme have led to angry exchanges.
Risks 220, 20 August 2005

Britain: Hospital asbestos killed nurse
The family of a nurse who died after being exposed to asbestos dust in a hospital has been awarded £175,000 in damages from the Department of Health. Rebecca Little, 53, of Catterick, died in February 2002 from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma.
Risks 220, 20 August 2005

Japan: Industry lobbying blocked asbestos ban
At least a part of Japan’s unfolding asbestos disease tragedy might have been averted if the asbestos industry had not successfully blocked a ban on the deadly fibre 13 years ago.
Risks * Number 216 * 23 July 2005

Britain: Hazard warning on asbestos scan vans
The TUC is warning that the arrival in the UK of US-style “scan vans” that screen workers for occupational lung disease is not the best way to deal with Britain’s asbestos disease epidemic.
Risks * Number 216 * 23 July 2005

Japan: Asbestos deaths scandal prompts ban by 2008
Japan’s health ministry has said it plans to ban all use of asbestos by 2008 after recent revelations that hundreds of workers have died from asbestos-related diseases. The government is facing criticism for not acting sooner.
Risks 215, 16 July 2005

Britain: Asbestos cancer killed teacher
A teacher has died of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma. He had been exposed during building work at a school in the 1970s.
Risks 215, 16 July 2005

Britain: Cape aims to cap asbestos liabilities
Asbestos campaigners have warned UK multinational Cape plc not to railroad through a proposed £40m asbestos fund to cap its asbestos disease liabilities. Campaigners say all previous schemes to cap companies’ asbestos disease liabilities have disadvantaged asbestos victims.
Risks 215, 16 July 2005

Japan: Asbestos massacre revealed at factories
The deadly impact of widespread asbestos use in Japan is becoming apparent as major Japanese manufacturers admit scores of asbestos-related deaths amongst former employees, customers and local communities. The tragedy, revealed by asbestos victims' groups and safety campaign organisations, follows a surge in asbestos campaign activity following the Global Asbestos Congress in Japan in November last year.
Risks 214, 9 July 2005

Australia: Government fines threat to asbestos protesters
The Australian government is threatening to fine workers who marched in a rally that led to an Aus$1.5 billion (£633.5m) settlement for asbestos disease victims. A letter to workers at packaging giant Visy informs them they face an Aus$6,600 (£2,790) fine for breaching orders not to join the anti-James Hardie rally last year.
Risks 213, 2 July 2005

Cancer report slams Canada on asbestos
A new report from the Canadian Cancer Society says: “Canada’s promotion and sale of asbestos worldwide compromises our ability to be taken seriously regarding cancer prevention, and exports environmental exposure and cancers to those countries with the least resources to control them. Transition programmes for asbestos mining communities are needed and the sale and use of this potent carcinogen should be banned.”
Risks 213, 2 July 2005

Britain: The deadly cost of asbestos
The asbestos disease epidemic is continuing to exact a heavy price in communities across the UK.
Risks 212, 25 June 2005

Britain: Remorseless progress of the asbestos epidemic
The extent of Britain’s asbestos cancer epidemics continues to reveal itself in press reports nationwide. The combined toll of asbestos-related lung cancers and mesotheliomas is estimated to be killing in the region of 10 people a day, and the number is rising.
Risks 211, 18 June 2005

Global: Unions demand an end to the asbestos carnage
Unions worldwide have embarked on a global campaign to end “the asbestos carnage”. Global building unions’ federation IFBWW handed a statement to the ILO director general Juan Somavia demanding ILO takes a clear health-based position in favour of the elimination of the use of all forms of asbestos and asbestos containing materials.
Risks 210, 11 June 2005

Britain: Esso pays dying man £90,000
A man dying of an asbestos cancer has been awarded a £90,000 payout. Gerald Read, 80, worked as a scaffolder at the Esso oil refinery at Fawley from 1968 until he retired in 1981 and is now suffering the fatal asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma.
Risks 210, 11 June 2005

Britain: £140,000 payout to plasterer’s widow
A woman who watched her husband “suffer terribly” before his death four years ago from an asbestos cancer, has received a £140,000 payout. Community member Robert Brown died aged 57 in May 2001 from mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos dust whilst working as a plasterer for Corby Borough Council.
Risks 210, 11 June 2005

Global: More calls for a global asbestos ban
Union and public health organisations worldwide are increasing the pressure for a global asbestos ban. Unions worldwide are to launch their campaign on 8 June in Geneva, with a ban now being supported by both the Collegium Ramazzini and the World Federation of Public Health Associations.
Risks 209, 4 June 2005

USA: The new generation of asbestos claims
A new wave of asbestos cancers is being seen in people who contracted the disease simply by being a family member of an asbestos-exposed worker. Research in the United States has identified a growing number of claims for compensation from these “paraoccupational” victims of the incurable lung cancer mesothelioma.
Risks 209, 4 June 2005

New Zealand: Asbestos victims must die poor - official
New Zealand’s official compensation agency is challenging the right of those dying from asbestos exposure to claim lump sum compensation. If successful, the bid to bar claims from people exposed before April 2002 would bar almost every asbestos cancer victim from claiming for years to come because of the time lag between initial exposure and the development of an asbestos cancer.
Risks 208, 28 May 2005

Britain: Asbestos claims more lives
Britain is one of the worst hit countries in the world for asbestos deaths. Cases are so commonplace in the UK these days they only merit a few lines in local newspapers.
Risks 208, 28 May 2005

Global: Metalworker unions push for global asbestos ban
The International Metalworkers’ Federation (IMF), representing metalworker unions from 100 countries around the world launched a high-powered campaign this week for a global ban on asbestos. A “death counter” at its global congress ticked off the number of asbestos deaths occurring as the event progressed – one additional death every five minutes.
Risks 208, 28 May 2005

Global: James Hardie sees profits surge
A multinational asbestos giant that failed last year in its bid to evade much of its compensation liability has seen its profits soar. James Hardie Industries agreed in December 2004 to a £0.62bn compensation deal after an unprecedented global campaign by unions and asbestos disease victims’ organisations.
Risks 207, 21 May 2005

Britain: Asbestos epidemic hits people of working age
The perception that deadly asbestos cancers only affect people in old age is being challenged by recent tragedies. In the latest case, civil engineer John Kay, 40, has been given just months to live after being diagnosed with the asbestos cancer mesothelioma.
Risks 207, 21 May 2005

Britain: “Cavalier” asbestos firm escapes justice
A Bradford building firm accused of a “cavalier” attitude to the deadly risks of asbestos has evaded prosecution by going into liquidation. A-One Insulation Ltd had been due to appear in court this week to face eight charges of breaching asbestos regulations, including failure to ensure the health and safety of its employees.
Risks 207, 21 May 2005

Global: Experts back global asbestos ban
An international conference of top experts on workplace lung diseases has backed calls for a global asbestos ban. The tenth International Conference on Occupational Respiratory Diseases (ICORD) held in April in Beijing, agreed a recommendation promoted by global union federations and other bodies that all parties should pursue a global ban and reduction in the use of asbestos.
Risks 203, 7 May 2005

Britain: Palace widow gets asbestos payout
The widow of a man who died after exposure to asbestos at Buckingham Palace has been awarded nearly £180,000 in compensation by the High Court. Mary Costello's husband John died aged 58 in September 2001 of mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer.
Risks 203, 7 May 2005

Britain: Asbestos cancer kills 32-year-old
A man thought to be one of the youngest person in the UK to contract asbestos-related cancer has died. Barry Welch, a 32-year-old father of three from Leicester who has never worked with asbestos, was diagnosed with mesothelioma last year – thought to be caused by childhood exposure to the fibre on his stepfather’s overalls.
Risks 203, 7 May 2005

Britain: CWU backs community asbestos campaign
CWU health and safety department is backing a community asbestos campaign in a bid to stop a deadly airborne risk to workers and the public. Following a recent meeting between “Save Spodden Valley” community campaigners and local CWU reps from the Rochdale area the union has thrown its weight behind the campaign to halt the development of a former Turner and Newell asbestos textile factory site.
Risks 203, 7 May 2005

Britain: More ex-rail staff die of asbestos cancer
A former British Rail employee died of cancer caused by asbestos, an inquest has heard. The report came the same week a widow who emigrated to Australia more than 40 years ago won substantial damages from British Rail following the death of her husband from exposure to asbestos.
Risks 202, 16 April 2005

Asia: TUC gets assurance on tsunami "asbestos aid"
The UK government has committed itself to help ensure that asbestos is not used in materials used in reconstruction work in South East Asia following the Boxing Day tsunami.
Risks 200, 2 April 2005

Britain: Asbestos sheets killed joiner
A Newbury joiner died after years of prolonged contact with sheets of asbestos which he would cut "like planks of wood," an inquest has been told. Melvin Raymond, 63, worked with the asbestos sheets without protective gear.
Risks 199, 19 March 2005

Britain: Insurers in "shameless" appeal in asbestos case
Aviva and Zurich Insurance are to appeal against a legal decision which found insurance firms are liable to pay compensation for pleural plaques caused by exposure to asbestos. Colin Ettinger, the president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, called the legal challenge "nothing but a shameless and greedy attempt by insurers to save yet more money at the expense of injured people."
Risks 199, 19 March 2005

Britain: Factory produces over 100 asbestos claims
Hundreds of former employees of a south Wales factory are taking legal action after developing asbestos-related illnesses. More than 100 people who worked at the Dunlop Semtex factory in Brynmawr have been awarded compensation, with payouts ranging from £5,000 to £36,000.
Risks 198, 12 March 2005

Britain: Plight of asbestos cancer victims "ignored"
People suffering from a cancer caused by asbestos exposure are being neglected, campaigners say. The British Lung Foundation (BLF), which is calling for more research and improved access to compensation, says the asbestos cancer mesothelioma kills 1,800 people a year - more than cervical cancer - but there is no cure and treatment only relieves the symptoms.
Risks 198, 12 March 2005

USA/Australia: Hardie's compensation dealings span continents
Australian asbestos exporter James Hardie is lobbying the US Congress for cut-price "no fault" legislation in a bid to limit its US compensation liabilities. The building products company has hired Washington influence peddling firm Shea and Gardner to push its powerful Republican contacts to back legislation establishing a capped $140 billion (£73bn) scheme to eliminate asbestos lawsuits.
Risks 197, 5 March 2005

Britain: Asbestos dust kills daughter
A widower whose wife died of asbestos disease caused by her exposure as a little girl has received a £107,500 compensation payout. When Sylvie Tapley was a child she used to sit on her father's knee when he returned from the asbestos factory where he worked.
Risks 197, 5 March 2005

Sri Lanka/Australia: MP seeks to stop asbestos tsunami "aid"
An Australian politician has appealed to the country's federal government to intervene and stop the use of asbestos products in Sri Lanka's tsunami rebuilding programme.
Risks 195, 19 February 2005

Britain: Asbestos ruling supports pleural plaques payouts
A move by insurers to stop paying out to people diagnosed with a condition showing asbestos exposure has failed. A High Court judge ruled thousands of people with pleural plaques - scarring on the lung lining - were still entitled to compensation.
Risks 195, 19 February 2005

Global: Hardie's world of asbestos victims
James Hardie Industries is under pressure to extend its $1.5 billion (£0.62bn) Australian compensation deal to thousands of asbestos victims in Asia and the Pacific.
Risks 193, 5 February 2005

Britain: Widower loses damages for wife's asbestos death
A former shipyard worker whose wife died from an asbestos cancer has been stripped of his £82,000 compensation payout. James Maguire's wife Teresa, 67, contracted mesothelioma through secondary exposure to asbestos dust on his work clothes.
Risks 192, 29 January 2005

Egypt: Workers fight employer and asbestos disease
Ninety employees, many suffering from debilitating asbestos disease, have been laid off by Aura-Misr, an Egyptian asbestos company. The sick workers say a month's supply of basic medicine, that allows them to continue breathing properly, costs about 70 per cent of a worker's salary.
Risks 191, 22 January 2005

Britain: Hairdresser killed by asbestos in old driers
A former hairdresser died as a result of years of exposure to asbestos in old hood-style hair-driers. Janet Watson, 59, contracted the asbestos cancer mesothelioma through exposure to dust produced as asbestos linings in the equipment crumbled with time.
Risks 191, 22 January 2005

USA: Gridlock in asbestos compensation battle
The US Congress will probably have to decide the size of a proposed trust fund to compensate asbestos victims, due to a lack of agreement among affected groups, the senator drafting the measure said this week. Unions warn that the current proposals would see some asbestos victims lose out.
Risks 190, 15 January 2005

Britain: Equitas agrees £107 million asbestos payout
Equitas, the reinsurer set up to deal with Lloyd's of London's multibillion-pound asbestos liabilities, has settled more than £107 million of claims with four policyholders.
Risks 190, 15 January 2005

USA: Asbestos cowboys get lengthy jail terms
A US federal judge has sentenced an asbestos company boss to 25 years in prison, his father to 19 years and has ordered them to pay about $25 million (£13.3m) in restitution and fines. Alex Salvagno, 38, and his father, Raul, 71, were found guilty of racketeering and conspiracy to violate environmental laws for rushing asbestos abatement jobs, placing staff at deadly risk.
Risks 189, 8 January 2005

Australia: Campaigners secure James Hardie asbestos agreement
Unions and campaigners in Australia have signed a deal with former asbestos products manufacturer James Hardie for what is believed to be the largest personal injury settlement in Australia's history.

Risks 188, 24 December 2004

Global: US turns up heat in Hardie scandal
The powerful US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has joined the growing pack of watchdogs in the hunt to bring actions against James Hardie Industries and its executives and directors.
Risks 187, 18 December 2004

Britain: Amicus speaks up for asbestos victims
Amicus has condemned insurers who it says are attempting to shirk their responsibility to compensate up to 75 per cent of asbestos claims. The union says insurers are this week challenging in the High Court the right of workers to claim compensation for pleural plaques, a calcification of the lungs that can be caused by exposure to asbestos.
Risks 187, 18 December 2004

Australia: James Hardie asbestos fund could fold
Disgraced Australian asbestos multinational James Hardie Industries is facing fresh controversy after a foundation set up to compensate its asbestos disease victims this week started proceedings to go into liquidation.
Risks 184, 27 November 2004

Global: Unions up pressure for total asbestos ban
The world's construction unions are to step up the campaign for a global asbestos ban. A joint declaration from the international building trade union federations says they are "committed to actively promote the global ban of all forms of asbestos from the construction industry and from all other industrial sectors, and to promote the effective regulation of work with in-situ asbestos in demolition, conversion, renovation and maintenance works by law."
Risks 184, 27 November 2004Full declaration

USA: Asbestos industry the winner in the US election
Insurance companies have been cheered by the re-election of President Bush, a move many believe could lead to the introduction of a new compensation deal capping asbestos compensation liabilities.
Risks 183, 20 November 2004

USA: Asbestos company's very profitable bankruptcy
A multinational which filed for bankruptcy in 2000 in the face of asbestos disease liabilities estimated at $2 billion (£1.08bn) had sales in the most recent quarter of over $1.5 billion (£0.8bn). Owens Corning's net income for the quarter rose 71 per cent, to $94 million (£50.6m), according to company reports.
Risks 182, 13 November 2004

Australia: Company backs a loser in the asbestos stakes
James Hardie Industries may come to rue to day it decided to skip Australia, leaving asbestos disease victims in the lurch. The company, now headquartered in the Netherlands, is reeling in the face of very creative attacks from unions and campaigners.
Risks 182, 13 November 2004

Britain: "Cynical" insurers seek to dodge asbestos payouts
The insurance industry has been accused of a "cynical attempt" to dodge its responsibility to some workers affected by asbestos exposure. For the past twenty years, the courts have awarded compensation to people with "pleural plaques", a scarring of the lungs caused by asbestos - but this now being challenged in court by insurers.
Risks 182, 13 November 2004

Britain: Insurance industry worried by growing asbestos claims
Insurance industry researchers have issued a dire warning about the escalating costs of asbestos claims immediately ahead of a legal test case that seeks to determine whether workers with early signs of asbestos damage should receive payouts.
Risks 181, 6 November 2004

Britain: TGWU calls for inquiry carpet factory asbestos deaths
The asbestos-related deaths of at least three former employees of a Bradford carpet factory has prompted union calls for an urgent official investigation. Peter Booth, national organiser with textiles union TGWU, said there should be a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inquiry into the deaths of former workers from the Associated Weavers mill.
Risks 181, 6 November 2004

Australia: Millions for ousted bosses as asbestos fund runs dry
Seven figure pay-offs to two bosses forced to resign in a major asbestos scandal have been condemned by unions. A fund set up to compensate asbestos disease victims of James Hardie Industries, meanwhile, faces a Aus$2bn (£815m) shortfall and could run dry as early as April next year.
Risks 180, 30 October 2004

Australia: Landmark award for asbestos fears
A former asbestos mine worker has won a landmark court ruling in Australia. The Supreme Court in Perth has ruled that a former worker at the Wittenoom asbestos mine in Western Australia, who has a psychiatric disability caused by fear of dying from asbestos disease, is entitled to compensation from his former employer.
Risks 179, 23 October 2004

Construction workers protest at asbestos peddlers
Construction workers in Australia have protested outside the Canadian High Commission in Canberra in a bid to highlight Canada's global marketing push for the deadly asbestos industry.
Risks 178, 16 October 2004

Beleaguered asbestos giant sinks further
An asbestos scandal that has already dislodged two top executives of James Hardie Industries, prompted a national product boycott and has led to worldwide protests, looks set to become to become more serious still. The company may soon be facing contempt charges in Australia and criminal investigation in the US.
Risks 178, 16 October 2004

Asbestos scandal claims top bosses' scalps

The growing international scandal engulfing Australian multinational James Hardie Industries has claimed its first boardroom scalps. The company's chief executive and chief financial officer have stood aside after an official inquiry into the troubled building products company, which lots set to become the "asbestos Enron" as it faces investigation by financial watchdogs in Australia and the USA.
Risks 176, 2 October 2004

Mersey fire chiefs sue government over asbestos

The government is being sued by a fire service for not warning firefighters about the dangers of asbestos. Merseyside Fire Service has confirmed that it has started legal proceedings against the government.
Risks 176, 2 October 2004

Inquiry leads to jail calls for James Hardie boss
A company boss is facing the threat of the sack and jail time for misleading the stock market in a bid to evade asbestos disease compensation liabilities. Besieged James Hardie Industries faces intense pressure to pay its full asbestos disease liabilities of up to $2.24 billion (£0.9bn) and sack its chief executive Peter Macdonald after a damning report by a special inquiry.
Risks 175, 25 September 2004

Asbestos interests block global safety move
Asbestos producer nations have blocked the addition of chrysotile (white) asbestos to the UN list of highly dangerous substances that cannot be exported to developing countries without their knowledge and agreement.
Hazards PIC news, 18 September 2004

Unions unite to fight for asbestos justice
Global trade union organisations are stepping up international pressure on the Australian building supplies company James Hardie to compensate thousands of victims of asbestos diseases.
Risks 174, 18 September 2004

Asbestos victims win £90m payout from EU multinational
A European multinational is facing an asbestos disease compensation bill in excess of £90 million as a result of a Brazilian court ruling. The landmark ruling against Eternit, and found the company responsible for the ill-health of affected workers and directed the company to pay compensation and medical costs.
Risks 174, 18 September 2004

Hospital asbestos blamed for death
A 60-year-old woman died after being exposed to asbestos dust while working as a hospital cleaner, an inquest has heard. The West Yorkshire coroner ruled that Vanda Johansson-Corcoran's death was caused after years of being exposed to asbestos while cleaning a boiler room at Airedale Hospital, Steeton, near Keighley.
Risks 172, 4 September 2004

Bid to stop asbestos company going Dutch on compo
An Australian asbestos giant that jumped ship to Holland could face court action in the Dutch courts. Dutch justice minister Piet Hein Donner said in answer to questions from federal MPs that his government would consider any request for a judicial treaty with Australia which would allow asbestos diseases victims of the James Hardie company to pursue compensation claims in Holland.
Risks 172, 4 September 2004

Asbestos myths resurface as ban vote looms
Frantic industry efforts to present white asbestos in a safe light are underway, as September's Rotterdam Treaty move to restrict the deadly fibre draws closer.
Risks 171, 28 August 2004

Shipyard workers receive asbestos disease payouts
Spanish workers employed 50 years ago in British shipyards renovating US ships on the island of Gibraltar have received payouts for asbestos disease. The claims were made to a trust fund set up by defunct US shipping companies.
Risks 170, 21 August 2004

Scots asbestos compensation move urged
An asbestos campaign group is pressing the Scottish parliament to speed up compensation for victims of the disease and their families. Clydeside Action on Asbestos says that while the courts have been prepared to speed up the process, too few claims are settled while victims are still alive.
Risks 170, 21 August 2004

ACTU condemns asbestos firm's cut price compo plan
Australia's top union body has condemned a proposal by multinational firm James Hardie as an attempt to evade its liabilities to asbestos disease victims and their families. It follows a call that Hardie Industries chief executive Peter Macdonald should face a jail sentence for his role in a scheme that disadvantaged asbestos victims.
Risks 169, 14 August 2004

Unions ban products from asbestos fraud firm
An Australian company denounced for fraud, lies and asbestos disgrace at an official inquiry is facing a union-led ban on its products.
Risks 168, 7 August 2004

Surge in asbestos deaths
The use of asbestos may be declining in the United States, but asbestos related deaths are on the rise and will continue to rise for at least the next decade, according to a new study from the US government's Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Risks 167, 31 July 2004

Unions pursue asbestos firm worldwide
A company that skipped Australia for the Netherlands in a suspected bid to evade tens of thousands of asbestos compensation claims is the target of a global union campaign. Australian national union federation ACTU has rejected a proposal by the board of the James Hardie company for a statutory scheme that would limit the rights of asbestos disease victims.
Risks 166, 24 July 2004

Everything you need to know about asbestos
The latest issue of the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health is available online and is on the theme of asbestos. IJOEH provides essential background material for the fight for a global asbestos ban.
IJOEH, volume 10, Number 2, April-June 2004

South Africa
Government acts to ban asbestos
South Africa is to ban the manufacture and new use of asbestos. Environment minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk told South African MPs the government will "be publishing regulations this year to prohibit the use of asbestos."
Risks 162, 26 June 2004

Canada will fight asbestos trade controls
The Canadian government has confirmed it will try to block a global agreement that aims to curtail trade in deadly chrysotile (white) asbestos. But the global union umbrella group ICFTU says all forms of asbestos must be banned, with "just transition" programmes introduced to provide work and training for displaced workers.
Risks 161, 19 June 2004

White asbestos must be banned say campaigners
Health campaigners in India are demanding a ban on white asbestos, saying the thousands die each year in the country from asbestos related diseases.
Risks 160, 12 June 2004

New offensive against asbestos
Mining, production, sales and use of asbestos should be banned, the Brazilian Ministry of Labour and Employment has confirmed.
Risks 154, 1 May 2004

Republicans push for asbestos bail-out
US Republicans are attempting to push through a cut-price asbestos compensation deal. Senior Republicans anticipate proposed law will fail - the proposed $114bn (£64bn) cash-capped pot would be too small and is described by critics as an asbestos industry "bail-out" or "corporate welfare" - but are hoping to make it an election year issue anyway.
Risks 153, 24 April 2004

Stop "pretending asbestos safe" call
The Ban Asbestos Network (BAN) is demanding Canada stop pretending that asbestos is safe. BAN members, which include CUPE and CAW, Canada's largest public and private sector unions respectively, are also urging Canada to support "prior informed consent" (PIC) requirements for all forms of asbestos imported from Canada by other countries.
Risks 151, 10 April 2004

One more step to a global asbestos ban
Brazil is to become the latest country to impose a ban on asbestos. Press reports say the Brazilian government, which has been under considerable and consistent pressure from the Canadian government to continue using its chrysotile (white) asbestos, is to go ahead with a ban.
Risks 150, 3 April 2004

Even asbestos epidemic figures are "kind of low"
A top US occupational health expert has indicated that shocking figures that earlier this month revealed a massive US asbestos disease epidemic, may in fact be under-estimating the true extent of the problem.
Risks 149, 27 March 2004