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Posted on February 11, 2014

Fernanda 2

Join us for ADAO’s 10th Annual Conference, “Where Knowledge and Action Unite,” on April 4-6, 2014 in Washington, D.C. at the Crystal Gateway Marriott! More than 30 renowned experts and asbestos victims from ten countries will present the latest advancements in disease prevention, global advocacy, and treatment for mesothelioma and other asbestos-caused diseases.

To get an idea of the exceptional speakers you’ll see at our upcoming conference, view this week’s featured 2013 Asbestos Awareness Conference Video Presentation, “Brazil: From the Mines to the Courtroom” by Fernanda Giannasi.

Fernanda Giannasi is a Civil and Safety and Heath Engineer and has been a symbol of the struggle to ban asbestos in Brazil. As Labour Inspector for the Ministry of Labor in São Paulo state since 1983, Giannasi defends the public interest as regards worker safety and health. Having been exiled to Osasco city  in 1995,  Giannasi became aware of a number of cases of asbestos disease amongst the local population. In collaboration with former asbestos workers in this industrial city, she began an investigation into the incidence of asbestos-related diseases in the whole state of São Paulo, the major producer and user of asbestos. Although Brazil still allows asbestos in most of the states of the federation, the Supreme Constitutional Court should decide this year if asbestos can be used or not since it has been banned in more than 50 countries worldwide and 5 Brazilian states including São Palo. Asbestos is still mainly used in the production of roofing. Giannasi is a founding member of Associação Brasileira dos Expostos ao Amianto (ABREA), the association of asbestos-exposed workers in Brazil that was set up in 1995 to act as the voice for Brazil’s asbestos victims, and is the coordinator of the Latin America of the Citizens’ Virtual Network Against Asbestos. She leads the struggle of more than 3500 workers who have filed lawsuits against the industry. Criminal charges driven by economic interests have been filed against Giannasi by the biggest asbestos producer in Brazil (ETERNIT), and by supporters of the still powerful pro-asbestos lobby. Giannasi has successfully widened the world discussion and has been awarded for her struggle as it has been hold last December, the 5th where she was honoured with the Prize Professional Personality of 2012 offered by the National Confederation of  Liberal  Graduated Workers representing the category of Engineers. According to Giannasi, “As I an activist on public health I defend an immediate world ban on the production, marketing, import and exports and use of asbestos”.