Brazilian authorities sink decommissioned vessel full of asbestos

Brazilian authorities sink decommissioned vessel full of asbestos

Brazilian authorities recently sank a decommissioned ship off the country’s coast, which the Asbestos Diseases Awareness Organisation explained highlights the “impossible task” of asbestos risk management.

“Asbestos, a known carcinogen, claims the lives of over 40,000 Americans annually, yet imports and use continue in the United States. Risk management of the lethal fibre is nearly impossible,” said Linda Reinstein, president and co-founder of ADAO, which is an American-based organisation focused on safety and asbestos risk management.

“Legacy asbestos is pervasive throughout our nation’s infrastructure — it is found in our homes, schools, workplaces and businesses. Clearly, these can’t all be sunk, which is why we need to finally ban asbestos imports and use and commit ourselves to addressing the problem of legacy asbestos so the unnecessary death toll from asbestos exposure doesn’t continue for decades longer,” she stated.

The ship was towed in circles for five months before it was sunk on the 3rd of February. It was a Clemenceau-class carrier that contained significant amounts of asbestos, heavy metals and other toxic materials.

Brazil was the world’s leading asbestos miner and exporter for several decades, which has been halted recently by way of a Superior Court Justice Ruling.

A number of environmental groups, including Sea Shepherd, Greenpeace and Basel Action Network, as well as Brazil’s own Environment minister, opposed the sinking of the ship, citing health risks to the general public and risk to the environment, as well as the violating of several international treaties.

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