Former asbestos executives found guilty; landmark verdict in Italy

15 Feb 2012 by under Events, Legal, News, Organizations

eternit giustizia 300x194 Former asbestos executives found guilty; landmark verdict in ItalyA landmark verdict handed down by a three-judge panel in Turin, , could set a precedent for manufacturers dealing with toxic environmental substances, like asbestos. Following a two-year trial, two former executives of a Swiss building-products company were found guilty on criminal charges, held responsible for the deaths of more than 3,000 people who lived and worked around four Italian asbestos cement factories. Asbestos has been proven to cause deadly diseases, including mesothelioma, a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen and, in rare cases, the heart. The verdict was handed down Monday, Feb. 13, 2012.

The defendants were Stephan Schmidheiny, former owner of Eternit, a Swiss building products conglomerate, and Louis de Cartier de Marchienne, a major shareholder in the company. Both were sentenced to 16 years in prison on charges of involuntary manslaughter. This verdict marks the first time executives affiliated with an asbestos injury case have been found criminally liable.

, president and CEO of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) has been in Italy following the case. In a statement following the verdict, she said, “This is huge international news, as it sets a precedent for future criminal action against company executives who neglect the health and safety of their workers. Corporations and our governments must be responsible and held accountable for human, social, and environmental rights violations. The Eternit case sent a signal around the world…”

Reinstein founded ADAO following her husband Alan’s death, from mesothelioma, in 2006. Under her leadership, the ADAO’s many volunteers and affiliated professionals crusade tirelessly for the rights of workers in the United States and around the world who have been harmed – and who continue to be harmed – by asbestos.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 125 million people are still exposed to asbestos on the job, and more than 100,000 people die each year of mesothelioma or asbestosis, a severe scarring of the lungs causes by asbestos fibers.

While asbestos manufacturing and use is more rampant in third-world countries that are largely unregulated in regards to the deadly mineral, the ADAO points out that asbestos still has not been completely banned in the United States, which imported nearly 1,000 metric tons of the deadly substance in 2011.

The Center for Public Integrity

2 Responses to “Former asbestos executives found guilty; landmark verdict in Italy”

  1. Sahin

    So even in Italy asbestos awareness is rising. Here is also  a page where you can find highest trial awards given related to mesothelioma and asbestos :

  2. Asbestos Exposure

    There is no doubt that mesothelioma is a deadly disease but still thousands of people are not aware of it.