Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Motorship Reports: 85% of New Ships Still Contain Asbestos

The Motorship, a website that provides insight for marine technology professionals, reports that 85% of new ships still contain asbestos. The good news is that due to tightening restrictions within the shipping industry, that number will be going down.

Asbestos is not be banned in the U.S., but it is banned in other countries. Australia and the Netherlands will no longer accept ships that are found to contain asbestos. Even if a supplier has provided a declaration stating the ship is asbestos free, upon inspection, surveyors have still been locating asbestos.

Asbestos free means different things in different countries, Australia’s threshold is zero percent, while in Europe 0.1% is considered safe, 1.0% is considered safe in America, and China has no official standard. We know that no amount of asbestos is safe, no matter how small.

The problem lies in that asbestos is still used freely in some countries, and different components for the ships come from different countries. This poses a great risk “when ships containing potentially hazardous materials need repair,” according to John Chillingworth, senior vice president of CTI Marine, the only company approved by the SOLAS Convention to perform asbestos surveys on ships.

The repercussions of finding asbestos on a certified asbestos free ship are costly. The only solution is that all ships must be surveyed by a SOLAS approved surveyor. “Both owner and yard benefit from a proper survey. […] beneficiaries are equipment suppliers, because if a survey does find asbestos it can be dealt with prior to delivery, eliminating warranty and damage claims. Perhaps the greatest benefits are to the shipyard workers who can enjoy a safer working environment.”

Given that Congress has failed to legislate a ban, if industries restrict the use of asbestos in their respective trades, it could effectively end the need for one.

Click here to read the report.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Paul Zygeilbaum, 12 Year Survivor, Continuing the Fight to Outlast Mesothelioma and Ban Asbestos

When told that he is a source of
inspiration for other mesothelioma
patients, Zygielbaum responds,
“It’s the other way around."
Paul Zygeilbaum was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2003 and for the last 12 years has been an outspoken advocate for mesothelioma victims’ rights, medical research and a ban of asbestos. Paul was recently profiled in an SF Gate article in which he states: “The goal is to die of something else.”

Over 60 countries worldwide have banned asbestos. Shockingly, this does not include the U.S. As the article correctly observes, “Congress has made several efforts to legislate a ban — all thwarted by industrial lobbies and partisan wrangling.”

Asbestos is dangerous at any percentage, even under 1% in a product. It is beyond comprehension that it has not yet been completely banned in the U.S., and sadly there seems to be no end in sight. The article states, “It’s safe to say prospects are bleak for any effort in the 114th Congress to ban asbestos. In fact, a bill to reduce corporate asbestos liability, passed by the House last year, is now expected to be introduced in the Senate early in 2015.”

Linda Reinstein, president and co-founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, who lost her husband to mesothelioma in 2006, says, “I am gravely concerned about the new 2015 Senate and fear that asbestos victims’ civil rights and public health will be buried […]”

A long uphill battle remains, but thanks to mesothelioma warriors like Paul, Linda and countless others, the battle will continue until it is won.

We have been covering Paul’s extraordinary story since the firm participated in the handling of Paul’s asbestos legal claims. See the links below to learn more about Paul’s efforts to ban asbestos, raise public awareness about the continuing threat posed by asbestos and support medical research into new treatments for mesothelioma.

More from Paul Zygielbaum: