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WHO environment and health meeting on the economic costs of asbestos

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On 18 and 19 May 2016, Bonn, Germany hosted the WHO international meeting on the economic health costs and impacts that the past and present use of asbestos has on society. Participants were representatives of 13 countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Tajikistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkmenistan and Ukraine – and experts from international organizations and research institutes.

This meeting contributed, in particular, to one of the commitments of the Parma Declaration on Environment and Health to develop national programmes to eliminate asbestos-related diseases (ARDs) by 2015. ARDs are responsible for an estimated 107 000 deaths per year worldwide.

Different country asbestos profiles were presented at the meeting. Participants also discussed the rising medical costs associated with ARDs, the rising prevalence in mesothelioma- and asbestos-associated lung cancer, the economic effects of their imposed asbestos bans and the use of alternatives. Read more

Courtesy: World Health Organization

589 silicosis deaths in 3 Madhya Pradesh districts. Reason: "Distress" tribal migration to Gujarat's quartz units

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Tracking patients suffering from silicosis over the last four years in Madhya Pradesh's Alirajpur, Jhabua and Dhar, a state-based non-government organization (NGO) has said in a new report that a total of 589 people have died in 105 villages of the three districts because of the deadly disease in 2015. The report was finalized in April 2016.

Titled “Destined to Die: Status of Silicosis Patients in 3 Tribal Dominated Districts of Madhya Pradesh”, the report, which is based on what is called action research survey carried out by an NGO network Nai Shuruwat, claims that all these patients caught silicosis while working over 10 years in 35 “listed quartz crushing factories” located in the Kheda, Vadodara and Panchmahal districts of Gujarat. Read more

Courtesy: Courterview

HUL mercury waste pollution still draws fire

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Chennai: Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) is again under the scanner after a member of the Local Area Environment Committee on Kodaikanal - constituted by the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee - picked on the company's alleged violations of Hazardous Waste Rules 2008 on its (HUL) site in Kodaikanal.

In a letter dated 16 June 2016 to the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) officials, Navroz Mody, a member of the Local Area Environment Committee on Kodaikanal, suggested criminal action against HUL officials for violations of various acts such as Hazardous Waste Rules 2008, Water Act, Air Act, Environmental Protection Act 1986. Read more

Courtesy: News Today

Six months too late for Rs 1 lakh, silicosis patient told

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Jaipur: Shravan Lal Saini of Dausa district was among those who had arrived in the state capital on Monday for a public hearing on the problems faced by the silicosis afflicted people chaired by Prakash Tatia, chief of the state human rights commission. Saini said he was one of several people who had been denied Rs1 lakh for a reason he found hard to comprehend - he is six months late in demanding relief. 

On September 4 last year, the district labour welfare officer signed a letter (a copy of which is with TOI) stating that Saini was certified as a silicosis patient by the Pneumoconiosis Board. Saini applied for the monetary relief in March this year. But the money could not be released because six months have elapsed since the certification. Several people have allegedly been turned away with similar letters.

Rana Sengupta of Mine Labourers' Protection Campaign said, "There is no such rule. As a matter of fact, doctors who make the diagnosis have been instructed to make it easier for patients to receive relief. And silicosis is an incurable disease. So once certified, it is not as if a man can be cured of it. There is no rule saying a patient should apply for relief within six months or forfeit the amount." Read more

Courtesy: The Times of India

Dangerous chemicals hiding in everyday products

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(CNN)It was long believed that you could acquire "better living through chemistry." But that may really not be the case. In a landmark alliance, known as Project TENDR, leaders of various disciplines have come together in a consensus statement to say that many of the chemicals found in everyday products can result in neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism and attention-deficit disorders.

"Ten years ago, this consensus wouldn't have been possible, but the research is abundantly clear," said Irva Hertz-Picciotto, an environmental epidemiologist at the University of California, Davis and co-chairwoman of Project TENDR. Read more

Courtesy: cnn