Asbestos: International protest to WHO falls on death earsPublished by MAC on 2012-12-11
Source: RightOn Canada (2012-12-03)
In just four months time, parties to the Rotterdam Convention (on control of hazardous exports) meet to decide on whether trade of chrysotile asbestos should be globally restricted.
In a last-ditch attempt to sway the verdict against such a decision, Russia and Ukraine hosted an "international scientific conference" on the issue at the end of November 2012.
Scandalously, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), made a presentation at the conference, even though it is a member of the World Health Organisation.
A petition to the WHO's Director General - signed by some 130 organisations and inviduals from all over the world - failed to prevent the WHO paying lip-service to continued propagation of the world's deadliest mined material.
For recent article on MAC, see:
Disturbing developments at the World Health Organization
3 December 2102
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.
[Below] 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.
Urgent message to World Health Organization: Stop collaborating with the asbestos lobby
19 November 2012
To: Margaret Chan, Director General
World Health Organization
Dear Margaret Chan:
We are appalled to learn that a representative of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is apparently scheduled to participate in a conference, Chrysotile Asbestos: Risk Assessment and Management, to be held in Kiev, Ukraine November 21 and 22. We are addressing this urgent matter to you as the international Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The conference has been organised by institutes of the Ukraine and Russia. As you know, these institutes were discontinued from the redesignation as WHO collaborating centres by your decision a few years ago, because of their promotion of continued use of chrysotile asbestos and conflicts of interest endangering WHO's credibility.
These institutes criticize WHO and IARC positions and deny the clear, independent, reputable science regarding harm caused by chrysotile asbestos. We have concerns that these institutes, especially the Russian institute, are trying to use IARC's reputation to distort scientific evidence already established among the world public health community).
We believe that the purpose of this conference is to promote the continued use of chrysotile asbestos. Scientists who have been financed by and linked to the asbestos industry for many years and who promote continued use of chrysotile asbestos will be making presentations at the conference.
The aim of this conference is to sabotage the efforts of the World Health Organization to end use of chrysotile asbestos and to sabotage the recommendation of the Rotterdam Convention's expert scientific committee to list chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance, which will be put forward at the upcoming 2013 Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention.
Recognizing the destructive impact of the global tobacco lobby in subverting the work of the WHO and public health agencies to protect people from being harmed by tobacco products, the WHO and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control forbid the participation of the tobacco industry, participation of government agencies working in conjunction with the tobacco industry, and participation of scientists working with and for the tobacco industry, in meetings concerning health protection against tobacco harm.
The WHO rightfully decided it was obliged to adopt this policy forbidding collaboration with the tobacco industry because of the conflict of interest of the tobacco industry and because of the long, sordid history of subversion of public health policy by the tobacco industry and its governmental and scientific allies.
The same long, sordid history of subversion of public health policy and the same problem of conflict of interest applies to the asbestos lobby.
We call on you to immediately cancel the participation of IARC in this sham scientific conference, which brings together governmental agencies and scientists that collaborate with the asbestos industry and which aims to promote the interests of the asbestos industry and defeat public health efforts around the world to prevent further deaths from asbestos-related diseases.
We are also disturbed by the fact that IARC is collaborating with scientists who are the Russian asbestos industry's strongest defenders and who deny the independent, reputable science on harm caused by chrysotile asbestos in a study, Historical cohort study of cancer mortality following exposure to chrysotile asbestos at the Uralasbest plant in Asbest, Russian Federation.
We would like to know how this study is being funded and whether the IARC Ethics Committee has approved this involvement of IARC. Given the indistinguishability between the government and the asbestos industry in Russia, we believe there is cause for serious concern about associating IARC's name with studies that appear to us to be influenced and controlled by the asbestos industry.
We request your immediate reply on these urgent concerns, which, in our view, put the reputation, integrity and credibility of IARC at risk.
• Dr Domyung Paek, Seoul National University, South Korea • Dr Richard Lemen, Assistant Surgeon General (Retired), USA
KATHLEEN RUFF, Director, RightOnCanada.ca, Canada; Senior Human Rights Adviser, Rideau Institute; recipient National Public Health Hero Award
2011 of the Canadian Public Health Association
JAGDISH PATEL, People's Training & Research Centre, India
HONG CHAN, Association for the Rights of Industrial Accident Victims, Hong Kong
GOPAL KRISHNA, Convener, Toxic Watch Alliance, New Delhi, India
ASIAN BAN ASBESTOS NETWORK (ABAN), Coordinator, Sugio Furoya
FIONA MURIE, Director, Health Safety & Construction, Building Workers International, Switzerland
OLGA SPERANSKAYA, Co-Chair, International POPS Elimination Network (IPEN)
UGO LAPOINTE, Coalition Pour que le Québec ait meilleure mine!, Québec, Canada
INTERNATIONAL BAN ASBESTOS SECRETARIAT, UK
MANVAR RAGHUNATH, Occupational Health & Safety Centre (OHSC), Ahmeldabad, India
PRAHAD MALVADKAR, Coordinator, Occupational Health & Safety Centre (OHSC), Mumbai, India
BOB STEPHENSON, Coordinator, North East Asbestos Support & Advice Group (NASAG), Middlesbrough & Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
POINTER BOB, Barrow Trades Union Council, UK
BAN ASBESTOS NETWORK JAPAN (BANJAN), Coordinator, Sugio Furoya
JOHN McCLEAN, National Health & Safety Officer, General Municipal & Boilermakers Union, UK
DENNIS DOODY, National Executive Member, UCATT - Union of Construction Allied Trades & Technicians, UK
MICK HOLDER , CMIOSH, FRSPH, UK
SADHANA PRASAD, MD, FRCP(C), FACP, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
ANROEV - Asian Network For The Rights Of Occupational & Environmental Victims
OEHNI - Occupational & Environmental Health Network Of India
TRACEY FORD, AREA FUND - Asbestos Related Research & Advocacy Fund, Canada
GUADALUPE AGUILAR MADRID, PhD, Unidad de Investigacian en salud en el Trabajo, Mexico
HILDA PALMER, National Secretary, Hazards Campaign, UK
FACK - FAMILIES AGAINST CORPORATE KILLERS, UK
LUIS TORRE, Physician-researcher in mesothelioma biology, National Institute of Health, Mexico City
AURORA McATHEY, Founding Member, Voices of Asbestos Victims, Canada
LOUISE VANDELAC, PhD, Professor, Department of Sociology; Director of the Institute of Environmental Sciences, Université du Québec, Montréal, Québec, Canada;
Chercheure CINBIOSE et TITNT UQAM et Pôle risques MRSH, Université de Caen, France
UCATT UNION OF CONSTRUCTION ALLIED TRADES & TECHNICIANS, UK
HEIDI Von PALLESKE, Founding Member Voices of Asbestos Victims, Coburg, Canada
MADHUMITA DUTTA, Member of Occupational & Environmental Network, India
MARY DOHERTY, MD, Vancouver, BC, Canada
JOSETTE WIER, MD, Smithers, BC, Canada
STACY CATTRAN, Co-Founder - "A Walk to Remember Victims of Asbestos", Sarnia
LEAH NIELSON, Co-Founder - "A Walk to Remember Victims of Asbestos", Sarnia
ASBESTOS DISEASE AWARENESS ORGANISATION, Linda Reinstein, President, USA
BARRY CASTLEMAN, ScD., Environmental Consultant, USA
NOEL COLINA, Institute for Occupational Health & safety Development (IOHSAD), Philippines
MICHAEL LEES, Founder Asbestos Exposure in Schools (AiS), UK
COLIN SOSKOLNE, Professor of Epidemiology, Dept of Public Health Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada; Visiting Fellow, Faculty of Health, University of Canberra, Australia; Immediate Past-President, Canadian Society for Epidemiology and Biostatistics; Fellow, American College of Epidemiology; Fellow, Collegium Ramazzini, Italy
FERNAND TURCOTTE, MD., MPH., FRCP(C), Professor Emeritus of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, University of Laval, Québec, Canada
YEYONG CHOI, Director, Asian Citizens Centre for the Environment, South Korea
OMANA GEORGE, Asia Monitoring Resource Centre, Hong Kong
PAUL JOBIN, Associate Professor, University of Paris, Diderot, France
ARTHUR L. FRANK, MD, PhD, Professor of Public Health, Drexel University, Philadelphia PA, USA
PIERRE DESHAIES, MD., MSc., CSPQ., FRCPC., Professeur de clinique, Département de médecine sociale et préventive, Faculté de médecine, Université Laval, Québec, Canada
LAURIE KAZAN-ALLEN, Co-ordinator - International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS), UK
ERIC JONKHERRE, Co-ordinator ABEVA, Belgium PIERRE GOSSELIN, MD., MPH.,Professor adjunct de clinique, Dépt. de Méd Soc & Prév., Université Laval, Québec, Canada
TONY BRITLIN, Head of Trade Union Dept. Walker, Smith, Way law firm Chester, UK
WHYTE DAVID, Reader in Sociology, University of Liverpool, UK
VOICES OF CANADIAN ASBESTOS VICTIMS, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
ASIAN CITIZEN'S CENTRE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
JOHN R. KEYSERLINGK, MD., MSc., FRCS(C)., FACS, Director, Medicine & Surgical Oncology, Ville Marie Oncology Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
HAZARDS CAMPAIGN, UK
ROBIN RUDD, MD., London Lung Cancer Group, UK
MAVIS NYE, Member East Kent Cancer Network, UK
PAUL VANDENBROUKE, Dr., Bruxelles, Belgium
MARTIN WHITE, Senior Health & Safety Representative, RMT - Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers Union, UK
DOROTHY WIGMORE, MS., Worksafe Inc, Oakland, California, USA
THAILAND BAN ASBESTOS NETWORK
PRAJAPATT MANUBHAI, Activist, Ahmeldabad, India
GUPTA MOHIT, Activist, Delhi, India
MARK HOSKISSON, Secretary, Liverpool Trades Union Council, UK
RICHARD HAFFEY, Mystic Air Consultants, Gorton, USA
MERSEYSIDE ASBESTOS VICTIMS SUPPORT GROUP, Liverpool, UK
ABREA - BRAZILIAN ASBESTOS EXPOSED PEOPLES ASSOCIATION, Brazil
FERNANDO GIANNASI, Engineering Senior Labour Inspector of the Ministry of Labour & Employment, Sao Paulo, Brazil & Coordinator, Virtual Citizen Network Asbestos in Latin America
GREATER MANCHESTER HAZARDS CENTRE, UK
RORY O'NEILL, Editor Hazards Magazine, UK; Professor, Occupational & Environmental Health Group, University of Stirling, Scotland
JEAN ZIGBY, MD, Family Physician, Palliative Care Specialist; President, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Canada
JAMES HUFF, PhD., Staff Scientist Chemical Carcinogenesis, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Research, Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA
SUKI CHUNG, Labour Action Group, China
VITHAYA KULSOMBOON, Director of Health & Consumer Protection Programme, Chulalongkom University, Thailand; Coordinator, Thailand Ban Asbestos Network
ERIC NOTEBAERT, MD, MSc., Associate Professor of Medicine, Université de Montréal & Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
ASBESTOS DISEASE AWARENESS ORGANISATION, USA
KATHLEEN BURNS, PhD., Director Sciencecorps, Lexington, Mass., USA
YVONNE R.K.WATERMAN , PhD, LL.M, Waterman Legal Consultancy, The Netherlands
DAVID EGILMAN, PhD., MPH., Clinical Professor, Dept of Family Medicine, Brown University; Editor, International Journal of Occupational & Environmental Health, Attleboro, Mass., USA
HELEN CLAYSON, Dr., Cumbria Asbestos Related Support Group, UK
MORRIS GREENBERG, MB, FRCP, FFOM, Former HM Medical Inspector of Factories, UK
TERRY BRITTON, Bradford Asbestos Support Group, UK
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
TUSHAR KANT JOSHI , FRCS., FFOM., Director, OEM Programme, Centre for Occupational & Environmental Health, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India; Former Occupational Health Consultant, WHO India; Fellow, Collegium Ramazzini; Visiting Professor, Occupational Health, Drexel University.
ANNIE LUK, Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong
APOLINAR TOLENTINO, Building and Woodworkers International, Malaysia
JAN DOHERTY, Concerned Citizen, Canada
BABAJI SWAIN, Orissa Asbestos Union, India
ELIZEBIUS MASTER, KKNTC (trade union), India
LEELAMMA RAVI, KKNTC (trade union), India
SIU SIN MAN, Association for the Rights of Industrial Accidents Victims, Hong Kong
ADAM KAMINSKI, Building and Woodworkers International, Asia Pacific ALAN TANJUSAY, ALU (Associated Labor Unions), Philippines
ANUP SRIVASTAVA, Building and Woodworkers International, South Asia
CHAN KAM HONG, ARIAV (Association for the Rights of Industrial Accident Victims), No More Asbestos in Hong Kong Alliance
GEOFFREY WHEELER, Center for Vocational Building Technology, Thailand
HEUNGKYU LIM, BANKO, Asian Citizens' Center for Environment and Heath, South Korea
JAYABALAN THAMBYAPPA, Consumers Association of Penang (CAP), Malaysia
JI YOL JUNG, BANKO, Asbestos victim, South Korea MOHAMMAD HAMDAN BIN H DORHALLIM, Malaysia Trade Union Congress, (MTUC), Malaysia
MUCHAMAD DARISMAN, Indonesia Ban Asbestos Network (Ina-BAN), Indonesia
NADIA SANTY DE LEON, Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development, (IOHSD), Philippines
PHILLIP HAZELTON, APHEDA, Australia
RAMIN MEHRADAD, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran
SANJIV PANDITA, Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong
SUK-KYUN LEE, BANKO, Busan Committee, South Korea
TAKEHIKO MURAYAMA, PHD, Waseda University, Japan
JEAN VERRAVER, Retired Electrical Engineer, La Hulpe, Belgium
ASIAN NETWORK FOR THE RIGHTS OF OCCUPATIONAL & ENVIRONMENTAL VICTIMS
(ANROEV) China Network, China
RASMINA PAKPAHAN, Indonesia
ANNIE THÉBAUD-MONY, PhD, Directeur de recherche honoraire à l'Inserm, (Scientific Research Group on occupational Cancer), Université Paris 13, Bobigny, France
BAN ASBESTOS FRANCE ASSOCIATION
HENRI PÉZERAT, France
MARK HINDRY, Prof. University of Paris, Diderot, France
ANDEVA, Association nationale de defense des Victimes de l'amiante, France
GERARD R. SENO, National Executive Vice President and ALAN TANJUSAY, Policy Advocacy & Campaign Officer, ALU-TUCP - Associated Labour Unions Trades Union Congress, Philippines
PAT KINNERSLY. Author, "Hazards at Work - How to Fight Them", Romsey, Hants, UK
HARBINDER BAINS, Lawyer, Leigh Day solicitors, London, UK
JOHN WOODCOCK, MP, Member of Parliament for Barrow-in-Furness, UK
MICHAELA KEYSERLINGK, Labelle, Quebec, Canada
LINDSAY FRASER AM Assistant National Secretary, Construction, Forestry, Mining & Energy Union, Sydney, Australia
SEAN MARSHALL, Industrial Officer, Commonwealth & Public Sector Union, Sydney, Australia
EDDY SABINO, UNITE union, Construction Branch, Liverpool, UK
STEVE TOMBS, Professor of Sociology, Liverpool John Moore's University, Liverpool, UK
MARIE HUGHES, Member MAVSG, Merseyside Asbestos Victims Support Group, Wrexham, NorthWales
CAROL DAWSON, Macmillan Lung Cancer Specialist, St Helens & Knowsley Hospital Trust, UK
VERA RIGBY, Member GMAVSG, Greater Manchester Asbestos Victims Support Group, UK
ASBESTOS SUPPORT WEST MIDLANDS, Birmingham, UK
SASKATCHEWAN ASBESTOS DISEASE AWARENESS ORGANISATION, Canada
DERBYSHIRE ASBESTOS SUPPORT TEAM, Chesterfield, UK ASBESTOS VICTIMS SUPPORT GROUPS FORUM, Great Britain S
ARAG - SOUTH YORKSHIRE ASBESTOS VICTIMS SUPPORT GROUP, Rotherham, UK
NOTE: Titles and affiliations are given for identification purposes only.
Dr Christopher Wild, IARC Director
Dr. Eduardo Seleiro, IARC Ethics Committee Dr. Abha Saxena, WHO Research Ethics