In France 727 coal miners were compensated because they have feared for years of getting sick for being exposed by their company to toxic substances. The ruling of the Douai Court of Appeal came after an eight-year judicial affair. To the gueules noires, the “black faces” of Lorraine – a region bordering Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg – have been recognized 10 thousand euros each, as a item by Daniele Castellani Perelli published on Republic.
The French judges considered the so-called subsistent préjudice d’anxiété, a concept sanctioned in 2010 by national jurisprudence and initially envisaged only for exposure to asbestos, but which has also been applied in other contexts for a couple of years. It is a situation of permanent anxiety and restlessness in the face of the risk of becoming ill at any moment, which affects one’s mental health.
Well 320 occupational diseases, especially cancers and silicosis, had been recognized to the 727 miners, who had been exposed to wood and coal dust, asbestos particles, diesel locomotive fumes and emanations of toxic liquids, which generated “a high risk of developing a disease serious ”, as recognized last January by the French judges. One of the miners’ lawyers, Jean-Paul Teissonnière, spoke of “a great success”, “the result of the tenacity of the miners, in the face of the inertia of the public authorities”.
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