The scientific evidence is overwhelmingly clear that all asbestos is deadly and that “safe use” of asbestos is impossible. The world’s leading health authorities have called for an end to the use of any asbestos, stating that this is the only way to prevent further tragic epidemics of asbestos-related disease and death.
As part of its ruthless tactics to try to suppress the scientific evidence about harm caused by asbestos, the asbestos industry has filed legal threats against scientists in Brazil, India and Thailand to try to silence them. Below is a Statement, signed by close to one hundred leading scientists around the world, condemning the intimidation tactics of the asbestos industry, expressing support for the scientists being threatened, and calling on governments everywhere to put the health of their citizens first and to stop the use of all asbestos.
International Call For Action To Stop Intimidation Of Scientists By The Asbestos Industry
Scientists have a professional and ethical duty to put forward evidence-based scientific information. When public health is involved and people’s lives are at risk, this duty is especially critical.
It is reprehensible that the asbestos industry is currently threatening scientists with legal action because these scientists have acted in conformity with their professional and ethical duty and have put forward evidence-based scientific information regarding harm caused by all forms of asbestos. The asbestos industry is endeavouring to suppress this information.
These tactics of intimidation by the asbestos industry are a threat to all scientists, a threat to freedom of speech and a threat to public health. They create a climate of fear, which deters others from putting forward evidence-based science that is displeasing to vested interests. This undermines the safety and well being of all citizens. In addition, these tactics of intimidation cause great personal, emotional and financial stress on the scientists targeted and their families.
The asbestos industry has served legal threats against the following scientists:
* In Brazil, the Chrysotile Institute of Brazil (Instituto Brasileiro do Crisotila) has filed a legal threat against Professor Hermano Albuquerque Castro, National School of Public Health (FIOCRUZ), to try to stop him from putting forward evidence-based scientific information on the risk to health posed by chrysotile asbestos.
* In India, the Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers’ Association has served legal threats on a number of scientists, including Professor Sanjay Chaturvedi, University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, and Dr Tushar Kant Joshi, Director, Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, to try to stop the scientists from writing about the threat to health posed by chrysotile asbestos.
* In Thailand, the Chrysotile Information Center has served a legal threat on Professor Vithaya Kulsomboon of Chulalongkorn University to try to stop him from informing the public about the threat to health posed by chrysotile asbestos.
As scientists from around the world, we share a commitment to defend public health and the integrity of science.
* WE STRONGLY CONDEMN THE ABOVE ACTIONS and express our support for the scientists who have been targeted.
* WE CALL ON THE WORLDWIDE ASBESTOS INDUSTRY and, in particular, the Chrysotile Institute of Brazil, the Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers’ Association of India and the Chrysotile Information Center Of Thailand to cease using legal threats to intimidate scientists, to withdraw the legal threats served against scientists in Brazil, India and Thailand and to compensate these scientists for the legal costs they have incurred.
* WE CALL ON THE GOVERNMENTS OF BRAZIL, INDIA AND THAILAND to condemn the tactics of intimidation being used by the asbestos industry against scientists in their countries and to give support to the scientists who have been threatened.
* WE URGE ALL GOVERNMENTS to put the health of their populations ahead of the interests of the asbestos industry by implementing the recommendation of the World Health Organization to end all use of asbestos.
SIGNED (by alphabetical order):
DR ELIA ABI-JAOUDE, MSc, MD, Research Fellow, University of Toronto, Canada
DR SELIM AHMED, MBBS, FCPS, MPH, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University Malaysia Sabah (UMS),Sabah, Malaysia; former Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Institute of Child and Mother Health, Matuail, Dhaka, Bangladesh
DR EDUARDO ALGRANTI, MD, MSc, Pneumology, University of Wales, Doctor in Public Health, University of São Paulo; Chief, Division of Medicine, FUNDACENTRO; Director – FUNDACENTRO WHO Collaborating Centre in Occupational Health; Member of the WHO Advisory Committee on Occupational Health; Brazil
DR NEIL ARYA, MD, CCFP, FCFP, D.Litt., Director, Office of Global Health, and Adjunct Professor, Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo, Canada; Assistant Clinical Professor, Family Medicine, McMaster University: Adjunct Professor, Family Medicine, Western University; past President, Physicians for Global Survival; Canada
DR PIERRE L. AUGER, MD, Msc, FRCPC, CSPQ, Occupational Medicine, Clinical Professor, Laval University, Québec, Canada
DR MICHELINE BEAUDRY, Ph.D., Professor (retired), Université Laval; current chair, Commission on Health, Living conditions and Social services, Québec solidaire, Québec, Canada
DR FIORELLA BELPOGGI, Director, Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Centre, Ramazzini Institute, Italy
DR PIERRE BIRON, MD, MS, Honorary Professor of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Québec, Canada
DR YV BONNIER VIGER, MD, MSc, MM, CMSQ, FRCPC, Medical Specialist in Public Health and Preventive Medicine; Director of the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Laval University, Québec; Président de l’Association des médecins spécialistes en santé communautaire du Québec, Canada
DR. MICHAEL BYERS, Professor & Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law, University of British Columbia, Canada
DR EDUARDO MARINHO BARBOSA, Mining Engineer, MSc. Pedagogy, PhD. Public Health (Epidemiology) on course, Federal Institute Of Education, Science And Technology Of Bahia – IFBA, Brazil
DR ERNESTO BURGIO, pediatrician, President, Scientific Office, International Society of Doctors for the Environment; member of ARTAC Scientific Committee, member of European Society for Research & Prevention on Environment and Health, member of Environmental Health Commission of SIP (Italian Society of Pediatrics), Italy
DR EUGENE K. CAIRNCROSS, Ph.D. Adjunct Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa
DR CHRIS CARLSTEN, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine (Respiratory); Chair in Occupational and Environmental Lung Disease; Director, Occupational Lung Disease Clinic, Associate Faculty, School of Environmental Health; Associate, UBC James Hogg Research Centre, University of British Columbia; Vancouver General Hospital (The Lung Centre), BC, Canada
DR DAVID O. CARPENTER, M.D., Director, Institute for Health and the Environment, University at Albany, Rensselaer, New York, USA
DR BARRY CASTLEMAN, ScD, Environmental Consultant, USA; author, Asbestos: Medical and Legal Aspects, USA
ANDRÉ CICOLELLA, Scientific adviser, INERIS, National Institute for Environment and Risks, France; Président du Réseau Environnement Santé France
PROF. RICHARD CLAPP, D.Sc., MPH, Adjunct Professor, University of Massachusetts – Lowell, Lowell, MA, USA
DR HELENO RODRIGUES CORREA-FILHO, Dr.PH, MD, Epidemiologist, Associate Professor, UNICAMP, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Brazil
DR PIERRE DESHAIES, MD, MSc, CSPQ, FRCPC, Clinical Professor at the Faculty of Medicine, Laval University, Québec, Canada
DRA ANA DIGON, MD, Chief of Chemical Risks Program, Ministry of Health, Buenos Aires, Argentina
DR DAVID EGILMAN, MD, MPH, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, Brown University, Rhode Island, USA
DR MARIAN R. FLUM, ScD, Occupational Health Researcher, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Department of Work Environment, Lowell, MA, USA
DR ARTHUR L. FRANK, MD, PhD, Professor of Public Health, Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA, USA
DR ERICA FRANK, MD, MPH, Professor and Canada Research Chair, University of British Columbia, School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine; 2008
President, Physicians for Social Responsibility; Founder and President, www.NextGenU.org; Canada
PROFESSOR LIN FRITSCHI, MBBS, PhD, Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, The University of Western Australia, Nedlands, WA, Australia
DR THOMAS H GASSERT, MD, MSc, Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Boston, MA, USA; Visiting Scientist in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Harvard University School of Public Health, USA
FERNANDA GIANNASI, Civil engineer, post-graduate in Health and SafetyEngineering; Labor Inspector, Brazilian Federal Ministry of Labor and Employment; Coordinator, GIA — Inter-Institutional Group on Asbestos; General Manager, State Program on Asbestos, Regional Superintendence of Labor and Employment, State of São Paulo; Coordinator, Virtual Citizens’ Network for the Banning of Asbestos in Latin America; founder, ABREA, the Brazilian Association of People Exposed to Asbestos, Brazil
DR MARISA GILLES, Public health Physician, Bsc, MBBs, MPH, MAE, FAFPHP, Associate Professor, Public Health Physician Midwest Population Health Unit, Western Australia
DR ROBERT GOODLAND, BSc, MSc, PhD, formerly the World Bank Group’s environmental advisor for 23 years; technical director of the independent Extractive Industry Review
DR MORRIS GREENBERG, MB, FRCP, FFOM, former, HM Medical Inspector of Factories, England
PROFESSOR JANE HEYWORTH, Sub Dean Health Science, School of Population Health, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia
PROFESSOR MANAMI HORIHATA, J．F. Oberlin University, Associate Professor of Integrated Sciences, Japan
MUMTAZ HUSSAIN, M.Sc. Public Health Engineering/Environmental Engineering, Chairman, Society for Conservation of Environment and Sustainable Development; Director, National Foundation for Environmental Education and Research; Chairman, Environment Media Forum, Pakistan
DR KOUKI INAI, M.D., Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Hiroshima University, Japan
DEWI UTAMI IRIANI, MPH, graduate student, Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, Juntendo University, Japan; Syarif Hidayatullah Islamic State University, Indonesia
PROF. YAYOI ISONO, Faculty of Contemporary Law, Tokyo Keizai University, Japan
DR MOHAMED F JEEBHAY, MBChB, PhD, Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health Research, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, South Africa
DR NOOR JEHAN, Professor and Chair, Dept. of Environmental Sciences, University of Peshawar, Pakistan
DR RUXANA JINA, South Africa
DR EDWARD W. KEYSERLINGK, LLM, PhD, Professor of Medical Ethics & Health Law (retired), Faculty of Medicine, McGill University; former member, Law Reform Commission of Canada; formerly the Public Service Integrity Officer, Government of Canada
DR JOHN R. KEYSERLINGK, MD, MSc, FRCS , FACS, Surgical Oncologist, St Mary’s Hospital & Hôpital du Sacré Coeur; Director, Ville Marie Oncology Center, Montréal, Québec, Canada
DR AMIR KHADIR, médecin spécialiste; deputy for Mercier in the National Assembly of Québec, Canada
DR NORIO KURUMATANI, MD, Professor of Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Nara Medical University, Japan
PROFESSOR TRUDO LEMMENS, LicJur, LLM, DCL, William M. Scholl Chair in Health Law and Policy, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
DR. JIRAPORN LIMPANANONT, Foundation For Consumers (FFC), Social Pharmacy Research Unit (SPRU), Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
PROFESSOR ABBY LIPPMAN, PhD, Professor Emerita, Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, Québec, Canada
PROFESSOR LESLIE LONDON, Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health Research, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Health Sciences Faculty, University of Cape Town, South Africa
DR GUADALUPE AGUILAR MADRID, MD, MSc, PhD, Researcher, Occupational Health Research Unit, IMSS, Mexico
DR SHUAIB ISMAIL MANJRA, MBChB, MmedSci, BSc (Med)(Hons), DOH Occupational Health Physician, Cape Town, South Africa
PROFESSOR DR. TSUYOSHI MATSUDA, Environmental Ethics, Graduate School of Humanities, Kobe University, Japan
DR. DONNA E. MAZIAK, MDCM, MSc, FRCSC, FACS, Professor, University of Ottawa, Program Director, Division of Thoracic Surgery, Ottawa Hospital – General Division, Canada
DR. SAIMA MEMON, In-Charge Director/Assist Professor, Institute of Advance Research Studies in Chemical Sciences, University of Sindh, Jamshoro, Pakistan
DR.UGRID MILINTANGKUL, Family Physician, Deputy Secretary of National Health Commission; Ex-Secretary General Folk Doctor Foundation, Thailand
PROF. KENICHI MIYAMOTO, Dr.Economics, Visiting Professor of Ritsumeikan University, Professor Emeritus of Osaka City University, Professor Emeritus Of Shiga University, Environmental Economist, Japan
DR ANNIE THÉBAUD-MONY, PhD, Director, National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), France; Specialist in occupational cancer, University Paris 13, France
DR IPPEI MORI, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Medicine, Mie University, Japan
DR MOKGADI MOTHEMELA, University of Cape Town, South Africa
DR JOCHEN MUELLER, Professor for Environmental Toxicology, National Research Center for Environmental Toxicology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
DR LIAM A. MULROY, MD, FRCPC, Associate Professor, Dept. Of Radiation Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
DR GERALD V. POJE, Ph.D., Former board member, U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, Vienna, US
PROFESSOR TAKEHIKO MURAYAMA, PHD, Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan
DR ÉRIC NOTEBAERT, MD, MSc, Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Montreal, Quebec; Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
DR IMAN NUWAYHID, MD, DrPH, Professor and Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, Lebanon
DR. CAROLE P. O’BEIRNE, M.Sc., M.D., FRCPC Pediatrics, Staff Pediatrician, Department of Pediatrics, Toronto East General Hospital; Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Sick Kids Hospital; Lecturer, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Canada
PROFESSOR RORY O’NEILL, Editor, Hazards magazine www.hazards.org; Professor, Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group, University of Stirling, Scotland; Health, safety and environment officer, International Federation of Journalists
DR DOMYUNG PAEK, MD, MSc, ScD, Dean, School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
DR. PATCHARAPORN PANYAWUTHIKRAI, Thailand
DR GERALD V. POJE, Ph.D., Former board member, U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, Vienna, US
PROFESSOR STEPHEN RICHER, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus and former Chair, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton University, Canada
DR EDUARDO RODRIGUEZ, MD, Chief of Health Workers Program, Ministry of Health, Buenos Aires, Argentina
PROF. DAVID ROSNER, PhD, Ronald H. Lauterstein Professor of Sociomedical Sciences and Professor of History, Columbia University, USA
DR JAMES ROSS, MBBS, MPH, MMED, GCert ehealth, GAICD, AFACHSM, FAsMA, FAFPHM, FAFOEM, President-Elect, Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Medical Director Aspen Medical/Remote Area Health Corps, Australia
DR ANNIE J. SASCO, MD, MPH, SM, DrPH, HDR, Inserm Director of research, Epidemiology for Cancer Prevention; previously IARC Unit Chief and WHO Acting Chief Program for Cancer Control; Fellow, Collegium Ramazzini; Bordeaux Segalen University, France
DR L. DUNCAN SAUNDERS, MBBCh, PhD, Professor and Past Chair, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
DR EDUARDO SIQUEIRA, MD, ScD, Associate Director for Research, Mauricio Gastón Institute of Latino Community Development and Public Policy, University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA
DR PORNCHAI SITHISARANKUL, MD, MPH, DrPH, Professor of Preventive Medicine, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
PROFESSOR CRAIG SLATIN, Sc.D., MPH, Professor, Department of Community Health and Sustainability, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA
PROFESSOR PETER SLY, Deputy Director, Queensland Children’s Medical Research Institute; Professor, University of Queensland; Director, WHO Collaborating Centre for Research on Children’s Environmental Health; Director, Children’s Health and Environment Program, University of Queensland; Adjunct Professor, Centre for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia; Adjunct Professor, School of Public Health, Curtin University of Technology; Fellow, Collegium Ramazzini; Fellow, Royal Australasian College of Physicians; Consultant Paediatric Respiratory Physician, Royanl Chidlren’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia
PROFESSOR COLIN L. SOSKOLNE, PhD, Professor (Epidemiology), School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Canada; Immediate Past-President, Canadian Society for Epidemiology and Biostatistics; Fellow, American College of Epidemiology; Fellow, Collegium Ramazzini
DR JERRY SPIEGEL, MA, MSc, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Population and Public Health; Director, Global Health Research Program, Liu Institute for Global Issues, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
DR ADEMÁRIO GALVÃO SPÍNOLA, MD, MPH, MSc, MPhil, Doctor, Bahia, Brazil
DR LESLIE THOMAS STAYNER, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA
DR KEN TAKAHASHI, MD, PhD, MPH, Professor of Environmental Epidemiology; Director of the International Center, UOEH; Japan President, Asian Association for Occupational Health; Acting Director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Occupational Health, IIES, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu City, Japan
DR TIM K. TAKARO, MD, MPH, MS, Associate Professor, Associate Dean for Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, BC, Canada
DR AJAY TANEJA, MSc Ph.D, Department of Chemistry, IBS,Kandhari Campus, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar University, Agra, India
DR BENEDETTO TERRACINI, professor of Cancer Epidemiology (retired), University of Torino, Italy
DR SANDRA THOMPSON, Winthrop Professor and Chair in Rural Health, University of Western Australia; Director, Combined Universities Centre for Rural Health, Australia
DR FERNAND TURCOTTE, MD, MPH, FRCPC, Professor Emeritus of Public Health andPreventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Québec, Canada
PROFESSOR LOUISE VANDELAC, PH.D. Professeure titulaire, Département de sociologie, Directrice de l’Institut des sciences de l’environnement de l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM); Co-directrice de VertigO, la revue électronique en sciences de l’environnement, et chercheure au CINBIOSE (UQAM), au et au Pôle risques Université de Caen; Québec, Canada
DR CATHY VAKIL, MD, CCFP, FCFP, Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada
YVONNE R.K. WATERMAN, Sc.D. LL.M., The Netherlands
PROFESSOR ANDREW WATTERSON, Director of the Centre for Public Health and Population Health Research and Head of the Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group, University of Stirling, Scotland
PROFESSOR PAUL WHEATLEY-PRICE, MBChB, MRCP (UK), Assistant Professor in Medical Oncology, Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre, ON, Canada
PROFESSOR STEVE WING, Associate Professor of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
DR ANNALEE YASSI, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Professor and Canada Research Chair, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
DR JEAN ZIGBY, CCFP, FCFP, MDCM; President, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Canada
NOTE: Institutions named for identification purposes only
The world’s leading authority on cancer, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), has confirmed that chrysotile asbestos, like other forms of asbestos, causes mesothelioma, as well as a variety of cancers. The scientific evidence is also clear that chrysotile asbestos causes asbestosis.
Chrysotile asbestos represents 100% of the world asbestos trade today. Over the past century, 95% of all asbestos used has been chrysotile asbestos. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for an end to the use of all asbestos in order to prevent further epidemics of asbestos-related diseases. The WHO has particularly emphasized the importance of ending use of chrysotile asbestos in new construction materials, such as roofing and pipes. Over 50 countries have banned the use of any form of asbestos.
Wherever asbestos has been used, it has caused an epidemic of asbestos-related disease and death. In addition to the human tragedy, asbestos has been an economic catastrophe.
Because of their past use of asbestos, industrialized countries are today paying billions of dollars on health care and compensation for asbestos victims and for removal of deteriorated asbestos from buildings.