In the fall of 2009, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists began looking into the global trade in asbestos, a cancer-causing fiber banned or restricted in much of the industrialized world but aggressively marketed in developing countries. What evolved was a nine-month investigation of an international lobby, much of it coordinated from Canada, which promotes the use of asbestos in construction materials and other products.
Read more about Asbestos deaths bring 16-year sentence
Two former executives of a Swiss building-products conglomerate were convicted in Italy in February of causing the asbestos-related deaths of more than 3,000 people.
Read more about A Growing Death Toll in Mexico
Asbestos casualties mount amid weak enforcement and a powerful lobby.
Read more about Russia: the World’s Asbestos Behemoth
In the aptly named city of Asbest, in the Ural Mountains 900 miles (1500 km) northeast of Moscow, the dominance of Russia’s asbestos industry — the world’s largest — is on clear display.
Read more about The Brockovich of Brazil
Inching along at rush hour in her battered black Chevrolet Corsa, Fernanda Giannasi joked about the pariah status she’s attained with the Brazilian asbestos industry. “I have no name,” she said. “I’m just ‘That woman.’”
Read more about Faulty findings may add to 100,000 death toll in Japan
For decades, asbestos was considered the “magic mineral” that helped Japan rise from the ashes after World War II. In 1974 alone, the country imported 350,000 metric tons of the fire-resistant fiber for use in residential and commercial buildings, ships, and factories.
Read more about Top asbestos user China faces epidemic of cancer
For China, it seems, the worst is yet to come. Jukka Takala, director of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, says that the annual death toll from mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other asbestos-related diseases in China may reach 15,000 by 2035.
Read more about India’s wide use of asbestos brings dire warnings
Every day, the swirling waters of the Arabian Sea bring misery to Alang, the world’s largest ship-breaking yard in western India’s Gujarat state. An estimated 55,000 workers, unmindful of the lethal effects of asbestos-laden material in the vessels, slave for long hours and, in the process, are exposed to deadly fibers.
Read more about America’s toxic legacy may leave behind a half-million deaths
The first sign of trouble came as Bill Rogers was mowing his lawn one morning in January 2007. “As I would go back and forth with the mower, I would run out of air,” says Rogers, 67.
Read more about About This Project: Dangers in the Dust
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