Make India Asbestos Free

Make India Asbestos Free
For Asbestos Free India

Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) works for Asbestos Free India inspired by trade union leader Purnendu Majumadar. Occupational Health India and ToxicsWatch Alliance are its members that includes doctors, researchers and activists. BANI demands criminal liability for companies and medico-legal remedy for victims. It works with trade unions, human rights, environmental, consumer and public health groups. For Details:1715krishna@gmail.com, oshindia@yahoo.in

Monday, November 21, 2011

The first-ever trial against an asbestos manufacturer

End to a conspiracy of silence?
The first-ever Belgian trial against an asbestos manufacturer
Verdict expected in Belgium’s asbestos trial on 28 November


Brussels — Monday 28 November 2011, the Tribunal civil de Bruxelles (Brussels civil court) will deliver its verdict in the trial of Françoise Jonckheere versus the manufacturer Eternit.

Prepared over a period of 11 years by Maître Jan Fermon and his team, the first-ever Belgian trial against an asbestos manufacturer saw a speech for the defence lasting almost three hours, on 24 October last.

This verdict is eagerly awaited, because it could finally mark the end of a denial of the devastating effect of a fibre that still causes the death of 110,000 people every year, including over 800 in Belgium. Asbestos continues to be mined in Brazil, Quebec, Kazakhstan and Russia.

On Monday 24 October, at the Palace of Justice in Brussels, the defence speech of Maître Fermon focused mainly on the following points:

- The carcinogenicity of asbestos since the 1940s and the link between asbestos and pleural cancer (mesothelioma) has been scientifically established since 1964.
- Cancers resulting from asbestos (pleural, laryngeal, pericardial, etc.) can arise indiscriminately as a result of inhaling asbestos fibres, regardless of type.
- The exposure of Françoise Jonckheere, “an environmental victim of asbestos” (she did not work for Eternit, but lived close to the factory where her husband worked in Kapelle-op-den-Bos) lasted for over 30 years, until 1991. So there is no statutory limitation.

Françoise Jonckheere died of asbestos cancer in July 2000, 13 years after her husband. She had asked her five sons to see her legal action through to completion. Since then, two of the sons have died of the same causes, in 2003 and 2009.

“We sincerely hope that justice will be done on 28 November, to put an end to the conspiracy of silence maintained by employment blackmail and out-of-court compensation, which have resulted in the producers’ immunity from prosecution,” says Eric Jonckheere, co-chair of Abeva. “Above all we hope that this trial will help to raise awareness, so that prevention can be strengthened in Belgium and production of asbestos stopped abroad. We are
quietly confident, but we will go to appeal if we are not heard.”

16 and 29 November: the truth about asbestos shown on television

The documentary film ‘Poussière mortelle’ (deadly dust), about the asbestos trial in Turin, Italy (still ongoing) and the production of asbestos in Brazil and India, will be broadcast on Belgian TV channel La Une (RTBF) on Wednesday 16 November at 22.00 and on Arte on Tuesday 29 November at 20.40.

Journalists please note: The conclusions of the trial are expected on 28 November around midday. This information will be confirmed the day before, on Sunday 27 November.

For further press-related information
Eric Jonckheere, 0476 788 833 – jonckair@yahoo.com (abroad until 26/11 but contactable)
Christophe Koninckx, 0475 440 515 – chkoninckx@gmail.com

ABEVA - C/o Fondation Belge contre le Cancer
Chaussée de Louvain, 479 - 1030 Brussels - Tel: 02 743 45 95 (hotline Tuesday mornings)
e-mail: abeva.be@gmail.com - www. a b e v a . b e

Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers

November 04, 2011 10:45 ET
Families of Asbestos Victims Speak Out Against Canadian Exports to Developing World

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 4, 2011) - Families of asbestos victims came together today for a media conference hosted at Toronto's Delta Chelsea Hotel to express their opposition to imminent plans to re-open a Québec asbestos mine. The mine investors are proposing to export asbestos from this mine to the developing world, particularly India.

The families invited the lead investor, Baljit Chadha, to visit Sarnia, Ontario to meet with asbestos disease victims and families. Sarnia has lost hundreds of residents over the past two decades to asbestos cancers. The invitation was also extended by Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley, whose letter to Mr. Chadha was released today. You can read the letter here: http://www.ohcow.on.ca/press_release/mayorbradleyletter.pdf

Mayor Mike Bradley can be reached at 519-332-0330 ext.308 or 519-464-7300 (cell).

Stacy Cattran, whose father Bill Coulbeck, died of asbestos cancer in Sarnia three years ago: "We would like Mr. Chadha to meet us and see first hand the suffering that asbestos has caused to so many Canadians".

Linda Reinstein, co-founder of the US-based Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (http://www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org), expressed her alarm at the investment proposal: "My husband Alan died from asbestos cancer, so I know first hand the devastating impact on asbestos victims and their families. I have travelled all over the world meeting families and health and safety experts. They are unanimous in condemning Canada's support of asbestos. Now is the time to end the exports. Governments can support the affected Quebec communities to develop alternative industries."

Background:

The Québec government is expected to make a decision within a few weeks whether to extend loan guarantees to the asbestos investors to allow them to re-open the Jeffrey mine.

The World Health Organization estimates that past asbestos exposure is causing over 100,000 deaths annually around the world.

Here in Canada, organizations such as the Canadian Cancer Society and Canadian Labour Congress have called for an end to Canadian asbestos exports.

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