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Report on Collegium Ramazzini activities in Dhaka, Bangladesh in November 2015

The Collegium Ramazzini, cooperated with the Dhaka Community Hospital Trust (DCHT), the International Social Security Association (ISSA), Harvard University School of Public Health and the International Labor Organization (ILO) in organizing 1) a professional training workshop and 2) a policy conference on environmental and occupational safety and health (EOSH), which were held in late November 2015 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

These activities resulted from an initial workshop on occupational safety and health held in February 2014 and was stimulated as a response to the Rana Plaza disaster in Dhaka where over 1100 workers were killed in a factory building collapse. An additional planning meeting with DCHT, CR and ISSA was held in March 2015.

The DCHT is a trust-owned private, non-profit and self-financed organization providing health care for low income, underprivileged people. Beside basic health care service, DCHT works on disaster management, arsenic in water mitigation, safe water supply, community development of sanitation systems and various research programs. DCHT works in collaboration with the Asian Disaster Risk Reduction Network (ADRRN) and the Asia-Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management (A-PADM); and has several international research collaborations, including with the Harvard School of Public Health.

The primary outcome was strong support for the goal creating a Center for Environmental and Occupational Safety and Health (CEOSH) at DCHT that will gradually be able to:
-Train a growing cadre of credentialed EOSH professionals
-Conduct research to understand EOSH needs and impact of interventions
-Deliver EOSH services through the DCH primary health care delivery system
-Serve as an EOSH scientific/technical resource center for Bangladesh
-Provide evidence-based advocacy for EOSH.

To achieve this, it is very clear that DCHT will need international assistance, both in the form of financial support for development costs under a clear plan towards self-sufficiency, and technical/scientific exchange. This international commitment will need to remain strong over a long period of time, but it should also reflect the ability of DCHT to meet its goals. For the Collegium, continuing its engagement is important.

1 January 2016

Save the Date > Ramazzini Days 2016 > October 27-30

Please mark your calendars now for the 2016 edition of Ramazzini Days, to be held in Carpi, Italy beginning at 15:00 on Thursday 27 October through 15:00 on Sunday 30 October 2016. Following the success of the 2015 edition, and per the request of meeting participants, the Collegium will continue with the 3-day format.
Ground transportation will be provided from the Bologna International Airport (BLQ) and from the historical center of Bologna on the morning of Thursday 27 October. Wednesday arrivals are invited to arrange accommodations in Bologna so as to use the conference transportation from the city center the following day.
Return travel should be planned for the afternoon of Sunday 30 October or Monday 31 October. Return ground transportation will be organized on both days from Carpi to BLQ and to the historical center of Bologna.
Train travellers should plan on booking a connection all the way to Carpi (trains run from Modena centrale every 30 minutes). No transportation will be provided from the Bologna or Modena train stations.
Online registration for the event will open in July.

14 October 2015

The Collegium Ramazzini releases two special issue commentaries on the pathological diagnosis of the diseases causes by asbestos; and 2) the causation of malignant mesothelioma as related to asbestos exposure in the workplace

The Collegium Ramazzini, an international academy of 180 scientists from 35 countries, experts in environmental and occupational health, has added two additional commentaries to its twenty-five year record of denouncing the public health hazards of asbestos exposure.

The first, Comments on the 2014 Helsinki Consensus Report on Asbestos, recognizes the work of the 2014 expert committee convened by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health to update the 1997 and 2000 Helsinki criteria on Asbestos, Asbestosis and Cancer in light of new advances in research. The Collegium however expresses concerns about the sections of the Helsinki report that discuss criteria for pathological diagnosis of the diseases caused by asbestos, specifically:
1) over-reliance on the detection of "asbestos bodies" as indicators of past exposure to asbestos;
2) over-reliance on asbestos fiber counts in lung tissue as an indicator of past exposure to asbestos;
3) use of the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) at low magnification as a tool for evaluation of asbestos-related disease; and
4) lack of recognition that chrysotile is the predominant type of asbestos fiber found in pleural mesothelioma tissue.

The Collegium Ramazzini concludes that applying the 2014 Helsinki report recommendations on pathology diagnosis will lead to missed diagnoses of cases of disease caused by asbestos, failure of workers' compensation systems to properly compensate workers who have been exposed to asbestos, and lost opportunities for public health authorities to recognize asbestos hazards and to prevent asbestos-related disease.

The second, Comments on the causation of malignant mesothelioma, rebuts the false concept that recent exposures to asbestos do not contribute to causation of mesothelioma. Referencing the large number of cases of mesothelioma that have been brought to the attention of the Italian courts as possible occupational diseases, the Collegium Ramazzini concludes that risk of malignant mesothelioma is related to cumulative exposure to asbestos in which all exposures - early as well as late - contribute to the totality of risk.

The Collegium Ramazzini rejects as false, mendacious, and scientifically unfounded the claim put forth by the Italian asbestos industry and its expert witnesses that in cases of prolonged exposures to asbestos only the earliest periods of exposure contribute to mesothelioma induction, while all subsequent exposures have no causal role. The Collegium Ramazzini is deeply concerned that acceptance of this false claim will contribute to the unjust denial of workers' compensation and civil damages to affected workers, that it will hinder efforts to diagnose and prevent malignant mesothelioma, and that ultimately it will undermine the health of the public in Italy and in countries around the world.

Related positions of the Collegium Ramazzini on asbestos are available for consultation, including:
- The Global Health Dimensions of Asbestos and Asbestos-Related Diseases (2015).
Chinese, Japanese; Portuguese, and Spanish]
- Asbestos is Still With Us: Repeat Call for a Universal Ban (2010)
- Call for an International Ban on Asbestos: Statement Update (2004)
- Call for an International Ban on Asbestos (1999)
- Chrysotile Asbestos as a Carcinogen (1993)

- Press release 14 October 2015

Press contact:
Collegium Ramazzini
Kathryn Knowles

1 October 2015

Death of Fellow Professor Massimo Crespi 28 September 2015

Massimo Crespi passed away on 28 September 2015, two weeks after a diagnosis of lung cancer. He was a physician who devoted his professional life to the prevention, screening and early detection of cancer.

Professor Crespi earned a degree in Medicine at the University of Rome in 1959. After hospital training and specializations in Gastroenterology and Metabolic and Liver Diseases at the same institution, he joined the National Cancer Institute Regina Elena in Rome where he established the new Gastroenterology and Endoscopy Service. In 1980, Professor Crespi's interests shifted to oncology and under his chairmanship a new department was created at Regina Elena. This new "Cancer Detection Center" encompassed the whole spectrum of cancer prevention from epidemiology to six specialized units devoted to cancer screening. A fruitful collaboration between the Center and the International Agency for Research on Cancer led to research in Iran, China, South America and Africa focused on the multi-factorial etiology of esophageal cancer. Dr. Crespi became a leading figure in the international arena of gastroenterology as President of the World Organization of Digestive Endoscopy and Chair of the United European Gastroenterology Federation. He was also awarded Honorary Fellowship in the Royal College of Physicians in London and elected as a Governor of the American College of Gastroenterology. Professor Crespi remained devoted to the promotion of prevention and screening in retirement serving as the Secretary General of the Mediterranean Task Force for Cancer Control.

Professor Crespi participated actively in the Collegium Ramazzini since his election in 1983, serving multiple terms on the Executive Council. He lent his expertise and leadership to the creation of the Collegium's 12th official statement entitled "Cancer Prevention, Screening and Early Diagnosis, the Neglected Side of Cancer Control: A Call for Action" and was awarded in 2008 the academy's prestigious Ramazzini Award for his scientific and institutional contribution to the prevention, screening and early detection of cancer.

Massimo was a true follower of Bernardino Ramazzini and set an example as an innovator in preventive medicine. His contributions in the field of detection and prevention of gastrointestinal cancer aided the protection of public health around the world.

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