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November 20, 2009

UK family wins asbestos payout in death of railway worker

UK family wins asbestos payout in death of railway worker

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The family of a railway worker in Oxford, United Kingdom whose death was tied to cancer caused by asbestos exposure received a payout of approximately £100,000.

Asbestos fibers lodged in the lungs
Image: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2005, Dudley Maasz was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a disease resulting from exposure to asbestos. He had been exposed to the substance during his time in the 1940s as a railway worker for Great Western Railway, where he took part in cleaning engines and serving as a fireman. Maasz died in July 2006.

Cquote1.svg We were able to establish that Mr Maasz death was caused by asbestos… Cquote2.svg

—Brigitte Chandler

The company BRB (Residuary) Ltd., the successor to British Railways Board, came to an agreement to give Maasz’s family a payout of £98,000 and costs as a settlement.

Brigitte Chandler, the Maasz family’s solicitor, told BBC News, “We were able to establish that Mr Maasz death was caused by asbestos during his employment at the Oxford works.”

Cquote1.svg …he’d been eaten away, I felt so sorry for him. Cquote2.svg

—Norman Maasz

Dudley Maasz’s brother Norman described him to BBC News as outgoing, and a “friendly chap”. He said that he had noticed his brother begin to complain of shoulder pain approximately four years ago, and subsequently began to sleep more and later was bedridden a majority of the time.

“One day I looked at him and thought — my goodness — he was half the size, he’d been eaten away, I felt so sorry for him,” said Norman Maasz.

BBC News reported that no individual from BRB (Residuary) Ltd. was available to provide a comment about the payout to the Maasz family.



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June 20, 2009

EPA declares \’emergency\’ asbestos cleanup in Montana town

Filed under: Archived,Asbestos,EPA,Health,Montana,North America,United States — admin @ 5:00 am

EPA declares ’emergency’ asbestos cleanup in Montana town

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For the past ten years, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been overseeing the asbestos clean-up in the small town of Libby, Montana, which has been on the EPA’s Superfund National Priorities List since 2002.

On Wednesday, the Obama administration declared Libby and the immediate area a “public health emergency”. Under this state of emergency the EPA is increasing clean-up assistance and medical care. According to federal prosecutors, asbestos has taken 200 lives and is the root cause of at least 1,000 illnesses in the surrounding area.

Lisa P. Jackson, Administrator of the EPA

“This is a tragic public health situation that has not received the recognition it deserves by the federal government for far too long,” according to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

In the 1920’s The Zonolite Company began producing vermiculite, a mineral that is often used in insulation. Between 1963 and 1990, W.R. Grace & Company took over the mine operations. Tremolite asbestos was discovered in the vermiculite product. A study conducted by the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry discovered that the incidence of asbestosis in the population of the mine site area is far higher than the national average.

Airborne asbestos exposure can lead to mesothelioma, a cancer which develops in the sac surrounding the lungs and chest cavity, the abdominal cavity, or the sac surrounding the heart. Prolonged exposure can lead to lung scarring, asbestosis, and lung cancer. Patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma generally are left with six months to a year before death.

Cquote1.svg We will continue to push until Libby has a clean bill of health. Cquote2.svg

—Senator Max Baucus

The tremolite dust from the mine began leaking into the air from the plant in 1919. This resulted in a hazy asbestos dust cloud covering lawns, cars, clothing, and school athletic fields, creating an issue that citizens of Libby had to deal with on an everyday basis. The large amount of dust gave the impression of the aftereffects of a light sandstorm.

W. R. Grace and Company did not deny that asbestos was found contaminating the vermiculite in the old mine. They said they proceeded in a responsible manner to clean up contamination following the mine closure. Grace will reimburse the EPA for US$250 million of the US$333 million that the EPA and the Department of Health and Human Services has set aside for medical expenses and asbestos clean-up. This money will be invested over the next five years, and does not include the millions in medical costs already footed by the company for residents of Libby and the nearby town of Troy.

“Today is the day that after years of work we were able to succeed in getting this [emergency declaration] done,” Senator from Montana Max Baucus said, speaking at the EPA press conference. “We will continue to push until Libby has a clean bill of health.”



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EPA declares ’emergency’ asbestos cleanup in Montana town

Filed under: Archived,Asbestos,EPA,Health,Montana,North America,United States — admin @ 5:00 am

Saturday, June 20, 2009

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For the past ten years, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been overseeing the asbestos clean-up in the small town of Libby, Montana, which has been on the EPA’s Superfund National Priorities List since 2002.

On Wednesday, the Obama administration declared Libby and the immediate area a “public health emergency”. Under this state of emergency the EPA is increasing clean-up assistance and medical care. According to federal prosecutors, asbestos has taken 200 lives and is the root cause of at least 1,000 illnesses in the surrounding area.

Lisa P. Jackson, Administrator of the EPA

“This is a tragic public health situation that has not received the recognition it deserves by the federal government for far too long,” according to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

In the 1920’s The Zonolite Company began producing vermiculite, a mineral that is often used in insulation. Between 1963 and 1990, W.R. Grace & Company took over the mine operations. Tremolite asbestos was discovered in the vermiculite product. A study conducted by the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry discovered that the incidence of asbestosis in the population of the mine site area is far higher than the national average.

Airborne asbestos exposure can lead to mesothelioma, a cancer which develops in the sac surrounding the lungs and chest cavity, the abdominal cavity, or the sac surrounding the heart. Prolonged exposure can lead to lung scarring, asbestosis, and lung cancer. Patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma generally are left with six months to a year before death.

We will continue to push until Libby has a clean bill of health.

—Senator Max Baucus

The tremolite dust from the mine began leaking into the air from the plant in 1919. This resulted in a hazy asbestos dust cloud covering lawns, cars, clothing, and school athletic fields, creating an issue that citizens of Libby had to deal with on an everyday basis. The large amount of dust gave the impression of the aftereffects of a light sandstorm.

W. R. Grace and Company did not deny that asbestos was found contaminating the vermiculite in the old mine. They said they proceeded in a responsible manner to clean up contamination following the mine closure. Grace will reimburse the EPA for US$250 million of the US$333 million that the EPA and the Department of Health and Human Services has set aside for medical expenses and asbestos clean-up. This money will be invested over the next five years, and does not include the millions in medical costs already footed by the company for residents of Libby and the nearby town of Troy.

“Today is the day that after years of work we were able to succeed in getting this [emergency declaration] done,” Senator from Montana Max Baucus said, speaking at the EPA press conference. “We will continue to push until Libby has a clean bill of health.”


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May 9, 2009

Recession hits Australian asbestos victims fund

Recession hits Australian asbestos victims fund

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Asbestos victims seeking their retribution payment of A$350 million from the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund are approaching the Australian government following an admission from James Hardie compensation fund trustees stating they are unable to pay the victims in lump sums due to the recession.

Asbestos fibers lodged in the lungs
Image: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The James Hardie building materials firm which established the $1.5 billion fund in 2006, claims it is short 3.5 million for its compensation fund payouts due to the decline in the American housing market which provides 85 percent of its company sales. The settlement stipulates that in the event of a shortfall, victims will receive funds in the form of installments.

Cquote1.svg We’re talking to the government and James Hardie about funding options. Cquote2.svg

—Dallas Booth, CEO of Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund

Asbestos advocacy groups representing injured former employees are requesting help from the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for additional funds from James Hardie. “We’re talking to the government and James Hardie about funding options,” said Dallas Booth, CEO of Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund.

“For example victims might be able to sign over their rights to the state government so that they get compensated in full until the fund can be replenished and then the state government can get their money back straight out of the fund.” suggested Paul Bastian, New South Wales secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union .

Cquote1.svg The victims groups are totally opposed to any instalment plan whatsoever. Cquote2.svg

—Barry Robson, president of Asbestos Diseases Foundation

Barry Robson, president of the Asbestos Diseases Foundation explained that James Hardie has paid $153 million in taxes to the Australian Taxation Office, and that the Asbestos Diseases Foundation will request of the Rudd Government to defer these taxes until the economic condition improves and James Hardie’s profitability returns. In this way the Australian government would allow James Hardie’s taxes to go to the asbestos fund.

Victims are currently paid out via a lump sum arrangement, and the Asbestos Diseases Foundation is advocating for the status quo. “Well how they’re paid now is in lump sum and we’d like to continue with that. The victims groups are totally opposed to any instalment plan whatsoever,” said Robson in the interview with PM.

The Asbestos Diseases Foundation emphasized that a payment plan could be ineffectual, as asbestos victims and those suffering from mesothelioma may die before receiving full payments.

Cquote1.svg I think the state Government should be our white knight. Cquote2.svg

—Paul Bastian, New South Wales secretary of Australian Manufacturing Workers Union

Bastian noted to the Australian Associated Press that asbestos victims have upfront costs to deal with, including medical bills, and would be adversely affected by an installment plan option. “Victims also want to ensure that their families are looked after, that there’s contingencies and everything is settled before they pass away, in many cases,” said Bastian to the AAP.

Bastian told The Australian he would request Prime Minister Rudd stay true to his promise that “no one would go without compensation”. “I think the state Government should be our white knight,” commented Bastian.

Asbestosis is a disease resulting from asbestos exposure which causes lung scarring and can lead to lung cancer. Exposure to asbestos can also lead to a more serious condition known as mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a cancer which develops in the sac surrounding the lungs and chest cavity, abdominal cavity, or the sac surrounding the heart. Patients with malignant mesothelioma generally do not have positive outcomes, and once diagnosed typically have six months to a year to live.



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December 13, 2008

Asbestos scare shuts down mail delivery in Christchurch, New Zealand

Asbestos scare shuts down mail delivery in Christchurch, New Zealand

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Christchurch Mail Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand, was evacuated Friday after employees refused to continue working due to exposure to heavy amounts of dust suspected to be asbestos. Tuam 2 Ltd, the company set to convert the 27-year-old Christchurch Mail Centre into a new city council building, has been aware of the presence of asbestos in the building since May 2008. Hawkins Construction contacted the New Zealand Department of Labour, voicing concerns of possible exposure to asbestos material. Testing is currently underway at the facility to determine the nature of the exposure.

The Christchurch Mail Centre is operated by New Zealand Post. According to Christchurch Delivery Business Leader Duncan Burman, approximately 50 post workers operate out of the facility, which services about 35,000 addresses in the central Christchurch region.

Image showing fibrous nature of blue asbestos, a type of asbestos found in Africa and Australia
Image: John Hayman.

According to a paper released in June by the Environment Canterbury on the subject of asbestos removal: “Exposure can occur when materials containing asbestos are sanded, sawn, drilled or handled in maintenance or removal tasks.” Exposure to asbestos fibers can lead to the diseases mesothelioma, lung cancer, chest cancer, and asbestosis.

Tony Marryatt, chief executive of the city council, was asked by Councillor Helen Broughton for an explanation of the incident. Councillor Broughton is the only councillor who voted against construction of new city council buildings.

“Councillors made an assumption that the building had been checked by a professional and that’s the question I’m going to ask the CEO now. I’ve asked him for a report on it and I want to see the professional opinion from a building consultant who said that the building was sound and able to be refitted and didn’t have any major problems,” said Broughton in a statement in The Press.

Cquote1.svg Councillors made an assumption that the building had been checked by a professional and that’s the question I’m going to ask the CEO now. Cquote2.svg

—Councillor Helen Broughton

The owners of the Christchurch Mail Centre informed New Zealand Post that testing performed in November confirmed there was no asbestos “in the area”.

Cquote1.svg …we’ve asked for further air quality checks to be done before people go back in to that environment and we also want the hazard eliminated. Cquote2.svg

—Anna Kenny, Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union

Anna Kenny, a spokesperson for the New Zealand trade union Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union said concerns were raised about plumes of dust Friday morning suspected to be asbestos, but that there has been no confirmation of this yet.

According to The Press, Kenny also confirmed that no asbestos was found in a check of the building in November. “Having said that, however, given that the dust is particularly unpleasant and unsafe and of an unknown source, we’ve asked for further air quality checks to be done before people go back in to that environment and we also want the hazard eliminated,” stated Kenny.



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May 28, 2008

New Jersey court rules Spanish citizens can sue over ship asbestos

New Jersey court rules Spanish citizens can sue over ship asbestos

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A New Jersey state appeals court ruled Tuesday that fifteen Spanish citizens can sue over claims of health issues related to asbestos exposure while working aboard United States Navy and Coast Guard ships docked at United States-Spanish military installations. The defendant, Ohio-based company Owens Illinois, Inc., had sought a trial in a Spanish court, an opinion which was shared by the Superior Court that had heard the case earlier. The three-judge panel appellate court overturned the decision of the Superior Court in a 3-0 ruling.

Asbestos fibers
Image: Aram Dulyan.

The Spanish citizens worked aboard U.S. ships between 1950 and 1998, and claim that they were exposed to asbestos dust and fibers from piping insulation produced by Owens-Illinois. The piping insulation was originally manufactured in Sayreville, Middlesex County, and Berlin, Camden County, New Jersey. The workers say they suffer from diseases related to asbestos such as asbestosis. Owens-Illinois has headquarters in Toledo, Ohio and is a Delaware corporation.

The New Jersey appellate panel ruled that the Superior Court judge did not consider where the plaintiffs wanted their case heard, and also held that the U.S. ships are considered U.S. territory and thus the workers’ claimed health issues did not begin on Spanish land. Attorneys for Owens-Illinois argued that U.S. ships, when docked, are subject to the law of Spain, and so the case should be heard in Spanish courts.

Cquote1.svg In sum, we conclude that defendant has failed to carry its burden to demonstrate that Spain is an available adequate forum to adjudicate the parties’ dispute…. Cquote2.svg

—Judge Anthony Parrillo

The court’s opinion, written by Judge Anthony Parrillo, explained the ruling: “In sum, we conclude that defendant has failed to carry its burden to demonstrate that Spain is an available adequate forum to adjudicate the parties’ dispute and therefore the motion to dismiss on forum non conveniens grounds should have been denied without consideration of public- and private-interest factors.” The decision reversed the ruling of the Superior Court and remanded the suit back to that court for trial.

Cquote1.svg Spanish law will not allow, under the facts of these cases, to file a claim in Spain. Cquote2.svg

—Mitchell S. Cohen, attorney for plaintiffs

“I find it difficult to understand how an appellate division court can countenance keeping the cases in New Jersey when there is absolutely no relation to New Jersey. There is barely any relationship to the United States of America. They’ve made their decision,” said counsel for Owens-Illinois, John Garde, in a statement in The Star-Ledger. No decision has yet been made on whether the company will appeal the ruling.

Mitchell S. Cohen, attorney for the Spanish workers, said that the Superior Court judge should have considered that the New Jersey court was the only location where the lawsuit could have been tried before dismissing the case. “Spanish law will not allow, under the facts of these cases, to file a claim in Spain,” said Cohen to the Associated Press. Cohen said that Spanish law states that a case cannot be filed in Spain because the alleged injuries occurred on U.S. territory.

This is not the only asbestos-related lawsuit in which Owens-Illinois is cited as a defendant. The company is also a defendant (among other defendants) in asbestos cases filed in Ohio and other states. In an April 30 press release the company reported that asbestos-related payments had decreased slightly, stating: “Asbestos-related cash payments during the first quarter of 2008 were $40.2 million, down slightly from $41.0 million during the first quarter of 2007.” According to the press release, the company had 14,000 pending asbestos-related lawsuits as of March 31, 2008. In its balance sheet for the first quarter of 2008, the company reported US$835 million in asbestos-related liabilities.

Cquote1.svg We exited the business 50 years ago and have been dealing with the legal issues for almost 30 years Cquote2.svg

—Edward C. White, Owens-Illinois Chief Financial Officer

In a May 2 earnings call with financial analysts, Owens-Illinois Chief Financial Officer Edward C. White addressed asbestos-related expenses. “Only a small portion of our first quarter asbestos payments related to the company’s proactive legal strategy to reduce risk and accelerate asbestos resolution on favorable terms. Nevertheless, this strategy continues and additional expected spending is reflected both on the current liability portion of our balance sheet as well as in our full-year cash flow projection,” said White. “We exited the business 50 years ago and have been dealing with the legal issues for almost 30 years. For OI, this remains a limited declining liability, which we will continue to manage in a conscientious and responsible manner.”

Asbestosis is a disease resulting from asbestos exposure which causes lung scarring and can lead to lung cancer. Exposure to asbestos can also lead to a more serious condition known as mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a cancer which develops in the sac surrounding the lungs and chest cavity, abdominal cavity, or the sac surrounding the heart. Patients with malignant mesothelioma generally do not have positive outcomes, and once diagnosed typically have six months to a year to live.



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May 24, 2008

New law to help asbestos sufferers in Victoria, Australia

New law to help asbestos sufferers in Victoria, Australia

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New legislation in Victoria, Australia will provide for greater compensation for victims suffering from effects of exposure to asbestos. The legislation is called “Bernie Banton law”, after the late campaigner for asbestos-related issues. The law will remove a restriction which prevented asbestos victims from making another claim after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Banton contracted mesothelioma after working for the Netherlands-based company James Hardie, and died in 2007.

Asbestos fibers lodged in the lungs
Image: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Prior to the Banton law victims of asbestos exposure could seek compensation for asbestosis, a disease resulting from exposure which causes lung scarring, but were unable to seek compensation if they were later diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a cancer which develops in the sac surrounding the lungs and chest cavity, abdominal cavity, or the sac surrounding the heart. Patients with malignant mesothelioma generally do not have positive outcomes, and once diagnosed have six months to a year to live. Asbestos usage has been banned in Victoria, Australia since 2003.

Cquote1.svg Allowing an exception to the normal rule that court-awarded compensation is final will allow compensation for the true effects of asbestos exposure. Cquote2.svg

—John Brumby

Victorian Premier John Brumby welcomed the legislation, saying: “Victorian workers deserve fair compensation for illnesses and injuries they have received just by doing their job.” Brumby acknowledged that Victoria had lagged behind other states in its asbestos compensation practices. “Allowing an exception to the normal rule that court-awarded compensation is final will allow compensation for the true effects of asbestos exposure,” explained Brumby.

Bernie Banton’s widow, Karen Banton, stood alongside John Brumby as the legislation was announced, and spoke out in favor of the law. “The uncertainty that these Victorian families have suffered up until this point, the dilemma of whether I claim and whether I wait … it would be a terrible choice to have to make,” she said. She said her late husband would have been honored by the legislation’s passage, and was appreciative that his name was associated with the cause of justice in the country. “I’m sure Bernie’s looking down from heaven, feeling very honoured and humbled that his name continues to be associated with the fight to correct injustice,” she said.

Cquote1.svg There’s a lot of asbestos around, this is a live issue for the community and we strongly welcome this initiative. Cquote2.svg

—Steve Dargavel

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and the Victorian Trades Hall Council supported the legislation’s passage, as did Martin Kingham of the Asbestos Diseases Society of Victoria. Kingham said that in the past asbestos sufferers were wary about whether or not to make a claim: “They’ve had to gamble on whether to make a claim now and to cut off any compensation for more serious fatal illness or to, basically, sit it out and wait and see what happens to them and potentially not getting compensated for their original asbestosis.”

“There’s a lot of asbestos around, this is a live issue for the community and we strongly welcome this initiative,” said Australian Manufacturing Workers Union Victorian secretary Steve Dargavel. Victorian Trades Hall Council secretary Brian Boyd called the legislation “a good and decent thing” but said more action was needed to better protect asbestos victims’ families. The additional claims are expected to help approximately 50 people each year. The legislation will be introduced in the State Parliament next year.



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May 17, 2008

Asbestos victims file 6.6 billion yen class action lawsuit in Tokyo

Asbestos victims file 6.6 billion yen class action lawsuit in Tokyo

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

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Construction workers and next of kin of deceased workers filed a lawsuit in Tokyo, Japan Friday seeking damages of approximately 6.6 billion yen (about US$64 million) from the government and manufacturers related to illnesses stemming from exposure to asbestos. 178 plaintiffs; including construction workers and family members filed the suit in Tokyo District Court against 46 building manufacturers and the Government of Japan.

Tokyo District Court (2005)
Image: Wikimedia Commons User っ.

According to the Mainichi Daily News, the class action suit is the first that has been filed in Japan related to health damages caused by asbestos exposure at construction sites. The plaintiffs hail from the Japanese prefectures of Tokyo, Saitama and Chiba.

The plaintiffs claim that the government and manufacturers knew of the dangers of asbestos inhalation but failed to take proper precautions, including ceasing to promote asbestos as a cheap fire retardant and banning production of the material.

They state that after inhaling asbestos in the workplace, 172 people have developed lung cancer or mesothelioma, and that almost half of those afflicted are now dead. Plaintiffs argue that the government and health ministry did not act quickly enough after international organizations issued warnings in 1972 that asbestos could be a carcinogen.

Plaintiffs also place blame with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry for sanctioning the use of asbestos under Japanese Industrial Standards, and with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport for approving the use of materials comprised of asbestos and other substances under Japan’s Building Standards Law.

Cquote1.svg We will do our utmost until we win the suit. Cquote2.svg

—Kazuo Miyajima

“We will do our utmost until we win the suit,” said Kazuo Miyajima, 78, who heads the group of plaintiffs. Lawyers for the plaintiffs released a statement saying: “We seek complete relief for the victims by clarifying the liability of the state and the manufacturers.”

Asbestos fibers
Image: Aram Dulyan.

Approximately 40 construction workers from Kanagawa Prefecture plan to file a similar lawsuit in June in Yokohama District Court.

After a 2005 revelation that residents who lived near a factory in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture developed diseases related to asbestos, the government implemented a law in 2006 which provides monetary assistance to asbestos victims and relatives of deceased family members. The plaintiffs argue that the amount of financial assistance given to families and victims of asbestos-related diseases is not sufficient.

Asbestos has been used in Japan as a fire retardant, for sound absorption, and for insulation. It was mixed in concrete and water and sprayed on walls and ceilings, but the practice of spraying asbestos in this manner was banned in Japan in 1975.



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May 16, 2008

Guards at Nova Scotia jail refuse to work after asbestos discovery

Guards at Nova Scotia jail refuse to work after asbestos discovery

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Friday, May 16, 2008

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Nine correctional workers at the Cape Breton Correctional Facility in Sydney, Nova Scotia refused to work after the discovery of asbestos in the facility by the Canada’s Department of Justice. The guards walked off the job after the Occupational Health and Safety Committee at the facility was made aware of the situation.

Location of Sydney, Nova Scotia in Nova Scotia
Image: Qyd.

Joan Jessome, president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, told The Canadian Press that the guards refused to show up for their Thursday night shift, and did not show up for work on Friday. Jessome stated that the guards’s refusal to work is permitted under the provincial Occupational Health and Safety Act. “What they’ve done is not a work stoppage. What they’ve done is exercise their right to refuse to do the work because they believe it’s unsafe,” said Jessome.

Cquote1.svg What they’ve done is exercise their right to refuse to do the work because they believe it’s unsafe. Cquote2.svg

—Joan Jessome

The issue of asbestos in the facility was raised months ago, and an April 25 inspection found that the asbestos was properly labeled to prevent staff from accidental exposure.

The location is undergoing testing, however preliminary results show that the levels of asbestos in the facility are within safe limits. Air testing conducted on May 8 in the facility did not show traces of the carcinogenic material.

The Department of Justice stated in a press release Friday that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will be providing emergency staffing to the correctional facility as needed, and that new inmates will be sent to one of the four other correctional facilities in Nova Scotia.

Cquote1.svg If the RCMP are required, they will be called upon. Cquote2.svg

—Sheri Aikenhead

Sheri Aikenhead, a spokeswoman for the provincial Justice Department, talked to The Canadian Press: “At the moment we’re satisfied that managers are safely managing the situation there. If the RCMP are required, they will be called upon.” Aikenhead said that an inmate had complained about the possibility of the presence of asbestos this past March.

The Cape Breton Correctional Facility is a provincial jail which houses 76 inmates. The facility is 33-years old, and asbestos was used in construction as a fire retardant. If asbestos fibers are disturbed and inhaled they can lead to lung scarring and lung cancer.



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May 1, 2008

Demolition to resume at New York skyscraper damaged by 9/11 after deadly fire

Demolition to resume at New York skyscraper damaged by 9/11 after deadly fire

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Thick smoke rises from the building during the August 18th fire

Demolition work is set to resume at the former Deutsche Bank Building in New York after work was halted last August over a fire that killed two firefighters. The city’s Department of Buildings lifted an order to cease work imposed at the time as the buiding’s owners have installed fire control systems at the condemned 26 storey office block.

The building was seriously damaged in the September 11, 2001 attacks as the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed, filling the building with debris, much of it toxic. In subsequent years fragmental remains of hundreds of victims from the disaster were removed from the building and regulators had lengthy debates over how the tower should be demolished.

After the fire, work immediately halted and a grand jury criminal investigation followed. The fire is thought to have been triggered by a cigarette discarded by a worker on the site, which will ultimately home one of five new towers planned for the area devastated by the attacks. Of major importance were polyethylene and plywood decontamination barriers which both fueled the blaze and hindered the movement of firefighters. It is thought they may have blocked escape for the two who were killed by the fire.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, who owns the property, says 300 asbestos removal workers are set to begin shifts of six days per week are set to clear toxic material remaining on 19 floors of the tower. This means the work force has increased by one hundred. Decontamination chambers will now be present across all floors instead of merely the ground floor.

Amongst the new safety measures are fire-proof sheetrock decontaminaton chambers, improved safety within the actual chambers and two fire-rated interior stairways. The modifications were made by LVI Environmental Services with work commencing in February this year.

The tower at 130 Liberty Street was originally intended to be gone by 2005, but the deadline was expanded to 2008. The fire means the work has been delayed a year with a revised estimated time of completion being 2009.



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Deutsche Bank Building
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