Europe continues to see a growing focus on asbestos topics, including both non-litigation and litigation-related topics. An example arises from the new European Asbestos Forum, an international asbestos conference that will be held on May 27th in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The location (I am told) “is a gorgeous hotel;  the beautiful 5-star NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky on Dam Square.”  Yvonne Waterman is the organisor; she is a smart Netherlands lawyer with extensive asbestos expertise and experience, generally towards the claimant’s side.  We met some years ago in London and she displayed a wealth of knowledge.

The conference also illustrates disease advocacy groups and other NGOs making increasing use of globe-spanning asocial media. For example, the conference has   a Facebook page, and a presence on Twitter: @EAFConference. The conference  web site explains the following and lays out the agenda. Note especially the following agenda items:

14.20 – 14.40 National diversity of compensation schemes, global economic relations and labour standards in supply chains, Christian Lahnstein LL.M. (Rachel Carson Center, Ludwig Maximilians Universität Munich)

“15.20 – 15.40 Asbestos related lung cancer – an underestimated causal link, Prof.Dr. Thomas Kraus (Institut für Arbeitsmedizin und Sozialmedizin Aachen)”

The conference includes a wide range of speakers and topics. Some in the defense camp in the US will discredit the entire conference because Dr. Lemen is a lead speaker.  That said, that view is rather limited. Multi-national entities need to recognize the reality that US defense camp views of regulation and litigation are not universally shared. Indeed, in Europe, not all view labour and employers as adverse, and there are a variety of compensation approaches around the world, as will be explained Mr. Christian Lahnstein (who is from the reinsurance world and is very knowledgeable).  It’s also worth noting that Europe  is the home for some cutting edge molecular research related to asbestos, cancer, genetics and epigenetics that is largely unknown in the US. (Sadly, almost all US defense interests continue to fail to invest in research regarding asbestos diseases even though those same interests are paying money to settle an enormous proportion of the annual mesotheliomas in the United States.)

The entire agenda is as follows:

“The aim of the Forum is to increase international networks and spread the best and newest asbestos knowledge at a high professional level, providing the best of global speakers and specialists. A delicious conference dinner will be served in the monumental Winter Garden of the venue.

08.45 – 09.15 Registration and light continental breakfast
09.15 – 09.25 Welcome, Yvonne Waterman (organiser, European Labour Forum)
Introduction of the Chairman, Hans van der Wart (Shield Group International)

Plenaire sessie / plenary session in the Grand Ballroom

09.25 – 09.50 Opening speech, Marcelis Boereboom (Director General of the Ministry for Social Affairs and Employment)
09.50 – 10.10 A message from Independent Asbestos Training Providers, Wayne Williams (IATP)
10.20 – 10.40 Improving asbestos labour conditions by sharing information, Mark Wit (Oesterbaai)
10.40 – 10.50 Break
10.50 – 11.10 What asbestos means to me, Eric Jonckheere (ABEVA)
11.10 – 12.00 Keynote speech. High-risk occupations: the need for prevention, Dr. Richard Lemen USPHS (ret.) Ph.D., M.S.P.H., retired US Assistant Surgeon General and Acting Director of US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

12.00 – 13.00 Luncheon in the Winter Garden

Photo exhibition, Tony Rich a.k.a. Asbestos Hunter / Asbestorama
Asbestos cabinet, Harry Vonk (Teamplayer)

A Asbestos & Labour

13.00 – 13.20 The Italian fight against Eternit, Nicola Pondrano (CGIL)
13.20 – 13.40 Asbestos and the installation sector: a fine line between H&S and environment, Arco Engelen (Dutch Social Partners)
13.40 – 14.00 The Dutch approach of asbestos victims: plenty of room to grow! Lydia Charlier LL.M., Beer Lawyers
14.20 – 14.40 National diversity of compensation schemes, global economic relations and labour standards in supply chains, Christian Lahnstein LL.M. (Rachel Carson Center, Ludwig Maximilians Universität Munich)
14.40 – 15.00 Break
15.00 – 15.20 Turkish asbestos awareness and regulation increasing, -beleid, Dilan Yesilyurt (Turkish Ministery for Labour and Social Security, Occupational Health and Safety Institute)
15.20 – 15.40 Asbestos in schools, Wayne Williams (DMW Safety)
15.40 – 16.00 Panel debate
16.00 – 16.15 Break and return to the Grand Ballroom

B Asbestos & Technological Developments

13.00 – 13.20 The asbestos incubator technique, Ruud Janssen (Dutch asbestos removal company Het Zuiden)
13.20 – 13.40 The use of technology to deliver competence, Nick Garland (Assure Risk Management)
13.40 – 14.00 Asbestos stripping in the USA, Tony Rich (DMW Safety)
14.20 – 14.40 English asbestos stripping innovations, Mark Winter (SMH Products)
14.40 – 15.00 Break
15.00 – 15.20 The importance of a real estate register, Ir. Joris Gribnau (Shield Group International)
15.20 – 15.40 Differences in European asbestos legislation and practice, Dr. Herm Zweerts (Arcadis)
15.40 – 16.00 Panel debate
16.00 – 16.15 Break and return to the Grand Ballroom

C Asbestos, European Policy & Raising Awareness

13.00 – 13.20 Asbestos Removal Companies: regulatory control in Spain, dr. Gonzalo Zufia (the Spanish Asbestos Removal Contractors Association ANEDES)
13.20 – 13.40 The importance of asbestos awareness, Barry Robson
13.40 – 14.00 Asbestos: distorted risk perception, Linda Reinstein (Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization)
14.20 – 14.40 Hopeful treatment of asbestos cancers, Prof. Nico van Zandwijk (Asbestos Diseases Research Institute)
14.40 – 15.00 Break
15.00 – 15.20 Asbestos Liability in the US: The never ending story, Daniël Maranger LL.M. (Munich Re)
15.20 – 15.40 Asbestos related lung cancer – an underestimated causal link, Prof.Dr. Thomas Kraus (Institut für Arbeitsmedizin und Sozialmedizin Aachen)
15.40 – 16.00 Panel debate
16.00 – 16.15 Break and return to the Grand Ballroom

Plenary session in the Grand Ballroom

16.15 – 16.25 Special Recognition Award
16.25 – 16.30 Concluding speech, Yvonne Waterman and Hans van der Wart (Shield Group International)

Convivial closing drinks for networking

Optionally: Conference Dinner”