It’s been more than seven years since Colombian journalist Ana Cecilia Nino died of malignant mesothelioma, and an even longer amount of time that advocates have been struggling against the impact of asbestos contamination in their country, but last week the country’s congress put an end to the issue by placing a comprehensive ban on all mining, exporting, production, sale or use of asbestos in the country. The country is only the seventh in the world to have such a stringent ban in place, though internationally there are 60 countries that have banned the carcinogenic material. Despite these progressive steps being taken by other countries, the United States continues to lag behind, placing questionable controls on the asbestos industry and refusing to move forward with a ban that many had hoped would soon be in place.
The remarkable action taken by the Latin American country comes after an aggressive push by family members and loved ones of mesothelioma victims who have succumbed to the disease. Colombia has seen approximately 1,700 asbestos-related deaths in the last 50 years as a result of the country’s reliance on companies that produce asbestos-contaminated products ranging from cement to roofing tiles. When Ana Cecilia Nino was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma it was quickly determined that her exposure came from having lived next door to a factory that made heavy use of the carcinogenic material: after her diagnosis, she and her husband Daniel Pineda worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos, and were the focus of a documentary about the anti-asbestos movement. Much of that movement targeted the company Eternit, which owned and operated several plants that have been associated with asbestos exposure and mesothelioma deaths. Colombia’s ban takes effect immediately, but has a 5-year phase-in for companies that have previously worked with asbestos, and the plan includes assistance in helping those companies transition to the use of cleaner materials.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease and you need help understanding the options available to you, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244