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Asbestos Victims Need Support and No Further Pain
Today sees the publication of a major research report which addresses a situation long ignored: the human impact of asbestos-related diseases in Central and Eastern Europe, regions where extensive and uncontrolled use of asbestos was the norm.

Commenting on today’s launch, rapporteur MEP Stephen Hughes said: “Europe’s asbestos epidemic was highlighted in an own initiative report adopted in my name by the European Parliament on 14th March 2013. But today we learn that the situation in new member States is even worse than we had expected. In many countries in the European Union the majority of asbestos-related diseases remain unacknowledged, uncompensated and untreated. It is appalling that this is the reality in 21st century Europe! “

The devastating exposé is the result of a project undertaken by the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW), the International Ban of Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) in collaboration with the German research centre Kooperationsstelle Hamburg IFE (KOOP). The research was informed by presentations made by 22 national representatives at a 2012 Brussels seminar, organized by the project partners in collaboration with the Belgian Asbestos Victims’ Group (ABEVA), as well as subsequent investigations focusing on the situation in 15 countries.

Reacting to the report’s findings, EFBWW General Secretary Sam Hägglund called for urgent action by European legislators to address the catastrophic plight of asbestos victims throughout the EU. “The deadly substance results in the same suffering of people throughout Europe and around the world. Now that the European Parliament has been alerted by the EP’s initiative report, measures are needed to improve regulations concerning: the recognition and compensation of victims, the protection and training of at-risk workers and the removal of all asbestos-containing material in Europe.”

Information for editors

• Although, the use in the EU of all types of asbestos was banned by Directive 1999/77/EC, asbestos-related deaths remain a major cause of death in Member States.
• In 2006, an analysis of the situation in 13 West European countries was published by EUROGIP. The dearth of information on the situation in East Europe was the spur for this project.
• The Kooperationsstelle report is available in English and a summary of the research results is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Hungarian, Romanian, Danish, Latvian, Czech, Croatian, Bulgarian, Turkish and Serbian. They can be downloaded from the webpages of the three mentioned organisations. To access these documents, see:


Related pages about:
Asbestos campaign
EU Projects
Safety and Health Asbestos Campaign