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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A very particular crime - Hazards magazine

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Dust storm: 'Crime-fraud' allegations cloud conference
A UK conference of dust exposure experts is attracting unwanted attention, reports Hazards editor Rory O’Neill.

Professor Ken Donaldson, the scientific chair of Inhaled Particles XI, has been identified in a potential asbestos cancer 'crime-fraud' controversy and accused of having undeclared links to the industry.

Good, impartial science can help save lives, by identifying life-threatening exposures at work and identifying measures – controls, safer standards, bans on the deadliest substances - to remedy them. Asbestos would be a case in point.

For those for whom the science came too late, the ones forming part of the body count, it can mean at least some compensation for a life cut short.

US building products giant Georgia-Pacific is accused of “seeding” the scientific literature against the interests of asbestos cancer claimants.

If the courts accepted the disputed findings of the GP-funded research, very many asbestos-exposed cancer sufferers could go uncompensated because they were exposed to the wrong kind of “shorter” chrysotile fibres, were not exposed at high enough levels or, if exposed at a high level, not exposed long enough.

Global exports of chrysotile increased by 20 per cent in 2012.

It is a high stakes business and was at the heart of a New York Supreme Court...
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