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Demonstrators Demand Asbestos Inquiry

Paris- Thousands of marchers filled Paris streets demanding a criminal investigation into companies that knowingly exposed their employees to asbestos.

Organized by Andeva (Association Nationale de Défense des Victimes de l'Amiante or The National Association Defending Asbestos Victims) they demanded more government investigations into companies that knowingly exposed their workers to asbestos and should be held liable for their deaths.

The demonstrations followed successful prosecution of Alstom Power Boilers who were ordered to pay 75,000 euros for exposing workers to asbestos and causing at least ten deaths to date. The trial was closely followed by many asbestos victims groups both in France and around the world.

Asbestos was completely banned in 1997 from the country but with long latency periods, deaths continue to occur at a rate of nearly 3,000 every year. Andeva estimates that within 20 years the number of deaths could pass 100,000.

Andeva believes that criminal prosecution is the only way to expose and educate the public about asbestos.