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Asbestos activist

Asbestos Activist Laurie Kazan-Allen Receives England’s Robert Tressell Award

Laurie Kazan-AllenHelping those exposed to asbestos achieve justice is what we do at Kazan Law. I take great pride in having founded this firm and in our victories in this area.  But I also take great pride in personally introducing a leading asbestos activist to the struggle against asbestos exposure which set her on a path to help protect people around the world from its fatal consequences. She happens to be my sister Laurie Kazan-Allen.

Lest you think that it is only familial pride that prompts me to talk about my sister, I am pleased to tell you that she has just received the United Kingdom’s Construction Safety Campaign’s distinguished Robert Tressell award for her work as an asbestos activist.

The Robert Tressell Award is given to an individual who has provided outstanding service and commitment to workers in the UK by campaigning for safe working environments and assisting those who have been harmed or are suffering from occupation-related diseases.

According to official sources, Laurie received her award for “her global campaign against asbestos, her editorship of the British Asbestos Newsletter and her galvanizing of campaigners globally to one day deliver an asbestos-free world for the future generations of mankind.” “I am,” she said “honored by this recognition from construction workers, a group with one of the highest rates of asbestos-related disease. The CSC and its members are fully aware of the ongoing risks posed by occupational asbestos exposure and have played a frontline role in the campaign for asbestos justice in the UK and abroad.”

In addition to publishing the British Asbestos Newsletter, a periodical widely acknowledged as the authoritative resource for the UK campaign for asbestos justice, Laurie has been involved as an asbestos activist for over 20 years on global anti-asbestos initiatives.

She leads The International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS), which helps coordinate international asbestos conferences and is actively involved in UK and international asbestos issues. The IBAS website reports on current asbestos developments as well as on IBAS initiatives and events. Laurie has also published several books and monographs on asbestos topics.

“It was a complete surprise,” Laurie said in an email telling me about her award, “But nevertheless, it is wonderful to be recognized by the trade unionists for the work I have done.”

Asbestos Activist is First Recipient of New International Award

Katheleen Ruff CR Award 2013

Dr. Barry Castleman with Kathleen Ruff

An asbestos activist has been chosen for the first ever activist award given by an international science group dedicated to helping to solve global occupational and environmental health problems.

The activist is Kathleen Ruff, a Canadian long-time asbestos industry critic and board member of Canada’s Rideau Institute, a non-profit public policy research organization.  Kathleen received the Canadian Public Health Association’s National Public Health Hero Award in 2011 for her advocacy to end Canada’s export of asbestos.

She has written extensively about Canada’s asbestos industry for GBAN, the e-newsletter of the Global Ban Asbestos Network. She also founded and coordinates a human rights news website called Right On Canada.  Her article “Exposé of the International Chrysotile Association” appeared in both publications.

“It is time for the immunity – enjoyed by the asbestos industry and its lobby groups for so many decades – to end,” she said.

We cited Kathleen’s high caliber investigative reporting recently when we told you here about an academic scientist accused of colluding with the asbestos industry to downplay health risks.

The controversy centered on the accuracy of the conclusions of research on asbestos miners by McGill University’s Prof. J.C. McDonald.  “Prof. McDonald’s research was reportedly financed with one million dollars by the Quebec Asbestos Mining Association (QAMA).” Kathleen boldly revealed.

Now at its annual meeting on October 25-26, the Collegium Ramazzini presented their first activist award to Kathleen for her relentless work in the global asbestos struggle.  American asbestos expert   Dr. Barry Castleman  gave the introductory remarks.

We at Kazan Law are pleased that an asbestos activist was the Collegium’s top priority for this new award and agree that Kathleen is a worthy recipient.  Her efforts in exposing both the dangers of asbestos and the corruption surrounding its continued permitted use both are in line with the Collegium’s mission.

The Collegium Ramazzini, headquartered in Italy, assesses present and future risks of injury and disease attributable to the workplace and the environment. It focuses especially on the identification of preventable risk factors.  Asbestos exposure certainly fits that bill.

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