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23 Sep 2014

Dewald van Rensburg, City Press (So. Africa)

So. Africa: Plaintiffs' experts accuse gold mining companies of distorting science to quash silicosis class action lawsuit

"Silicosis lawyers defend class action", 21 Sep 2014

Gold mines were slammed this week for allegedly distorting the science around silicosis in their bid to quash a colossal class action potentially involving tens of thousands of sick former mine workers or their dependants…Professor Rodney Ehrlich and Jonathan Myers from the University of Cape Town filed affidavits this week tackling the experts who had filed affidavits for the mines. They said the affidavits amounted to obvious bias and attempts to “cast maximum doubt upon, and obfuscate, the known relationships between exposure… and silica-related diseases” The mines’ medical experts… have made several claims, including that the cause, diagnosis and health effects of silicosis are all up for debate…Establishing that silicosis in South Africa is a result of working in a gold mine where dust levels are negligently high is pivotal to the potential multibillion-rand class action, which makes the rival expert testimony crucial to the matter…[Refers to Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony Gold]