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Call to ban asbestos

23rd March 2010

Protesters from around the world have gathered in Turin to demonstrate against the use of asbestos as a building material in developing countries.


The two-day event was organised by the Ban Asbestos association, and about 6,000 people have joined together in the largest ever class-action suit against asbestos use.

In the suit, people are accusing shareholders from Erenit, an Italian asbestos company, of causing environmental contamination that led to the deaths of more than 2,000 people.

They alledge that Erenit's entrepreneurs were well aware that its asbestos factories would harm factory workers and residents.

Asbestos, which was finally banned in the European Union just five years ago, is still widely used in developing countries such as India, where it is imported from Russia and Canada.

The Ban Asbestos association is calling for a worldwide ban on the substance.

Sanjiv Pandita, Asian head of Ban Asbestos, said that there was no reason for people to keep using asbestos, and that it had killed many people.

He said that greedy lobbies around the world which wanted to earn money at the expense of people's lives had repeatedly blocked legislation banning asbestos.

Madhumita Dutta, a representative of Ban Asbestos India, said that the use of Canadian and Russian-manufactured asbestos was booming in India.

Several years ago in Brazil, the substance was banned in the Sao Paulo region of the country, despite Brazilian asbestos companies appealing the decision.

Stephany Schmidheiny and Jean-Louis Marie Chislain de Cartier de Marchienne were both important figures in the Italian company named Erenit, which manufactured and sold asbestos.

Thebaud-Mony, who is the spokeswoman of Ban Asbestos France and research director at the National Institute of Medical Health and Research in Paris, said that her association was awaiting a sentence that would establish jurisprudence in the case of the Italian company.

She said that asbestos entrepreneurs were well aware of the health consequences for people within range of their factories.

Although it takes about 20 years for symptoms of asbestos contamination, such as lung cancer and fibrosis, to appear, sufferers usually die within years after the symptoms arise.

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Tuesday 23rd March 2010 @ 15:51

I'm glad this movement is catching on in other parts of the world. Here in the U.S., our Ban Asbestos Now (http://www.banasbestosnow.com) movement is a bit slow to take off, but so long as awareness is being raised, we're making progress. Asbestos is nothing short of poison and increased urgency, education and policy is key.
- JM, http://www.asbestos.net

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