Monday, March 15, 2010

The EU Commission and the Eternit trial

Laszlo Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, indicated that the EU Commission will monitor the Eternit trial held in Torino as the implications for EU law. The EU Commission had touched upon asbestos disease several times in the recent past. Two examples are:

1) In 2003, it had issued a Recommendation 'concerning the European schedule of occupational diseases': although not binding on member states, the Commission recommended national legislatures to list the following asbestos-related diseases:
  • Asbestosis
  • Complication of asbestos in the form of bronchial cancer
  • Fibrotic diseases of the pleura, with respiratory restriction, caused by asbestos
  • Lung cancer following the inhalation of asbestos dust
  • Cancer of the larynx following the inhalation of asbestos dust; and
  • Mesothelioma following the inhalation of asbestos dust.

The decision against Belgium concerns deficiencies in the legislation for the Brussels and Walloon regions. The decision against Ireland concerns a failure to give full effect in Irish legislation to requirements concerning asbestos removal involving the release of asbestos fibres. In the decision against Belgium, both the Brussels and Walloon regions fail to adequately transpose provisions of the Directive (Council Directive 87/217/EEC on the prevention and reduction of environmental pollution by asbestos) dealing with monitoring of air emissions and water discharges from asbestos facilities and the prevention of significant asbestos environmental pollution from the working of products containing asbestos. In addition, the Brussels legislation fails to adequately deal with effluent arising in the manufacture of asbestos.

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