Kathleen Ruff, RightOnCanada.ca
An article¹ published by the Journal of Environmental Studies contains corrupt scientific information promoting doubt about harm caused by asbestos.
In his article Sergei Jargin, professor at the Department of Pathology, People’s Friendship University of Russia, says that the scientific evidence on asbestos-related diseases is unclear. Jargin says that bans and restrictions on asbestos that have been legislated by more than fifty countries should be be re-examined and potentially revised.
Jargin claims that mesothelioma, a disease known to be caused by asbestos, may occur spontaneously, that it is difficult to identify mesothelioma, that cases of mesothelioma may not be mesothelioma at all but could be some other disease, or that instead of being caused by asbestos, cases of mesothelioma may have been caused by a virus from monkeys (virus SV40), or may have been caused by radiation or by genetic predisposition.
All these arguments have been put forward by scientists funded by the asbestos industry for many years and have been dismissed by independent, reputable scientific bodies as dangerous deception. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming that all forms of asbestos cause harm to health and should be banned.
Journal of Environmental Studies identified as a predatory journal
The Journal of Environmental Studies has just been created. Its publisher, Avens Publishing Group, publishes dozens of supposed scientific journals. Avens has been identified as a predatory publishing company whose purpose is to make money by charging authors a publication fee but which lacks proper scientific and ethical standards and oversight.
The British Medical Journal (BMJ) has highlighted how predatory publishers are a major and growing problem that involves thousands of publications. “Their motive is financial gain, and they are corrupting the communication of science,” states the BMJ, which has urged the scientific community to take strong action to stop them, noting that predatory journals are harming researchers in low and middle income countries the most.²
Prof. Beall, a leading expert on predatory journals, has issued a red alert on the Avens Publishing Group, calling the company “A complete impostor”. Beall warns scholars to avoid having any association with Avens.³
Bullying conduct by Russia to promote its asbestos trade
Russia is by far the biggest producer and exporter of asbestos in the world, producing over one million tons of chrysotile asbestos every year, which represents 50% of global asbestos production. The Russian government and Russian scientists are aggressively and successfully marketing asbestos and scientific misinformation in countries in the global South, where the use of asbestos has hugely increased over the past two decades. In his article, Jargin states “Asbestos-related diseases have been extensively studied in Russia. The prevailing view is that, if all precautions are observed, modern technologies of asbestos production and processing are acceptably safe, whereas bans and prohibitions applied by some countries are excessive.”
President Putin has personally expressed his support for the continuation of Russia’s asbestos industry.
The United Nations Rotterdam Convention conferences are supposed to be about protecting health. Instead, at the Rotterdam Convention meetings, Russia defends its asbestos interests and furiously attacks any who seek to implement the recommendation of the Convention’s scientific committee that chrysotile asbestos should be put on the Convention’s list of hazardous substances.
Here is the leader of the Russian delegation, Marina Shevyreva, at the Rotterdam Convention Conference of the Parties in 2013 and then furiously attacking the World Health Organization delegation for supporting the listing of chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance.
Marina Shevyreva, leader of the Russian delegation, Rotterdam Convention conference, 2013
It is not surprising to see that not a single scientist in the whole of Russia dares to oppose President Putin’s wishes that scientific evidence on asbestos be denied and Russia’s asbestos trade be promoted.
1. Jargin, SV. Asbestos-Related Research: First Objectivity then Conclusions, J Environ Stud, December 2015 Vol.:1, Issue:1. http://www.avensonline.org/biology/journal-of-environmental-studies/home-42/
2. Clark, J, Smith, R, BMJ Editorial: Firm action needed on predatory journals They’re harming researchers in low and middle income countries most, but everyone must fight back. BMJ 2015;350:h210 doi: 10.1136/bmj.h210
3. Beall, J. https://scholarlyoa.com/2014/04/17/red-alert-avens-publishing-group/