A Global Disgrace – Shame.

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Asbestos still pushed in India and business is booming.

India, the world’s biggest asbestos importer, it’s a $2 billion industry with double-digit annual growth, at least 100 manufacturing plants and some 300,000 jobs.

The International Labour Organization, World Health Organization, the wider medical community and more than 50 countries say the mineral should be banned. Asbestos fibers lodge in the lungs and cause many diseases. The ILO estimates 100,000 people die every year from workplace exposure, and experts believe thousands more die from exposure outside the workplace.

“We’re here not only to run our businesses, but to also serve the nation,” said Abhaya Shankar, a director of India’s Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers Association.

Source:- http://www.cnbc.com/2014/08/13/

Hard to imagine no one knew about this at the time.

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THE first of more than 1000 Canberra “Mr Fluffy” homes, contaminated with deadly loose-fill asbestos, will be demolished this morning by ACT Government.

Last year a territory-wide crisis erupted when tests revealed a number of the so-called Mr Fluffy houses had high internal levels of contamination, with asbestos fibres found on children’s toys, clothes and other soft furnishings. Asbestos is a class 1 carcinogen with no safe level of exposure.

The ACT Government determined that Mr Fluffy houses could not be rendered safe for occupation and announced a voluntary scheme to buyback and demolish all 1,021 homes. As news.com.aureported in March, it’s believed to be the biggest mass acquisition of residential property in Australian history.

The NSW Government announced that it would set aside as much as $250 million for a similar buyback scheme for Mr Fluffy homes in that state last week.

Source:- http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/mr-fluffy-housing-demolitions-begin/story-fneuzlbd-1227430208115

We Knew Exposure was High, but Nobody Predicted These Figures.

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One in three Europeans potentially exposed to asbestos, new UN study shows…

30 April 2015 – A high-level meeting on environment and health in Europe today appealed urgently to all European countries to eliminate asbestos-related diseases, as a new United Nations report showed that one third of the 900 million people living in the region are potentially exposed to asbestos at work and in the environment.

“We cannot afford losing almost 15,000 lives a year in Europe, especially workers, from diseases caused by exposure to asbestos,” Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab, the World Health Organization’s Regional Director for Europe was quoted as saying in a press release issued in Haifa, Israel, where more than 200 delegates met from 28-30 April to evaluate progress on environment and health in Europe.

“Every death from asbestos-related diseases is avoidable,” Dr. Jakab said. “We urge all countries to leave the Haifa meeting to fulfil their 2010 commitment and develop policies by the end of this year that will eliminate asbestos-related diseases from the face of Europe.”

“There is very little time left for that,” she said.

Elimination of asbestos-related diseases was one of the major issues discussed at the Haifa meeting, according to WHO.

The report presented at the meeting, indicated that asbestos, a group of natural fibrous minerals, is responsible for about half of all deaths from cancers developed at work. According to new estimates, deaths from mesothelioma in 15 European countries cost society more than 1.5 billion euros annually.

“While 37 of the 53 Member States in the Region have banned the use of all forms of asbestos, the remaining 16 countries still use asbestos, especially for building materials, and some continue to produce and export it,” according to the report. “Even after its use has ceased, asbestos lingers in the environment, so it needs to be safely removed and disposed without delay.”

The 16 countries that have not yet banned all forms of asbestos are: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Monaco, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, according to WHO.

“At its closure, the high-level meeting on environment and health urgently calls upon all European countries to eliminate asbestos-related diseases,” the WHO press release said.

Those countries present at the meeting also renewed their pledges to work towards meeting the time-bound targets they adopted in 2010.

The five time-bound targets adopted by countries in the European Region in 2010 are to: provide safe water and sanitation to all children by 2020; create healthy and safe environments for children in their daily life by 2020; make children’s indoor environments free from tobacco smoke by 2015; safeguard children’s environments from toxic chemicals by 2015; develop policies to eliminate asbestos-related diseases by 2015.

Source:- http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=50739#.VbhHPMsw_oo

Asbestos Kills. Think carefully about the products you will use in your home in the future and the ones you are handling now as part of your DIY project.

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Asbestos exposure has been linked to DIY renovating! In the past Australians diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma has primarily been men exposed to asbestos through work-related exposure. Today there is a growing body of evidence that more people including women are being diagnosed through non-occupational exposure including during home renovations.

If asbestos is disturbed during renovations or in the demolition of homes containing asbestos, fibres can be released into the air and be inhaled. Inhaled fibres increase the risk of developing malignant mesothelioma or lung cancer.

A study (MJA in press) by Professor Anthony Johnson et al into ‘The prevalence of self-reported asbestos exposure during home renovation in NSW residents’ showed:

  • 60.5% of do it yourself (DIY) renovators reported being exposed to asbestos during home renovations.
  • 53% reported their partner and 40% reported their children were also exposed to asbestos during home DIY home renovations.
  • Non DIY renovators were less likely to be exposed or have their families exposed.
  • 58% of DIY renovators cut AC Fibro Sheeting – this was the most common activity resulting in asbestos exposure.
  • 37% of DIY renovators reported using a power tool to cut asbestos products.
  • Thus asbestos exposure is common during home renovations

The Australian Mesothelioma Registry’s 2014 Report shows that of the 350 people diagnosed with mesothelioma where there is information about asbestos exposure, 137 (39.14%) were classified as non-occupational exposure. Of these 37.2% were home renovators and of those 33% were women.

Source:- http://asbestosawareness.com.au/asbestos-in-the-home/home-renovations-diy-asbestos/

Are Humans Ready to Responsibly Populate Another Planet?

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NASA’s Kepler mission has confirmed the first near-Earth-size planet in the “habitable zone” around a sun-like star. This discovery and the introduction of 11 other new small habitable zone candidate planets mark another milestone in the journey to finding another “Earth.”

The newly discovered Kepler-452b is the smallest planet to date discovered orbiting in the habitable zone — the area around a star where liquid water could pool on the surface of an orbiting planet — of a G2-type star, like our sun. The confirmation of Kepler-452b brings the total number of confirmed planets to 1,030.

“On the 20th anniversary year of the discovery that proved other suns host planets, the Kepler exoplanet explorer has discovered a planet and star which most closely resemble the Earth and our Sun,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “This exciting result brings us one step closer to finding an Earth 2.0.”

Kepler-452b is 60 percent larger in diameter than Earth and is considered a super-Earth-size planet. While its mass and composition are not yet determined, previous research suggests that planets the size of Kepler-452b have a good chance of being rocky.

Source: http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-kepler-mission-discovers-bigger-older-cousin-to-earth