Asbestos in Salonit Anhovo, Slovenia

Description
For a long time the only known plant in Slovenia to use asbestos was Salonit Anhovo, a cement-asbestos company situated on the north-western border with Italy. The plant, laying in the alpine valley, was one of the most successful and well known producers in the former Yugoslavia. It has been working since 1921 and residents of the surrounding villages can’t remember ever living without it. Since 1922 Salonit Anhovo company has been using asbestos in the production of building and other materials. Anhovo and its residents could notice the pollution easily: piles of concrete, dust, noise, distasteful fruit and vegetables were a part of their everyday life. The first information found in factory’s archives about the danger of asbestos dates from late 50s, but even though people knew asbestos was dangerous, they weren’t properly informed or aware of the danger. A lot of health problems emerged (mostly damaging the respiratory system - asbestosis, lung cancer - few thousand people suffering) and the results of a research led to conclusion that the source for this was asbestos. Consequently they have ended the model of production that involved asbestos in 1996, and affected population receives some kind of financial compensation for their medical problems. Asbestos is not in use for several years now, and also asbestos roof tops are being removed on large scale in various buildings (especially public institutions). At least 23 000 people were exposed to asbestos in Slovenia (in total 14 companies had been using it). Despite the fact that they ended with the production of asbestos products, we can expect health consequences for people for a longer period, since the use of asbestos materials and products was omnipresent.

Basic Data
NameAsbestos in Salonit Anhovo, Slovenia
CountrySlovenia
SiteAnhovo
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Manufacturing activities
Mineral processing
Specific CommoditiesAsbestos
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsApproximately 670,000 tons of asbestos was imported into Slovenia in the period 1946-1996. This was mostly white asbestos, chrysotile. Separate data for white asbestos and amphiboles are available only for Salonit Anhovo, which imported most of the above quantity, i.e. about 61,400 tons, including more than 70,000 tons of amphiboles. From the total quantity of asbestos imported into Slovenia, it is evident that 89% of all asbestos was used by Salonit Anhovo (1)
Type of PopulationUnknown
Potential Affected PopulationAt least 23 000 people
Start Date1922
Company Names or State EnterprisesSalonit Anhovo from Slovenia
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersTerrain Committee
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingIndustrial workers
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents
Potential: Accidents, Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Violations of human rights
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
New legislation
Project cancelled
Development of AlternativesRemoval of all asbesto material from constructions and buildings, and fair reparation to affected people.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Problematic production of asbestos material was stopped. Some reparations were made to the workers with health problems, resulting from asbestos use, but people, who were not working in the factory and got asbestosis did not get any reparations.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Asbestos Act

References

Metoda Dodic-Fikfak, Zvonimir Kristancic, Lidija Rahotina, and Robert Vidic
[click to view]

Marko Vudrag1 / Tatja Rihtar1 / Miljana Vegnuti1
[click to view]

'Case Study: Slovenia--Asbestos Valley',

'Mesothelioma Risk Associated with Asbestos Production in Slovenia'

Links

(1) NATIONAL GUIDELINES FOR ASBESTOS
[click to view]

Salonit Anhovo (Slovenian)
[click to view]

World Asbestos Reports
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorLidja Zivcic
Last update08/04/2014
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