Need for adequate social support for all asbestos victims

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UMdL sincerely express emotional involvement to all families that suffered for asbestos and for all asbsetos victims.

On Wednesdey 19 November 2014, Supreme Court of Cassation revoked previous sentences for the crime of environmental disaster against Stephan Schmidheiny one of the owners of the Eternit‘s plants in Italy.  Justification for this sentence seems to be based on  statute of limitations in Italian Criminal law 1…Anyway an accurate reading of the whole sentence is needed.

Currently there are other 3 inquiries about the Eternit case in Turin . We hope for adequate compensations for all people that suffer and suffered for asbestos diseases.

On Friday 21 November 2014, Supreme Court of Cassation confirmed the sentences for the crime of culpable omicides against 3 former managers of the Fincantieri plant of Palermo 2.

Asbestos harmful effects were well known about 100 hundreds year ago. Some moments in asbestos hystory are reported in the TABLE 1.

In 1898 Lucy Deane, one of the first female Factory Inspector in United Kingdom, wrote the document:  “Report on the health of workers in asbestos and other dusty trades”. Miss Deane deemed asbestos work really unhealthy and she requested a deeper evaluation of working conditions:

 ‘…on account of their easily demonstrated danger to the health of workers and because of ascertained cases of  injury to bronchial tubes and lungs medically attributed to the employment of the sufferer’.

‘the evil effects of asbestos dust have also instigated a microscopic examination of the mineral dust by HM Medical Inspector. Clearly revealed was the sharp glass-like jagged nature of the particles, and where they are allowed to rise and to remain suspended in the air of the room in any quantity, the effects have been found to be injurious as might have been expected.’ 3

Currently there is sufficient evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of all forms of asbestos (chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite). Asbestos causes asbestosis, mesothelioma, and cancer of the lung, larynx, and ovary 4,5.

Although repeated calls for worldwide asbestos ban, there are a lot of Countries that still produce and use asbestos 6,7,8. Asbestos trade data in 2013 are reported in TABLE 2 9.

TABLE 2 from:  International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS)

TABLE 2 from: International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS)

Asbestos is the main responsible for occupational and environmental mesothelioma globally. Fewer mesothelioma cases are due to environmental exposition to “asbestiform fibres“. Recently IARC classified fluoro-edenite fibrous amphibole mineral (at first identified around Etna volcano near Biancavilla in Sicily 10,11) “as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1) on the basis of sufficient evidence in humans that exposure causes mesothelioma12.  Erionite, another natural fibrous mineral (in the group fo zeolites), caused different cases of mesothelioma as reported at first in 3 paesi in Cappadocia (Turkey) 13,14,15. Main Italian deposits (many of them previous occupational sites) that cause environmental exposure to asbestos and “asbestiform fibres” are Balangero, Emarese, Casale Monferrato, Broni, Bari-Fibronit, Biancavilla and Lauria 16,17,18.

For all these reasons we hope for at least adequate social support and adequate compensations for all people that suffered and suffer for asbestos diseases and we wonder… why still asbestos?

 Lucio Fellone (




3.  Gee D. Greenberg M (2001) Asbestos from “magic” to malevolent mineral. In: Herremoès P, Gee D, MacGarvin M et al., eds Late Lessons from Early Warnings: The Precautionary Principle 1896-2000. Copenhagen: European Environmental Agency pp. 52-63

4. IARC (2012) ASBESTOS (CHRYSOTILE, AMOSITE, CROCIDOLITE, TREMOLITE, ACTINOLITE, AND ANTHOPHYLLITE). In: IARC (2012) IARC Monographs – A Review of Human Carcinogens: Arsenic, Metals, Fibres, and Dusts. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans Vol.100 C 219-309.

5. Glazer C. S., Newman L.S. Occupational Interstitial Lung Diseases. (2004) Clin Chest Med 25:467-478

6. Asbestos is Still with Us: Repeat Call for a Universal Ban. Collegium Ramazzini. (2010)
7. Fellone L. (2013). Perché ancora asbesto?. Updating medicina del lavoro (2013) 1 (3): 18-24.  doi: 10.5281/zenodo.12434
8. Sim M.R A worldwide ban on asbestos production and use: some recent progress, but more still to be done.(Editorial) Occup Environ Med 2013;70:1-2 doi: 10.1136/oemed-2012-101290 .
9.  International Ban Asbestos Secretariat
10. Basetto R, Bruni B, Bruno C et al PROBLEMATICHE SANITARIE DELLA FIBRA ANFIBOLICA DI BIANCAVILLA  Not Ist Super Sanità 2004; 17(1):8-12.
11.  Bruno C. Bruni B.M. Comba P. 2014 (Monographic section) Health impact of fibres with fluoro-edenitic composition: the case of Biancavilla (Sicily, Italy) Ann Ist Super Sanità 2014 | Vol. 50, No. 2
12. Grosse Y. Loomis D. Guyton K.Z.  et al Carcinogenicity of fluoro-edenite, silicon carbide fibres and whiskers, and carbon nanotubes The Lancet Oncology, Volume 15, Issue 13, Pages 1427 – 1428, December 2014 doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(14)71109-X.
13.  IARC 2012 Erionite. In: IARC (2012) IARC Monographs – A Review of Human Carcinogens: Arsenic, Metals, Fibres, and Dusts. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans Vol.100 C 11: 311-316.
15. Carbone M. Baris I. Bertino P. Brass B. et al ERIONITE EXPOSURE IN NORTH DAKOTA AND TURKISH VILLAGES WITH MESOTHELIOMA. 2011 PNAS vol 108, 33:13618–13623.
16. Pirastu R. Iavarone I. Pasetto R. SENTIERI Project – Mortality study of residents in Italian polluted sites: RESULTS Epidemiol Prev 2011; 35 (5-6) Suppl. 4: 1-204.
17.  Pasetto R. Bruni B. Bruno C. et al Mesotelioma pleurico ed esposizione ambientale a fibre minerali: il caso di un’area rurale in Basilicata Ann Ist Super Sanità 2004; 40(2): 251-265.
18. Grande G. Rinaldi F.M. (2013) Luoghi di esposizione “naturale” alle fibre asbestiformi. Updating medicina del lavoro (2013) 1 (3): pp. 25-32.

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