3 tobacco companies in $27B lawsuit begin their defence, Defence’s witness argues dangers of smoking have been common knowledge for decades by CBC News, May 13, 2013
Three of Canada’s tobacco giants began their defence Monday against a $27-billion class-action lawsuit in Montreal by calling a witness who said the dangers of smoking are no secret. Historian and professor Jacques Lacoursière testified tobacco’s health risks have been common knowledge for decades. He pointed to over 700 references to the hazards of smoking dating back to the 1950s, including TV and radio reports, school manuals, government releases and health professionals. One of the many examples included a newspaper article that outlined a significant increase in lung cancer risk following the prolonged use of cigarettes.
The proceedings will continue on Tuesday with the plaintiffs’ cross-examination of Lacoursière. “What these historians miss is all the coverage that came out in the media about how the industry was involved in a conspiracy to hide all that information,” said Damphousse François, the Quebec director of the Non-Smoker’s Rights Association. “They knew about the health effects of their products, but they didn’t meet the obligation to inform their public about what they knew.”
Landmark class-action lawsuit
The complainants, two groups of individuals representing a total of 1.8 million Quebecers, allege three tobacco companies did everything possible to encourage addiction:
Rothmans, Benson & Hedges.
One group involves individuals who have become seriously ill from smoking, and members of the other group say they are unable to quit smoking. They also allege the companies failed to properly warn their customers about the dangers of smoking, underestimated evidence relating to the harmful effects of tobacco, engaged in unscrupulous marketing and destroyed documents.
The class-action lawsuit, which is being touted as the biggest civil case in Canadian history, was first filed years ago.
Lawyers for the tobacco companies attempted to have the entire civil suit thrown out, but the judge rejected the dismissal. [Emphasis added]
[Refer also to:
Fracking long proven to be safe by David Pryce, February 9, 2012, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (Letter to the editor: Saskatoon Star-Phoenix)
Human Health Risk Assessment of Air Emissions from Development of Unconventional Natural Gas Resources by Lisa M. McKenzie, Roxana Z. Wittera, Lee S. Newmana, John L. Adgatea, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado, March 19, 2012, erierising
Results: Residents living ≤ ½ mile from wells are at greater risk for health effects from NGD than are residents living > ½ mile from wells. Subchronic exposures to air pollutants during well completion activities present the greatest potential for health effects. The subchronic non-cancer hazard index (HI) of 5 for residents ≤ ½ mile from wells was driven primarily by exposure to trimethylbenzenes, xylenes, and aliphatic hydrocarbons. Chronic HIs were 1 and 0.4. for residents ≤ ½ mile from wells and > ½ mile from wells, respectively. Cumulative cancer risks were 10 in a million and 6 in a million for residents living ≤ ½ mile and > ½ mile from wells, respectively, with benzene as the major contributor to the risk.
Impacts of Gas Drilling on Human and Animal Health (Bamberger, Oswald) New Solutions, 2012
The findings illustrate which aspects of the drilling process may lead to health problems and suggest modifications that would lessen but not eliminate impacts.
Natural Gas Operations from a Public Health Perspective by Theo Colborn, Carol Kwiatkowski, Kim Schultz, and Mary Bachran, accepted for publication in the International Journal of Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, September 4, 2010.
For many years, drillers have insisted that they do not use toxic chemicals to drill for gas, only guar gum, mud, and sand. While much attention is being given to chemicals used during fracking, our findings indicate that drilling chemicals can be equally, if not more dangerous.
Failure Investigation Report: Failure of Piping at EnCana Swan Wellsite A5-7-77-14 L W6M by the BC Oil and Gas Commission, February 4, 2010.
The 22 November 2009 failure…was caused by internal erosion of the wall resulting from flowing fracture sand suspended in the gas stream. Leak detection and emergency isolation at the site did not achieve timely detection of the leak or control of the escaping gas. EnCana’s integrity management program did not effectively mitigate the hazard of internal erosion. [Emphasis added]