WHO scientific agency collaborating with asbestos lobby
The global asbestos lobby, led by the governments of Russia and Ukraine, is going all out in its efforts to prevent the listing of chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance under the Rotterdam Convention. The Convention’s expert scientific committee has repeatedly called for chrysotile asbestos to be put on the Convention’s list of hazardous substances, which would then require that “prior, informed consent” be obtained before asbestos could be exported to another country and would require that minimum safety precautions be followed.
On Nov. 21 and 22, 2012, certain Ukrainian and Russian institutes and academies held an “international scientific conference on chrysotile asbestos to examine all scientific data” in Kiev, Ukraine. The purpose of the conference was to oppose the listing of chrysotile asbestos under the Rotterdam Convention by claiming that the science has not been established to show that chrysotile asbestos is hazardous. Scientists from various countries who are longtime propagandists for the asbestos industry and who promote continued use of chrysotile asbestos made presentations at the conference.
At the end of the conference, a resolution was passed by the conference participants saying that the science is not clear as to whether chrysotile asbestos causes cancer and therefore chrysotile asbestos should not be listed as a hazardous substance at the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention, which takes place in Geneva in April/May 2013.
The WHO has called for the recommendation of the Rotterdam Convention’s expert scientific committee to list chrysotile asbestos to be approved. It is extremely disturbing that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is a WHO organization, attended the Kiev conference and made a presentation. The conference was not a bona fide, reputable conference, but an initiative by the asbestos industry and its scientific and political allies to subvert the Rotterdam Convention. By attending, IARC gave a veneer of legitimacy to an initiative to subvert global public health protections and brought shame on the reputation of IARC.
Here is a letter that was sent to WHO Director General, Margaret Chan, calling on her to cancel IARC’s decision to take part in this propaganda exercise, aimed at sabotaging the Rotterdam Convention and destroying the basic human right of “prior informed consent”.
No answer has yet been received from WHO Director General Margaret Chan.