Châteaubriant: your former asbestos-free company, they care about your health

Three former Acier Plus employees in front of their recently asbestos-free former workplace in Châteaubriant (Loire-Atlantique), next to the president of ADDEVA 44 (left). ©Léo GAUTRET/L’Éclaireur de Châteaubriant

For several months, the rehabilitation site of the former Acier Plu factorys, rue de la gare, in chateaubriant (Loire-Atlantique), draws the attention of passers-by and questions his former employees.

Permanently closed since November 2018, the former company specializing in the manufacture of metal parts will soon host a training center for the trades of industry, wood and construction.

A worrying asbestos removal

Some residents and former employees of Acier Plus have been wondering since the beginning of the works in the place belonging to the community of municipalities, namely of the preliminary asbestos removal phase.

“When we saw that the workers were taking precautions to dismantle the building, we alerted the former employees,” Explain Sergio Adry, of the local union CGT de Châteaubriant.

“A lot of asbestos removal work was done in this building,” he says. ONE finding that led the retired union representative to organize an information meeting with the ADDEVA 44 association which defends the rights of asbestos victims. Formerly widely used in construction, its use has been banned in France since 1997.

“After the asbestos removal, I questioned myself and alerted my colleagues”, explains Thierry Menard, 64 years old. Former union representative at Acier Plus worked for 19 years as a welder within the company, before being laid off in 2018 following the site’s permanent shutdown.

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Retired two years ago, he now worries about his health and that of his former colleagues. “We had a question, you know there is a roof in fiber cement on top. There were 23 of us working on the site.” He remembers. Four of them participated in meeting moderated by Bruno Lancelin, president of ADDEVA 44.

A dozen participants were present, Saturday, May 14, 2022, at the CGT premises in Châteaubriant (Loire-Atlantique).
A dozen participants were present, Saturday, May 14, 2022, at the CGT premises in Châteaubriant (Loire-Atlantique). ©Léo GAUTRET/L’Éclaireur de Châteaubriant

3 to 4,000 deaths per year in France

He and the association’s local representative, Étienne Rochery, intervened to inform participants of their rights and invite them to take the necessary measures in case of doubt. “People who have been exposed to asbestos dust should go to the doctor for an examination. Do not hesitate to apply for membership to take a second look”, says Bruno Lancelin.

Welders, plumbers, carpenters… Many professions have been impacted by the use of this carcinogenic material, responsible for 3 to 4,000 deaths each year in France. “We think that 100,000 people are still expected to die from asbestos by 2025. 26,000 people are currently reported to have been exposed to asbestos in their lifetime in the country.

ADDEVA 44 is there to support them in their medical procedures, victim recognition and compensation. “Anyone who was exposed to asbestos before 1997 in France can claim the right to retire early. A person who has been exposed to asbestos for three years is entitled to one year less to legally retire”, explains Bruno Lancelin.

20 million tons of asbestos above our heads

Etienne RocheryAdeva’s local representative in 44 countries, was exposed to asbestos particles for 32 years. “I produced asbestos. I was an insulator. I insulated the factories, mainly the oil and sugar refineries… We removed the asbestos that was used as an unprotected insulator to rebuild the insulation with rock wool. I was recognized as an occupational disease in 2005.

Étienne now has check-ups every two years. “As soon as we see people arriving to remove these plates with protections, a decontamination chamber, we ask ourselves anyway”, launches the pensioner to the former employees of Aço Plus.

For 72 years old, Jean-Pierre Boucherworked for many years at focus casting from Chateaubriant. “We regularly used equipment that contained asbestos “, recalls the former union representative. Fired in 2004 after the company went bankrupt, the worker underwent tests that revealed the presence of pleural plaques in his lungs: the most common manifestation of asbestos exposure.

I asserted my rights and my occupational disease was recognized in September 2004. Since then, I have lived with it.

“A sword of Damocles above the head” for Gilles Rivaud, electromechanical at Focast, who in turn came to ask about the association’s valuable advice.

We think that 20 million tons of asbestos would still be present above our headsin France, in particular in the form of fiber cement. “Underestimated figures” for the president of ADDEVA 44. “That’s why we want to develop prevention, so that everything that happens with asbestos does not happen again with something else. »

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