Premier Jean Charest International Mesothelioma Interest Group
Assemblée nationale c/o A/Prof Steven Mutsaers
Québec Lung Institute of Western Australia
Canada Ground Floor E Block
Fax : +00 1 418 643 3924 Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital
Nedlands 6009, WA
December 16, 2010
Dear Premier Charest
On behalf of the Board of the International Mesothelioma Interest Group (IMIG), I am writing to you to appeal to you and your government and the people of Québec not to finance the proposed new Jeffrey asbestos mine.
We understand from press reports that the Minister of Economic Development, M. Clément Gignac, has indicated that he is in favour of giving $58 million financing to the consortium of investors that wishes to open the Jeffrey mine and export asbestos to the developing world. Mr Gignac has explicitly mentioned the position of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) regarding the use of chrysotile asbestos. May we take this opportunity to remind you that the position of both the ILO and the WHO is that the use of chrysotile should be phased out in all member states, given the extreme difficulties in controlling exposure and consequent diseases caused by chrysotile, in particular in developing countries.
The Québec Medical Association, the Canadian Cancer Society and Québec’s respected public health organizations and experts as well as international societies involved with asbestos-related diseases such as IMIG, are unequivocal in their advice not to finance the Jeffrey mine, saying that export of asbestos by Québec harms the health of people overseas. They have clearly stated that the mining and export of asbestos by
Québec is medically unacceptable. On December 9, 2010, the Lancet, the world’s most respected medical journal, unambigously stated that it was not acceptable for a high-income country like Canada to export asbestos to low-income nations.
As an international society made up of the leading world experts in scientific and clinical research into mesothelioma, we appeal to you to accept that the Canadian asbestos industry is dead and to help the people in former asbestos mining communities to embark on a future free of contamination by asbestos.
A/Prof Steven Mutsaers (IMIG President)
On behalf of the IMIG Board
Dr Jeremy Steele (Secretary, UK) Prof Luciano Mutti (Italy)
Prof Sam Armato (Treasurer, USA) Prof Takashi Nakano (Japan)
Prof Stephen Albelda (USA) Prof Harvey Pass (USA)
Prof Courtney Broaddus (USA) Prof Bruce Robinson (Australia)
Dr Dean Fennell (UK) A/Prof Dan Sterman (USA)
Prof Rabab Gaafar (Egypt) Dr Jim teWaterNaude (South Africa)
Prof Marie-Claude Jaurand (France) Prof Walter Weder (Switzerland)
Prof Hedy Kindler (USA)
Prof Sakari Knuutila (Finland)