Posts Tagged ‘Activists’

Anti-Asbestos Activists Call For Worldwide Ban

Anti-Asbestos Activists Call For Worldwide Ban

Asbestos, the hazardous building material linked to potentially deadly health problems including cancer and lung problems, has been the focus of a worldwide debate to ban its use in developing countries.

Anti-asbestos activists and asbestos victims – those suffering from the fatal side effects like mesothelioma or asbestosis – met in Turin, Italy to discuss the worldwide ban and justice against the companies that continue to use the material.

Due to its inexpensive nature, the material has been a favorite in developing countries, in part because it has been banned in other countries, including the European Union since 2005. Mesothelioma, for example, can manifest close to 30 or 40 years after the initial exposure, which makes the harmful side effects even more difficult to pinpoint.

An Italian mesothelioma lawsuit is the largest class action lawsuits in the world, claim a major construction company. The contamination from asbestos has claimed the lives of close to 2,000 Italians and has effected the health of close to 6,000 the lawsuit claims. The plaintiffs – residents of four Italian cities where the company had factories as well as former employees who handled the material – are expected to seek several million Euros in compensation.

The meeting was organized by Ban Asbestos, a worldwide organization whose goal is ban the fibrous material and “end the impunity” towards companies that use asbestos.

A ban in Brazil was judged to be constitutional, however other countries either no not ban the substance or ostracize companies that continue to use asbestos.

Despite several attempts by lobby groups to enact a nationwide ban, products that contain less than one percent of asbestos have not been banned in the United States.

However, developing countries such as India do not have any bans in place, which allows free reign for the country to import the material from Russia and Canada to be used in housing material for the poor.

Many of those living in impoverished areas do not the information available alerting them of the dangers associated with asbestos building materials. Even if they were to contract mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, it would be difficult to contact a mesothelioma attorney to represent them in court against the companies that continue to use the dangerous substance – despite the known risks involved.

Asbestos removal should only be performed by a licensed professional due to the hazardous nature of the material. The World Health Organization has stated that no safe levels of the carcinogen exist, which make it very difficult to just restrict the use to prevent future health problems. The advocacy groups maintain that a full ban is necessary in order to provide full protection against asbestos.

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