On December 10th 2009 opened in Turin the first maxi trial for asbestos victims. It will ensure accountability that led to the death and disease over 2600 people, in major part workers who became sick breathing the toxic dust of this mineral in the production departments Eternit Spa, where asbestos was mixed with cement to produce building components whose main feature was the great resistance. Besides these workers, there are also many people who have breathed in the districts or in the countryside close to the factories of the group in Casale Monferrato, Rubiera, Bagnoli and Cavagnolo, where the dust was scattered with the wind.
The deputy prosecutor Guariniello brought to trial only two defendants, namely those who in different periods were in charge of establishments Eternit Spa, which, however, failed to appear in court and will be tried in absentia: the Belgian Baron Jean Louis De Cartier de Marchienne and the Swiss billionaire Stephan Schmidheiny, for which the charges have been defined in environmental disaster and intentional omission of cautions. At the first hearing it was also attended by delegations of workers and family members of asbestos victims of other European nations that look to the process as an example, and they hope to be able to start also at home similar procedures.
Since 1993 the use of asbestos has been prohibited by law because of the ascertained toxicity since inhalation of tiny fibers that make up this mineral causes serious lung diseases such as asbestosis and cancers such as mesiotelioma, cancer for which there is currently no cure and that develops after a latency period of several decades. Asbestos, in fact, is a killer who does not hurry, kill at a distance of twenty or thirty years, but it is relentless with his victims. Factories and mines, such as Balangero, the largest in Europe, were then closed over the entire national territory and from that date the local authorities of the sites concerned and the Government have started reclamation of the territory but, by today ths effort has been completed only in part, because of its complexity. In addition to cleaning up factories and mines, we must act throughout the territory, identifying the artifacts that contain fiber and are scattered in public and private buildings, then acting individually. Asbestos therefore continues even today to spread and cause fatalities. This happens due to wear of the building materials that contains the mineral: the populations of entire cities are at serious health risk.
Only for the area of Casale Monferrato, a study of the Ministry of Environment in 1997 identified more than one million square meters of materials containing the substance to be removed, identified mainly as the corrugated Eternit cement mixed with asbestos used for attics.