Study points to factors behind bad health of garment workers

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The women interviewed in the study spoke of how, often, even basic amenities could not be taken for granted in their workplace. For example, time provided to have lunch or drink water was limited and toilet visits monitored. “Many reported that if they exceeded two minutes in a toilet, security officers ask the workers to hurry up.” Many drink little water to avoid the humiliation.

The workers complained of mental stress caused by unreasonable production targets, abuse (often sexually coloured) at the hands of supervisors, threats of dismissal and compulsion to work beyond scheduled hours.

Common among health issues reported were urinary infection, gastritis, headache, problems related to eyesight, dust allergies and postural-related problems. Besides, “many workers complained of being severely depressed, frustrated, edgy and having mood swings.”

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Brokers of junk science?

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Two scientific journals known for their industry ties have become go-to publications for researchers who minimize risks from chemicals

Hardbound volumes of Critical Reviews in Toxicology and Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology spanning decades are shelved at the National Library of Medicine’s subterranean archives — the world’s largest medical collection — in Bethesda, Maryland.

The peer-reviewed journals are among a select group of medical titles indexed by the National Institutes of Health, and they belong to international associations whose members pledge to uphold ethical and scientific standards. The titles come at a price: an issue of Critical Reviews retails for $372, while an annual subscription to Regulatory Toxicology costs $275. Read more

Courtesy: The Center for Public Intergrity

Why the Deadly Asbestos Industry Is Still Alive and Well

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Despite irrefutable scientific evidence calling out the dangers of asbestos, 2 million tons of the carcinogen are exported every year to the developing world, where it's often handled with little to no regulation.

For this episode of VICE Reports, correspondent Milène Larsson traveled to the world's largest asbestos mine in the eponymous town of Asbest, Russia, to meet workers whose livelihoods revolve entirely around the dangerous mineral. Surprisingly, the risks associated with asbestos mining didn't seem to worry the inhabitants; in fact, asbestos is the city's pride, celebrated with monuments, songs, and even its own museum.

Larsson then visits Libby, Montana, another mining town almost on the other side of the globe, where the effects of asbestos exposure are undeniable: 400 townspeople have died from asbestos-related diseases, and many more are slowly choking to death. Why is the deadly industry of mining and selling asbestos still alive and well?


Ford spent $40 million to reshape asbestos science

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Stung by lawsuits, the automaker hired consultants to change the narrative on the risks of asbestos brakes

In 2001, toxicologist Dennis Paustenbach got a phone call from a lawyer for Ford Motor Company.

The lawyer, Darrell Grams, explained that Ford had been losing lawsuits filed by former auto mechanics alleging asbestos in brakes had given them mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer virtually always tied to asbestos exposure. Grams asked Paustenbach, then a vice president with the consulting firm Exponent, if he had any interest in studying the disease’s possible association with brake work. A meeting cemented the deal. Read more

Courtesy: The Center for Public Intergrity

Meet the ‘rented white coats’ who defend toxic chemicals

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BELLEVUE, Ohio — At 2:15 in the morning, an insomniac corporate defense lawyer in San Francisco finished crafting a “revolutionary” scientific theory. Now Evan Nelson of the law firm Tucker Ellis & West needed a scientist willing to publish it in a medical journal. If his theory were given scientific validity, Nelson could use it to win lawsuits. Nelson defended companies that had exposed people to asbestos, a heat-resistant, fibrous mineral. Asbestos causes several deadly diseases, including mesothelioma, a rare cancer that often drowns the lungs in fluid. Read more Courtesy: Public Integrity