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.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Health panel reports on chrysotile Asbestos withheld by Canadian government

Health Canada's panel reports on chrysotile asbestos have been withheld by the government and misrepresented in Parliament, provoking panel epidemiologist Leslie Stayner to give an interview to CBC which was aired on 24th May, 2008. Also, panel chairman Trevor Ogden publicly blasted Health Canada for withholding the reports (below).


From: "Trevor Ogden"
Sent: Saturday, May 24, 2008 2:10 PM
Subject: Chrysotile Report delay

The Honourable Tony Clement
Minister of Health

Dear Minister

I was chair of the expert panel convened by
Health Canada last November to report on the
health risks of chrysotile asbestos.

Professor Leslie Stayner has written to you (at about the delay in issuing
the reports of the Panel. I share his
concern. Health Canada is already committed to
issuing the reports on the Web without
alteration, and the main reports have been with
Health Canada for over two months. I was a civil
servant myself for 19 years, and know the
importance for a government to be able to give a
plausible policy reaction to a report; but I also
know that consultation and preparation of such a
response only needs to take about 12 hours. The
two months delay is inexplicable.

On 12th May, André Bellavance made a statement in
the House which clearly implied that the Report
supports controlled use for chrysotile as opposed
to a ban. As Professor Stayner says, this
question was not addressed by the Panel, and Mr
Bellavance's statement misrepresents it. I do
not believe that he has seen the report, but he
is exploiting the uncertainty to promote his own
views. This kind of thing can only increase with time.

In this delay, Health Canada is breaking faith
with the scientists who took part in the
panel. You will know that Canada has a pretty
bleak reputation in most of the health science
world, and those who took part in the Panel were
risking reputations with their colleagues. I
believe that we all took part because this did
seem an honest attempt by Health Canada to
understand what degree of consensus and range of
opinions existed, as a basis for policy. We are
now all constrained not to reveal what is in the
report, but cannot give any reasonable explanation for the delay.

I do urge you both as Minister of Health and
Chair of the Cabinet's Social Affairs Committee
to see that the reports are made public
forthwith. I believe that the authoritative
scientific opinions which they contain will
strengthen Canada in this field, and ensure that
its policies are on a sound scientific base.

Yours sincerely
Trevor Ogden

Dr TL Ogden
Chair, Health Canada Expert Panel on Chrysotile Asbestos

No comments:

Blog Archive