April 24, 2017 Press Release: Global Asbestos Action Alliance confronts global asbestos industry – Good CoP/ Bad CoP?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 3, 2017
Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization Outraged that SixCountries Prevented the Inclusion of Chrysotile Asbestos in the UN Rotterdam Convention List of Hazardous Substances
Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, and Syria Opposed the Listing of Chrysotile Asbestos on the Rotterdam Convention Prior Informed Consent List
Washington, DC – May 3, 2017 – The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) stands in solidarity with the Global Asbestos Action Alliance in outrage that six countries have blocked the listing of chrysotile asbestos to the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) list of hazardous substances during the 2017 United Nations Rotterdam Convention.
All six types of asbestos are carcinogenic, but chrysotile is the only type of asbestos not included in the list. The Convention does not prohibit trade of the listed substances, but requires exporters to establish protocol to inform purchasers about the hazards related to the substances. Of the 157 countries attending the conference, Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, and Syria opposed the listing.
“Asbestos-related diseases cause great human suffering. Death from difficult to treat cancers and suffocation caused by asbestosis are terrible ways to die,” said Arthur L. Frank MD, Ph.D., Professor of Public Health and Pulmonary Medicine, Drexel University. “The callous disregard of some countries for educating workers condemns many to unnecessary and painful deaths.”
“Chrysotile asbestos is recognized by every leading world scientific body as a cause of asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma, as have all other forms of commercially used asbestos that are currently listed on the PIC List,” said Richard Lemen, Ph.D., MSPH, Assistant Surgeon General (ret.), Rear Admiral, USPHS (ret.). “The pandemic of asbestos-induced diseases that the world is currently experiencing will continue to grow as thousands more uninformed users of this cancerous material will face disease and death in their future. The action of these few countries represents a callous disregard for human dignity and life.”
“It is reprehensible that Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, and Syria used propaganda and junk science to block chrysotile asbestos from being added to the Rotterdam Convention’s list of hazardous substances,” said Linda Reinstein, Co-Founder and President of ADAO. “Each day, more than 500 innocent people die from preventable asbestos-caused diseases, yet the asbestos industry, including the Russian Chrysotile Association, continues to promote the ‘safe use’ of chrysotile asbestos. Russia annually mines an estimated 1,000,000 tons of asbestos and is responsible for half of the world’s chrysotile asbestos production. Thugs and criminals profiting from the deadly toxic trade will not silence asbestos victims. Instead, we will turn our grief, pain, and anger into action as we continue global educational and advocacy initiatives to collaboratively ensure chrysotile asbestos will be added to the PIC List at the 2018 Rotterdam Convention.”
The Global Asbestos Action Alliance is supported by: International Trade Union Confederation, European Trade Union Confederation, Australian Council of Trade Unions, New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, Trades Union Congress, Canadian Labor Congress, AFL-CIO, IndustriALL Global Union, BWI Global Union, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, CFMEU, Unifor, Unite the Union, CCOO (Spain), Associated Labor Union (Philippines), Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA, Asia Monitor Resource Centre
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that all forms of asbestos are carcinogenic to humans and may lead to mesothelioma and lung, larynx, and ovarian cancer. The Global Burden of Disease study estimates that 194,000 people globally die every year from asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. Nearly half of all deaths from occupational cancer are caused by asbestos.
About Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization
Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) was founded by asbestos victims and their families in 2004. ADAO seeks to give asbestos victims and concerned citizens a united voice to raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure. ADAO is an independent global organization dedicated to preventing asbestos-related diseases through education, advocacy, and community. For more information, visit www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org.
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