Today’s post comes from guest author Jon Gelman from Jon Gelman, LLC – Attorney at Law in New Jersey. I thought it was an especially timely reminder about the hazards of this material because a Nebraska company was recently fined $25,000 for “the illegal abatement and disposal of asbestos.” The company tried “to save $14,000” instead of having the asbestos-removal firm they’d hired finish it properly. I am pleased this company was held accountable for its actions, as it is consistent within scientific research that asbestos is harmful and has long-term effects on humans. I hope the workers who demolished this building – possibly without the proper safety equipment, the story didn’t say – will be spared the potential repercussions of unsafely handling this material just so their employer could save some dollars. And I also hope the employer learned from the ill-advised shortcut that it doesn’t pay to attempt an end run around keeping workers safe.
In a joint statement the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) again declared all forms of asbestos cause cancer.
In response to allegations in the recent Lancet article, IARC in the dock over ties with asbestos industry (The Lancet, doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60152-X), WHO and IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) state the following:
- All forms of asbestos are carcinogenic to humans (IARC Monographs Volume 100C) and stopping the use of all forms of asbestos is the most efficient way to eliminate asbestos-related diseases (WHO Fact Sheet No 343).
- The study on cancer in chrysotile workers in Asbest, Russian Federation, for which IARC is providing its epidemiological expertise, will supply important scientific information to better quantify the risk of cancers already known to be related to chrysotile as well as additional cancers suspected to be related to chrysotile, the asbestos fibre is the most commonly produced.
- WHO and IARC take conflict of interest seriously and use a rigorous process to protect our research and development of norms, standards and guidelines from undue influence.
- IARC confirms the completeness and accuracy of all data and statements of scientific results published in the British Journal of Cancer (Estimating the asbestos-related lung cancer burden from mesothelioma mortality, doi:10.1038/bjc.2011.563) and presented at a conference in Kiev.
IARC, as WHO’s cancer research agency, remains committed to providing the most reliable, independent scientific evidence on which public health decisions can be based.
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