Make India Asbestos Free

Make India Asbestos Free
For Asbestos Free India

Journal of Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI). Asbestos Free India campaign of BANI is inspired by trade union movement and right to health campaign. BANI has been working since 2000. It works with peoples movements, doctors, researchers and activists besides trade unions, human rights, environmental, consumer and public health groups. BANI demands criminal liability for companies and medico-legal remedy for victims. For Details: krishnagreen@gmail.com

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Premier Charest challenged by scientists for supporting the science on climate change, but not on asbestos

Quebec Premier Charest challenged by scientists for supporting the science on climate change, but not on asbestos

While Premier Charest is in Vancouver attending the Olympics, a number of scientists and health advocates have issued him a challenge for supporting the science on climate change but not the science on asbestos.

“We are shocked by your statement that your government closed its mind on the asbestos question a long time ago and will not change its position,” Dr Kapil Khatter, President of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, told Charest.

“Premier Charest, a closed mind is a very dangerous thing, particularly in a political leader,” say the scientists in their letter, sent to Charest today.

The signers agree with Charest’s statement that, politically, asbestos is part of Quebec’s history. They say this does not, however, justify use of asbestos and note that “It is dangerous to substitute politics for science.”

The letter is signed by Prof. Abby Lippman of McGill University, on behalf of scientists from five other universities and health advocates.

“Our question is: why does Premier Charest refuse to listen to his own Quebec experts at his government’s National Public Health Institute, who oppose his position on asbestos,” said Dr Fernand Turcotte, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Medicine at Laval University and one of the signers. “On what basis does Premier Charest reject the position of the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Cancer Society, who say asbestos use must end?”

“Instead of supporting independent science, Premier Charest is supporting the position of the asbestos lobby group (the Chrysotile Institute),” said Kathleen Ruff of the Rideau Institute. “On Jan. 28, this Institute, which is funded by the Quebec and Canadian governments, put out a press release calling the position of the Canadian Medical Association to ban asbestos “wacko.” It boggles the mind that Premier Charest and Prime Minister Harper are giving tax-payer funds to this industry lobby group and allowing it to set their asbestos policy.”

The group asked to meet with Charest and asked that, if he had been misquoted, he issue a corrected statement of his position on asbestos.

= 30 =

Dr Fernand Turcotte, (514) 389-1240, f.turcotte@videotron.ca

Kathleen Ruff, (250) 847-1848, kruff@bulkley.net

Dr Kapil Khatter, (613) 864-9591, khatter7@gmail.com

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