Kathleen Ruff, RightOnCanada.ca
In an email sent on January 14, 2017, Russian scientist, Dr. Sergey V. Kashanski, says: “Maybe Trump restores order in asbestos. Let’s wait…”
Kashanski sent the email to US scientist, Dr. David Egilman, after requesting a copy of an article by Egliman and Monárrez, published this month in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Corporate Corruption of Science—Another Asbestos Example.
Kashanski is a collaborating scientist with the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in a research project at the world’s largest chrysotile asbestos mine at Uralasbest in Russia.
Kashanski and another Russian IARC collaborating scientist in the Uralasbest project, Dr. Eugeny Kovalevsky, have for many years publicly opposed banning chrysotile asbestos, claiming that it can be safely used and that there is not sufficient scientific evidence to justify banning it.
Complaints have been submitted to IARC that Kashanski’s and Kovalevsky’s support of the Russian asbestos industry and promotion of the use of asbestos represent a conflict of interest that is unacceptable for IARC collaborating scientists. IARC now admits that these scientists have a conflict of interest, but claims that this is not a problem: “IARC is aware that some of the Russian study collaborators support and promote controlled use of chrysotile. … IARC recognizes that conflicts of interest exist, has disclosed them, and considers that the potential consequences are addressed through the measures implemented in the study design and its conduct.”
Trump dismisses the scientific evidence of harm caused by asbestos
Trump dismisses the scientific evidence of harm caused by asbestos, claiming that asbestos is “100 percent safe, once applied” and that “the movement against asbestos was led by the mob.”
Russia is by far the biggest producer and exporter of asbestos in the world and the Russian government is waging an aggressive campaign to continue shipping asbestos to countries in the global South, particularly Asia. Russia is also leading efforts to block the listing of chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance at United Nations Rotterdam Convention meetings. Chrysotile asbestos represents 100% of the global asbestos trade.
Trump’s support for asbestos will be greatly welcomed by the Russian government and the Russian asbestos industry.
Corporate Corruption of Science—Another Asbestos Example
The article by Egilman & Monárrez, Corporate Corruption of Science—Another Asbestos Example, examines how a study, funded by Daimler Chrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors Corporation, manipulated the evidence so as to create doubt about the relationship between brake work and mesothelioma. “This company-sponsored research was not designed to protect worker health but rather to defend automobile manufacturing companies in litigation,” conclude the authors, who point out that “Asbestos mining and product manufacturing companies have manipulated medical literature to avoid paying compensation to injured workers for over 80 years.”
Corporate Corruption of Government Policy
Harm caused to workers’ health by asbestos was noted over a century ago. Calls for asbestos use to be banned have been made for decades. As the World Health Organization and IARC have stated, the scientific evidence is indisputable that all forms of asbestos cause harm to health and safe use of asbestos is not possible.
Millions have died painful deaths because the asbestos industry has succeeded, and continues to succeed, in corrupting the scientific literature and in corrupting government policy, so that governments have put the financial profits of the asbestos industry ahead of the lives of their citizens.
It is unconscionable that in 2017, President Putin and President-elect Trump are supporting this criminal industry.