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, April 22, 2009

Profit put before public health

Indian government is using the consensus procedures of the UN chemicals information treaty to hold the world to ransom becasue it is the world's largest producer of endosulfan unmindful of the disastrous health consequences known to citizens especially through the irriversible environmental health crisis in Kerela. Working at the behest of the Indian Chemical Council, a indutsry body, Indian government chose to remain consistent in its disregard for the adeverse health of hazardous chemicals by impeding the process of regulation and control of poisnous chemicals at the fifth meeting of Chemical Review Committee that happened in Rome during 23-27 March, 2009. Indian government's delegation was represented by G. K. Pandey, Adviser, Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. This Ministry is directly under the Prime Minister.

Government's pro-chemical industry approach is quite manifest in its positions taken at least two relevant UN chemicals management treaty. One, the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure (PIC) for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade and the other being Stockholm Convention on Peristent Organic Pollutants.

Endosulfan is a known endocrine disruptor, and low dose exposure while in the womb is linked to male reproductive harm, autism, and birth defects. High dose exposures are acutely toxic, resulting in headaches, nausea and vomiting, seizures, and in extreme cases, unconsciousness and death. Endosulfan and its main breakdown product are also persistent environmental contaminants. Waterways near application sites are particularly threatened-for example, the EPA has estimated that after a typical endosulfan application to tomatoes, concentrations of endosulfan downstream can be up to 28 times higher than the level that is fatal to the average freshwater fish. Once released into the environment these residues take years to degrade, traveling many miles in the meanwhile. The European Union and over 20 other countries have already banned endosulfan and the US EPA is reconsidering whether its use should be permitted here.

The Chemical Review Committee of the Rotterdam Convention has been considering information on the banning of endosulfan by 9 West African countries - Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Mali, Mauritius, Niger and Senegal.

These countries banned endosulfan because of the terrible health effects - many cotton farmers have died after using the highly toxic chemical - and environmental contamination. All members of the committee, except one from India agreed that endosulfan should be listed under Annex 3 of the Rotterdam Convention, the UN treaty that helps countries to protect their borders and health of their people, through an internationally legally binding requirement for information exchange about import or export of hazardous chemicals.

Not surprisingly, the Indian government's delegation that has resorted to erecting procedural roadblocks and mounting unfounded legal objections comprised of representatives from the Indian Chemical Council. Indian government indulged did the same at the October 2008 meeting of the Rotterdam Convention to oppose listing of endosulfan in the PIC list of hazardous chemicals.

India has also opposed adding endosulfan to the Stockholm Convention where listing would trigger a global ban. Endosulfan is a dangerous and antiquated insecticide that communities around the world are working to eliminate.

USEPA data shows that all of us are routinely exposed to small amounts of endosulfan in the food we eat, with young children receiving the largest doses. Air monitoring studies has shown that people living, working, and going to school near fields where the chemical is used are also exposed by breathing contaminated air as it drifts from application sites.

The review committee of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants has agreed that endosulfan should be considered for addition to the list of chemicals banned globally under the treaty. Consideration of the chemical is expected to be a two-year scientific review process, with a final decision by government representatives in 2011. This UN treaty requires government-to-government notification when dangerous pesticides and other chemicals cross international borders.

Revealing its regressive and condemnable anti-public interest and pro-industry bias, in the case of silent killer, Chrysotile asbestos too Indian government did not let it be listed in annex III of the Rotterdam Convention "taking into account that the conference of the parties is not yet able to reach consensus on the whether to list chrysotile asbestos." The decision on chrysotile asbestos is being deferred to COP 5 of the Rotterdam Convention.

As in the case of Endosulfan, even in asbestos case Indian government is acting on behalf of the Chrysotile asbestos industry of India, Russia, Canada and Kazakhastan. Clearly, the position of Sonia Gandhi led UPA government is anti-people and is not based on science, but on blind commerce and immoral politics.

(Source: ToxicsWatch)

Asian Asbestos Conference 2009

Program for the Asian Asbestos Conference 2009
Hong Kong
Date – 26-27 April, 2009

25th April, 2009
Preparatory meeting for grass-roots delegates

Introduction for participants
Message from Japanese asbestos victims & families
Photographic exhibition: India’s Asbestos Time Bomb
Premiere of India's Asbestos Time Bomb Film
Presentation of Award by Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization
Welcome dinner for delegates
Indonesian Cultural Performance

26th April, 2009
Morning Session
Welcome Session
Special address
World Health Organization - Dr. Hisashi Ogawa
International Labour Organization - Dr. Tsuyoshi Kawakami
Victim Speaks out from Hong Kong
Plenary Session 1 - Asia’s Asbestos Time Bomb
Global Asbestos Panorama 2009
Asbestos Diseases - A Global Ecological Perspective
KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: Current Situation of Asbestos-Related
Problems in China
Press Conference - This will take place simultaneously with Plenary
Plenary Session 2- Tackling the Hazardous Aftermath of Asia’s
Asbestos Consumption
ILO Campaign to End Asbestos-Related Disease
Towards Elimination of Asbestos-related Diseases: WHO Approach
Asbestos Victims’ Campaigns in Asia
Global Mobilization of Trade Union Action on Asbestos
A New Australia-Asia Asbestos Research Cooperative to Help Victims of
Asbestos Disease
Transnational Claims: How U.S. Developments Affect Asian Asbestos Victims

Workshop 1 – The Basic Facts about Asbestos
Introduction to Asbestos
Dust Prevention for Carpenters: Grassroots Activity on a Construction Site in
CAW Asbestos Action
CFMEU Training on Asbestos Hazards, Agreements ,Campaigning
Challenges of Retired Asbestos Workers
Open Forum
Workshop 2 – Medical Session
Pathological Diagnosis of Asbestos-Related Diseases
Asbestosis among Ex-asbestos Workers of a Mumbai Asbestos Factory: A
Prevalence Study
Environmental Fallout from Asbestos Pollution in Korea - Asbestosis Epidemics
from Neighborhood Exposure in Chungnam Provinces, Korea
Asbestos-related lung cancer in Japanese construction workers
The Latest Data on Mesothelioma Diagnosis and Treatment
Case Study: Asbestosis in the Aftermath of Cyclone Tracy
Break-Out Session 1 – Potential Asian Claims on U.S. Asbestos
Bankruptcy Trusts
Break-Out Session 2 – Building the Ban Asbestos Asian
Workshop 3 – Practical Considerations for Minimizing the Asbestos Hazard
Case Study: Post-disaster Recovery and the Problem of Asbestos
Case Study: ESB Experience of Remediating Asbestos Contaminated Land
A Holistic Approach to Managing Asbestos Hazards
"The Art of Applying Science to Asbestos Abatement:" A Moral Obligation to
Minimize Exposure While Maintaining Costs
Asbestos Removal in a Subway Station During Operation
Development of Asbestos-free Roofing Materials in China
Technology and Equipment for Production of Non-asbestos Corrugated Cement
Sheets in Vietnam

27th April, 2009
Morning Session
Plenary Session 3 – Country Reports
Sri Lanka
Hong Kong
Plenary Session 4 – Meeting the Needs of Asbestos Victims
Compensation for Asbestos Disease in New South Wales, Australia
Japan Association of Mesothelioma, Asbestos-Related Disease
Victims and Their Families
Ban Asbestos Network Korea
Asbestos in Talc baby powder - social awakening experience of Korea
Workshop 4 – International Transfer of Asbestos Industry to
Asian Locations
Case Report of the International Trade of the Asbestos Industry in Asia -
Joint Case Study: Exposure Survey of Nichias Textile Factories in Japan, Korea
and Indonesia
Asbestos Claims against an Australian Multinational – The James Hardie
Brazilian Asbestos Exports to Asia

Workshop 5 – Shipyards, Ship Breaking Industry and Railways
Organizing Migrant Ship breaking workers in India - An unique experience -
Case Study Report of Malignant Mesothelioma Caused by Occupational
Exposure to Asbestos in Taiwan Shipyards
Shipbuilding-mesothelioma in Europe and in Asia
Asbestos in Rail Vehicles – A Case Study in How Not to Scrap Asbestos-
Contaminated Rail Vehicles
Plenary Session 5 – Building the Global Ban Asbestos Network
Social Movements in South America
Mobilisation of European Action on Asbestos
Ban Asbestos Mobilisation in Korea
Building a Grassroots Asbestos Victims' Organization in North America
Grassroots Strengthening and Building of Grassroots Agencies in Asia
International Protocols, Rotterdam Convention, World Bank
Open Forum
Plenary Session 6 – Going Forward: Consolidation and Closing
Hong Kong Declaration
Launch of Asian Ban Asbestos Network (A-BAN)
Awards Ceremony – Presentation of IBAS Grassroots Bursaries: by
Presentation of The Henri Pezerat Memorial Award 2009
Morning Session
International Workers’ Memorial Day, Chater Garden, Central, Hong
Kong Island

Government trying to protect asbestos industry, scientist alleges

(In the picture: Stephen Harper, Prime Minister, Canada)
Motive questioned in failure to disclose asbestos study
A British expert who oversaw a report on the dangers of the chrysotile variety of asbestos says he believes Ottawa tried to suppress his work to protect the Quebec industry that mines the cancer-causing mineral.

"I can only speculate, and my speculation is that there were interests in continuing Canadian production of chrysotile and they saw the report as a threat," Trevor Ogden, editor-in-chief of the Annals of Occupational Hygiene and a former top adviser to the British government on asbestos hazards, said in an interview.

Dr. Ogden headed an expert panel that Health Canada assembled in late 2007 to study the cancer risk of chrysotile. The report has been ready since March, 2008, but has been available only since last week
after Access to Information Act requests from the media, including The Globe and Mail.

Health Canada isn't publishing the report on its website, the usual practice for scientific studies that it funds, but says anyone who asks for a copy will be given one.

Although the link between asbestos and cancer is accepted internationally, the saga of the report indicates just how sensitive the issue is within the federal government.

Canada and other developed countries use little asbestos, and many nations ban it because of the health and liability risk. Most of Quebec's production is exported to the developing world for use as an inexpensive additive to strengthen cement building products.

Ottawa has spent nearly $20-million since 1984 promoting the mineral abroad. Health Canada said it delayed releasing the report because of the need to study it. "Health Canada took the time necessary to carefully
review the findings of the report, and to consult with other federal and provincial partners," it said in a statement to The Globe.

The introduction to the report, written by Dr. Ogden, concludes that chrysotile shows "a strong relationship of exposure with lung cancer, but a much less certain relationship with mesothelioma," a cancer in the lining of the chest wall.

The report also concludes that chrysotile generally contains trace amounts of a more harmful variety of asbestos known as tremolite.

As well, the panel noted but couldn't explain why the results of two studies suggest that it is far more of a health hazard for people to work with asbestos than to mine it.

The studies showed that lung cancer risk in South Carolina textile workers who use asbestos was about 70 times greater than that of Quebec's miners, according to the report. Asbestos causes cancer when its fibres are inhaled.

In an interview, Leslie Stayner, an epidemiology professor at the University of Illinois who was on Health Canada's asbestos panel, said researchers do not know why the textile workers were at greater risk. He said one theory is that the longer asbestos fibres used to make textiles are more deadly.

Dr. Stayner says he would be reluctant to work with Health Canada again because he feels the government "violated" an understanding that the work would be published in a timely fashion on a government website.

Health Canada said in its statement that it "sought the advice of leading international scientists on the risks posed by chrysotile asbestos so that it could better understand the scientific debate. No other country has encouraged such a debate amongst scientists with widely varying opinions."

Health Canada isn't alone in having trouble handling the issue of asbestos. Late last month, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff responded to a questioner at a town hall in Victoria about Canada's asbestos exports by saying the sales "of this dangerous product overseas has got to stop."

The remarks were recorded by the Tyee, the British Columbia-based online magazine.

"I'm probably walking right off the cliff into some unexpected public policy bog of which I'm unaware, but if asbestos is bad for parliamentarians in the Parliament of Canada, it just has to be bad for everybody else," he said.

But when he was later asked about the remark by reporters, he dropped the call for an end to exports.

Globe and Mail

P.S.: In the pictures, Narayan and Suneetha Mehra in Ahmedabad. Mehra, who worked at a power plant and insulated steel poles with asbestos, has asbestosis, and so does his wife, from washing his clothes. Under the law the former can pursue the case for meager sum of money as compensation but fearing a protracted legal battle, he chose a out of court settlement. Few thousand of rupees that he got has already been spent in buying medicines which are nothing more than placebo. His wife does not have even this legal remedy or any other remedy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Immoral exports

April 21, 2009

For too long the federal government, to its shame, has denied and avoided
evidence about the dangers of chrysotile asbestos, a product that Canada
mines and exports around the world.

The new release of a Health Canada report, documenting as it does a "strong
relationship" between lung cancer and exposure to chrysotile asbestos, means
the government can rationalize its irresponsible behaviour no longer, and
must finally ban these exports. Canada's reputation as a moral player on the
international stage is being jeopardized by its willingness to ship asbestos
to some of the poorest parts of the world.

As one of the largest exporters of chrysotile asbestos in the world, Canada
has fiercely protected this dying industry, which now supports only about
550 jobs in Quebec. Canada's official position has been that chrysolite
asbestos is safer than other asbestos products because it has shorter
fibres, and with proper handling and practices is acceptable for use.

A number of experts behind the Health Canada report criticized the
"safe-use" idea. One said that it's "misleading" for Canada to suggest that
a poor country like India, which receives the bulk of Canada's chrysolite
asbestos, will find a way to use it more safely than it has been used in the
wealthy West.

In 2006, Canada had a particular shameful moment when it led a group of
countries that blocked the naming of chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous
chemical in the Rotterdam Convention. The inclusion of this product would
not have banned sales but would have required exporting countries to provide
information to importing countries about the dangers of the stuff.

Moreover, not only has Canada taken a lead in blocking international efforts
to make the use of chrysotile asbestos safer but the government has stalled
on making public its own expert report on the subject.

The report, commissioned by Health Canada, was completed more than a year
ago yet was only made public this month by Canwest News Service, which had
waited 10 months -- yes, 10 months -- for a response to an Access to
Information request. Indeed, the British chair of the panel that wrote the
report had accused the Canadian government of "misusing science" and, in
failing to make the report public, of practicing "needless government

Ultimately, the debate about whether one form of asbestos is more likely to
cause certain types of cancer than others is not the point. It's sufficient
that the newly-released study shows that exposure to chrysotile asbestos is
not safe. As panellist Leslie Stayner, director of epidemiology and
biostatistics at the University of Illinois School of Public Health, put it:
"The fundamental question of whether it's hazardous or not is clear. I think
the answer to that is, yes, chrysotile is a hazardous substance."

Canada's willingness to peddle asbestos to the world's most vulnerable
populations, all for the sake of a few dollars in Quebec, is a long-standing
disgrace. The current federal government is notorious for its ability to
dismiss empirical data and the counsel of scientific experts, but perhaps
the Health Canada report will be one study that even this government will be
too embarrassed to ignore.

The Ottawa Citizen

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Asbestos everywhere

Supporting a toxic trade

While the federal government is busy cutting funding for real scientific research, it still spends money on the pseudo-scientific promotion of asbestos

By Kathleen Ruff and Colin L. Soskolne,
Ottawa Citizen, April 17, 2009

The Harper government has come under increased criticism for its lack of support for the scientific community, but it is still funding the pseudo-science of Canada's little-known asbestos lobby, which is pushing the carcinogen on developing countries around the world.

As reported in the Citizen on April 16 ("Health Canada sat on report tying asbestos to lung cancer,") it appears the government employs a variety of measures to suppress information on the threat to health posed by Canada's

Like in previous years, this year's budget committed $250,000 as a "Contribution to the Asbestos Institute to foster the international implementation of the safe and responsible use of chrysotile asbestos." Over the past 25 years, Liberal and Conservative governments have given the institute more than $19 million as part of what the Canadian Medical Association Journal calls "shameful, political manipulation of science."

The Asbestos Institute, now known as the Chrysotile Institute, promotes "scientific experts" to champion Canada's international trade in chrysotile asbestos. It's a toxic trade. According to the World Health Organization
(WHO) approximately 125 million workers worldwide are exposed to asbestos on the job, which results in at least 90,000 deaths every year.

Canada has the dubious distinction of being the second-largest exporter of asbestos (21 per cent of the market) even though we ourselves have virtually banned it. In fact, the federal government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to remove asbestos from the Parliament Buildings because it's too dangerous for MPs and their staffs.

Health leaders from across Canada recently asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper to stop funding the Chrysotile Institute, writing "it is a slur on the reputation of the scientific community and people of Canada for the government to be funding such perversion of scientific information." The institute, a registered lobbyist for the asbestos industry, changed its name to the Chrysotile Institute in 2004. Most people don't know what
chrysotile is. That's a plus for public relations. Chrysotile asbestos is the only form of asbestos sold commercially today; 95 per cent of all the asbestos ever used is chrysotile asbestos.

Over 90 per cent of Canada's asbestos is mixed with cement in developing countries to make roofing for schools and houses. The World Health Organization (WHO) highlights the particular danger of asbestos cement because it gets widely distributed and exposes large numbers of people to risk of asbestos-caused disease.

According to the health leaders, the Chrysotile Institute has put forward "the nonsensical, unsubstantiated claim," for example, that chrysotile asbestos essentially disappears when it is mixed with cement.

The theory of the magical disappearance of asbestos once mixed with asbestos cement is the brainchild of John Bridle, promoted by the Institute as "the foremost authority on asbestos sciences in the world."

This is surprising considering that Mr. Bridle has no apparent scientific qualifications. In 2005, he was convicted and fined by a United Kingdom court under the Trades Description Act for falsely claiming on his business
letterhead to have a basic minimum asbestos surveyor qualification, when he had failed the exam.

The institute ignores information from the WHO, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the world scientific community that chrysotile asbestos is a deadly carcinogen that should be banned. The Chrysotile Institute claims that it can be safely used.

Taxpayers might be surprised to know they are funding a political campaign to overthrow the WHO's policy banning asbestos. In its February 2008 newsletter, the Institute promoted a plan to use "all means available ...
including repeated and consistent pressure from governments to the Director General (Dr. Margaret Chan) of the WHO," in order to overturn the WHO's policy to ban chrysotile asbestos.

Do we want our tax dollars used to sabotage the World Health Organization? Apart from the integrity question, it is fiscally irresponsible to give Economic Development Canada funds to the Chrysotile Institute to bolster a dying industry. Over 90 per cent of the workers in Canada's asbestos industry have been laid off; the remaining 550 workers in Quebec have had their wages slashed and work part-year; and in 2007, the remaining asbestos
mining company, LAB Chrysotile Inc., filed for bankruptcy protection.

The money would be better spent on viable economic development for the region and assisting the remaining miners and their families.

A recent review in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, refers to Canada's "singularly malevolent role in promoting asbestos use in the developing world." It's time for Prime Minister Harper to stop funding "malevolent" misinformation.

The NDP is presently the only party in Parliament to adopt a policy in support of banning asbestos.

At a Victoria town-hall meeting on March 28, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff acknowledged the double standard whereby the Canadian government is spending millions of dollars to remove asbestos from the Parliament
Buildings, while at the same time promoting the export of asbestos to the developing world. "If asbestos is bad for parliamentarians in the Parliament of Canada, it just has to be bad for everybody else," said Ignatieff. "Our
export of this dangerous product overseas has got to stop."

By April 1, after strong pressure from the asbestos lobby, Mr. Ignatieff did an about face, saying, "We have an obligation to international agreements to the countries that we export to, to make them aware of the risks. That is
all I said." Many of the 300 people in the audience may disagree with that re-interpretation.

It's time for Mr. Harper and Mr. Ignatieff to end this shameful double standard: Our export of this dangerous product overseas has indeed got to stop.

Kathleen Ruff is a former director of the Court Challenges Program and senior human rights adviser to the Rideau Institute on International Affairs. She is author of Exporting Harm: How Canada Markets Asbestos to the
Developing World.
Colin L. Soskolne is a professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Alberta.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Asbestos, Asbestos Everywhere...

(Security check up under asbestos roof in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)
India continues to import the asbestos toxic mineral primarily from Canada and Russia although over 50 countries around the world have banned it. In 2008, Canada exported $77 million worth of asbestos; 43% of it went to India. Asbestos is is mixed with cement and used to create infrastructure like pipes, brakes, and rooftops etc.

At least since 1984, the Canadian asbestos industry created the Chrysotile Institute (previously known as Asbestos Institute) and Canadian government has contributed more than $19 million to the institute for the promotion of this killer fiber by legitimizing bad science manufactured at the behest of the industry.

Caught in a time warp, people with only philistine concerns like Clément Godbout, President, Chrysotile Institute, Laurent Lessard, a politician from Québec, Dr Jacques Dunnigan, a industry toxicologist, Dr David Bernstein, an industry consultant toxicology from Switzerland, Dr Suresh Moolgavkar, pro-industry Professor, Epidemiology from US, Dr. Michel Camus, a Canadian politician, Dr Sergey V. Kashansky, Ekaterinburg Medical Research Cente from Russia, Dr Hans Weill, Tulane University School of Medecine from US, Dr John Hoskins, industry toxicologist from UK, Dr Nikolai Izmerov, Head, Russian Occupational Health Institute, Russia, Luis Cejudo Alva, industry Consultant, Instotuto Mexicano de Fibro-Industrias, Mexico, Dr Vivek Chandra Rao, Hyderabad Industries, India, John Bridle from UK, Denis Hamel from Canada, Dr Dennis Paustenbach from US, Dr Matiana Ramirez Aguilar from Mexico, Dr Ericson Bagatin, - Occupational Health Area, Medical Sciences School State University of Campinas, Sao Paulo from Brazil and Gary Nash, a Canadian politician are involved in a consistent misinformation campaign and anti-public health propaganda to safeguard the blood tainted profit of the chrysotile asbestos industry across the developing world.

Pat Martin, Winnipeg Member of Parliament, attempted to make the House of Commons, Canada declare April Fools Day (April 1) an asbestos awareness day for asbestos-related diseases because Canadian government has misled the world for quite a while. “We’ve fooled the world with phony science for too long,” Martin said. As a youth Martin spent two years mining asbestos in the Yukon. At the time, he was completely unaware that the effects from working in such an environment could be fatal. Currently, Canada is exporting more than 200,000 tons of asbestos each year. In 2005, 61 percent of occupational fatalities in Canada were the result of asbestos exposure, totaling 340 people.

The Canadian Cancer Society fully supported Martin in his efforts in asking the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to set a timeline for phasing out the use and export of Canada’s chrysotile asbestos. The Canadian Cancer Society said, “We are stating factually that all forms of asbestos cause cancer.” The last remaining active asbestos mine in Canada is located in Quebec, which exports 90 percent of all the asbestos that it produces.

In a choice between Indian lives and Quebec, Quebec wins

In a choice between Third World lives and Quebec, Quebec wins

Given a choice between the health of people in developing countries, and the need to pander to Quebec, Ottawa comes down consistently on the side of pandering.

Canwest news reports that health officials have been hiding a report, delivered a year ago, that shows a "strong relationship" between lung cancer and the chrysotile asbestos mined in Quebec and shipped overseas:

For more than a year, Health Canada held onto a report by a panel of international experts that concludes there is a "strong relationship" between lung cancer and chrysotile asbestos mined in Canada.

Health Canada received the report in March 2008, resisting calls from the panel chairman to release the findings despite his plea last fall that the delay was "an annoying piece of needless government secrecy."

Canwest News Service obtained the report under Access to Information legislation, but the request took more than 10 months to process.

While the panel found the relationship between chrysotile asbestos and the rare of form of cancer mesothelioma "much less certain," there is a "strong relationship of exposure with lung cancer," panel chairman Trevor Ogden wrote in the newly released introductory letter to the report.

The motive for sitting on the report is self-evident: Acknowledging the risks of asbestos would hurt the asbestos industry centred on Thetford Mines in Quebec. Even though the industry now accounts for just 550 jobs, there would be political fallout as the separatists accused Ottawa of truning its back on oppressed Quebecers. Liberals and Conservative governments alike have been consistent in protecting their electoral butts when given that choice.

So too bad for the people in India, Indonesia and Thailand who account for most of the exports. It's unfortunate the oilsands aren't located in Quebec. Then there'd be no question of damaging the industry with punitive carbon taxes and the like.

Kelly McParland
National Post

Comments by rossbcan
Apr 17 2009

Its a problem of subjective thinking. As a politician, opinions of Quebec voters can affect your self interest. The threat of being complicit in the deaths of unimportant third world wogs is far more remote and, by the facts considered irrelevant.

Objectively speaking, permanent health harm to persons is far more damaging than a political / economic hit. We do the same thing as China (an accident) with their tainted pet food and deserve far more criticism since it is humans (intentional), not pets who are harmed.

If the law ever again becomes honest, whomever suppressed this report and failed to notify asbestos consumers of the risks are personally liable for the harm they are complicit in causing.

Comments by plazatoro
Apr 17 2009

"members of the public can contact the department to receive a copy of the report, but that there is no roll out planned" There isn't a whiff of the issue, let alone the report on the Health Canada site. I guess each of us must file our own access to information request!




Robert Vojakovic
Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia
PO Box 1394
Osborne Park WA 6916
Tel: 0061 893 444 077
Fax: 00 61 893 450 422

Asbestos Diseases Society of Victoria
Street Address: Suite 3/ Level 1 200 Lygon Street
Carlton VIC 3053
Postal Address: PO BOX 416
Carlton South VIC 3053
Tel:(03) 9639 4464 and (03) 9639 4451
International callers: +61 3 9639 4464 and +61 3 9639 4451
Fax: (03) 9639 4462
International faxes: +61 3 9639 4462

Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia Inc.
Suite 3, Ground Floor
133-137 Parramatta Road
Granville NSW 2142
Tel: 0061 2 9637 8759
Fax: 0061 2 9897 3259

Gippsland Asbestos Related Diseases Support Inc.(GARDS)
Village Community Centre
1 Ollerton Avenue
Moe, Victoria, Australia 3825
Tel/Fax: (03) 5127 7744

Postal address:
PO Box 111
Victoria, Australia 3825

Shirley White
Queensland Asbestos Related Diseases Support Society Inc.
7 Garrett Street
Murarrie, 4172
Tel: (07) 3390 4997
Fax: (07) 3348 8373


c/o Fernanda Giannasi

Eliezer Jo�o de Souza
Associa��o Brasileira dos Expostos ao Amianto - ABREA (Brazilian Association of Asbestos Victims)
Av. Santo Ant�nio, 683 - Jardim Alvorada
CEP: 06086-070 - Osasco - S�o Paulo - Brasil
Tel/Fax: (55 11) 3681-2710
Email: or

Ivitalino dos Santos
Associa��o Bahiana dos Expostos ao Amianto - ABEA (Bahia Association of Asbestos Victims)
Via Universit�ria, Conjunto Habitacional Vida Nova, s/n, Quadra 08, CIA I
CEP: 43700-000-Sim�es Filho-Bahia-Brasil
Tel: (071)396-1888
Central Telef�nica: (071)396-7284

Ruth Nascimento
Associa��o Brasileira dos Expostos ao Amianto do Rio de Janeiro-ABREA/RJ
(Brazilian Association of Asbestos Victims)
Largo dos Le�es, 101/802 - Humait�
CEP: 22260-210-Rio de Janeiro - RJ-Brasil
Tel: (021)2598-2822
Fax: (021)270-3219

Deputado Zilton Rocha
Associa��o dos Expostos ao Amianto de Po��es
(Association of Asbestos Victims from Po��es)
A/C Vanja Brito
Rua Clinio de Jesus 136/101- Barbalho
CEP: 40030-390- Salvador - Bahia-Brasil
Email: or


Paula Walker
Sheffield and Rotherham Asbestos Group
Unit 311 Aizlewood's Mill
Nursery Street, Sheffield S38 GG
Tel: 0114 282 3212
Fax: 0114 2823 151

[Rotherham Branch]
Contact: Mick Firth
Room 9, Imperial Buildings, Corporation Street
Rotherham S60 1PE
Tel: 01709 513 587

John Flanagan
Merseyside Asbestos Victims Support Group
Suite 32, 2nd Floor
Oriel Chambers
Water Street
Liverpool L2 8UQ
Tel: 0151 236 1895
Fax: 0151 236 1895

Carol Duerden
Bradford Asbestos Victims Support Group
UNISON Offices, 2nd Floor, Auburn House
Upper Piccadilly, Bradford, BD1 3NU
Tel: 01274 393949
Fax: 01274 393949

Eileen Coffey
Cheshire Asbestos Victims Support Group
3 Fryer Street, Runcorn, Cheshire, WA7 1ND
Tel: 01928 576641
Fax: 01928 576649

Joanne Carlin
Derbyshire Asbestos Support Team
C/o TRUST, 70 Saltergate, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S40 IJR
Tel: 01246 231441
Fax: 01246 551529

Tony Whitston
Greater Manchester Asbestos Victims Support Group (GMAVSG)
Windrush Millennium Centre
70 Alexandra Road
Moss Side
Manchester M16 7WD
Tel: 0161 636 7555
Fax: 0161 636 7556

Hampshire Asbestos Support & Awareness Group (HASAG)
13 Wychwood Grove
Chandlers Ford
Hampshire, SO53 1FQ
The group is currently (Jul 2007) holding meetings in Southampton (T&G offices at 15/16 The Avenue) on the second Thursday of each month and in Portsmouth on the fourth Thursday of each month. For details of the next meeting, please contact: Diane McLellan 07792 543426 or Lynne Squibb 07940 328637.
Tel: 07792 543426 & 07940 328637
Email: or

Frank Gray
Northeast Asbestos Support & Awareness Group
Trade Union Centre
119/121 Marton Road, Middlesborough, TS1 2DU
Tel: 01642 240044

Tom Carden
Ridings Asbestos Support & Awareness Group
50B Armley Town Street, Leeds, LS12 3AA
Tel: 0113 231 1010

Barrow Asbestos-Related Disease Support
Supported by:
St Mary's Hospice, Ford Park, Ulverston, Cumbria, LA12 7JP
Tel: 01229 580305
Fax: 01229 583072
B.A.R.D.S. meet one day a month in Lesser Kings Hall, Hartlington Street, Barrow in Furness - phone for details.


Patrick Herman
12230 NANT

ANDEVA (Association Nationale de Defense des Victimes de l�Amiante)
22, rue des Vignerons 94686 Vincennes
Tel: 01 41 93 73 87
Fax: 01 41 93 70 06


Jun'ichi Nukushina
Japan Citizen's Network for Wiping Out Asbestos
Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biosciences
University of Tokyo
1-1-1 Yayoicho
Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113

Sugio Furuya
BANJAN: Ban Asbestos Network Japan
5th floor, Z Building, 7-10-1 Kameido
Koto-ku, Tokyo, 136-0071
Tel: +81-3-3636-3882
Fax: +81-3-3636-3881


Ed Grootegoed and Lois Syret
Asbestos Diseases Association of New Zealand
PO Box 20 035
Glen Eden Auckland
New Zealand


Fiona Sterritt (Company Secretary)
Justice for Asbestos Victims (JAV)
523 Antrim Road, Belfast, BT15 3BS
Tel: 028 90783923


Phyllis Craig/ Harry McCluskey
CAA (Clydeside Action on Asbestos)
245 High Street
Glasgow, Scotland G40QR
Tel: 0141 552 8852

Clydebank Asbestos Group
8 Crown Avenue
Scotland G81 3BW
Tel: 0141 951 1008
Fax: 0141 562 0045


Verein f�r Asbestopfer und Angeh�rige
(Society for Asbestos Victims and Relatives)
Unterm�li 6
Postfach 2555
CH-6302 Zug
Tel: 041 766 47 77
Fax: 041 766 47 78

Pierrette Iselin
Caova, comit� d'orientation et de d�fense des victimes de l'amiante
Girarde 15
1066 Epalinges
Tel: 00 41 79 732 96 36
Email: or


Heather Bechtel
Asbestos Victims of America (AVA)
PO Box 66594
Scotts Valley, CA 95067

Linda Reinstein (Executive Director and Cofounder)
Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO)
1525 Aviation Boulevard Suite 318
Redondo Beach, California 90278
Tel: (310) 437-3886
Email: or

James Fite
White Lung Association
P.O.Box 1483
Baltimore, Maryland 21203-1483
Tel: +1 410 243 5864

Gayla Benefield
Libby Asbestos Victim's Support
245 Cedar Meadows Rd
Libby, MT 59923
Tel: (406) 293-5535


Ann Howells
Asbestos Awareness Wales / UK
10 Osborne Terrace
Bridgend CF32 7NP
Helpline Tel: 07775 815705 9am-9pm


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Asbestos tied to lung cancer: Health Canada report

Note: A document "Canada, Chrysotile and Cancer: Health Canada’s Asbestos International Expert Panel Report" published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, December, 2008. In the editorial of the journal, Dr. Leslie Stayner, one of the scientific experts appointed in early 2008 to the Health Canada panel on chrysotile asbestos, whose report the government did not release, says:“What should be truly embarrassing to the Canadian government and people is their position that exposure to chrysotile asbestos is safe and that there is no need to warn the developing countries that it exports to, about the hazards associated with its use. There is simply no scientific evidence to support this position. The banning of asbestos is the only means for preventing a tragic repeat of the epidemic of asbestos related diseases that is still occurring in the U.S. and Europe in the developing countries that are currently importing and using chrysotile asbestos from Canada and other countries."

Health Canada, the department of the government of Canada with responsibility for national public health but its ongoing support of the export of chrysotile asbestos has sullied Canada's global reputation. Canada's role in promoting the use of chrysotile in poorer nations like India, Pakistan and Vietnam is reprehensible.

The current Health MInister is Leona Aglukkag, a Conservative Member of Parliament appointed by Stephen Harper, Prime MInister, Canada who is funding the Chrysotile Institute although it is endangering public health by disseminating misleading and untruthful information about chrysotile asbestos, especially in the world’s emerging economies like India is quite contrary to that from leading scientific institutions - such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH), and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) regarding the health risks of chrysotile asbestos. These institutions, as well as the overwhelming worldwide scientific consensus, have called for chrysotile asbestos to be banned. The Asbestos Institute (re-named the Chrysotile Institute in 2004) is funded by the Canadian government, the Quebec government and the asbestos industry. The Economic Development Agency of Canada and the Department of Natural Resources have given the Chrysotile Institute more than $20 million over the past 25 years. In February 2008, Canadian government announced another grant of $750,000 to the Chrysotile Institute for the next three years. Canadian Medical Association Journal has asked the Canadian government to stop this funding.

Gopal Krishna

Asbestos tied to lung cancer: report

By Sarah Schmidt, Canwest News Service

April 16, 2009

Health Canada sat for more than a year on a report by a panel of international experts that concludes there is a "strong relationship" between lung cancer and chrysotile asbestos mined in Canada.

Health Canada received the report in March 2008, resisting calls from the panel chairman to release the findings despite his plea last fall that the delay was "an annoying piece of needless government secrecy."

Canwest News Service obtained the report under Access to Information legislation, but the request took more than 10 months to process.

While the panel found the relationship between chrysotile asbestos and the rare form of cancer mesothelioma "much less certain," there is a "strong relationship of exposure with lung cancer," panel chairman Trevor Ogden wrote in the newly released introductory letter to the report.

Ogden, editor-in-chief of The Annals of Occupational Hygiene and based in Britain, also noted the panel was comprised of members "who in the past have expressed strongly opposed views on this subject." They included industry consultant David Bernstein, previously retained by asbestos producer Union Carbide Corp. and Canadian and California asbestos mining companies.

In an interview, panellist Leslie Stayner, director of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Illinois School of Public Health, said while the panel agreed the link between exposure to amphibole asbestos -- another form of the mineral -- and mesothelioma was stronger than chrysotile asbestos, the experts couldn't agree about the actual degree of that difference.

"The most important thing is what it doesn't say, which is some people have alleged it would say. What it doesn't say is that exposure to chrysotile asbestos is safe," said Stayner.

"I think the bottom line here is that all forms of asbestos cause both mesothelioma and lung cancer. We will probably for many years still be debating this question of relative hazard of chrysotile. The fundamental question of whether it's hazardous or not is clear. I think the answer to that is, yes, chrysotile is a hazardous substance."

The release of the report has reignited the debate about the future of the asbestos industry in Canada, a particularly divisive issue in Quebec, where the industry is concentrated.

Pat Martin, the New Democrat MP who has long championed a ban of asbestos exports, said the conclusions of the expert panel should propel government to take action.

"It makes our case. The reality is we're at a tipping point. The jig is up for the asbestos industry," said Martin, who worked in a Yukon asbestos mine as a young man without being warned of the health risks.

Successive Liberal and Conservative governments have held firm on a "safe use" policy. Health advocates have long chastised this position as politically expedient to accommodate a Quebec constituency rather than a decision based on sound science.

The panel was not asked to make a finding on the "safe use" principle. Stayner gave a personal assessment of the science, saying the concept is a misleading one.

"My opinion, really, is safe use is a canard. We can't really believe that shipping these asbestos fibres to countries like India, that they're going to somehow magically use chrysotile in a way that is safer than we have in the West."

Health Canada announced late Wednesday that members of the public can contact the department to receive a copy of the report, but that there is no roll-out planned. A spokesman chalked up the delay to Health Canada taking the "time necessary to carefully review the findings of the report, and to consult other federal and provincial partners."

© Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Canadian Opposition Leader seeks end of asbestos trade

Michael Ignatieff is the Leader of the Official Opposition in Canada's minority Parliament. He is leader of the Liberal Party (the Party which is the usual governing Party of Canada, which has always been an aggressive supporter of the Quebec asbestos industry and whose former leader, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, phoned the President of Chile to put pressure on him to stop Chile from banning asbestos and who took the case to the WTO, arguing that a ban on chrysotile asbestos would violate WTO trade rules. To date, they have resisted all pressure to change their position on asbestos by refusing to answer any questions on asbestos.

Michael Ignatieff addressed an overflow town-hall meeting in British Columbia on March 28, 2009. The Raging Grannies sang the attached song outside the meeting and handed out your letter of appeal to Canadians from the people in India.

One Christine Andersonn was able to ask the last question to Ignatieff and got a leader of the Liberal Party to call for an end of Canada's asbestos export. The asbestos lobby will be putting immense pressure on Ignatieff to recant.

At a Liberal town hall meeting, six grannies made their presence known beforehand with our banner stating: "Asbestos Kills. End All Exportation Now". They sang two asbestos songs loudly and repetitively and handed out fifty copies of the Indian appeal to Canadians.

Christine Anderson asked, "You spoke eloquently a few minutes ago, Mr. Ignatieff, of our responsibilities as citizens of the world. My question is about asbestos. Although millions of taxpayers' dollars are being spent removing asbestos from the parliament buildings, millions more have been spent over 25 years funding the Chrysotile Institute of Canada to export chrysotile asbestos to developing countries. Do you, Sir, support an end to Canada's exporting asbestos, as is demanded by the World Health Organization and the Canadian Cancer Society, and many other organizations?"

He replied: "I may be stepping off a cliff with this one but if asbestos is so bad that we are removing it from parliament, it must be bad for other countries. This has to end. Thank you for your question."

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