SP seeks global ban to end lethal asbestos use

24 September 2005

SP seeks global ban to end lethal asbestos use


Speaking at the European Asbestos Conference organised by the SP in the European Parliament this week, MEP Kartika Liotard called for a reinvigoration of the campaign for a global asbestos ban and said it was "time for the EU to draw a line under the asbestos scandal once and for all and time for effective and coordinated action on this issue."

Opened yesterday by GUE/NGL Group President Francis Wurtz who highlighted the fact that, throughout the world, 100 000 workers die every year from diseases caused by unwitting exposure to the deadly substance, participants at the conference included anti-asbestos campaign groups, MEPs, scientists, victim groups, environmental NGOs and national politicians.

As the primary carcinogenic toxin affecting workers in Europe, GUE/NGL MEP Roberto Musacchio stressed the global nature of the problem and the necessity to tackle it at a UN level. Speaking about the issue as it affects Ireland, Bairbre de Brún MEP, stressed that "asbestos is a problem for the present and future – not just the past!" while Cypriot MEP Adamou Adamos spoke of the need to ensure proper implementation of relevant EU Directives in the de-contamination of buildings.

While the use of asbestos was banned in all EU Member States from January 1, 2005, EU citizens are still threatened by potentially dangerous exposure to the substance. Dimitris Papadimoulis MEP said that the lack of statistics on its presence in public and private buildings was central to the asbestos problem in Greece which was once one of the biggest world asbestos producers.

The conference declaration calls for 2005-2006 to be designated the Year of Action on Asbestos and demands that the EU and especially the European Parliament work towards devising a European Asbestos Action Plan.

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