Asbestos and its harmful effects on health and the environment

Parliamentary committee hearing at Croatian Sabor .

On Wednesday, January 29th, 2014 President Tomatis and Eng. Renzo Simoni (Department for Prevention and Safety in Workplaces, Trieste) have been received by the Committee for Environment and Health of the Croatian Parliament in Zagreb, in a joint session to discuss about asbestos and its negative effects on health and the environment, following the invitation letter here reported:

Dear Mr. Tomatis,

We would like to invite the representatives of European Asbestos Risks Association to a joint topic session of Environment and Nature Conservation Committee and Health and Social Policy Committee where we intent to discuss the Guidelines for recovery of asbestos negative effects on environment and health.

The joint topic session will take place on Wednesday, January 29 at 10 a.m. in Meeting room “Josip Šok?evi?” of the Croatian Parliament.

We are pleased to invite up to three representatives of EARA to attend the topic session.

Simultaneous interpretation into English will be provided during the meeting.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any further information.

Best regards,

Maja Filipovi?

Secretary of the Committee on Environment and Nature Conservation – Croatian Parliament

The call by Mr. Branko Ba?i?, president of Sabor, and the parliamentary authorities of the neighboring republic, mainly due to the interest and commitment of our partner and counselor Vjeran Pirsi? (Eko Kvarner Njivice), was commented positively by EARA’s members, maybe because it has been easier to obtain a hearing invitation by representatives of a foreign government rather than one from local institutions .

The hearing, chaired by Mr. Ba?i? and started as scheduled at 10 am at the auditorium hall “Josip Šok?evi?”, was attended by a delegation of members of the above mentioned committees, some experts in occupational medicine, representatives of trade unions, associations of asbestos exposed people from Split (Udruga Barbarinac), Vranjic (Udruga Oboljelih od Azbestoze) and Plo?e (MLP) and a large group of students from the local university, accompanied by their teacher.

After the speeches of some MPs from majority and opposition on what has been done in Croatia against the asbestos problem for environment and social welfare, the chairman called our president Tomatis and Eng. Simoni for their speech. The first held a brief introduction on EARA, illustrating the results of studies on the damage that asbestos will globally cause in the immediate future, and the other used some slides to explain from the scientific point of view, with great professionalism and competence, in a quarter of an hour, what asbestos is, how it was (and still is) used, and what will be the consequences of its use in the near future. Tomatis and Simoni were introduced to the public by our partner Vjeran Pirsi?. The parliament has ensured to the guests from Trieste a simultaneous translation service from Croatian language to English.

The final debate has seen the participation of representatives from the three pugnacious groups of exposed to asbestos of Croatia, who complained themselves about serious deficiencies in the national social security system for the recognition of the damage from exposure to the sick, most of them forced to face unsustainable medical expenses.

The hearing was closed around 1.15 pm. Through our partner Vjeran Pirsi?, who told Tomatis and Simoni that the next day he would have met some representatives of the Parliament’s committees, it will almost certainly be organized in a short time a meeting in Rijeka with Romana Jerkovi? (Croatian Social Democratic Party), Vice-President of Sabor, to establish the main guidelines after the hearing, in order to set up a communication campaign, both multimedial and on paper, on the negative effects of asbestos, particularly for those who, in Croatia (and it seems to be many them… ), still do not know anything about that topic.