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Hazards asbestos news archive


Britain: Mum’s family searches for asbestos clues
The family of a young mother who died from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma is searching for more information about where she was exposed to the deadly dust. Tracey Carpenter from Kettering was just 43 when she died in November this year.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseNorthants Evening Telegraph• Anyone wanting to pass on information should call Neil Baines at Thompsons Solicitors on freephone 08000 224 224 or 0115 9897209 • Risks 437 • 19 December 2009

Britain: Company ignored asbestos warnings
A company has been fined for failing to carry out proper risk assessments for the presence of asbestos before a major office refurbishment in Merthyr Tydfil. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says Waxport Ltd put employees and contractors at risk when work started on the refurbishment without an asbestos survey.
HSE news release and Hidden killer campaignLocal LondonRisks 437 • 19 December 2009

Britain: Tate & Lyle pays out for pleural thickening
A sugar factory worker has received £12,000 in a provisional payout for an asbestos related disease. The GMB member, whose name has not been released, was diagnosed with pleural thickening in 2007 after suffering from lung problems for several years.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 436 • 12 December 2009

Britain: Government accepts insurers have failed
Campaigners have welcomed a government proposal that may close a loophole that denies compensation to many victims of workplace diseases and their families. After a government review, work and pensions minister Lord McKenzie accepted many employees did not have access to the compensation they deserved, especially in cases where conditions, such as occupational cancers like mesothelioma, may take many years to develop.
DWP review [pdf] • Asbestos Forum news release [pdf] • Irwin Mitchell news releaseIndependent on SundayRisk 435 • 5 December 2009

Britain: Asbestos victims lose out, bankers cash in
Construction union UCATT has said it is disappointed that the government has “once again been able to find billions of pounds to bail out the banks but seems unable to find just a few million pounds to compensate pleural plaques victims.” The union was speaking out after the 3 November announcement that the government was to make available a further £33.5 billion bailout for the disastrously mis-managed Royal Bank of Scotland.
UCATT news release • Morning Star • Risks 432 • 14 November 2009

Britain: Director fined after asbestos exposures
Two businesses and a company director have been fined after workers in Manchester were exposed to potentially deadly asbestos fibres. Recon Packaging Ltd pleaded guilty to breaches of the control of asbestos regulations; Industrial & Commercial Building Services Ltd (ICBS) and its managing director, Kevin Bennett, pleaded guilty to a breach of workplace safety law and of the Asbestos Licensing Regulations 1983.
HSE news release and asbestos webpagesRisks 431 • 7 November 2009

Britain: New warning on Britain’s biggest work killer
Britain's biggest workplace killer could blight another generation of building workers unless urgent action is taken to tackle asbestos risks. HSE’s new £1.2 million, month-long ‘Hidden killer’ campaign sets out to warn Britain's 1.8 million building trades workers about the dangers they face.
HSE news release, podcast and Hidden Killer webpages • HSE Scotland news release • For a free HSE asbestos information pack see the Hidden Killer webpages or call 0845 345 0055 • Risks 431 • 7 November 2009

Britain: Cancer sufferer escapes insurance trap
A 76-year-old grandfather has succeeded in his claim for compensation for asbestos related cancer after being told at first no employers’ liability insurer could be found to cover the payout.
John Pickering and Partners Solicitors news releaseRisks 430 • 31 October 2009

Britain: Fund sets aside £85m for asbestos claims
An £85 million asbestos compensation fund has been set up for London’s public sector, amid warnings that claims could double in the next decade. The London Pensions Fund Authority is putting aside the cash following estimates that the number of cases will rise to 25 a year, after a landmark legal case led to the authority paying out in a case involving a teacher.
London Evening StandardRisks 430 • 31 October 2009

Britain: Unions step up pleural plaques fight
Unions have stepped up their campaign to win compensation for victims of asbestos-related pleural plaques, with a fresh appeal to the government to overturn a Law Lords ruling. A lobby of parliament organised by unions including GMB, Unite and UCATT this week pressed MPs to support moves to overturn the ruling denying payouts to sufferers of pleural plaques – a scarring of the lungs that has been linked to an increased risk of subsequently developing mesothelioma, lung and other cancer.
Unite news releaseGMB news releaseThe ScotsmanRisks 430 • 31 October 2009

USA: DuPont sued over asbestos in Argentina
Chemical giant DuPont exposed workers in Argentina to asbestos until the late 1990s despite knowing the risks of the material, according to three lawsuits filed in the US. The lawsuits came from former workers at a Lycra spandex plant in Mercedes, Argentina, that was part of DuPont until the sale of its textile unit in 2004.
HESA news updateRisks 429 • 24 October 2009

Britain: Mother dies after asbestos fight
A woman who battled for two years for a payout after contracting an asbestos-related cancer caused by exposures as a pupil at school in the 1970s has died a day after a judge confirmed she should be paid £240,000. Dianne Willmore, 49, from north Wales, passed away on 15 October from malignant mesothelioma.
John Pickering and Partners Solicitors news releaseIBAS statementLiverpool EchoBBC News Online and Radio 4 Today programme news itemDaily Mirror
Asbestos in Schools websiteRisks 429 • 24 October 2009

Britain: Fears for pleural plaques action
A draft law that would reinstate compensation for workers with pleural plaques caused by asbestos exposure at work has successfully completed its third Commons reading, and has now been passed onto the House of Lords. However, hopes the private members’ bill will complete its parliamentary progress and become law are fading as the parliamentary session ends in a month, meaning the proposal is likely to run out of time.
Yorkshire Evening PostDamages (Asbestos-Related Conditions) BillUCATT news release
Justice for Asbestos Victims: Demonstration and lobby to restore pleural plaques compensation, assemble College Green, Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London at 1.30pm, Wednesday 28 October 2009 [Unite flyer pdf] • Risks 429 • 24 October 2009

Britain: Delivery driver developed asbestosis
A former driver who for four years delivered asbestos products developed asbestosis, a condition normally associated with long-term, high level exposures to the fibre. The 75-year-old from Leeds, whose name has not been released, was diagnosed with the lung scarring disease in June 2008 after years of difficulty breathing.
Thompsons SolicitorsRisks 427 • 10 October 2009

Britain: Firms fined for ‘unpardonable’ asbestos job
Two companies have been prosecuted after workers and members of the public were exposed to “unacceptable” levels of asbestos during a removal project. HSE inspector Sarah Snelling the actions of a roofing company were “unpardonable” and added: “A&T Roofing Ltd’s cavalier attitude towards the removal of the asbestos has put the future health of their employees, their employees’ families and members of the public in general at serious risk.”
HSE news releaseDaily MirrorLocal LondonRisks 427 • 10 October 2009

Britain: Asbestos lurked in teacher's cupboard
A former Eastbourne school teacher died of cancer likely to have been caused by asbestos in the classroom, an inquest has found. Coroner Alan Craze concluded that although no asbestos fibres were found in an initial examination of a tissue sample taken from one of Neville Beck's lungs, “on a balance of probability” Mr Beck had “an industrial disease.”
Eastbourne HeraldRisks 426 • 4 October 2009

Britain: Widow denied asbestos compensation
The widow of a man who spent 44 years working with asbestos has missed out on a potential £200,000 payout. Dinah Eaves is not eligible for the money because the firm her husband David worked for was taken over after he was exposed to the deadly dust.
Bristol Evening PostDaily MirrorRisks 426 • 4 October 2009

Britain: Asbestos victim’s video legacy
A man who died from asbestos cancer has left a campaigning legacy. Alan Clark from Hartlepool died from mesothelioma in August, but before his death made a video plea to the government, urging it to restore compensation to pleural plaques sufferers.
Thompsons Solicitors news release
• Unions Together • Hartlepool Mail • Northern Echo • Risks 425 • 26 September 2009

Britain: Asbestos kills more than roads – confirmed
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has confirmed that more people are killed by asbestos each year than die on Britain’s roads, but has criticised a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) radio advertisement for not making clear the HSE asbestos deaths figure – 4,000 deaths a year - is in part an estimate.  HSE expressed its “deep disappointment” at the ASA adjudication, where it upheld the solitary complaint about its ‘Asbestos: The hidden killer’ awareness campaign.
ASA adjudication • HSE news release and Hidden killer campaign • TUC news release • Risks 425 • 26 September 2009

Britain: Woman killed by father's dusty overalls
A 66-year-old Swindon woman died as a result of exposure to her father’s asbestos-contaminated overalls as a child. Recording a narrative verdict into the death of Anita Peters, Wiltshire coroner David Ridley said: “Anita, in a balance of probability, was most likely to be involved in asbestos exposure down to her father’s contact with asbestos. Anita’s death was caused by industrial disease mesothelioma.”
Wiltshire TimesRisks 423 • 12 September 2009

Britain: Fines for unlicensed asbestos removal
Three contractors who carried out unlicensed asbestos removal at Kelford School in Rotherham in 2006 have been fined. Mansell Build Ltd (previously Birse Build Ltd) of Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire, was fined £12,500 and ordered to pay £12,500 costs. Andrew Brightmore, a former manager of ARB Agriplant Ltd, was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £500 costs and Gary Cusack was fined £500 and ordered to pay £250 costs.
HSE news release and hidden killer campaign webpagesRisks 423 • 12 September 2009

Canada: Asbestos industry in failing health
The future of Canada’s last asbestos mine is uncertain after it received a series of serious political and economic knocks. Michael Ignatieff, leader of the opposition Liberal Party, has switched from his party’s long held position and expressed opposition to any future mining or export of asbestos.
Vancouver Sun • La Tribune • International Ban Asbestos Secretariat • 5 September 2009

Britain: Directors told to pay asbestos compensation
Company directors who pocketed the assets when they closed a company have been ordered to pay an asbestos disease settlement from their own pockets. The former bosses of Stalybridge engineering firm Vernon & Roberts will have to hand over £60,000 to the widow of Frederick Hughes, who died of mesothelioma in 2001 after being exposed to asbestos working for the firm in the 1960s.
Manchester Evening News • 5 September 2009

Australia: Ex-Hardie directors get business ban
The fines and bans handed down to former executives and directors of Australian asbestos giant James Hardie are not enough considering the extent of their immoral and illegal behaviour and the harm the company’s deadly asbestos products have caused, unions have said.
ACTU news release • Unions NSW news release • News.com.au • The Australian • Perth Now • Risks 421 • 29 August 2009

Britain: Dad’s overalls killed his daughter
A widower whose wife died from an asbestos related cancer caused by dust on her father’s overalls has received a “substantial” sum in compensation. June Probin died aged just 67 from mesothelioma in April 2008, just six months after being diagnosed.
Thompsons Solicitors news release • Risks 421  • 29 August 2009

Britain: Daughter fights asbestos cancer
A woman who is fighting for her life fears that childhood hugs from her dad may have given her a deadly asbestos cancer. Judith Tomlinson loved nothing more than giving her dad Roland Adcock, a former construction worker, a hug when he came home from work.
Coventry Telegraph • Risks 421  • 29 August 2009

Britain: Asbestos ‘snowballs’ killed train driver
The widow of a former train driver who died from an asbestos-related cancer has described how her husband used to make snowballs from the deadly fibre. Frank White was diagnosed with mesothelioma in April 2008 and died, aged 74, in June this year.
Derby Telegraph • Risks 421  • 29 August 2009

Britain: Unions push for pleural plaques progress
Unions Together has launched a petition calling on the government to sort out compensation for those suffering from pleural plaques. The organisation, the campaigning arm of the Trade Unions and Labour Party Liaison Organisation (TULO), says workers found to have plaques are more likely to subsequently develop asbestos-related cancer.
Sign the Unions Together Justice for pleural plaques petitionRisks 420 • 22 August 2009

Britain: Canadian firm fined for asbestos crimes
A Canadian company has been fined for placing employees and contractors at risk from asbestos at its Swansea plant. Vale Inco Europe Ltd pleaded guilty in June to four charges under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.
HSE news release and hidden killers campaignRisks 419 • 15 August 2009

Britain: Dying plasterer warns of asbestos dangers
A self-employed plasterer who has just months to live is warning others of the risks of exposure to asbestos. The 48-year-old from Houghton Le Spring was diagnosed with the asbestos related cancer mesothelioma in October 2008 as a resultof being exposed to asbestos as a 16-year-old apprentice with building company GM Pearson Limited, working on council house renovations across the north-east of England.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 419 • 15 August 2009

Britain: Nuclear worker compensated for mesothelioma
A former nuclear power plant worker who has been told he has just months to live has received £177,000 in compensation after he was diagnosed with an asbestos related disease. The former assistant scientist employed by Sellafield Ltd, who does not wish to be named, was exposed to asbestos while working at the Capenhurst nuclear site.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 418 • 8 August 2009

Britain: Widower gets payout for double tragedy
A widower who saw his wife die from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma has received compensation from his former employer after he was also diagnosed with an asbestos related disease. David Warnes, 71, from Leeds, cared for his wife, Maureen, during her painful eight month battle with mesothelioma.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 418 • 8 August 2009

Italy: Bosses face trial over asbestos deaths
An Italian judge last week ordered top bosses of a construction multinational to stand trial on charges relating to thousands of asbestos-related deaths. Prosecutors say Stephan Schmidheiny of Switzerland and Jean-Louis de Cartier of Belgium were key shareholders in Eternit, a Swiss construction company.
Asbestos in the dock campaign and news releaseBusiness WeekMSNBC NewsRisks 417 • 1 August 2009

Britain: Family warning on asbestos ignorance
The family of a joiner who died of an asbestos cancer have warned employers that the deaths will continue unless workers are made aware of the risks. Public sector union UNISON helped John Toker claim compensation when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in March 2008.
UNISON news releaseRisks 417 • 1 August 2009

Britain: Government hints at asbestos action
Anticipated decisions on asbestos compensation, research and insurance issues failed to materialise before parliament started its summer break this week, but Cabinet minister Jack Straw did indicate the government still intends to act.
TUC news releaseThompsons Solicitors news releaseDaily MirrorRisks 416 • 25 July 2009

Britain: Asbestos victims express delay dismay
A coalition of groups representing victims of asbestos disease have expressed dismay at the government’s failure to make firm commitments on key asbestos compensation issues. Tony Whitston, chair of the Asbestos Forum, criticised the government for prolonging asbestos victims’ wait for justice.
Asbestos Forum news releaseRisks 416 • 25 July 2009

USA: Pleural plaques do hurt you
While insurers and government advisers seem adamant pleural plaques don’t hurt you, a top US lung disease expert says he has evidence they can be a source of excruciating pain. Michael Harbut says a probable reason for the unrelenting chest pain experienced in certain patients with asbestos-related diseases and cancers is pleural plaques – lung-scarring commonly associated with exposure to asbestos.
Karmanos Cancer Institute news releaseUCATT news releaseKarmonos InstituteIJOEHRisks 416 • 25 July 2009

Britain: Asbestos stealth tests in schools
Campaigners are to carry out secret tests on dozens of English schools this summer to highlight the threat of asbestos which, they claim, is a serious threat to the health of pupils and teachers.
The IndependentAsbestos in Schools websiteRisks 416 • 25 July 2009

Britain: Asbestos takes husband and carer
A Parkinson's disease sufferer, who was robbed of her husband's care by his untimely death from asbestos-related cancer, has received a six figure payout. Carol Devoy, 65, has been awarded £500,726 damages for her loss.
Northern EchoSunderland EchoRisks 416 • 25 July 2009

Britain: Hospital work led to deadly exposures
A hospital plumber, who has been told he has only months to live after developing mesothelioma, has received £175,000 in compensation. UNISON member Alan Ward pursue an 18-month claim against Yorkshire and Humber Strategic Health Authority when he developed the asbestos-related cancer.
UNISON news releaseBBC News OnlineRisks 416 • 25 July 2009

Britain: Council fined over asbestos disturbance
 Fife Council has been fined £10,000 after 12 flats had to be evacuated when contractors disturbed brown asbestos while replacing water tanks. Contractors moved the brown asbestos at a block of flats in Inverkeithing in November 2007.
HSE news release and asbestos ‘hidden killer’ campaign websiteBBC News OnlineRisks 415 • 18 July 2009

Britain: Call for 'urgent' asbestos audit
A top safety body’s call for urgent action on asbestos in schools has been welcomed by teaching unions. Sixteen teachers die on average each year from asbestos-related disease and an urgent audit must be carried out, according to the British Safety Council.
BSC news releaseNUT news releaseBBC News OnlineRisks 414 • 11 July 2009

Britain: Payouts for asbestos related lung cancers
The most common work-related cancer is lung cancer – but cases are rarely compensated because doctors miss the work link or blame other possible causes like lung cancer. In fact, thousands – and possibly tens of thousands – of cases of lung cancer each year are part or entirely due to workplace exposures.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseField Fisher Waterhouse news releaseRisks 412 • 27 June 2009

Britain: Unions fight for asbestos victims
Unions continue to fight for justice for the victims of asbestos diseases and their families.
UNISON news release • Thompsons Solicitors news release on the Unite asbestosis and mesothelioma cases • Risks 412 • 27 June 2009

Britain: Asbestos victims expose insurance ‘disgrace’
Asbestos victims, their families and workplace justice campaigners have taken their campaign for justice to a major insurance industry event. Protesters greeted industry representatives attending the Association of British Insurers (ABI) conference in London on 9 June, calling for a change to employers’ liability insurance rules to provide for an insurance fund of last resort, where the insurer holding an employer’s policy cannot be identified.
Unite news reportIrwin Mitchell Solicitors news releaseDaily MirrorAsbestos ForumRisks 410 • 13 June 2009

Britain: Chimney firm pays out to asbestos victim
A Unite member who is suffering from asbestos related cancer has received a “substantial” compensation payout. Graham Dancer, 63, from Barnstaple, was diagnosed in 2007 with the incurable cancer mesothelioma, caused by exposure to asbestos while working from 1969 for Selkirk Flue Limited, now owned by Powrmatic.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseNorth Devon GazetteRisks 410 • 13 June 2009

Global: Pleural plaques linked to lung cancer
One in eight patients with lung cancer also had pleural plaques, a study has found. The Japanese study comes at a time the insurance industry is challenging moves to compensate pleural plaques in Scotland and across Britain.
The Yomiuri ShimbunRisks 409 • 6 June 2009

Britain: Asbestos danger message driven home
Residents and maintenance workers are at risk from asbestos because of “huge deficiencies” in the rules covering the management of asbestos in people’s homes. UCATT general secretary Alan Ritchie commented: “The report demonstrates that new regulations are urgently needed in order to ensure that construction workers undertaking maintenance and refurbishment work are properly protected.”
UCATT news releaseIDS news releaseMorning StarRisks 409 • 6 June 2009

Global: World Bank says avoid asbestos
The World Bank, which finances massive building projects across the globe, has said asbestos-containing materials (ACM) “should be avoided in new construction, including construction for disaster relief. In reconstruction, demolition, and removal of damaged infrastructure, asbestos hazards should be identified and a risk management plan adopted that includes disposal techniques and end-of-life sites.”
BWI news report • World Bank asbestos good practice guide [pdf] • Risks 407 • 23 May 2009

Britain: PM urged to act on asbestos deaths
A petition with over 24,000 signatures has been handed into 10 Downing Street calling on the government to fund a National Centre for Asbestos Related Disease (NCARD). Campaigners are fighting for a virtual centre to help fund research into asbestos related diseases including mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseShields GazetteRisks 407 • 23 May 2009

Britain: Family lost dad to asbestos cancer
The family of a former Unite member who died of an asbestos-related disease has received “substantial” damages. John Squirrell received the compensation on behalf of his dad, widower Noel Squirrell, who died from the cancer mesothelioma in September 2007.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 407 • 23 May 2009  

USA: WR Grace escapes justice on asbestos crimes
A federal jury in Montana has acquitted chemical giant WR Grace and Company and three of its former executives of knowingly exposing mine workers and residents of Libby, Montana, to asbestos and then covering up their actions. The verdict has was greeted with disappointment in Libby, where residents had already seen to their increasing dismay a hostile judge repeatedly attack prosecutors and rule inadmissible key evidence of WR Grace’s culpability.
Andrew Schneider InvestigatesDemocracy Now!The Pump HandleRisks 406 • 6 May 2009

Britain: Call to tackle asbestos in schools
Teaching unions have renewed their call on the government to remove asbestos from schools when they are refurbished under the Building Schools for the Future programme. The call came in private meeting with Gordon Brown this week.
The GuardianWestern MailAsbestos in Schools websiteRisks 406 • 16 May 2009

Britain: Unions welcome pleural plaques progress
Unions have welcomed the fact a Private Members Bill, which is seeking justice for pleural plaques sufferers, has cleared its first Commons hurdle.
UCATT releaseRisks 404 • 2 May 2009

Canada: Government lies and evasion on asbestos
The Canadian government sat for more than a year on a report by a panel of hand-picked international experts that concludes there is a “strong relationship” between lung cancer and the chrysotile asbestos mined in Canada.
Globe and MailOttawa CitizenICEM news report
A copy of the report, Chrysotile asbestos consensus statement and summary, by the Chrysotile Asbestos Expert Panel, can be downloaded from the Rideau Institute website [pdf] • Rideau Institute ‘Exporting harm’ report [pdf] • Risks 403 • 25 April 2009

Britain: Doctor develops asbestos cancer
A hospital doctor believes he may be the latest victim of an asbestos cancer. James Partridge, writing in the Guardian, commented: “I was a doctor for 40 years - it was an interesting and rewarding occupation, and it never crossed my mind that while I was making people better, the hospital could actually be making me ill.”
The GuardianRisks 403 • 25 April 2009

Britain: Firm fined £5,000 over asbestos risk
 A firm has been fined £5,000 after it put a worker at risk of exposure to asbestos by failing to adhere to health and safety regulations. Mitie Property Services was carrying out a week long job at a property in September 2007, which included the removal of 13 asbestos-lined doors.
Norwich Evening NewsRisks 403 • 25 April 2009

Britain: Union slams ‘grasping’ asbestos insurers
Construction union UCATT has reacted furiously to the decision of several large insurance companies to try to block compensation for pleural plaques victims in Scotland. In March, the Scottish parliament passed an asbestos damages act, which allowed pleural plaques victims in Scotland the opportunity to claim compensation for the condition.
ABI news releaseUCATT news releaseRisks 403 • 25 April 2009

Britain: Director told staff to rip out asbestos
Staff at a Telford firm were ordered by their boss to rip out asbestos with a crowbar and clean up with a vacuum cleaner. Roger Lavender, 37, the managing director of Secal Laser Ltd, was fined £6,666 and ordered to pay £11,039.88 in court costs and a £15 surcharge after admitting a safety offence.
HSE news releaseShropshire StarRisks 402 • 18 April 2009

Britain: Airport asbestos killed woman
A former airport worker died as a result of exposure to asbestos while working at Heathrow, an inquest heard. Marlene Elliott died aged 67 on 29 November 2008, after collapsing at home.
Maidenhead AdvertiserDaily MirrorRisks 401 • 11 April 2009

USA: Colour images expose asbestos problems
Murky grey x-rays to identify occupational lung diseases could soon be a thing of the past, a top occupational doctor has said. And Dr Michael Harbut, an asbestos disease expert at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, says new 3-D, colour imaging technology could aid better diagnosis and better prevention.
Andrew Schneider InvestigatesADAO websiteRisks 400 • 4 April 2009

Britain: PM promises pleural plaque action
Gordon Brown has promised action within weeks to help asbestos victims. At Prime Minister’s question time, he signalled compensation is on the way for people suffering from pleural plaques.
Hansard, 1 April 2009Daily Mirror Asbestos Timebomb campaignRisks 400 • 4 April 2009

Britain: School asbestos exposure killed teacher
The widow of a senior teacher who died after exposure to asbestos in school science labs has been awarded £290,000 in compensation. The former chemistry teacher, who taught at the same school in East Sussex for 34 years, died from mesothelioma in September 2007, aged 61, just a year after retirement.
The ArgusTESAsbestos in Schools websiteHSE mesothelioma statistics including breakdown by ageRisks 400 • 4 April 2009

Britain: Asbestos is in 90 per cent of schools
Nearly nine in 10 schools contain deadly asbestos, the Daily Mirror has claimed. The paper’s charge is based on results from freedom of information requests made to local authorities across the UK.
Daily Mirror asbestos campaign blogRisks 398 • 21 March 2009

Britain: Insurer fails to evade asbestos payout
Royal and Sun Alliance Insurance plc has failed in a courtroom bid to deny responsibility for an asbestos cancer payout. Colin Gardner, 66, was awarded £145,000 damages at London's High Court.
Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news releaseYorkshire Evening PostHuddersfield Daily ExaminerRisks 397 • 14 March 2009

Britain: Scots asbestos payout law passed 
Legislation to allow people in Scotland to claim for past exposure to asbestos has been passed by MSPs. The new law overturns a House of Lords ruling that said damages could not be claimed for pleural plaques, a benign scarring of the lungs.
Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions) (Scotland) Bill [pdf] • ABI news releaseBBC News OnlineDaily RecordThe ScotsmanSunday HeraldRisks 397 • 14 March 2009

Britain: One in 10 carpenters 'face asbestos death'
One in 10 UK carpenters born in the 1940s will die of asbestos-related lung cancer or mesothelioma, researchers have predicted. The researchers calculated that men born in the 1940s who worked as carpenters for more than 10 years before they reached 30 have a lifetime risk for mesothelioma alone of about one in 17.
HSE news releaseOccupational, domestic and environmental mesothelioma risk in the British population: a case-control study, British Journal of Cancer • UCATT news releaseHSE hidden killer campaignDaily Mirror news item and Asbestos Timebomb campaign webpage • BBC News OnlineRisks 396 • 7 March 2009

Britain: Asbestos cancer research cash call
The government must invest millions in research to combat a devastating asbestos related disease, campaigners have said. Mesothelioma is currently incurable and is the least researched of the top twenty cancers, they say.
Asbestos Forum news release [pdf] • Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news releaseThompsons Solicitors news releaseAsbestos Forum Action Mesothelioma Day webpage and 27 February events listingBritish Lung Foundation events listingJune Hancock Mesothelioma Research FundBurton MailNorth West Evening MailRisks 395 • 28 February 2009

Britain: Action Mesothelioma Day, 27 February 2009
Action Mesothelioma Day will be marked by events nationwide on 27 February. The Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum, MPs, doctors and nurses are to press the government to fund a UK National Centre for Asbestos Related Disease, similar to the centre established in Australia.
Asbestos Forum Action Mesothelioma Day webpage and events listingBritish Lung Foundation events listingJune Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund
Unite news release  • UCATT news releaseRisks 394 • 21 February 2009

USA: Contractors jailed for asbestos crimes
A federal judge sentenced two contractors to prison for undertaking asbestos removal jobs that left homes and businesses contaminated. US district judge David Hurd sentenced John Wood of Plattsburgh to four years in prison and Curtis Collins of Willsboro to two years after they pleaded guilty to Clean Air Act violations and other crimes related to asbestos removal jobs that left much of the cancer-causing material behind.
WTEN news • 21 February 2009

Britain: HSE asbestos enforcement on 1-in-5 sites
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued asbestos-related improvement notices to 22 per cent of sites visited in a Kent inspection blitz. Inspectors visited 151 sites in Thanet, Cantebury, Dartford and Dover, and issued 33 improvement notices and two prohibition notices.
HSE news releaseContract JournalHSE asbestos – hidden killer campaignRisks 394 • 21 February 2009

Britain: Government fixes T&N payouts injustice
Workers with asbestos related diseases caused by their jobs at Turner and Newall (T&N) – once the world’s biggest asbestos firm - will be allowed to keep government compensation alongside that reduced payouts from the company, the government has said. Workers had been subject to a clawback of government industrial disease benefits, even though they only received a fraction of the compensation they were due from the defunct company.
DWP news releaseTUC news releaseUnite news releaseWigan Evening PostRisks 394 • 21 February 2009

Britain: Schools to get asbestos audit
A teaching union has welcomed a government decision to assess the asbestos risk in schools. Commenting on the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) launch of its asbestos survey for local authorities, Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “The DCSF initiative will result in a comprehensive audit of the scale of the presence of asbestos in schools.”
Survey of asbestos management in schools and other settings, DCSF, 29 January 2009 • NASUWT news releaseRisks 392 • 7 February 2009

Britain: Cleaning work clothes caused asbestos cancer
 A Blackpool grandmother who was exposed to asbestos while working as a dry cleaner has died of a cancer caused by the deadly fibre. Freda Davidson died from mesothelioma on 3 December last year.
Blackpool Gazette • Risks 392 • 7 February 2009

Britain: Low asbestos fine “no deterrent” - HSE
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector has said he is “devastated” that a heating firm responsible for negligently exposing workers to asbestos for several days was only fined £8,000. HSE principal construction inspector Jim Skilling said the penalty given to Lothian Heating Services Ltd (LHS) after three workers were exposed was “no deterrent at all”.
Edinburgh Evening NewsThe ScotsmanBBC News OnlineRisks 391 • 31 January 2009

Britain: Asbestos death payout on the deadline
A widow and her children have received compensation for an asbestos-related death after applying one day before the three-year deadline. UNISON helped recover £170,000 for the family of Roger Blackman, who died from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma five weeks after he was diagnosed.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 391 • 31 January 2009

Britain: Dockworkers win asbestos test case
Two former Liverpool dockworkers have won compensation from the government for asbestos-related diseases contracted under the auspices of the then National Dock Labour Board (NDLB).
John Pickering and Partners news release and full judgmentBBC News Online Risks 388 • 10 January 2009

Australia: Groundbreaking asbestos project takes off
In what they describe as “a first of its kind”, the Australian Workers' Union and construction materials giant Cement Australia have embarked on an investigation into the health of current and former employees at a cement plant that once produced asbestos cement products. Some of Australia's top researchers will look at health screening, the history of the plant and research into the wellbeing of the workforce over time.
AWU news releaseAWU Tasmania news releaseRisks 387 • 20 December 2008

Britain: Concern at silence on pleural plaques
A construction union is urging the government to act promptly to sort out compensation for the victims of an asbestos related condition. UCATT says it is concerned at the Ministry of Justice’s failure to take action on pleural plaques, a scarring of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos.
UCATT news releaseThe MirrorRisks 387 • 20 December 2008

Britain: Fines for staff asbestos exposures
A Kilkcaldy leisure firm and its director have been fined after at least 15 tradespeople were exposed to airborne asbestos fibres over almost two months. Edward Dean Melville, a director of the company, allowed work to continue on the project despite concerns being raised by workers about the possible presence of asbestos within the building - work was finally stopped by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after they were contacted directly by one of the site workers.
HSE news releaseHSE hidden killer campaignRisks 386 • 13 December 2008

Britain: Wife killed by asbestos-covered laundry
A pensioner has been awarded £250,000 compensation after his wife died following years of washing his asbestos-contaminated clothes. Retired pipefitter Alfred Eccles received the money from former employer Universal Grinding Wheel Company, in Stafford, in an out-of-court settlement.
Ashton Morton Slack news releaseThe SeninelRisks 386 • 13 December 2008

Britain: India’s asbestos timebomb photo exhibit, 1-5 December, London
A photo exhibit revealing the asbestos timebomb facing India as a result of massive and increasing imports of white asbestos opens at the TUC’s London HQ on 1 December.
Further information: India’s asbestos timebomb photo exhibit, 9.30am - 7.00pm, 1-5 December, TUC, Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS. Free. For more information on the photo exhibit, contact Eve Barker, tel: 0207 485 0476.
See the book behind the exhibit, India’s asbestos timebomb [pdf] • Risks 384 • 29 December 2008

Britain: Widow receives six figure meso payout
The widow of a UNISON member who died of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma has received £276,000 in damages. The member, who has not been named, was exposed to the dust while working for WL Miller and Sons, a food manufacturer, based in Poole, Dorset.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 384 • 29 December 2008

Britain: Union victory on asbestos payouts
A union-backed legal case has successfully defended the rights of asbestos victims from an insurance industry attempt to evade liability. The High Court ruled that employers’ liability insurers remain liable to pay compensation for mesothelioma caused by workplace exposure to asbestos if they insured the employer at the time the asbestos exposure occurred.
Unite news releaseUCATT news releaseThompsons Solicitors news releaseIrwin Mitchell Solicitors news releaseThe TimesThe MirrorBBC News OnlineRisks 384 • 29 December 2008

Britain: Widow receives £172,000 asbestos payout
The widow of a former electrician has been awarded £172,000 in compensation after her husband died of an asbestos related cancer. The former electrician, whose identity has not been disclosed, was exposed to asbestos while working for Greater London Council (GLC) and the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) from 1966 until the late 1980s.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 382 • 15 November 2008

Britain: Lift worker gets cancer payout
A GMB member diagnosed with the asbestos related cancer mesothelioma has received £140,000 in compensation. The man from Derbyshire, who does not wish to be named, installed lifts in hospitals, factories and commercial premises and worked alongside other trades who used asbestos based materials.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 383 • 22 November 2008

Britain: Groups call for asbestos database
Campaigners have called for a nationwide survey of all public buildings amid concerns that growing numbers of teachers, doctors and nurses are dying from asbestos-related diseases. Unions and support groups also want a national database so that employees and the public can check how much asbestos their workplaces contain.
The IndependentBBC News OnlineRisks 381 • 8 November 2008

Britain: Forklift fall leads to fine
A Halifax company has been fined £10,000 after an employee fell from the raised forks of a forklift truck while transferring waste to a skip at the company's premises. Lynwood Products Ltd was also ordered to pay full costs of £2,089.50 at Halifax Magistrates Court after pleading guilty a safety offence.
HSE news releaseRisks 381 • 8 November 2008

Britain: Polish worker in machine horror
A food firm has been fined £30,000 after a Polish worker lost a finger after being told to help clean a machine with which she was unfamiliar. Natures Way Foods Ltd received the fine at Chichester Crown Court and was also ordered to pay costs of £16,282 after earlier pleading guilty to breaches of the management and the work equipment regulations.
HSE news release and food manufacturing webpagesRisks 381 • 8 November 2008

Britain: Pleural plaques protest hits parliament
Hundreds of campaigners packed a House of Commons meeting on 28 October to protest at a House of Lords decision to deny compensation to workers with asbestos related pleural plaques.
International Ban Asbestos Secretariat reportGMB news releaseUnite news releaseCWU news releaseNorth West Evening MailRisks 381 • 8 November 2008

Britain: Protest at plaques lawyer award nomination
Union representatives and asbestos and safety campaigners protested outside a Café Royal award ceremony, where a lawyer was nominated for an award for his work in blocking compensation to those with pleural plaques, an asbestos related lung scarring.
GMB news releasePersonal Injury Awards 2008 shortlistThe TelegraphRisks 381 • 8 November 2008

Britain: Unions call for more asbestos protection
Unions have called for greater efforts to protect workers from asbestos. Construction union UCATT said asbestos could be killing up to 10,000 people a year, far in excess of official Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates. HSE puts the figure at 4,000 – an estimate that has been disputed by both unions and occupational cancer experts - and suggests the material kills on average six electricians, three plumbers, six joiners and five other workers every week.
HSE news release and hidden killer campaignRisks 380 • 1 November 2008

Britain: Unions lobby for pleural plaques payouts
Hundreds of union members descended on Westminster on 28 October to lobby parliament for justice for asbestos victims and the restoration of compensation for victims of pleural plaques. Unite, UCATT and GMB believe thousands of “seriously wronged” workers have been plunged into compensation limbo by a House of Lords decision in October 2007, which ended the right of those with asbestos-related pleural plaques to receive compensation.
Unite news releaseGMB news releaseThe ScotsmanThe HeraldTelegraph and ArgusRisks 380 • 1 November 2008

Canada: Asbestos ‘death-dealing charade’ slammed
Canada’s federal government is being accused of the “shameful political manipulation of science”. Three medical journals are blasting prime minister Stephen Harper's government for “suppressing” a Health Canada report on the health dangers posed by asbestos and supporting exports of asbestos to developing countries.
Amir Attaran, David R Boyd, and Matthew B Stanbrook. Asbestos mortality: a Canadian export, Canadian Medical Association Journal, volume 179, pages 871-872, 2008 • Related CMAJ news itemNational PostGlobe and MailRisks 379 • 25 October 2008

Britain: Asbestos ‘hidden killer’ campaign push
The Health and Safety Executive has warned that “every week 20 tradesmen die from asbestos-related diseases,” and this number is set to rise. Former plasterer and England and Arsenal footballing legend, Ian Wright, is the “ambassador” fronting HSE’s ‘Asbestos: The Hidden Killer’ campaign.
HSE news release and hidden killer campaign • Podcasts featuring former footballer Ian Wright  and HSE chair Judith HackittDaily Mirror • For a free asbestos information pack, call 0845 345 0055 • Risks 379 • 25 October 2008

Britain: Justice committee backs plaques payouts
Scottish victims of an asbestos-related condition have received the support of an influential body of MSPs in their fight for compensation. People with pleural plaques – a scarring on the lungs that is benign, but is associated with an increased future risks of developing the asbestos cancer mesothelioma - should be able to claim damages, the Scottish parliament's Justice Committee has recommended.
Scottish Parliament Justice Committee news releaseDamages (Asbestos-related conditions) (Scotland) Bill webpage and Committee reportIOSH news reportRisks 378 • 18 October 2008

Britain: Housing chief ‘must go’ after asbestos scandal
Construction union UCATT has called for the sacking of the managing director of Carlisle Housing Association, after it was revealed that its workers and tenants had been needlessly exposed to asbestos.
UCATT news release • BBC Inside Out’s asbestos report [video] • Risks 378 • 18 October 2008

Britain: Victims ‘shocked’ at flawed meso scheme
A new government scheme to pay a lump sum to all mesothelioma sufferers, irrespective of occupational exposure, could leave many asbestos disease victims out of pocket. The scheme, which came into effect on 1 October, had been sought by campaigners to ensure all those with the asbestos cancer mesothelioma received payouts.
Asbestos Forum news release [pdf] • DWP news releaseRochdale ObserverRisks 377 • 11 October 2008

Britain: Childhood exposure caused fatal cancer
The family of a UNISON member who died as a result of being exposed to asbestos as a child has received a “substantial” compensation payout. George Dickerson developed the asbestos cancer mesothelioma as a consequence of playing in dust which blew out of the Cape asbestos factory in Barking, east London.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 377 • 11 October 2008

Australia: Hardie 'set out to mislead investors'
Former directors and executives of Australian building giant James Hardie issued inaccurate, misleading and deficient public announcements about the company's ability to compensate asbestos victims, the country’s corporate regulator has claimed. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission this week launched its assault on former Hardie directors and executives in the NSW Supreme Court, which was overflowing with dozens of asbestos victims and their supporters.
The Australian plus follow up storySydney Morning HeraldRisks 376 • 4 October 2008

Britain: Director banned for asbestos crimes
A company director has been banned from running a firm for four years after removing and transporting asbestos without a licence. Robert McCart must also pay over £44,000 in fines, costs and compensation after being prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency (EA).
HSE news release and asbestos licensing webpagesRisks 376 • 4 October 2008

Britain: Unions united on pleural plaques
Unions have taken a common line on pleural plaques compensation – the condition is caused by asbestos and caused by employer negligence, so should be compensated.
Risks 376 • 4 October 2008

Britain: End asbestos ‘compensation limbo’
Thousands of people with a condition caused by exposure to asbestos during their working lives are stuck in 'compensation limbo' as a result of a House of Lords ruling on negligence, according to the union Unite. It wants the government to overturn a disastrous 2007 Law Lords’ ruling to end a 20 year right for pleural plaques victims to receive compensation.
Unite news releaseUnite submissionThompsons Solicitors news release • Association of Personal Injuries Lawyers news release [pdf] • Risks 376 • 4 October 2008

India: ‘Devastating’ asbestos cancer epidemic looms
Record and rising asbestos imports to India will translate to thousands of asbestos-related cancer deaths each year and are already responsible for “a hidden epidemic,” according to an expert report published this week. The authors say the report exposes the Indian government's collusion with asbestos stakeholders at home and abroad, and call for an immediate national ban on all asbestos use.
IBAS news release • India's asbestos time bomb, September 2008 [pdf] • Risks 375 • 27 September 2008

Britain: Teenage exposure caused asbestos tragedy
A Greater Manchester family has obtained £205,000 in compensation after their dad was exposed to asbestos as a teenager. The granddad-of-seven, whose name has not been released, died of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma following exposure to the dangerous dust while working during the 1950s for a company which became part of British Telecom (BT).
Risks 375 • 27 September 2008

Britain: Asbestos victims targeted by ‘greedy’ insurers
A “greedy scheming” insurance industry is plotting to deny asbestos victims their rightful compensation, according to UCATT.
Risks 375 • 27 September 2008

Britain: Council guilty after school asbestos blunder
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning employers they must ensure all relevant employees are aware of the location of asbestos in the workplace after a school caretaker was exposed to hazardous dust. North Tyneside Council this week pleaded guilty to five breaches of the asbestos regulations and was fined £17,005 and ordered to pay £3,911 costs.
HSE news release and asbestos webpagesRisks 373 • 13 September 2008

Britain: Insurers face further asbestos flak
An insurance industry bid to block a proposed Scottish law which would reinstate the right to claim compensation for an asbestos-related condition has attracted further criticism. Construction union UCATT has added its condemnation of statements by insurers in their efforts to evade payouts for pleural plaques, shadows on the lung caused by asbestos exposure.
Scottish parliament Justice Committee’s Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions) (Scotland) Bill webpageRisks 373 • 13 September 2008

Britain: Councils must learn asbestos lessons
Construction union UCATT has warned local authorities they must not weaken their asbestos removal procedures, in the wake of problems experienced at a Doncaster firm. St Leger Homes has disciplined a number of managers and suspended its chief executive after it was discovered that contractors had been disturbing and removing asbestos without being trained and without protective equipment.
Risks 373 • 13 September 2008

Britain: End ‘insensitive’ treatment of meso families
Campaigners are calling for more considerate treatment for families bereaved by the asbestos cancer mesothelioma. The British Lung Foundation (BLF) says it has been approached by a number of families who have been treated “insensitively”.
BLF news releaseSign the BLF petition to the Prime MinisterRisks 372 • 6 September 2008

Britain: No-one is safe from asbestos
The recent mesothelioma deaths of a plumber’s wife, a TV producer, an office worker and a railway worker demonstrates how no-one can be considered entirely safe from asbestos.
Risks 372 • 6 September 2008

Britain: Leigh, 28, succumbs to asbestos cancer
The asbestos cancer mesothelioma has claimed the life of Leigh Carlisle, 28. Leigh, who was featured in a global Zero Occupational Cancer Campaign poster, died in hospital on 27 August, two years after being diagnosed with the incurable condition.
Zero Occupational Cancer Campaign website and posterRisks 372 • 6 September 2008

Britain: Asbestos condition ‘is a good thing’ outrage
The trade union Unite has accused the insurance industry of fighting a “virulent” campaign against recognition of the asbestos-related condition pleural plaques. Insurance lawyers and MSPs clashed at a Scottish parliament Justice Committee evidence session over an insurance industry expert’s claim that pleural plaques could be a “good thing” because they proved the body's defences were working.
Scottish Parliament Justice Committee Official Report, 2 September 2008 • The Herald on the union criticism and lawyer attackRisks 372 • 6 September 2008

Britain: The asbestos industry’s deadly lies
The deaths of tens of thousands of UK workers from asbestos disease was not an unanticipated tragedy, but resulted from a sophisticated political and public relations campaign to prolong the use of the deadly fibre.
New StatesmanRisks 371 • 30 August 2008

Britain: Angry asbestos activists doorstep ministers
Asbestos activists have taken their campaign for justice for workers with pleural plaques directly to the seats of two prominent Cabinet ministers. The two constituencies targeted on 29 August were the Blackburn seat of justice secretary Jack Straw and the Leeds Central constituency of environment secretary Hilary Benn.
UCATT news releases on the actions at Hilary Benn’s and Jack Straw’s constituencies. Building • Risks 371 • 30 August 2008

Canada: How to kill a UN convention
It's not every day that Canada gets to kill a UN convention. Writing in the Toronto Star, one of Canada’s most respected newspapers, Kathleen Ruff reveals that with the Rotterdam Convention, which controls trade in the world's most hazardous chemicals and pesticides, Canada is coming close to achieving this result.
Toronto Star article by Kathleen Ruff and editorial backing a ban and just transitionRightoncanada.caRisks 370 • 23 August 2008

Britain: Asbestos cancers lead to six figure payouts
An asbestos cancer widow and a worker diagnosed with the same incurable disease have both received £190,000 payouts.
Risks 370 • 23 August 2008

Canada: Asbestos report withheld for giving wrong view
The Canadian government is continuing to withhold a damning report on asbestos on the eve of an international conference at which Canada plans to defend its export of the carcinogen. The report was commissioned by the Conservative government’s Health Canada agency to support it’s long-standing fight to keep chrysotile asbestos off a UN watch list, a position federal officials plan to argue at a convention in Rome this October.
Risks 369 • 16 August 2008

Global: Asbestos lobby resorts to intimidation
The asbestos industry may be ailing, but it’s not dead yet. Asbestos is still a money-spinner, and the industry is investing in a major promotional drive to protect its trade in chrysotile (white asbestos) - but it is not limiting this global campaign to product marketing, it is resorting to threats and the courts to harass campaigners for an asbestos ban.
Asbestos threats: Global asbestos industry resorts to thugs and courts, Hazards magazine • Risks 368 • 9 August 2008

Britain: Teenage exposure led to asbestos death
The family of a man who died from an asbestos related disease are searching for information about the now defunct Bedfordshire business Porch Watt Development Limited, where he was exposed to the deadly fibre. Leigh Boniface from Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire died aged 48 from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma.
If you have any information about Porch Watt Development Limited, email Gill Owen or call on 0161 819 3500 • Risks 367 • 2 August 2008

Britain: Probe into ‘dangerous’ housing association
An official investigation has been launched into union claims that a housing association flouted rules on handling deadly asbestos. William Whalen, an official with the construction union UCATT, presented a petition at a drama filled meeting of Carlisle City Council calling for Carlisle Housing Association to be wound up and its 6,140 homes handed back to the council.
Risks 366 • 26 July 2008

Global: Asbestos industry resorts to threats
A top asbestos campaigner in France is facing libel action from an industry lobby group. Unions have vowed to support François Desriaux, a driving force behind the French asbestos victim support group Andeva who is facing libel charges brought by the Montreal-based Chrysotile Institute.
ETUI-HESA news releaseAndevaRisks 364 • 12 July 2008

Britain: Government extends meso benefits
The government has closed a loophole in the disease benefits system that meant that people developing mesothelioma but not exposed at work missed out. On 7 July, the House of Lords approved The Mesothelioma Lump Sum Payments (Conditions and Amounts) Regulations 2008 that mean from 1 October those with non-occupational mesothelioma – for example, through exposure to contamination on a relative’s work clothing – will be entitled to a lump sum compensation payout, in the region of £10,000 per case.
House of Lords report for 7 July 2008, HansardRisks 364 • 12 July 2008

Britain: Government u-turn hits disease sufferers
Workers developing occupational diseases could lose out as a result of a government u-turn on retention of insurance records by employers. The government is pressing ahead with a move to drop the requirement on firms to keep their employers’ liability insurance records for 40 years – despite opposition from workplace health groups, lawyers, unions and insurers.
Asbestos Forum news release [pdf] and briefing [pdf] •
Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance, EDM 2010• Has your MP signed the EDM? If not, ask why not: you can find out how to contact your MP here – all you need is your postcode • Risks 364 • 12 July 2008

Britain: Scotland acts on asbestos payouts
A bill to help those affected by past exposure to asbestos has been published by the Scottish government. The legislation would overturn a House of Lords ruling which said damages could not be claimed for benign scarring of the lungs.
Scottish government news release and Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions) (Scotland) BillUCATT news releaseRisks 362 • 28 June 2008

Britain: Family receives asbestos payout
The family of a former UNISON member has received more than £140,000 in compensation following his death from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma. Jim Crowe died aged 79 in June 2007 after developing the incurable disease.
UNISON news releaseRisks 362 • 28 June 2008

USA: New committee to push a US asbestos ban
US public health advocates have launched a Committee to Ban Asbestos in America (CBAA). The new group, created by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and The John McNamara Foundation say many people wrongly believe asbestos is already banned in the US.
CBAA news releaseADAO websiteBanAsbestos.usInternational Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS)Risks 360 • 14 June 2008

Britain: Pressure wins pleural plaques review
A government consultation into a House of Lords ruling on the asbestos-related condition pleural plaques will begin this month. The commitment came in an adjournment debate in parliament on 4 June, initiated by Labour MP Michael Clapham.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 360 • 14 June 2008

Britain: MP savages insurance industry jackals
Insurers have been accused of being hypocrites and “jackals” because of their ongoing efforts to evade liability for asbestos compensation payouts. Labour MP Michael Clapham, the chair of the Commons all party asbestos sub-committee, was speaking in a 4 June Westminster Hall adjournment debate about the ongoing fight to restore compensation to victims of pleural plaques.
UCATT news releaseHansard report of the 4 June Westminster Hall debateRisks 360 • 14 June 2008

Britain: Court challenge to cancer payouts
A nine-week battle started this week in the High Court and will see insurance companies seek to evade liability for a large number of asbestos compensation payouts. The court will decide whether insurers are liable for damages from sufferers’ first exposure to asbestos, or from when they become ill.
Unite news releaseThe GuardianBBC News OnlineThe TimesRisks 359 • 7 June 2008

Canada: Pro-asbestos lobby gets caught out
Canada’s pro-asbestos lobby has faced stern criticism for wrongly implying a long-delayed government commissioned report opposes a ban on asbestos. Critics including the chair of the Health Canada panel of experts that prepared the report have denounced both the delay and the misrepresentation of their findings.
CBC NewsOttawa CitizenInternational Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS)Ban Asbestos CanadaRisks 358 • 31 May 2008

Britain: Former nurse's shock at asbestos illness
Another former nurse has fallen victim to the asbestos cancer mesothelioma. Diane Coote, 57, believes she was exposed to the deadly dust in her 10 years nursing at hospitals in Norwich.
Norwich Evening NewsRisks 358 • 31 May 2008

Australia: Union launches asbestos probe
An Australian union has organised the largest asbestos survey and research programme to ever be undertaken at a single work site in the country. The Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) says the Cement Australia site at Railton, Tasmania, contains asbestos building products and the company’s predecessor on the site, Goliath Cement, manufactured and distributed asbestos-containing materials between 1947 and 1986.
AWU news releaseRisks 357 • 24 May 2008

Britain: Court rules asbestos causes lung cancer
A High Court ruling has confirmed the lung cancer and asbestos link. Although it has long been accepted asbestos causes lung cancer, proving the link in court has been difficult because, unlike mesothelioma, the condition can be caused by a wide range of other factors, including smoking.
Irwin Mitchell news release • John Shortell (executor of the estate of John Joseph Shortell deceased and litigation friend of Eileen Shortell) v BICAL construction Ltd (sued as successor to BIC Construction Ltd), in the High Court of Justice (Queen’s Bench Division), Liverpool District Registry, Case No: 7LV30059, 28 April – 1 May 2008 • Risks 357 • 24 May 2008

Britain: Dead at 50 from T&N’s asbestos
A widow’s seven year wait for compensation for her husband’s death has finally come to an end after she received a six figure payout. The unnamed woman from Bolton received £218,000 from the trustees of Turner and Newall (T&N).
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 357 • 24 May 2008

Britain: Energy worker gets cancer payout
A retired power station worker has received £120,000 in compensation after developing an incurable asbestos cancer. Lionel Waldridge, 78, from Ipswich, was awarded the damages from energy firm E.ON Plc after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 357 • 24 May 2008

Britain: Yet another meso widow
The widow of a Unite member has received over £115,000 in compensation after her husband died from the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma. The grandmother of one, who does not wish to be named, received the damages after her husband was exposed to asbestos while working for Young, Austen & Young heating engineers in Sussex.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 357 • 24 May 2008

Britain: Insurers threaten Scots asbestos payout plans
Insurance companies have threatened legal action against the Scottish government if it passes legislation allowing people with certain asbestos-related health conditions but who are not seriously ill as a result to sue for damages.
The TimesRisks 356 • 17 May 2008

Britain: Turner and Newall kills again
The family of a former Turner and Newall (T&N) employee has received compensation of over £28,000 after their sister died from the lung disease asbestosis. The unnamed 83-year-old from Cheshire developed the disease after working at T&N’s Widnes factory for 40 years.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 356 • 17 May 2008

Britain: ICI did not warn of asbestos danger
An employee of chemicals giant ICI was exposed to asbestos dust at work for more than 20 years – but was never warned of the risks. Brian Raw, who died of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma in October 2007, was never given a mask or safety advice an inquest was told.
Cheshire TodayRisks 355 • 10 May 2008

Britain: Widow gets six figure asbestos payout
The widow of a Unite member has secured £120,000 in an out of court compensation settlement after her husband died from the asbestos related cancer, mesothelioma. The unnamed 71-year-old from Mold in Wales was exposed to asbestos while working for the Metropolitan Vickers Electrical Company in Trafford Park, Manchester, now known as AEI.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 354 • 3 May 2008

Global: Unions call for asbestos ban support
Global union federations representing tens of millions of workers in the construction and metal sectors have renewed their call for a global asbestos ban. The Building and Woodworkers’ International (BWI) has written to the Canadian Labour Congress appealing for help from Canadian trade unions to end the export of Canadian chrysotile asbestos to the developing world.
BWI news releaseCanadian asbestos: One killer export, Ban Asbestos Canada Network • Risks 353 • 26 April 2008

Britain: Shipyard exposures caused asbestosis
A Unite member has been awarded £20,000 in provisional damages after exposure to asbestos in a shipyard wrecked his health. Peter Guy developed asbestosis after being exposed to the dangerous dust while working for Harland & Wolf shipyard during the 1960s.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 353 • 26 April 2008

Britain: Family members face asbestos peril
Asbestos exposure is so dangerous it is killing the family members of workers who brought home the dust on their clothes.
Evening PostGazette and HeraldRisks 352 • 19 April 2008

Britain: More white collar asbestos victims
A former benefits officer and a nurse are the latest workplace victims of mesothelioma, the incurable asbestos cancer.
Thompsons news releaseIrwin Mitchell news releaseRisks 352 • 19 April 2008

Britain: Rail worker gets asbestos payout
A former British Rail worker has been awarded £180,000 in compensation after developing the incurable asbestos cancer mesothelioma. ASLEF member Kenneth Chapman, 74, worked for New Southern Railway, part of British Rail, from the 1950s until he retired in 1996 and was exposed to asbestos while working as a fireman, boiler cleaner and train driver.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 352 • 19 April 2008

Britain: Lung cancer survivor gets payout
A man who developed lung cancer after being exposed to asbestos in the workplace has been compensated by his former employers. Widower, Joseph Douglas, 66, from Ellesmere Port has received £65,000 in damages after he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2004.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 351 • 12 April 2008

Japan: Government releases asbestos firms list
The Japanese government has grudgingly released the names of 2,167 companies and offices around the nation where workers had received compensation for asbestos-related illnesses. Campaigners say the list will enable those who lived near the companies or who had family members who worked there to get checked for diseases such as the asbestos cancer mesothelioma.
Asahi ShimbunRisks 350 • 5 April 2008

Britain: MPs vow support for meso sufferers
Members of parliament have vowed support for a campaign for better compensation for sufferers of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma. The members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health’s asbestos sub-committee made the promise after watching a short film calling on the government to amend the law on government asbestos payouts.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 350 • 5 April 2008

South Africa: Lobbyists fail to block asbestos ban
A new law banning asbestos in South Africa took effect in late March. Environmental affairs and tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said the regulations prohibit the use, processing, manufacturing, and import and export of any asbestos or asbestos-containing materials (ACMs).
South African government news release and asbestos regulations webpageMail and GuardianInternational Ban Asbestos SecretariatRisks 350 • 5 April 2008

Britain: Experts urge action on asbestos plaques
A panel of experts convened by construction union UCATT has advised MPs the government should overturn the Law Lords decision blocking compensation for pleural plaque sufferers. Top medical and legal experts addressed a 26 March seminar held in the House of Commons to brief MPs.
UCATT news release and campaign postcard [pdf] • UCATT campaigns webpagesRisks 349 • 29 March 2008

Britain: Consultation on pleural plaques payouts
Top personal injury lawyers have welcomed a pledge by prime minister Gordon Brown to produce a consultation paper on the plight of victims of pleural plaques, an injury caused by exposure to asbestos. In October last year the highest court in the UK, the House of Lords, announced that it would not overturn a ruling of the Court of Appeal in January 2006, which now prevents sufferers of pleural plaques from claiming compensation.
Irwin Mitchell news releaseSign the e-petition to the prime minister calling for the reinstatement of pleural plaques compensationRisks 349 • 29 March 2008

Britain: Six figure payout for asbestos death
A Yorkshire widow has received a six-figure compensation payout after her husband died of an asbestos cancer. Sylvia Worth, 54, was awarded £122,000 in damages.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseFind your local asbestos group on the Asbestos Forum websiteRisks 349 • 29 March 2008

Britain: Survey call after teacher’s asbestos death
Teaching union NUT has called for all schools in Wales to be checked for asbestos after the death of a retired teacher from an asbestos cancer. Renee Blodwen Eden, 69, from Anglesey, was most likely to have died from exposure to asbestos in a school building, an inquest heard.
Western MailBBC News OnlineRisks 348 • 22 March 2008

Global: Toxics trade convention in jeopardy
A treaty intended to ensure the worst industrial poisons aren’t traded globally without health and safety warnings is in jeopardy because of lobbying by vested interests. A global alliance of environmental, labour movement and health groups is sounding the alarm, saying “industry interference and political sabotage by a handful of countries, led by Canada, is strangling the Rotterdam Convention”.
Rotterdam Treaty campaign statementRightOnCanada asbestos webpageRisks 347 • 15 March 2008

Britain: Kings College not so clever on asbestos
Kings College, Cambridge, has been prosecuted after painters were exposed to asbestos containing materials while working at the college. It was fined £16,000 with £14,500 costs at Cambridge Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to eight breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.
HSE news releaseRisks 347 • 15 March 2008

Britain: Clothing company work led to cancer
A woman who was exposed to asbestos while working for a clothes factory when she was a teenager is to receive more than £135,000 in compensation. Pauline Cade, 65, was exposed while working as a junior clerk for Thomas Marshall (Marlbeck) Ltd, a clothing company in Leeds that made items for small drapers and department stores.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 347 • 15 March 2008

Canada: Government continues death fibre defence
Health Canada has quietly begun a study on the dangers of chrysotile, the last remaining variety of the asbestos in widespread commercial use. It is believed it is undertaking the research “to help further Canada’s knowledge of chrysotile asbestos fibres in relation to human health” – code for an effort to defend the deadly fibre from event limited right-to-know measures on asbestos exports.
ETUI-REHS news reportRisks 345 • 1 March 2008

Britain: Workers unaware of asbestos dangers
Most tradespeople are unaware of the health risks linked to asbestos, a survey has found. The British Lung Foundation said just 12 per cent of the 399 building trades workers it questioned knew asbestos exposure could kill them and less than a third were aware asbestos can cause cancer.
BLF news releaseRisks 345 • 1 March 2008

Australia: Ford pays mechanic for asbestosis
A mechanic from Perth has made Australian legal history by successfully suing the Ford Motor Company for Aus$840,000 (£396,000) after he proved that his job caused his asbestosis. The Supreme Court of Western Australia ruled that Ford was responsible for the asbestosis now crippling Antonino Lo Presti, 58, and awarded him damages.
The Australian and related storyRisks 344 • 23 February 2008

Britain: Trades alerted to youth asbestos risk
Every week 20 workers in construction trades die simply because they have breathed in asbestos fibres during the course of their work, a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) campaign is warning. The safety watchdog says its research shows young plumbers, electricians and other site tradespeople know that asbestos is dangerous but just don't believe that they are personally at risk.
Risks 344 • 23 February 2008

Britain: Search for asbestos victim’s workmates
The family of a Scarborough repairman who died as a result of exposure to asbestos has launched an appeal to trace his former colleagues. Geoff Edmonds, who worked for engineering company Brogden and Wilson for almost 30 years, died aged 79 from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma last year.
Thompson’s Solicitors news release • Anybody who worked for Brogden and Wilson between 1941 and 1969 and remembers Geoff Edmonds should contact Marion Voss on 0113 2056300 • Risks 344 • 23 February 2008

Britain: Call for schools asbestos survey
Teaching union ATL is urging the government to carry out a survey of all schools to check whether asbestos is present. It is warning that putting a drawing pin into a classroom wall or slamming a classroom door “could be enough to sign a death warrant” and is calling for asbestos to be removed from all schools by 2010.
HSE news releaseRisks 344 • 23 February 2008

Britain: Postcard push for pleural plaques payouts
Unions and asbestos groups have launched a campaign to press for compensation for pleural plaques. Alan Ritchie, general secretary of construction union UCATT, presented an oversized postcard to secretary of state for justice Jack Straw to mark the latest push to overturn the October 2007 Law Lords decision to end compensation for pleural plaques, a scarring of the lungs caused by heavy and long term exposure to asbestos
UCATT news release and pleural plaques postcard [pdf] • Risks 344 • 23 February 2008

Global: Governments told to act on asbestos
Governments must take urgent action to ban asbestos worldwide and to head off a massive asbestos industry promotional push, campaigners have said. Eighty delegates from unions, asbestos groups and international tripartite, enforcement and expert bodies from 33 countries met in Vienna this month to devise an effective response to the occupational and public health menace posed by asbestos.
BWI news release • Vienna Declaration from the Building and Woodworkers International Asbestos Conference, made in Vienna, February 2008 [pdf] • Risks 343 • 16 February 2008

Britain: Former nurse gets asbestos cancer
A former nurse should get compensation for her asbestos-related illness after a health authority accepted liability for having caused her disease. Mary Artherton, 59, was exposed to the dust while working at a sequence of Norwich hospitals.
Risks 343 • 16 February 2008

Britain: Payout too late for asbestos poster girl
The family of a poster girl for the former asbestos giant Turner and Newall has won a five figure settlement from the company after she died from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma. Martha Charlson, from Rochdale, was enlisted to promote the image of T&N in its heyday, when her photo appeared in a booklet detailing the firm's history.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 343 • 16 February 2008

Britain: Action Mesothelioma Day, 27 February 2008
Action Mesothelioma Day, on 27 February involves local activities nationwide to raise awareness of mesothelioma, an incurable cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, and to campaign for prevention of asbestos exposures today and better treatment and benefits for those affected by past exposures. Join a local event – or if there isn’t one, consider organising your own.
Asbestos Forum Action Mesothelioma Day webpage and events listingAction Mesothelioma websiteRisks 343 • 16 February 2008

Britain: Scotland makes asbestos disease move
Victims of several asbestos-related conditions will benefit from Scottish legislation allowing them to claim damages, even if they do not suffer ill-health as a result, the Scottish government justice secretary Kenny MacAskill has said. People with pleural plaques, asymptomatic asbestosis or pleural thickening will be able to seek compensation if they have been negligently exposed to asbestos, under a proposed bill published by the Scottish government.
Scottish Government news releaseRisks 342 • 9 February 2008

Britain: Asbestos sufferers in pleural plaques protest
Trade unionists and asbestos support groups from across the country have called for compensation for asbestos related pleural plaques to be reinstated. A 29 January lobby of parliament set out to convince the government the October 2007 decision by the Law Lords to stop payouts must be overturned.
Risks 341 • 2 February 2008

Britain: Asbestos groups welcome drugs decision
Groups supporting families affected by asbestos disease have welcomed the approval of the most effective drug treatment for the cancer mesothelioma. On 23 January drug approvals agency NICE announced it had cleared the use of Alimta for the treatment of mesothelioma.
Asbestos Forum news release and websiteNICE decisionRisks 340 • 26 January 2008

Britain: Mesothelioma families want fairness
A group of mesothelioma sufferers and their families have released a short film with a hard-hitting message calling on the UK government to amend the law on asbestos compensation. The North East Mesothelioma Self Help Group wants the bereavement compensation paid to families of mesothelioma victims in England and Wales to be on a par with payments made in Scotland.
Thompsons Solicitors news release, including link to the short film • Risks 339 • 19 January 2008

Britain: Top asbestos campaign relaunches
A campaign group set up in memory of a Leeds mother who died of an asbestos-related cancer has won charitable status. The June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund has now officially relaunched itself as an independent charity.
June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund news release and mesothelioma charter and websiteAsbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK • 22 December 2007

Canada: Asbestos epidemic ‘made in Canada’
A prominent Canadian politician has said the country deserves international derision for imposing a made-in-Canada asbestos disease epidemic on the rest of the world. In an opinion piece in the National Post, Pat Martin, an MP with the New Democratic Party, said the Canadian government’s backing for the industry was “corporate welfare for corporate serial killers.”
National PostNDP news release • 8 December 2007

Britain: Asbestos case settled in four months
Former shipyard worker Charles Cochran, 67, has been awarded more than £150,000 in compensation after developing the asbestos cancer mesothelioma. This case was settled just four months after the claim was made.
Thompsons Solicitors news release • 8 December 2007

Britain: No one is safe from asbestos
A hairdresser and a theatre worker are among the latest victims of asbestos. Carol Heaton, 60, died from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma after working in a hair salon for 33 years and theatre worker Gloria Dawson, 69, was killed by a crumbling fire safety stage curtain.
Daily MailThe Times • 8 December 2007

Britain: Scots to put right pleural plaques snub
Scottish ministers are to overturn a House of Lords ruling preventing workers suing employers over asbestos-related pleural plaques. The ruling prevented compensation claims for pleural plaques, a scarring of the lungs, arguing that it was technically not a disease.
Scottish government news releaseIrwin Mitchell Solicitors news releasePattinson and Brewer news releaseABI news releaseBBC News Online • 8 December 2007

Britain: Unions welcomes pleural plaques move
Construction union UCATT have given a “cautious welcome” to the UK government’s commitment to examine a recent decision of the Law Lords that asbestos campaigners have labelled a “travesty of justice” and “a disgrace”.
UCATT news releaseOldham Chronicle • 8 December 2007

Australia: Death of Bernie Banton, asbestos hero
Bernie Banton, an Australian factory worker who became a nationwide symbol for labour rights in Australia, died on 27 November after suffering with asbestosis for years and more recently developing the asbestos cancer mesothelioma. Mr Banton, who was 61, fought until the very end, managing this month to give court evidence in a landmark compensation case from his hospital bed, as well as delivering a petition to the government in the run-up to last Saturday’s federal election pressing for and winning improved drug treatments for mesothelioma sufferers.
ACTU condolence bookThe James Hardie scandal • 1 December 2007

Canada: Asbestos exports on the increase
A major sales drive by Canada’s asbestos industry has seen asbestos exports to some developing nations increase dramatically. Seventy-five per cent of Canadian asbestos exports go to Asian countries, the analysis shows; the top five regional markets are India – which imported C$25,196,357 (£12,420,000) worth of Canadian asbestos between January and August 2007, followed by Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh.
Canadian asbestos: The naked truth, IBAS, November 2007 • New International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS) website • 24 November 2007

Britain: Port worker receives asbestos settlement
A retired Port of London Authority (PLA) worker has received £23,500 compensation after being diagnosed with asbestos-related pleural thickening. Unite secured the compensation for Terence O’Connell, 84, who worked for the PLA from 1937 until 1975, save for the wartime years when he served in the RAF.
Pattinson & Brewer news release • 24 November 2007

Australia: Campaigner wins asbestos drug fight
Thousands of victims of asbestos cancer in Australia will be able to get an expensive palliative care drug at next to no cost by January or even sooner. Both major political parties promised to subsidise the drug Alimta for sufferers of the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma after the government's drug advisory body recommended that it be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which means it is available with most costs borne by the government.
The AgeThe Daily Telegraph • 17 November 2007

Britain: Cancer payout for asbestos hug woman
A Devon woman who developed an incurable asbestos-related cancer from hugging her father as a child has settled a damages claim. The Ministry of Defence (MoD), which owned Devonport Dockyard when Debbie Brewer's father worked there in the 1960s, settled with a six-figure sum.
BBC News OnlineDaily Mail • 17 November 2007

Britain: Cancer payouts offer little comfort
The widow of a Unite member has been awarded a substantial compensation payment after her husband died of an asbestos cancer caused by exposures at work. David Hines from Birkenhead was 73 when he died just two months after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Thompsons Solicitors news release • 17 November 2007

Britain: Teacher’s testimony to asbestos dangers
A teacher who has developed the asbestos cancer mesothelioma as a result of exposures in a school has issued an online video warning about the dangers of the deadly fibre. Elizabeth Bradford was informed after an inspection by her local authority employer she had been exposed to asbestos, but it was white asbestos so there wasn’t a problem.
ATL YouTube video clip • Also on YouTube: Mesothelioma: The human face of an epidemicOther safety related videos on YouTube • 17 November 2007

Britain: Company fined £20,000 for asbestos breach
Bedford magistrates have fined Galamast Ltd £20,000 for exposing workers to asbestos. The prosecution comes as new figures show record numbers are dying of asbestos cancers.
HSE news release• Thompsons Solicitors news release • 10 November 2007

Global: Tell Canada to stop deadly asbestos exports
A major petition to Canadian premier Stephen Harper by campaign organisation RightsOnCanada is calling for an end to Canadian support for asbestos exports and is attracting thousands of signatures. Two of the country’s leading asbestos exporters this week combined their marketing efforts to “maximise our sales and minimise our costs,” said Simon Dupéré, president of LAB Chrysotile, which operates two mines in Thetford, Quebec.
Sign the RightsOnCanada petition for an end to Canada’s promotion of asbestos trade • 3 November 2007

Canada: Asbestos pushers face new attack
Canada’s promotion of asbestos trade in the developing world is turning into a major national controversy. National press coverage has revealed the real-life circumstances of asbestos use in India, Canada’s biggest asbestos client.
Global and MailAsbestos abuse photofile • 3 November 2007

Australia: Minister apologises to asbestos campaigner
Australia’s federal health minister Tony Abbott has phoned anti-asbestos campaigner Bernie Banton to apologise for accusing him of conducting a political stunt and suggesting he is “not necessarily pure of heart”. Mr Banton, who has suffered for years from asbestosis and was this year diagnosed with the asbestos cancer mesothelioma, led a group this week trying to present a petition to Mr Abbott calling for government subsidies on a drug, Alimta, that treats the condition.
ABC News and TV interview with Tony AbbottCFMEU news releaseSky News coverage of the Abbott insult and apology • 3 November 2007

Britain: Contractors warned on asbestos risks
A Preston building contractor has been fined after safety lapses led to two workers from another company being exposed to asbestos. Mustaq Bargit, trading as M and B Builders, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,137.73 after being found guilty at Preston Magistrates Court of safety offences. He had allowed work on a construction site to take place without an asbestos survey being completed.
HSE news release • 27 October 2007

Britain: Hospital trust fined for asbestos blunders
A South London NHS trust has been fined after failing to take proper precautions to manage asbestos in their buildings, resulting in workers being exposed to asbestos dust. St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,432 at the City of London Magistrates’ Court, after it pleaded guilty of breaching the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002.
HSE news release • 27 October 2007

Britain: Pleural plaques ruling “a disgrace”
Thousands of workers with an asbestos-related condition will not be able to claim compensation following a ruling by Law Lords. Union leaders and lawyers attacked the decision to end claims for pleural plaques, usually caused by exposure to asbestos.
Unite news releaseProspect news releaseAsbestos Victims Support Groups Forum news releaseHouse of Lords appeal judgment, 17 October 2007 • 20 October 2007

Britain: Asbestos payout after dad’s death
The two daughters of a York man who died of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma are to receive compensation. CWU member Leslie Kenneth Bailey died on 23 March 2003, aged 48, having been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in November 2002.
Pattinson & Brewer news release • 20 October 2007

USA: Senate passes asbestos ban
After seven years of stalling the ‘Ban Asbestos in America Act’ has been passed by the US Senate, bring a formal ban on asbestos a major step closer.
Senator Patty Murray’s news release • Asbestos Disease Awareness Organisation (ADAO) news release [pdf] • 13 October 2007

Britain: Seafarer’s overalls caused wife’s cancer
A former seafarer whose wife died as a result of washing his asbestos covered work overalls has received an out-of-court settlement of £62,500 from British Rail. David Parker, who was employed by British Rail Ferries on the SS Sarnia ship in 1966,took home asbestos fibres on his clothing.
Swindon Advertiser • 13 October 2007

Global: Global asbestos ban plan
Top international agencies are pushing forward with a plan for a worldwide asbestos ban. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have prepared an ‘Outline for the development of national programmes for elimination of asbestos-related diseases,’ which ILO says “is a tool for increasing policy coherence for reducing and finally phasing out the use of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials.”
ILO publication alert • Outline for the development of national programmes for elimination of asbestos-related diseases [pdf] • ILO 2006 resolution on asbestos [pdf] • WHO position paper on elimination of asbestos related diseases • [pdf] • 6 October 2007

Britain: Relatives step up asbestos fight
A campaign set up in memory of Prospect member Roger Lowe is drawing attention to the deadly dangers posed by asbestos exposure. The daughters and wife of the dockyard electrical fitter, who died aged 68 from the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma in December 2005, have founded a support group in his name.
Prospect news releaseRoger Lowe Campaign • 6 October 2007

Britain: Woman tells of asbestos disease nightmares
A 55-year-old woman from Retford, whose father and two brothers died from asbestos related diseases, is taking legal action after discovering she has the illness pleural plaques, associated with asbestos exposure. Valerie Pask, 55, was diagnosed with the condition in April 2006.
Irwin Mitchell news releaseThe Mirror • 22 September 2007

Australia: Ex-James Hardie boss in criminal probe
The former managing director of James Hardie, Peter Macdonald, has been revealed as the target of a criminal investigation over compensation to asbestos victims. He is first to be named as being investigated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission since it flagged a criminal investigation in February into the scandal that cost Mr Macdonald his job.
Sydney Morning HeraldASIC James Hardie webpage • 8 September 2007

Britain: Union ups school asbestos campaign
Teaching union ATL is ramping up its awareness campaign on the dangers posed by asbestos in school buildings. The union says over 400 ATL members have so far signed its asbestos register, to indicate they may have been exposed at work, and the number on the register “is growing daily”.
ATL news report

Mesothelioma: The human face of an asbestos epidemic, YouTube video

Britain: Asbestos blamed for man’s death
A carpenter’s death was caused by his working exposure to asbestos - even though no asbestos could be found in his lungs, a Gloucester inquest has ruled. Coroner Alan Crickmore recorded a verdict that Gerard Thorley died aged 69 from an industrial disease.
Gloucester Citizen • 1 September 2007

Britain: NUT lessons on school asbestos
Schools should conduct thorough asbestos surveys and headteachers, governors and premises staff must have better knowledge of asbestos management, teaching union NUT has said. The union’s briefing, prepared after teachers and staff were placed at risk when asbestos was disturbed at a Derby school and the city’s council was prosecuted successfully in May, says visual inspections of schools for a potential asbestos risk are not enough.
NUT health and safety briefings webpage • NUT briefing: Asbestos – lessons to be learned report [word] • 1 September 2007

Asia: Asbestos plague reaches Asia
As asbestos markets shrink in Europe, the cancer-causing product is finding new markets in developing countries. A new report, ‘Killing the future: Asbestos use in Asia’, warns that although major international agencies agree that exposure to asbestos is deadly, the consumption of white asbestos (chrysotile) is increasing throughout Asia.
IBAS news release [pdf] • Killing the future: Asbestos use in Asia, IBAS, 2007 [pdf] • Further information • 18 August 2007

Global: Killing the future – exporting an asbestos epidemic to Asia
As asbestos markets shrink in Europe, the cancer-causing product is finding new markets in developing countries. A new report, ‘Killing the future: Asbestos use in Asia’, warns that although major international agencies agree that exposure to asbestos is deadly, the consumption of white asbestos (chrysotile) is increasing throughout Asia. It says half of current asbestos consumption is in Asian countries.
Further details on Killing the future
• 14 August 2007

USA: Boss used homeless to remove asbestos
A US contractor who hired homeless men to remove asbestos without proper protective gear has been sentenced to 21 months in prison. John Edward Callahan, 56, had pleaded guilty earlier this year to a Clean Air Act violation – but because he doesn’t have the resources was not fined or required to pay for medical monitoring and treatment of the men he'd exposed to asbestos.
Roanoke Times • 11 August 2007

Global: Asbestos pushers dealt serious blows
LAB Chrysotile Inc started bankruptcy proceedings on 25 July, a move that should see the closure of Canada’s last asbestos mine. The end of asbestos mining in Quebec could have a dramatic knock-on effect for the industry worldwide; the Quebec-based Chrysotile Institute, the global asbestos industry’s main lobbying organisation is financed by the Canadian industry and money from the federal Canadian and provincial Quebec governments.
Earth TimesADAO news release and website • 4 August 2007

USA: Industrial brakes caused steelworker cancers
The families of three former Bethlehem Steel workers have been awarded $3.97 million (£1.93m) in an asbestos settlement. The former steelworkers had sued General Electric in Baltimore Circuit Court over exposures from asbestos-lined industrial brakes used in cranes and other equipment at the mill.
Channel 13 Baltimore • 28 July 2007

Canada: Support for asbestos, but not for victims
The Canadian government spends millions promoting its asbestos exports, but isn’t so forthcoming when it comes to its own victims of asbestos disease. Almost 1,000 of the 1,500 people in Ontario who developed the asbestos cancer mesothelioma between 1980 and 2002 weren't compensated, according to a new research paper, which says this allowed the province's Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to shortchange victims of the disease, and taxpayers, out of hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Global and Mail • James T Brophy, Margaret Keith, Jenny Schieman. Canada’s asbestos legacy at home and abroad, IJOEH, volume 13, pages 236-243, 2007 [pdf]
• 21 July 2007

Britain: Accountant’s visits led to asbestos cancer
A chartered accountant died as a result of exposure to asbestos, an inquest has heard. Raymond Dunn, 73, died on 9 May this year after developing pneumonia as a result of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma; he contracted the condition even though he had visited a factory's offices only a couple of days a year – more than 50 years ago.
Blackpool Gazette • 21 July 2007

Canada: Cancer society wants asbestos stopped
The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) has called for an end to Canada’s export of asbestos and believes the federal government should stop blocking international efforts to curb the trade in the dangerous mineral. Although asbestos is internationally recognised as one of the worst cancer-causing materials ever to have been in widespread use, the society's decision is controversial because it undermines the national government’s long-standing contention that chrysotile (white) asbestos can be used safely and should be promoted.
Canadian Cancer Society news release • James T Brophy, Margaret Keith, Jenny Schieman. Canada’s asbestos legacy at home and abroad, IJOEH, volume 13, pages 236-243, 2007 [pdf] • Hazards asbestos webpages • 14 July 2007

Britain: Payouts at last for T&N asbestos victims
A six-year block on asbestos disease payouts from the notorious asbestos manufacturer Turner & Newall (T&N) had ended, with the first settlements coming through. Unite’s Amicus section says its members are at last receiving compensation from the defunct asbestos company more than six years after their claims were first lodged.
Unite-Amicus news release • 14 July 2007

Britain: Campaigners win asbestos drug fight
NHS drugs advisers have reversed their proposal to block a drug for people with an asbestos-related cancer after a high profile campaign by asbestos groups and unions. Chair of the Asbestos Victims Support Groups' Forum, Tony Whitston, said: “We would like to thank all those who have campaigned for this treatment for mesothelioma, a disease caused almost exclusively by asbestos exposure and which was, and is, entirely preventable.”
NICE decisionHazards asbestos webpages • 14 July 2007

Britain: Lords urged to deliver asbestos justice
A legal bid backed by the union Unite is seeking to secure compensation for people with the asbestos related condition pleural plaques. The case being considered by the Lords started on 25 June and follows a Court of Appeal ruling last year, which overturned a decision by the High Court in 2005 which said pleural plaques should continue to receive compensation.
Amicus news release • 30 June 2007

South Africa: Asbestos victims face poverty
Even after being paid compensation, South Africa’s asbestos disease victims remain desperately poor and many have already exhausted their once-off lump sum compensation, according to a study by the Asbestos Relief Trust (ART). The fund was set up after South African investment holding company Gencor and British multinational Cape settled litigation for damages by paying R587.5 million (£41.7m at the 2007 exchange rate).
Business Report • 23 June 2007

Britain: Payout after asbestos destroys kidney
An asbestos exposed worker who developed a serious kidney disease is thought to be the first in the country to win compensation for the condition. Ex-motor mechanic Graham Mansfield, 67, has been awarded £135,000 after losing the use of his right kidney to retroperitoneal fibrosis, a rare condition which causes damage to the kidneys and other organs.
Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news release • 23 June 2007

Britain: Union push for pleural plaques payouts
As a bid gets underway to persuade the Law Lords to reverse a Court of Appeal decision last year to deny compensation to people with pleural plaques caused by asbestos exposures, around 200 construction workers from all over the UK will assemble outside parliament. To coincide with the start of the House of Lords case on 25 June, the demonstrators - including thermal insulation engineers, welders and fabricators - will urge the Lords to restore compensation for sufferers of pleural plaques.
GMB news release • 23 June 2007

Britain: Payout ‘will give me time with my family’
A woman who contracted a terminal asbestos-related cancer by hugging her dockyard worker father says she will use a compensation payout to spend quality time with her family. Plymouth mother-of-three Debbie Brewer, 47, has received an interim compensation amount of £25,000 from the Ministry of Defence, which admitted liability in February.
Plymouth HeraldMesothelioma and me, Debbie Brewer’s website • Hazards asbestos news and resourceAction Mesothelioma • 16 June 2007

Britain: Hospital fined for asbestos risk to staff
A hospital trust has been fined more than £7,000 after admitting three charges of exposing staff to asbestos. Two workers were put at risk during the incident at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, in 2004.
Northern EchoHazards asbestos webpages • 9 June 2007

Britain: Doctor gets ‘industrial’ asbestos cancer
Hospital consultant Andrew Lawson was diagnosed with the asbestos cancer pulmonary mesothelioma three weeks ago, a condition increasingly reported in hospital workers. Writing in the Times, he said: “It seems that there may have been a lot of asbestos in the tunnels at Guy’s hospital where I spent six years training,” adding: “One wonders how many of my contemporaries will get the same disease?”
The Times • 2 June 2007

Britain: Asbestos cancer from nuclear sub work
A former electrician's mate who worked on the UK's first nuclear submarine has been awarded a six-figure sum in cancer compensation. Ken McDonald, 67, developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos while working at Vickers shipyard in Barrow.
Thompsons Solicitors news release • 2 June 2007

Britain: Shipyard worker in £1m asbestos payout
A former Tyneside shipyard worker has been awarded almost £1m damages after developing a deadly asbestos-related lung cancer. GMB member Raymond Shanks, 59, sued Newcastle-based Swan Hunter, where he worked as an electrician for four years from 1965.
GMB news release • 2 June 2007

Britain: Last push for asbestos drug approval
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) is soon to announce its recommendation on NHS availability of the mesothelioma drug Alimta; it is anticipated that NICE will say authorisation should be refused. Michael Clapham MP has introduced an early day motion (EDM) calling on NICE to rethink its approach and on the government to “acknowledge that, in this case, she has a wider social responsibility that goes beyond the NICE definition of cost-effectiveness.”
Check to see if your MP is signed up to Mesothelioma and access to Alimta, EDM 2848Find your MP - you just need to know your postcode • 26 May 2007

Britain: NUT pushes asbestos action in schools
Teaching union NUT is calling for action to remove asbestos from schools. The NUT circular says: “The purpose of this guidance is to support the work of divisions and associations in terms of seeking to bring about the removal of asbestos from all schools which contain it.”
NUT health and safety factsheets
NASUWT news release • 26 May 2007

Britain: Fines for school asbestos blunders
Derby City Council has been fined £50,000 with costs of £20,000 after admitting asbestos safety breaches. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecution followed an incident when a Mickleover school was closed for several weeks after asbestos was disturbed during window replacement work, exposing staff and pupils; both the council and the contractor were aware of the presence of asbestos, but failed to take appropriate precautions
BBC News Online • 12 May 2007

Britain: UCATT demands better asbestos treatment
Construction union UCATT is demanding official approval for a drug experts say is the best treatment for people with the asbestos cancer mesothelioma. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has indicated that it will advise that the chemotherapy drug Alimta should not be used
The ObserverDaily Mail • Action Mesothelioma • 12 May 2007

Britain: Childhood exposure caused asbestos disease
A woman exposed to asbestos when she played as a child in the basement of a London council flat has received a six-figure payout after developing the incurable cancer mesothelioma. As a teenager Cheryl Marsh, 49, played in the boiler rooms in the basement of her parent's council flat in the Brecknock Estate, Islington.
Risks 302 • 21 April 2007

Australia: Asbestos cancer deaths under-estimated
A deadly asbestos cancer sparked by exposure to asbestos will strike far more Australians and peak years later than first predicted, a new report has concluded. The study by Dr Mark Clements, from the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, predicts that 6,430 cases of the fatal disease would be recorded over that period, and it won't peak until as late as 2017.
Risks 301 • 7 April 2007

Britain: Dockers win asbestos appeal
Hundreds of former dock workers can sue the government for compensation for asbestos-related illnesses, thanks to court victory. The Court of Appeal upheld a High Court test case decision last year that the government is liable to compensate former dock workers.
Risks 301 • 7 April 2007

Britain: New asbestos victims didn’t do dirty jobs
A retired teacher and a retired housewife are among the latest victims of an asbestos cancer which is affecting people with relatively low exposures to the deadly fibre.
Risks 300 • 31 March 2007

Denmark: Union study exposes work cancer tragedy
A trade union study has identified high levels of occupational cancers in construction workers in Denmark and has prompted immediate government action. Danish Confederation of Construction Workers Unions (BAT-Cartel) researchers analysed found a range of jobs had a statistically significant risk for a range of cancers, many associated with asbestos exposure.
Hazards occupational cancer webpagesRisks 299 • 24 March 2007

Britain: No-one is safe from asbestos
Over three decades of warnings from unions and campaigners that use of asbestos would lead to a disease epidemic have been proven tragically correct. Hundreds of cases are emerging of people developing asbestos related cancer after very short or low level exposures – including the children and grandchildren of exposed workers and, increasingly, younger people.
Risks 299 • 24 March 2007

Britain: Pair jailed for asbestos crimes
Two demolition men from Bradford have been jailed for asbestos-related crimes – but another repeat offender has escaped with community service for a second time. William Reidy, 59, who had previous convictions for similar offences, was sentenced at Bradford Crown Court to 16 months in prison for depositing asbestos waste in contravention of environmental and special waste laws and his foreman, 61-year-old Leonard Imeson, was jailed for four months.
Risks 299 • 24 March 2007

Global: Asbestos use study supports global ban
The findings of a major study which correlated asbestos usage with asbestos related diseases “strongly” supports a global asbestos ban. The authors concluded: “Historical asbestos consumption alone explained the bulk of the variance in subsequent death rates from such diseases. Our results lend support to the notion that all countries should move towards eliminating the use of asbestos.”
Ro-Ting Lin, Ken Takahashi and others. Ecological association between asbestos-related diseases and historical asbestos consumption: an international analysis, The Lancet, volume 369, pages 844-849, 2007 [abstract] • Risks 298 • 17 March 2007

Britain: Car mechanic gets asbestos payout
A car mechanic has been awarded £300,000 compensation from former employers after he contracted the asbestos cancer mesothelioma as a result of working on cars with asbestos brake and clutch pads. Jonathan Hutchinson, 50, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2003, after working as a garage mechanic for a range of firms in the 1970s and 1980s and stripped out brake pads which contained asbestos dust.
Action Mesothelioma • Hazards asbestos webpagesRisks 298 • 17 March 2007

Britain: More payouts and faster for asbestos disease
Government proposals that will speed up government payouts to people suffering from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma and that for the first time will include compensation for those not exposed while working, have been welcomed by unions. The proposals would provide up-front financial support to people who were previously not eligible, including those who were: exposed to asbestos from a relative (for example, from their overalls); exposed to asbestos environmentally (for example, lived near a factory using asbestos); the self-employed; and those who can't trace their exposure to asbestos.
Risks 298Action Mesothelioma • 17 March 2007

Canada: New law allows asbestos use in toys
New Canadian federal regulations allow asbestos to be used in children’s toys. Pat Martin and Catherine Bell, members of parliament from the left of centre party NDP used hand puppets dubbed Toxic Timmy and Ms. O'Thelioma, named after an asbestos-related cancer, to raise their concerns at a news conference in Ottawa.
Risks 297 • 10 March 2007

Britain: Asbestos victims 'getting younger'
Asbestos-related cancers are affecting more and more young people and women, according to a top occupational disease lawyer. Geraldine Coombs, who heads Irwin Mitchell's Manchester-based asbestos team, is representing a 27-year-old woman who is thought to be the youngest-ever victim of mesothelioma, an incurable cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
Risks 297 • 10 March 2007

Britain: Widow gets £355,000 asbestos payout
The widow of a former Vickers employee who died from mesothelioma has received a £355,000 payout. Jean Allen, 69, secured the compensation following the death of her husband Keith from the asbestos-related cancer in 2004.
Risks 297 • 10 March 2007

Britain: Companies fined for asbestos crimes
Two Lancashire companies have been fined a total of £25,000 and ordered to pay total costs of £11,788 after pleading guilty at Blackpool Magistrates Court to criminal charges brought by the HSE after employees were exposed to asbestos during refurbishment work.
Risks 296 • 3 March 2007

Britain: Government acts on mesothelioma care
The government has launched a new framework for improving the care of people with the asbestos cancer mesothelioma. On Action Mesothelioma Day, 27 February, health minister Rosie Winterton announced the new framework, providing advice to the NHS on how to organise services for mesothelioma patients in order to improve quality of care.
Risks 296 • 3 March 2007

Britain: Union secures shipyard asbestos compensation
Amicus has secured compensation for the family of a former shipyard worker on Tyneside who died from mesothelioma. Stephen Addison worked on a number of shipyards on the River Tyne from 1939 until the 1960s where he was exposed to asbestos.
Risks 296 • 3 March 2007

Latin America: Unions push for asbestos bans
Sixteen trade union confederations in five Andean countries - Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela – have taken up the campaign for an asbestos ban. The unions have helped compile a report, based on a survey of trade union leaders, and looks at asbestos use in the different countries involved.
Risks 295 • 24 February 2007

Global: New push for global asbestos ban
A global trade union organisation has called for a renewed push for a global asbestos ban. Building unions’ global federation BWI is asking all trade unions to write to their national governments, asking for a meeting to discuss a national action plan to prevent asbestos related diseases.
Risks 295 • 24 February 2007

Australia: Asbestos scandal claims Hardie scalps
James Hardie chair Meredith Hellicar has fallen on her sword after Australia’s corporate watchdog ASIC launched a lawsuit to ban her from running a company. Ms Hellicar, and the two remaining directors who signed off on Hardie's plan in 2001 to separate the company from its asbestos liabilities, Michael Brown and Michael Gillfillan, resigned, all protesting their innocence.
Risks 295 • 24 February 2007

Britain: MoD admits asbestos ‘cancer hug’ liability
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is to compensate Debbie Brewer, 47, who said she developed an asbestos-related cancer from hugging her father, who worked as a docker at the Navy’s Devonport Dockyard. In November last year, 45-year-old Michelle Campbell, who developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos from her grandfather's work clothing, was awarded a £145,000 MoD payout.
Risks 295 • 24 February 2007

Britain: Asbestos - hundreds of thousands more will die
Latest estimates suggest this could mean at least 120,000 people and probably substantially more are still to die as a result of Britain’s asbestos disease epidemic – an epidemic predicted by unions and campaign groups, who have for decades called for stricter controls on asbestos. The price paid by working people is spelled out in a new YouTube video from the Forum of Asbestos Victim Support Groups.
Mesothelioma: The human face of an asbestos epidemic, YouTube video • Forum of Asbestos Victim Support Groups ActionMeso websiteRisks 295 • 24 February 2007

Australia: Unions win asbestos compensation campaign
A multinational that had resisted finalising an asbestos compensation deal has finally put pen to paper, after a high profile trade union campaign. The Aus$4bn (£1.58bn) 40-year deal was ratified at an extraordinary general meeting of the firm’s shareholders in the Netherlands; the company will make an initial payment of around Aus$185 million (£73m) into an Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund with further regular payments to be made over the life of the agreement.
Risks 293 • 10 February 2007

Britain: Government challenges dockers' asbestos payouts
The financial future of hundreds of former dockers suffering from asbestos related illness is hanging in the balance. At the Court of Appeal this week lawyers for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) made a bid to block the dockers' compensation claims.
Risks 292 • 3 February 2007

Britain: Payout after asbestos causes breathlessness
A North Yorkshire man has been awarded “substantial” compensation developing a lung disease caused by exposure to asbestos fibres in his youth. Geoffrey Stead, 65, received the payout from British Rail after he was diagnosed with pleural thickening.
Risks 292 • 3 February 2007

Britain: Mesothelioma Action Day, 27 February 2007
The second Mesothelioma Action Day will be held on 27 February 2007. As well as a parliamentary reception at the House of Commons, there will be events in Manchester, Chesterfield, Leicester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Rotherham, Gateshead, Leeds and elsewhere, and a purpose produced short video presentation to raise awareness of the UK mesothelioma epidemic will be shown throughout February 27 on giant BBC TV screens in city centres including Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.
For further information, see the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat website • Also see Asbestos Forum and Hazards Campaign websites • Risks 291 • 27 January 2007

Britain: Concern over delay in asbestos drug decision
A final decision on whether a chemotherapy drug that could help sufferers of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma should be available on the NHS may not now be announced for months. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) says it does not envisage being in a position to give guidance on the drug Alimta until September.
Risks 291 • 27 January 2007

Canada: Bystander asbestos cases hit families
Many of the sons, daughters and spouses of Canadian workers sickened by asbestos are now developing cancers, which doctors say have been triggered by the dangerous dust brought home inadvertently by their fathers and husbands.
Risks 290 • 20 January 2007

Britain: The price of a life
Asbestos continues to kill in record numbers – at least 4,000 UK deaths last year – and for many the best they can hope for is some compensation before they die.
Risks 290 • 20 January 2007

USA: Asbestos hazard warning survives challenge
An official warning to mechanics that exposure to asbestos in brakes can cause deadly disease will not be removed from a US government website, and official safety watchdog the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will not now suspend a scientist who had refused to water down the warning.
OSHA asbestos brakes warningRisks 288 • 23 December 2006

Britain: Victory for Scotland's asbestos families
Families of Scottish asbestos disease victims are celebrating an early victory in their fight for compensation. Changes in Scottish law to help people with asbestos-related cancer claim compensation have been brought forward to this week, the Scottish Executive has announced.
Risks 288 • 23 December 2006

Britain: New guide to the new asbestos regulations
The TUC and HSE have produced a brief guide for safety representatives on asbestos and the new Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. The online resource, which does not cover the legal functions of safety representatives, gives basic answers to the following questions: What is asbestos; why is it dangerous; where do you find asbestos; who is likely to be exposed to asbestos fibres; what’s new in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006; what is a licence; what do the Regulations say and what should I do; what should I do if I suspect asbestos materials are present; and how do I find out more? You can start by reading this guide.
TUC alert and full guide [pdf] • Risks 287 • 16 December 2006

Britain: Legal win for widow of youngest mesothelioma victim
The widow of a 32-year-old man who died after inhaling asbestos on his stepfather's work clothing as a child, has succeeded in her legal battle for compensation. Claire Welch from Braunstone in Leicester continued the legal action originally launched by her husband Barry after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in May 2004.
Risks 287 • 16 December 2006

Britain: Outrage at “terrible” school asbestos message
The union GMB has said the clearing of a former headmaster of safety charges after a Derby school was contaminated with asbestos dust sends out a “terrible message”. In a case brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Phillip Robinson, 50, denied a charge of failing to ensure the health and safety of others.
Risks 286 • 9 December 2006

USA: DaimlerChrysler to make $20m asbestos payout
Global car giant DaimlerChrysler must pay $20 million (£10.3m) to a retired police officer and brake repairer whose right lung was removed because of cancer caused by asbestos. The automaker was responsible for the amount owed by the now-defunct companies because the jury found it acted with reckless disregard for the safety of others, the lawyer for the victim said.
Risks 285 • 2 December 2006

Canada: Government lied on asbestos motives
Canada uses its international prestige to promote asbestos worldwide in an informal marketing deal which means low-cost foreign producers in exchange don’t drive Canada’s asbestos producers out of business, according to an official federal government document. The document was produced by a group that included assistant deputy minister Gary Nash, the former head of the Montreal-based Chrysotile Institute, the government-backed industry association spearheading promotion of asbestos trade worldwide.
Risks 285 • 2 December 2006

Australia: Hardie campaigners sign final compo deal
After six years of campaigning and two and a half years of intensive negotiations with the James Hardie company, unions and asbestos victims groups have secured a final deal from the company to compensate Australian victims of its asbestos products. Greg Combet, secretary of the national union federation ACTU, said the deal “is a final, open ended, un-capped and importantly tax-office approved funding agreement from James Hardie which will see the company pay in excess of $4.5 billion [£1.83bn] into a fund to compensate current and future Australian victims of its asbestos products.”
Risks 284 • 25 November 2006

Britain: Warehouse worker, 45, killed by asbestos
A warehouse worker in hospital for surgery for a workplace lifting injury was told he was suffering from a deadly asbestos cancer. Peter Nicholas Wilkinson, 45, who died on 2 September, had been admitted to hospital last July after tearing a hernia at work but tests revealed he had contracted the asbestos cancer mesothelioma
Risks 284 • 25 November 2006

Britain: Union calls for action on asbestos by post
Royal Mail union CWU has called for an end to the potentially illegal use of the mail to send asbestos samples, a practice which could place both the public and postal workers at risk. Royal Mail has launched an investigation after it was revealed a South Wales company was encouraging the public to take their own asbestos samples and stick them in the post.
Risks 284 • 25 November 2006

Global: Asbestos touts get official backing
The governments that blocked an October bid to get right-to-know warnings on asbestos exports are ratcheting up their global promotional activities for the deadly fibre. Canada, which led the campaign to derail a widely supported push for more stringent export controls under the Rotterdam Treaty, has now approved a continuation of the Can$250,000 (£116,000) annual funding for the asbestos industry front organisation, the Chrysotile Institute.
IBAS reportRisks 283 • 18 November 2006

Britain: Widows appeal for asbestos help
Widows who lost their husbands to asbestos-related disease are appealing for help from their former workmates.
Risks 283 • 18 November 2006

Britain: Granddaughter gets asbestos cancer
A 45-year-old woman dying as a result of exposure to asbestos from her grandfather’s work clothing has been awarded a £145,000 payout. Michelle Campbell said she loved sitting on granddad Charles Frost’s knee and enjoying a chat when he popped in to visit on his way home from his job at Portsmouth dockyards.
Risks 282 • 11 November 2006

Britain: Coroner warning on school asbestos risks
A Cumbrian coroner has called for asbestos to be removed from all schools to protect pupils and staff. Speaking at the inquest into the death of a teacher killed by school asbestos exposure, David Osborne said it could require the demolition and re-building of some schools – but the huge amount of cash required should be found.
Risks 281 • 4 November 2006

Britain: Government praised for asbestos payouts decision
The government will not clawback benefit payments made to victims of asbestos giant Turner and Newall (T&N), part of US multinational Federal Mogul. Compensation payouts were delayed for five years while administrator Kroll negotiated a payout scheme. Amicus general secretary Derek Simpson, commented: “People who are suffering and the families of people who have died from this awful disease deserve to have peace of mind that they will not lose a huge amount of their compensation payments to the government.”
Risks 281 • 4 November 2006

USA: Asbestos campaign goes into cyberspace
A top US asbestos disease campaign organisation has launched an online awareness campaign designed to spread the word about the dangers of asbestos. The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) says the initiative is built around a “powerful” educational video that can be easily forwarded via email.
ADAO “Survivor” videoADAO websiteRisks 280 • 28 October 2006

Britain/USA: Asbestos deal agreed - but who will pay?
A US company that has taken control of Equitas, the firm set up by the Lloyd's insurance market to handle billions of pounds in asbestos claims, has substantial interests in the asbestos industry it has been revealed. Berkshire Hathaway is the owner of former US asbestos conglomerate Johns-Manville, a firm which now pays its own asbestos claimants receive a small fraction of the value of their claims.
Risks 280 • 28 October 2006

Global: Treaty is latest victim of asbestos disease
An international treaty designed to protect developing nations from toxic trade has become the latest casualty of the global asbestos industry. Failure to list chrysotile asbestos under a global right-to-know scheme has left the Rotterdam Convention “discredited” health campaigners have warned.
Risks 279 • 21 October 2006

Britain: Renewed push for asbestos cancer treatment
Asbestos victims and their families lobbied parliament on 17 October, calling for funding for an asbestos cancer treatment. The groups are urging the NHS to make available Alimta for the treatment of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma.
Risks 279 • 21 October 2006

Britain: School asbestos killed joiner
A former joiner who came into contact with asbestos while working at a Peterborough school died from industrial disease, an inquest has heard. David Baxter, 57, lost his battle against cancer caused by asbestos on 3 March this year.
Risks 279 • 21 October 2006

Britain: Amicus prepares Lords appeal on pleural plaques
An appeal to the Law Lords to reinstate compensation for sufferers of the asbestos related condition pleural plaques has been set for summer 2007.The move by Amicus is seeking to overturn a Court of Appeal ruling this year which stopped compensation payouts to those with the condition.
Risks 279 • 21 October 2006

Britain: Union secures payout for debilitating asbestos disease
The union GMB has secured a £30,000 payout for a former Yorkshire Water employee with an asbestos-related disease. The pipe layer developed bilateral diffuse pleural thickening – an illness caused by exposure to asbestos.
Risks 279 • 21 October 2006

France: Major Paris rally calls for asbestos action
Thousands of protesters last month gathered at a landmark Paris tower once lined with asbestos to demand a nationwide lawsuit against those who allowed workers to be exposed to the deadly substance.
Risks 278 • 14 October 2006

Britain: Asbestos disease treatments lobby, London, 17 October
The Forum of Asbestos Victims Support Groups is to lobby MPs on 17 October in a bid to get better treatment for patients suffering from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma.
Risks 277 • 7 October 2006

Britain: BBC alert over studio asbestos risk
The BBC has issued a public notice to warn current and former staff and freelances of the possibility they may have been exposed to deteriorating sprayed asbestos insulation while working at three Television Centre studios. The alert, which also announced the launch of a BBC asbestos exposure register, says exposure could have taken place over a 15-year period, from 1990 to 2005.
Risks 277 • 7 October 2006

Britain: Scots action on asbestos payouts dilemma
The Scottish Executive is seeking to reform legislation which has left some asbestos cancer victims facing a compensation dilemma. Victims of mesothelioma have to choose between claiming for damages or allowing their relatives to lodge a bigger claim after their death.
Risks 277 • 7 October 2006

Japan: Deadly wait for asbestos compensation
At least 170 people have died in Japan in the six months since a compensation law took effect while waiting to hear if the qualify for asbestos disease payouts, a survey has found. The government-affiliated Environmental Restoration and Conservation Agency (ERCA) research also showed that only 242, or 20.9 per cent, of the 1,160 applicants were given official approval for medical expenses and other benefits as of 12 September.
Hazards asbestos webpagesRisks 276 • 30 September 2006

Britain: Dying carpenter gets £400,000 asbestos payout
A carpenter dying from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma has been awarded agreed damages of £400,000 from his former employer. Field Fisher Waterhouse, the law firm acting for Amargeet Singh Dahele, 52, said it believed this was one of the highest ever settlements in such a case.
Risks 274 • 16 September 2006

Britain: Real losers of Federal Mogul’s bankruptcy ruse
When Federal Mogul used the USA’s business friendly bankruptcy laws, it knew it could ring fence its substantial assets at the expense of asbestos disease victims. Hundreds will now qualify for the drastically reduced payouts.
Risks 274 • 16 September 2006

Britain: “Obscene” fees consume asbestos fund
Accountants and lawyers claimed a staggering £70m in fees to administer a compensation scheme which left cancer victims with just 20 per cent of the money they should have received. The deal means victims of terminal cancer who are entitled to compensation fees in the region of £100,000 from former asbestos giant Turner and Newall will receive only £20,000, 20p in the pound.
Risks 274 • 16 September 2006

Britain: Union warning on classroom killer
Unions in the north of England have warned that teachers are contracting fatal asbestos cancers by putting children's work up on walls using drawing pins. Eight school staff in Northumberland, Gateshead, North Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham are seeking compensation from education authorities after getting asbestos-related cancers and a number of claims have been settled already.
Risks 274 • 16 September 2006

Britain: Six figure payout for teacher’s asbestos death
The relatives of Tameside teacher John Murphy, killed as a result of exposure to asbestos in his classroom, have received compensation.
Risks 274 16 September 2006

Global: Asbestos is bad news everywhere
The global asbestos disease epidemic continues to be bad news worldwide, suggests new reports from India, Japan and Spain.
Risks 273 • 9 September 2006

Europe: Europe-wide asbestos campaign launched
The European Commission has launching a publicity campaign in all 25 European Union member states to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure. It says the European Asbestos Campaign 2006 slogan will be ‘Asbestos is deadly serious – prevent exposure’.
Risks 273 • 9 September 2006

Britain: Handwashing led to asbestos cancer
A retired nurse died from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma after being exposed to fibres while handwashing her partner's work overalls. An inquest held at Northampton General Hospital heard that Myrtle Octavia Gordon, who died on 21 February, inhaled the deadly fibres while cleaning the clothes of her partner, who worked in a Northamptonshire factory for 25 years, or from a short spell working in a car parts factory in Birmingham.
Risks 272 • 2 September 2006

Canada: End in sight to asbestos addiction?
For the past 20 years, Canada has had a policy of aggressively promoting asbestos use. But the country’s federal government is now considering whether it will continue the country's association with a known and potent industrial killer and may end its long-running cash and political support for the industry front organisation, the Chrysotile Institute.
Risks 272 • 2 September 2006

New Zealand: Asbestos victim takes on James Hardie
New Zealand cancer victim and former carpenter Ken Hurley is taking on corporate giant James Hardie Industries. Last year multinational James Hardie agreed to create a multi-billion dollar fund to compensate Australian victims of asbestos related diseases.
Risks 270 • 19 August 2006

Britain: Dockyard laundry may have saved women’s lives
Laundry facilities at Devonport Dockyard may have helped save women's lives in Plymouth. The suggestion comes in the latest annual report from the government’s Chief Medical Officer, noting the “striking difference” between the proportion of women to men in Plymouth falling victim to the asbestos cancer mesothelioma compared with other shipyard areas.
Risks 268 • 5 August 2006

Britain: Moves to speed up mesothelioma claims
The government has announced interim measures to speed up compensation claims for mesothelioma sufferers. In a written ministerial statement Work and Pensions Secretary John Hutton said that a number of initiatives had been developed as a result of discussions between the TUC, Association of British Insurers, and Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.
Risks 266 • 22 July 2006

Britain: Government makes good for asbestos victims
The government delighted campaigners for justice for the victims of asbestos by rushing through an amendment to the compensation bill which had the effect of reversing a House of Lords ruling which would have reduced the amount of compensation received by many victims of asbestos or their dependants.
Risks 266 • 22 July 2006

Zimbabwe: Asbestos industry fights to the death
Zimbabwe’s leading chrysotile asbestos producer says it will increase its search for new export markets in response to the growing campaign for a global asbestos ban.
Risks 264 • 8 July 2006

Britain: Widow welcomes new asbestos law
An asbestos widow has welcomed the government commitment to ensure asbestos victims do not lose out on compensation as a result of a House of Lords ruling.
Risks 264 • 8 July 2006

Global: Asbestos industry continues “safe use” con
The asbestos industry and its friends are continuing to claim they have International Labour Organisation (ILO) support for the continued use of asbestos, despite an ILO resolution expressly refuting this claim. A spate of recent press stories would appear to be part of an ongoing charm offensive by the asbestos.
Risks 263 • 1 July 2006

Britain: Widow wins asbestos lung cancer battle
The widow of a Birmingham man, who died from lung cancer after being exposed to asbestos, has won her legal battle for compensation. Bill Byrne, a former scaffolder died in 2002 aged 71 -seven years earlier his brother, Bob, who had worked alongside him at Mills Scaffolding and Lyndon Scaffolding during the 1950s and 60s, died aged 61, from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma.
Risks 263 • 1 July 2006

USA: 'Smoking gun' found in asbestos case
An insurance giant that tried to evade payment of asbestos compensation in the UK, is facing the prospect of a massive asbestos bill in the US after it inadvertently handed over a “smoking gun” document in a court battle with General Motors. Royal & SunAlliance is attempting to recover the document that the US car manufacturer claims to be the killer evidence in its $1bn (£550m) lawsuit over personal injury liabilities linked to asbestos.
Risks 263 • 1 July 2006

Britain: Government stands up for asbestos victims
The TUC has welcomed the government’s announcement that it is to amend the Compensation Bill to reverse last month's House of Lords ruling that slashed the compensation payments made to mesothelioma sufferers and their families.
Risks 262 • 24 June 2006

Global: ILO to promote global asbestos ban
The International Labour Office (ILO) is to pursue a global ban on asbestos, the world’s biggest ever industrial killer. The landmark decision came with the adoption of a resolution on 14 June at the ILO conference in Geneva and followed a high level union campaign.
ILO to promote global asbestos ban, Hazards interview with ILO SafeWork director Jukka Takala • 20 June 2006.

Britain: The human tragedy behind the campaign
The government’s move to ensure asbestos cancer victims receive compensation and ILO’s push for a global ban come as deaths from Britain’s worst occupational killer continue to grow.
Risks 262 • 24 June 2006

Italy/Belgium: Asbestos bosses get suspended jail terms
Former bosses of the Italian subsidiary of an asbestos multinational have received suspended prison terms for workplace safety crimes. Karel Vinck, a top Belgian manager who used to be at the head of the Italian subsidiary of the asbestos cement giant Eternit in the 1970s, was given a suspended three-year prison sentence by a Sicilian Court last month, together with seven other former managers.
Risks 262 • 24 June 2006

Britain: BECTU launches asbestos register
Theatre and TV technicians’ union BECTU says it has seen an upturn in the number of members seeking advice on asbestos and has set up an asbestos register to ensure exposures are recorded.
Risks 262 • 24 June 2006

Britain: Blair ‘to change’ asbestos ruling
Tony Blair says he is hoping to change a ruling that will stop bereaved spouses receiving full compensation for their partner’s deaths from an asbestos related cancer. The TUC welcomed the announcement from the prime minister, made this week at a GMB conference in Blackpool, that the government hopes to overturn the recent Barker judgement on the amount of compensation payable to the victims of mesothelioma and their families.
Risks 261 • 17 June 2006

Global: French government calls for worldwide asbestos ban
France has called on the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to ban asbestos all over the world. The proposal was presented by junior employment minister Gerard Larcher at the ILO’s annual conference in Geneva.
Risks 260 • 10 June 2006

Britain: Dockers can sue government on asbestos
A retired docker who suffers from an asbestos-related illness has welcomed a High Court decision allowing him to sue the government for compensation. Robert Thompson, 65, won the right to take legal action along with docker's widow Winifred Rice.
John Pickering and Partners news releaseRisks 259 • 3 June 2006

Britain: Government bid to speed up asbestos payouts
The government has said it wants to see swifter compensation settlements for mesothelioma sufferers and their families. Work and pensions secretary John Hutton said his department will work with the Association of British Insurers, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and the Department for Constitutional Affairs to urgently identify ways to speed up the settlement of claims for the asbestos-related cancer.
Risks 257 • 20 May 2006

Britain: Government must act now for asbestos victim justice
A House of Lords ruling which will cut millions from compensation payouts to asbestos cancer sufferers and their families has been condemned by TGWU general secretary Tony Woodley, who has called for the government to act immediately to change the law and restore compensation.
Risks 257 • 20 May 2006

Britain: School asbestos linked to another death
Another death has been linked to occupational exposure to asbestos in a school. Victor Kirk, 66, a divorced retired caretaker from Paignton, died from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma on 6 April.
Risks 256 • 13 May 2006

Britain: Asbestos site advert ‘misleading’
The firms bidding to re-develop a former asbestos factory for housing published a misleading advert downplaying asbestos risks, a watchdog has ruled. After complaints from asbestos campaigners, the Advertising Standards Authority said claims about levels of asbestos at the site were misleading, in what is believed to be first case where ASA has been used to expose company spin on an occupational health-related issue.
Risks 256 • 13 May 2006

Global: Asbestos and corporate greed
A group of Euro MPs has published a devastating criticism of the asbestos industry and its continuing promotion of the worldwide asbestos trade. ‘Asbestos: The human cost of corporate greed’ was launched by the European United Left/Nordic Green Left Group (GUE/NGL) ahead of Workers’ Memorial Day, at a 27 April press conference in the European Parliament in Brussels.
GUE/NGL websiteRisks 255 • 6 May 2006

Britain: Asbestos ruling will mean thousands lose out
Asbestos cancer victims have been made to pay the price for their employers’ negligence, top legal experts have said. Negligent employers will not be liable to pay 100 per cent compensation if other culpable employers have gone out of business and their insurers cannot be found.
Thompson SolicitorsIrwin Mitchell news releaseRisks 255 • 6 May 2006

Britain: Lords slash asbestos payouts
Thousands of widows will not receive full compensation for their husbands'
deaths from asbestos-related cancer, Law Lords have ruled. The 3 May majority decision will mean there will be a compensation limit in cases involving several employers, none of whom can be blamed categorically for the onset of the fatal illness.
Barker (Respondent) v. Corus (UK) plc (Appellants) (formerly Barker (Respondent) v. Saint Gobain Pipelines plc (Appellants)) Murray (widow and executrix of the estate of John Lawrence Murray (deceased)) (Respondent) v. British Shipbuilders (Hydrodynamics) Limited (Appellants) and others and others (Appellants) Patterson (son and executor of the estate of J Patterson (deceased)) (Respondent) v. Smiths Dock Limited (Appellants) and others (Conjoined Appeals. Full House of Lords judgmentRisks 255 • 6 May 2006

Britain: Unions warn HSE on asbestos risks
Trade unions and safety campaigners have reiterated their warning to the Health and Safety Executive about proposed alterations to the regulations covering asbestos work. The warning came ahead of a Construction Safety Campaign organised march and rally in London on Workers’ Memorial Day, 28 April, supported by construction sector unions and south-east region TUC, SERTUC.
Risks 255 • 6 May 2006

Global: International support for asbestos campaign
Unions worldwide called for global ban on asbestos, as part of the 28 April Workers’ Memorial Day activities. The call, spearheaded by global building and wood union federation BWI, saw action in countries from Argentina and Burkina Faso to Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Workers’ Memorial Day events worldwide, Hazards • 29 April 2006

Britain: Pottery work linked to asbestos cancer
A retired pottery worker has submitted a damages claim against Royal Doulton amid allegations the former bone china giant left him with the asbestos cancer mesothelioma. John Shenton, 72, claims 12 years spent working for the famous pottery company - when it was Allied English Potteries - exposed him to dust from Asbestolux material.
Risks 254 • 29 April 2006

Canada: Generations pay for asbestos trade
There has been a visible rise in the number of people in Canada who never worked with asbestos yet are at risk of its illnesses because they were incidentally exposed to asbestos. Many of the victims of these “bystander” cases as dying young because were exposed to asbestos as children to contamination on a parent’s work clothes.
Risks 253 • 22 April 2006

Britain: Widow seeks help in compensation quest
The widow of a nuclear physics researcher who died from cancer after working with asbestos has appealed to former workmates for help with her compensation claim. Julia Holmes is preparing a case against her husband Michael's former employer, Rutherford Laboratories of Didcot.
Risks 253 • 22 April 2006

Britain: Son's quest for asbestos information
The son of a Doncaster man who died after being exposed to asbestos at work is appealing to his father's former work colleagues for information about his working conditions. Tony Richards, from Kirk Sandall, died on 19 September 2003 at the age of 60 from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma.
Risks 253 • 22 April 2006

Britain: Woman mourns two asbestos deaths
A woman from Kent who lost her husband to an asbestos-related cancer has now lost her new partner to the same disease.
Risks 253 • 22 April 2006

USA: Union takes on asbestos tests
A union-backed health and safety centre is screening US sheet metal workers for asbestos related diseases. The nationwide screening programme is being undertaken by the Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute, which says it takes about 20 years of exposure to asbestos before scarring of the lungs or other problems can be detected.
Risks 251 • 8 April 2006

Britain: Asbestos misery continues
Asbestos continues to blight the lives of workers and their families, causing deaths from cancer, breathing disorders and “natural causes” like heart disease.
Risks 251 • 8 April 2006

Britain: Union alert prompts schools asbestos warning
Schools have been issued new official guidelines for dealing with classroom asbestos after teaching union NUT revealed over 100 teachers have died from contact with the substance in the past 20 years. NUT had urged HSE to reissue the advice after one of its members, Gina Lees, died aged 51 from an asbestos cancer, one of a series of recent asbestos-related deaths affecting school staff.
Risks 251 • 8 April 2006

Britain: Petition calls for global asbestos ban
An international petition is aiming to promote the union-driven campaign for a global asbestos ban. The petition will be presented to key international agencies on 28 April, International Workers’ Memorial Day.
Risks 250 • 1 April 2006

Britain: Asbestos dangers “being ignored”
A Health and Safety Executive official has said there is still a “worrying” lack of awareness of asbestos risks. Bill McKay, principal inspector for construction and asbestos licensing at HSE’s Newcastle office, said he is shocked by the way materials containing dangerous asbestos fibres are being handled.
Risks 249 • 25 March 2006

India: Moves to expand asbestos mining
The Indian government is looking to expand asbestos mining in the country. It has asked the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) to work out necessary safeguards to resume mining.
Risks 248 • 18 March 2006

Britain: Concern grows about school asbestos risk
The deaths of more teachers from asbestos related cancers is leading to increased concern about exposures in schools. A Carlisle primary school is at the centre of the latest health scare after its former headteacher died from an asbestos-related cancer and a Devon man warned his teacher wife died after pinning children’s artwork to asbestos tiles in a classroom.
Risks 248 • 18 March 2006

Britain: Washing work clothes caused mum’s cancer death
A pensioner died because she used to handwash the clothes of her son and husband which had been contaminated with asbestos. At an inquest at Oxford Coroner's Court David Gardiner said his mother, Constance Mary Gardiner, used to regularly wash his work clothes when he worked in the installation industry between 1965 and 1973.
Risks 248 • 18 March 2006

Britain: Asbestos kills 57 year old
A man who had lived a healthy life died aged 57 as a result of asbestos exposure more than 30 years ago. Allen Hurst worked stripping buildings in his 20s and died of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma.
Risks 248 • 18 March 2006

Britain: HSE asbestos study fails to reassure unions
New HSE research into the fibre levels released when asbestos coatings like artex are removed has been criticised by unions. TUC representatives on the Health and Safety Commission have expressed concern, in particular at its failure to cover sanding of artex and at the levels of asbestos fibre found in other work.
Risks 248 • 18 March 2006

Britain: Council says safety reps make safer schools
Union safety reps and active safety committees have made Brent schools a safer place, a council boss has said. Speaking to almost 300 delegates at a healthy schools conference hosted jointly by Brent Council and the school unions ATL, GMB, NASUWT, NUT, UNISON, council leader Ann John said: “The number of trained school safety representatives and safety committees in Brent has risen to well above the national average and that means Brent schools are becoming safer and healthier.”
Brent NUT news release • HSC Safety Representatives’ Charter for the education sector [pdf] • Risks 248 • 18 March 2006

Global: Asbestos trade renews its scare tactics
The growing pressure for a global asbestos ban is spurring a renewed public relations push by the industry in a desperate attempt to rehabilitate the deadly fibre. Indonesia, Zimbabwe and India have been recent targets.
Risks 247 • 11 March 2006

Britain: New attempt to rob dying asbestos victims
Bereaved relatives from around the UK, who have seen family members die from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma, are to protest outside the House of Lords on Monday 13 March. The protest marks the start of a legal challenge brought by asbestos industry giant Saint Gobain Pipelines plc in a bid to drastically reduce its asbestos compensation liabilities, with a knock-on effect for all claimants.
Risks 247 • 11 March 2006

Global: Union protests to target asbestos trade
A global union federation is to target the asbestos trade with international protests, in a bid to end a “global health calamity”. The Building and Wood Workers International (BWI), a federation of construction unions representing 12m workers worldwide, says on 28 April there will be peaceful demonstrations and petitions at Canadian embassies and consulates to convince the Canadian government to call a halt to its aggressive marketing and promotion of asbestos in developing countries such as India, Zimbabwe and Brazil.
Risks 246 • 4 March 2006

Britain: Insurers accused of abandoning asbestos victims
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has been accused of washing its hands of pleural plaques victims. Asbestos disease victims’ lawyers say they are “extremely disappointed” ABI has refused to support moves to put plaques cases on hold until legal appeals have been heard in the House of Lords.
Risks 246 • 4 March 2006

Britain: Asbestos campaigners press for action
A massive campaign effort by asbestos campaigners and trades unions has highlighted the plight of asbestos disease victims. Events were held nationwide, with the activities to highlight rising deaths from the deadly asbestos cancer supported by the TUC and UK unions.
Risks 246 4 March 2006

Britain: Asbestos cancers continue to kill
A widower who was exposed to asbestos during his job as a flooring specialist died many years later because of his contact with the deadly fibres. At an inquest earlier this month into the death of George Thompson, Herts Coroner Edward Thomas recorded a verdict of death by industrial disease.
Risks 245 • 25 February 2006

Britain: Action Mesothelioma Day, 27 February
Unions and asbestos disease organisations are backing a national Action Mesothelioma Day on 27 February. The day aims to highlight the issue of mesothelioma - or meso - an asbestos cancer which already kills almost 2,000 people each year in the UK, or about one every five hours.
Risks 245 • 25 February 2006

Britain: Asbestos banned but still a killer
Asbestos may now be banned but the fatal fibres could still be lurking in up to 1.5 million shops, factories and offices across the UK, the TUC is warning. The union body is launching a major new safety drive aimed at preventing more workers from being exposed to the killer substance which currently claims over 4,000 lives a year.
Risks 245 • 25 February 2006

France/India: French court sinks plan to scrap 'toxic' ship
France's latest attempt to dispose of a 50-year-old warship riddled with asbestos ran aground this week when the country's highest court suspended plans to scrap Le Clemenceau in India.
Risks 244 • 18 February 2006

Britain: Grandfather killed by work with asbestos
A grandfather who worked most of his life for British Rail died as a result of exposure to asbestos, an inquest has heard. Leonard Foster, 64, of Appleby, started work cleaning steam engines as a 15-year-old, and in a statement written before his death he said he was regularly exposed to asbestos at work.
Risks 243 • 11 February 2006

Britain: “Dreadful” asbestos ruling will rob victims of £1bn
The Court of Appeal has overturned a ruling that thousands of people suffering from an asbestos-related condition should receive compensation. Insurance companies, which now stand to save over £1bn, had appealed against a judgment that pleural plaques, a scarring of the lungs, could indicate a future risk of disease and were source of considerable stress to affected workers.
Risks 242 • 4 February 2006

Britain: Asbestos fine “peanuts” says union
The £136,000 fines and costs bill facing an egg box company that left its workforce exposed to deadly asbestos lagging for over a decade has been described as “peanuts” by a union.
Risks 242 • 4 February 2006

Britain: More deaths caused by deadly asbestos
More workers have fallen victim to an early death from asbestos cancer. Surveyor Bryn Garfield. 55, died from mesothelioma during eight years as a buildings maintenance worker and carpenter Bryan Littlewood, 68, died from the same cancer.
Risks 241 • 28 January 2006

Global: Asbestos trade’s lingering death
Asbestos exposure remains a massive public health challenge worldwide, the International Labour Office (ILO) has said. “Asbestos is one of the most, if not the most important single factor causing work-related fatalities, and is increasingly seen as the major health policy challenge worldwide”, said Jukka Takala, director of ILO’s Safework programme
Risks 239 • 14 January 2006

Global: International asbestos conference, Glasgow, 27 February
An international asbestos conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on 27 February – International Mesothelioma Day – will feature leading campaign, medical, political and legal experts from around the world.
Risks 239 • 14 January 2006

Britain: Factory work linked to asbestos deaths
Factory workers with only incidental exposure to asbestos are concerned they could be at increased risk of cancer after seeing colleagues succumb to the disease.
Risks 239 • 14 January 2006

Britain: Asbestos payout slashed for smoker's widow
A court has ruled that a Devon worker was "negligent" for smoking and has cut his widow's asbestos disease compensation payout. Beryl Badger was told that husband Reg, a boilermaker at Devonport military docks, had been warned about the risks of smoking.
Risks 238 • 7 January 2006



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