A significant number of organizations from across the globe recently came together in Casale Monferrato, Italy, seeking to eliminate asbestos-related diseases in both industrialized and developing countries.
According to a document released from the meeting, which was called “A World Without Asbestos,” delegations from the U.S., France, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Great Britain, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Italy all came together to discuss the issue of deadly asbestos-related diseases.
Together, the various organizations approved a final document condemning the use of asbestos, saying “it’s absolutely necessary and urgent to eliminate it from the environment where we live.”
“Morally corrupt” double standard for asbestos use in developing countries
One of the key points made at the asbestos awareness meeting in Italy was that while the diseases caused by asbestos exposure are well known in industrialized countries, it is often the developing countries that ultimately suffer the consequences.
“Nowadays, this epidemic of asbestos induced disease has expanded to developing countries, which continue to use asbestos,” the organizations wrote. “The existence of a double standard between industrialized and industrializing countries is ethically unjustifiable and morally corrupt.”
As such, they said that there is a “moral imperative” to take initiative and prevent asbestos-related diseases from harming citizens of all countries, particularly those that continue to use the material regularly in the construction industry.
Widespread asbestos contamination in the environment
In addition to people being exposed to asbestos directly and subsequently developing a serious illness, the groups explain that the environmental contamination of asbestos could have lasting effects on populations to come.
In the document, they said that asbestos contamination in water, soil and the air is still a significant issue, particularly in places such as Casale Monferrato and Corsica, France, among others.
The groups urge international agencies to help such communities to rid themselves of asbestos contamination by removing the dangerous material completely.
Those affected deserve compensation
Finally, the meeting of “A World Without Asbestos” concluded that all victims of asbestos-related diseases – such as malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis – deserve compensation regardless of how they were ultimately exposed to the carcinogen.
“In conclusion, the asbestos industry is a criminal industry, exposing massive populations to mortal risks in pursuit of profits,” they wrote. “We demand justice.”