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Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) works for Asbestos Free India inspired by trade union leader Purnendu Majumadar. Occupational Health India and ToxicsWatch Alliance are its members that includes doctors, researchers and activists. BANI demands criminal liability for companies and medico-legal remedy for victims. It works with trade unions, human rights, environmental, consumer and public health groups. For Details:1715krishna@gmail.com, oshindia@yahoo.in

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Urgent appeal to Quebec Medical College to recommend against asbestos trade

Financing asbestos export “will cause significant harm to public health in developing countries for decades to come” say international medical experts

In a 11 page (4 page without signatures) letter made public on January 11, more than 120 medical doctors and health professionals from 25 countries urgently ask the president of the Collège des médecins du Québec, Dr Charles Bernard, to recommend to Premier Charest that the government not finance a consortium of investors who wish to export millions of tonnes of asbestos to developing countries where it would cause enormous harm to health for generations.
"We join the call of the 53 Québec medical doctors, who have asked you to intervene in this critical situation where the government is refusing to heed the advice of medical experts," say the signers of the letter.
It will bring enormous international dishonor on Québec if the government decides to subsidize the export of a known deadly product, which Québec itself refuses to use and which is being removed at the cost of millions of dollars from schools, hospitals and buildings in Québec,” say the scientists, who are from the United States, Italy, Denmark, Mexico, Argentina, South Africa, India, France, Lebanon, Australia, Japan and other countries.
The signers note that progress being made by the World Health Organization to protect people in developing countries from asbestos harm would be seriously threatened if the Quebec government throws its financial and political support behind the asbestos trade.
Many of the signers of the letter hold prestigious positions in world-renowned scientific and medical institutions.
The two principal signers of the letter, sent are Dr Arthur L. Frank, MD, PhD, Professor, Drexel University School of Public Health, US and Dr Richard A. Lemen, Ph.D.; Assistant Surgeon General, US (ret.)

Letter to Dr Charles Bernard, President-Director General, Quebec Medical College
January 10, 2010 has received additional signers

* Aubrey Miller, MD, MPH, Senior Medical Advisor, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health. Bethesda, MD, US

* Michael F. Jacobson, PhD, Executive Director, Center for Science in the Public Interest, US

* Takehiko Murayama, PhD, Professor of Environmental Policy and Planning, Waseda University, Japan

* Ken Takahashi, Professor of Environmental Epidemiology; Acting Director of the WHOCC for Occupational Health; University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu City, Japan

* Lauren Zeise, Ph.D., Chief, Reproductive and Cancer Hazard Assessment,California Environmental Protection Agency, US

* Leslie Thomas Stayner, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, US

* Pieter J. Jugovic, MSc., MD, CCFP, Assistant Professor, Dept of Family & Community Medicine, University of Toronto: former Director, Hospitalist Medicine Service, Toronto East General Hospital, Toronto, Canada

* Stephen Faulkner, MD, Past President Association of Complementary and Integrated Physicians of BC 2000 - 2002, Duncan, BC, Canada

* Courtney Howard, MD, CCFP-EM, Board Member, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Ottawa, ON, Canada

* Kate Tairyan, MD, MPH, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University; Content Director, Health Sciences Online; Research Consultant, UBC, National Core for Neuroethics, BC, Canada

* Ruth M. Heifetz, MD, MPH, Senior Lecturer, UCSD School of Medicine, San Diego, CA, US

* Victoria Lee, MD MPH MBA CCFP FRCPC, Community Medicine Specialist ; board member, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Canada

* René Mendes, MD, MPH, DrPH, Full Professor of Occupational Health, Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, Federal University of Minas Gerais (retired), Brazil.

* Elizabeth A. Katz, MPH, CIH, Senior Industrial Hygienist, California Dept. of Public Health, US

* Fernanda Giannasi, Civil, Safety and Health Engineer, Labour Inpector since 1983, Regional Labour Ministry, São Paulo state; Coordinator, VIrtual-CItizen for the Banishment of Asbestos in Latin America, Brazil

* Annette Stevens, MD, FRCP, BC, Canada

* Jeffrey D Barton, BSc, MD, FCFP, Fredericton, NB, Canada

* Ian Simpson, MA, MB, Bchir, CCFP, FCFP, Corner Brook, NFD, Canada

* Nachman Brautbar, M.D., Emeritus Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Southern Californa, Keck School of Medicine, US

* Sadhana Prasad, BSc, MD, FRCP(C), FACP, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, McMaster University; Director, Center for Bone Health, Kitchener, ON, Canada

* Leva Neimanis, MD, CCFP, FCFP, Associate Clinical Professor, Dept. of Family Medicine, McMaster University, ON, Canada

* John Sollazzo, MD, CCFP(EM), Ontario, Canada

* James Heilman, MD, CCFP(EM) , Cranbrook, BC, Canada

* Noel Kerin, MD. MSc. FCBOM, occupational health consultant, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, ON, Canada

* Pravesh Jugnundan, MD, occupational health consultant, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, ON, Canada

* Dr. Deborah Lisoway M.D., C.C.F.P., Family Physician, Whitehorse, YT, Canada

* Robert C. Larsen, MD, MPH, Clinical Professor, University of California San Francisco, US

NOTE: Titles and institutions named for identification purposes only

P.S: Earlier in a letter to Quebec Premier Charest by André Paradis, President of AI Canada francophone, pointed out how the export of asbestos raises human rights concerns, such as the right to health and physical integrity, the right to the improvement of all aspects of environmental and occupational health, the application of the precautionary principle and the right to informed consent, among other rights. He said, “It would be a serious failure of public morality and human solidarity to close one’s eyes to the reality of the situation that a delegation of victims of chrysotile asbestos and trade unionists from Asia came to expose in Quebec last week.”

The International Mesothelioma Interest Group which is a world authority on mesothelioma have sent a letter to Premier Charest.

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

Australia

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.

Yours sincerely

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)


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