Make India Asbestos Free

Make India Asbestos Free
For Asbestos Free India

Journal of Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI). Asbestos Free India campaign of BANI is inspired by trade union movement and right to health campaign. BANI has been working since 2000. It works with peoples movements, doctors, researchers and activists besides trade unions, human rights, environmental, consumer and public health groups. BANI demands criminal liability for companies and medico-legal remedy for victims.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Asbestos Ban on the Anvil in US

US National Mesothelioma Awareness Day

2010-08-30 21:30:48 (GMT) ( - Health & Fitness, Law, Mesothelioma Asbestos, Press Releases)

In 2009, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Betty McCollum (MN-4) introduced to Congress a proposal to make September 26 “National Mesothelioma Awareness Day”.

The resolution was an attempt to acquaint a wider spectrum of United States’ citizens to the specter of mesothelioma, a fairly rare cancer that attacks the mesothelial linings that surround and protect the lungs, heart and abdominal organs.
Occurring as pleural mesothelioma (in the lungs) in 75 percent of cases, the cancer lies dormant for as long as 50 years before becoming highly aggressive and invasive, affecting so much vital tissue and vital organs that most patients diagnosed with the disease die within about a year.

Mesothelioma reportedly claims about 2,500 people in the U.S. each year. This is not a huge number, but the fact is the disease could be eradicated in a lifetime if the U.S. would join the 52 other nations around the globe that have successfully banned asbestos, the only known cause of mesothelioma.

Unfortunately, the U.S. is like Canada, China, India, Japan, Russia, and 200 other countries around the globe which are either taking asbestos from the earth, to the tune of 2 millions tons in 2009, or selling it, generating an estimated $1.25 billion dollars in profits as a result. It’s hard to resist the term “blood asbestos”, though most of the deaths occur at the back end of the mining and production cycle.
In spite of this regional (and global) catastrophe, the U.S. – like Britain, Russia and China – has ignored the need to fund research to find a cure. Though even this may soon change, as volunteers of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation rally this September to raise awareness of the disease’s costs, both in human and financial terms.

The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, once known as MARF and now called simply the Meso Foundation, is a non-profit organization devoted to educating the public, supporting mesothelioma victims and their families, finding funding to spur further research into a cure, and advocating for a national mandate to end the mesothelioma debacle by banning asbestos.

It was reported, according to Chris Hahn, Executive Director of the Meso Foundation, it is only through the activities of these dedicated volunteers that mesothelioma will finally become “part of a broad national conversation” about this appalling form of cancer and its intolerable impact on the country.

As Representative (former Senator) Murray once pointed out, the disease went unrecognized and unremarked for so long, even by the health sector, that today’s legacy costs are remarkable only for their extent.

National Mesothelioma Awareness Day, which began life as H. 771, remains a milestone in the effort to reverse that legacy. Unfortunately, the bill itself languishes in the House’s Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, a 41-member committee chaired by Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY10).

In the public sector, Meso Foundation champions like runner Larry Davis have been active and highly visible in their efforts to achieve the same goals. Davis, a survivor of asbestos-induced cancer, is one of a group of concerned individuals who are pushing for a national mesothelioma day.

It hasn’t happened yet, but in March of 2009, the Florida House of Representatives approved HR 9041 (SR 2714) designating Sept. 26, 2010 – and the same date thereafter – as Mesothelioma Awareness Day in Florida.

This year, on Sept. 26, the Meso Foundation will be in New York City for the taping of the Today Show, another step forward in getting national recognition for this devastating disease. In addition, nationally-recognized EHE International (a leader in preventive health programs and plans) has donated the 10 Rockefeller Plaza display window for the Meso Foundation to use from Sept. 1 through the 30 – a high-profile location that will likely boost the cause enormously.

For Davis, whose father died at the age of 56 from mesothelioma acquired at a box manufacturing plant in New Haven, Connecticut, the occasion is one highlight of his year, the first being the revival of the 2009 Boca Raton (Fla.) Miles for Meso run which occurred on Feb. 13 at Spanish River Park this year.

On Labor Day, Sept. 6, Davis and his wife, Carol, plan to run in the USA 20K Championship in New Haven, Conn. – again to highlight the cause of mesothelioma. On the weekend of Sept. 26, Davis will run a meso benefit in Illinois. According to Davis, the Illinois run organizer told him that the hills across which the run was scheduled were “killers”.

To which Davis replied: “I’d rather go that way (than die from mesothelioma).”
Mesothelioma is the form of cancer that claimed rock-and-roll singer/songwriter Warren Zevon, 1960s Hollywood actor Steve McQueen (The Great Escape) and NFL Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen, who went on after his football career to act in several television series, including Little House On the Prairie, Aaron’s Way, and Father Murphy, among others.

US EPA May Ban Asbestos Completely Under Safe Chemicals Act

August 27, 2010 — In 1976, the Toxic Substances Control Act, or TSCA was enacted to insure that chemicals remained safe throughout their lifetime, from the factory floor to disposal in a designated landfill. By “safe”, the TSCA assumed that risks to workers and the public would be minimized at every phase and wherever possible.

It was good legislation, and a good plan, but weaknesses and uncertainties in the law have left the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which administers the TSCA, unable to act even when chemicals blatantly endanger the health of American workers and other citizens.

In fact, in the 34 years since environmental and health legislation has emerged at the forefront of national policy, all the various Acts (Clean Air, Clean Water) have evolved to match the nation’s changing understanding about what is, and is not, a threat to human health and the environment. This includes those involved in policy-making and those examining issues from a scientific point of view.

Only the TSCA remains unchanged, much to the EPA’s chagrin. But that may soon change. On April 15, New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg introduced the Safe Chemicals Act, aimed at overhauling the TSCA and giving the EPA broader latitude to determine a chemical’s safety by requesting more information, while placing the onus on chemical manufacturers to submit minimum data sets (MSDS, or Material Safety Data Sheets) for the chemicals they make.
The Act, S3209, also prioritizes chemicals based on their known health hazards; mandates the EPA to focus most on those known or suspected to cause the most harm; ensures minimum safety thresholds for all chemicals; places the burden of proof on manufacturers; mandates identification of all uses, and their safety; creates an open record on reliable chemical information; promotes “greener” chemistry to replace older, more toxic chemicals; fast tracks approval of those safer chemicals; and requires the EPA to take action first on those chemicals or substances that have already been proven dangerous.
The Act, which “fast tracks” higher risk substances, has been read twice and is currently sitting before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. A similar bill, H.R. 5820, was introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush (D – IL) on July 22, and has been sent to the House’s Energy and Commerce Subcommittee (Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection).

Recent newspaper reports from around the U.S. suggest that the first act under S3209, if passed, will be to ban all those uses of asbestos which remain permitted in U.S. commerce. These include: asbestos-cement products, corrugated and flat sheet asbestos products, asbestos clothing, asbestos pipe wrap, roofing felt, vinyl-asbestos floor tile, asbestos-cement shingles, millboard (a fire-retardant wall and ceiling sheathing), asbestos-cement water pipe, some automatic transmission parts, automobile clutch facings, disc brake pads, drum brake linings, brake blocks, gaskets, non-friction valve, pump and brake packings, and non-roof-and roof-related fireproof coatings.

In 1989, the EPA, fully recognizing asbestos’ dangers after a decade of research and 100,000 pages of documentation, tried to ban the use of all asbestos in domestic manufacture in the hopes that cessation would end the legacy of mesothelioma hanging over the country. Asbestos is currently the only known cause of the disease.
Mesothelioma, a rare but devastating cancer of the mesothelial tissues that line and protect the lungs, heart and abdominal organs, explodes – after up to 50 years of dormancy – into a particularly aggressive cancer that usually kills within one year of diagnosis.
In 1991, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Louisiana, overturned the ban, even while acknowledging the fact that asbestos is a “potential carcinogen”. This means that, even today, in the 21st century, 10,000 people die in the U.S. every year from asbestos diseases, and 25 percent of them die from mesothelioma.

Worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, or WHO, asbestos causes about 90,000 deaths each year. It costs governments and business about $70 billion. Though 52 countries have successfully banned asbestos, another 200 – including Canada, China, India, Japan, Russia, and the U.S. – are either mining asbestos, buying it raw for remanufacture, or buying product containing asbestos. These 2 million tons of commerce (2009 figures) have netted sellers an estimated $1.25 billion dollars.
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