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‘Asbestos, killer to defeat’ WELCOME ASTM Johnson Conference on Asbestos Almost Asbestos, and asbestos Progeny: New Challenges Ezio Bonanni University.

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Presentation on theme: "‘Asbestos, killer to defeat’ WELCOME ASTM Johnson Conference on Asbestos Almost Asbestos, and asbestos Progeny: New Challenges Ezio Bonanni University."— Presentation transcript:

1 ‘Asbestos, killer to defeat’ WELCOME ASTM Johnson Conference on Asbestos Almost Asbestos, and asbestos Progeny: New Challenges Ezio Bonanni University of Vermont, Burlington July 2014 Professor and Attorney Director of Asbestos National Observatory

2 2 ASTM Johnson Conference on Asbestos The disease-producing risk of exposure to asbestos has been well known from the early last century, as claimed by Prof. Scarpa of Turin Teaching Hospital (Policlinico di Torino), and confirmed by the First Congress on Industrial Medicine held in Milan in 1906, and from the legal point of view by the Court of Turin, in 1908, as well as by Gardner’s modern experimental research, as early as 1930 (Abrams in 1992). With studies and research, carried out also as part of defense inquiries and in civil and criminal proceedings in the Republic of Italy, there has emerged a role of synergism and potentiation of some importance, caused by asbestos on any other carcinogenic pathology, far beyond the classic asbestos-related diseases. The proposed study proves not only the concomitant role of asbestos in causing many diseases, and the need, then, to apply the principle of caution (primary prevention, through the removal of carcinogenic materials from living spaces), until the so-called “zero risk”, following René Truhaut’s warning, but also an aspect linked to the search for the truth and the achievement of justice regarding the responsibilities of those who perpetrated such crimes and those who allowed collusion or negligence.

3 Domestic production of raw asbestos. Italy and the United States of America; tons; years: Orange: United States Red: Italy ASTM Johnson Conference on Asbestos

4 4 Date published: October 2012 in the “National Register of Mesothelioma (ReNaM – Inail - ISPESL) - Fourth Report, Rome”, which shows the increasing number of Mesothelioma cases in Italy: ASTM Johnson Conference on Asbestos

5 5 Asbestos is one of the principal causes of professional cancer in Italy. Between 1998 and 2006 the Italian National Institute for the Insurance against Industrial Accidents (INAIL) had to compensate an amount of 152 million Euros to workers damaged by Eternit (one of the most famous Italian asbestos manufacturer, while billions of Euros have to be paid to compensate all victims, except actions for the differential cost). ASBESTOS OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES COMPLAINTS AND REPARATION (2010 – 2011) – INDUSTRY AND SERVICES ComplaintsReparationComplaintsReparations Asbestosis Asbestos Cancer Pleural Mesothelioma Pericardial Mesothelioma ____ Peritoneal Mesothelioma Lung Cancer Tunica Vaginalis and Testis Mesothelioma __1_ Pleural Plaques Total Source INAIL (November, 2012)

6 ASTM Johnson Conference on Asbestos Therefore, it is confirmed that in Italy about deaths a year are caused by asbestos. 6 Evidence of asbestos influence on various carcinogenic pathologies and on other obstructive diseases as fibrosis, pleural thickening, etc… Source O.N.A. 2013

7 7 ASTM Johnson Conference on Asbestos Awareness of the pathogenic effects of asbestos since the early 1900’s. Judgement of the Court of Turin Turin October 31, 1906 Judgement of the Court of Turin Turin October 31, 1906

8 8 ASTM Johnson Conference on Asbestos Judgement of the Court of Appeal of Turin of 1907 Judgement of the Court of Appeal of Turin of 1907 In 1907 the Court of Appeal of Turin confirmed the decision of the Court on the pathogenic nature of asbestos.

9 9 ASTM Johnson Conference on Asbestos According to the Italian law n. 455 of asbestosis is compensated as an occupational illness.

10 PRODUCTION AND IMPORTATION OF ASBESTOS IN ITALY FROM 1946 TO 1992 (100 TONS) Source: O.N.A. ASTM Johnson Conference on Asbestos 10 In Italy, although, in 1943 the low n. 455 has limited the asbestos, asbestos lobby has influenced the legislature and during the 60s, 70s and 80s it imposed an exponential increase in the use of asbestos while in other developed countries its use was in decline.

11 11 ASTM Johnson Conference on Asbestos The asbestos lobby (1) The report was used in the course held in Neuss (Dusseldorf) from the 13th to the 18th of December 1976 at Wirtschaftsverband Asbestzement and V. (WVAZ) [Union of the producers of cement-asbestos]. In this report it possible to read the sentence “Dissociate in any discussion from Dr. Selikoff’s ideas and refrain from quoting him” (this report has been presented at ASTM Conference on asbestos VT- by Ezio Bonanni and then it has been lodged on Court of Turin's trial, and led to the convition of Mr. Shmidheiny in Decision has been confirmed by the Court of Appeal in 2014).

12 12 ASTM Johnson Conference on Asbestos The asbestos lobby (2) Handwritten note on a “meeting” held at the “Assocemento” in Rome, on the 17th November This note was found among the papers of the Board of Directors of the company “Amiantifera of Balongero” (Turin) and now is held in the Turin State Archives. (Asbestos production companies ask to slow down the issue of regulations on limits of exposure related to worker production, “the ENPI has adhered to this request....The Minister of Health has confirmed this fact” – Turin State Archive).

13 13 ASTM Johnson Conference on Asbestos Stephan Schmidheiny would finally face criminal charges of causing an environmental disaster and omitting safety measures in the workplace at the Court of Turin. He was found guilty at the first level of court and again on appeal where he was sentenced to 18 years in prison in The case will go before the Supreme Court this November for the final ruling. I suggested that, based on what emerged during the trial, Schmidheiny could be charged with murder. At the time, I didn't think that prosecutor Dr. Guariniello agreed with me, however, it seems that he must have changed his mind. Anova Holding, AG and Becon, AG are successor companies to the Eternit empire, which mined asbestos in South Africa primarily, and sold it throughout the world, including to the Johns-Manville Company. July 2014, verdicts totaling $90.5 million in 11 mesothelioma death cases were rendered in Superior Court of Middlesex County after years of litigation and a week of hearings before Judge Ana C. Viscomi. The families sued Anova Holding AG and Becon AG for the asbestos that they sold to Johns- Manville and which proximately caused their mesotheliomas, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Billionaire Stephan Schmidheiny, pictured in 1996, has an honorary degree from Yale.

14 14 ASTM Johnson Conference on Asbestos Finally, Court in Rome has been sentenced “Ferrovie dello Stato” (Italian state Railroad). Verdicts totally ,00 euro ($ 1.033,752, today) to family only for one victim, rapresented by the law firm of Ezio Bonanni Judgement of the Court of Rome Rome, July 17, 2014 Judgement of the Court of Rome Rome, July 17, 2014

15 15 Principle of caution and Zero risk as a form of Primary Prevention. ASTM Johnson Conference on Asbestos Clean world = Health Polluted world = Disease Environmental Pathology Environmental Health

16 Prevention I) Primary Prevention: Avoiding any source of asbestos exposure, including chrysotile asbestos to eliminate any instance of asbestos related diseases; II) Secondary prevention: health monitoring, early diagnosis and therapeutic intervention in cases of disease; III) Tertiary prevention: epidemiological investigations, laws that forbid dangerous and harmful behavior, repression of crime and compensation for victims. Giovanni Bellini, 1475 ca, Madonna con Bambino. 16

17 Activism and Planning We must increase and develop: Activism on the part of citizens, scientists, and other groups Local reclamation projects Real program for reclamation Antonello da Messina, 1478, San Sebastiano. 17

18 Reclamation projects: positive examples This contamination has nearly destroyed the economic value of some areas; therefore, we should start with projects to reclaim polluted land Similar projects, such as in the Ruhr Valley in Germany, that restore life to and enhance the quality of previously contaminated lands are positive examples that we can emulate We need the kind of process that will lead to the total reclamation for the polluted territories. ZOLLVEREIN, pit in the Ruhr Valley in Germany. Now UNESCO heritage. 18

19 Create new beauty Coordinate effort between health organizations This contamination has nearly destroyed the economic value of some areas; therefore, we should start with projects to reclaim polluted land that also provide economic incentives for creating new beauty, and legal, safe profit. Botticelli, 1485 ca, ‘Nascita di Venere’ 19

20 Create new beauty Coordinate effort between health organizations This would require a coordinated effort between health organizations as aware as entrepreneurs Involving persons and institutions take care of environment will be a more reliable a source of production and aimed at common good and true step forward compare to the recent past. S. Dalì, 1949, ‘Leda atomica’ 20

21 ASTM Johnson Conference on Asbestos 21 “GDP does not measure neither our wit nor our courage, neither ourwisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to country. Measure everything, in short, except that which makes life truly worth living” (Robert F. Kennedy) Questions to:


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