All Canada media - Anti-asbestos group resorts to scare tactics

    MONTREAL, Oct. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - On the eve of the international
conference to determine which toxic substances should be added to the
Rotterdam Convention's list of hazardous materials (PIC), which is being held
in Rome next week, we are witnessing a call to the barricades cleverly
orchestrated by the anti-asbestos camp. The effort to pressure Canada to amend
its position to the effect that chrysotile not be included on the Convention's
PIC list began in Europe under the aegis of the Ban Asbestos movement a few
months ago, continued with the publication just days ago of a vitriolic text
in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association, and culminates today with
the petition from the public health people.
    As stated by Clément Godbout, President of the Chrysotile Institute: "The
Institute has taken note of this virulent campaign and deplores the fact that
it serves to feed perceptions and emotions rather than being based on the
abundant new scientific evidence that is available. No one denies the fact
that chrysotile, like hundreds of other products, can imply a certain level of
risk to health. However, its safe use is not only possible, but is based on
recent scientific studies, to which all too often the alternative products and
fibres have not been subjected. All of our proposals to discuss these
scientific studies have fallen on deaf ears, as if it made more sense to
demand a total ban based on data linked to past use, such as spraying and the
use of amphiboles, rather than looking to scientific and technological
advances as well as modern usage methods."
    The Chrysotile Institute, which will be participating in the Rotterdam
Convention meeting as an observer, hopes that the debates on the issue of
whether or not to include chrysotile will be allowed to take place in a calm
and open environment. It believes the talks should give consideration to new
research studies that measure the different levels of hazard of the various
types of asbestos and analyze the impacts on human health of the
implementation of sensible and responsible approaches to the use of chrysotile
based on the most recent technological developments and taking into account
safe methods for use, all with a view to arriving at the best possible
    "On another front, we should not forget that chrysotile not only provides
jobs and supports the economies of two regions of Quebec, which is highly
significant in the context of an anticipated economic recession, but also
provides developing countries with a responsible means to provide their
citizens with indispensable sanitary (water lines, sewer systems) and other
infrastructure (homes, roads, etc.) at an affordable price. Including it in
the Rotterdam Convention, which amounts to banning it, is therefore not a
decision to be taken lightly, because it could have numerous economic, social
and development consequences," concluded Mr. Godbout.

    About the Institute

    The Chrysotile Institute was created in 1984 as an initiative of the
governments of Canada and Quebec, the Canadian chrysotile industry and the
workers' unions involved. Its mission is to promote and foster the application
of Canadian and Quebec policy in the controlled and safe use of chrysotile and
to encourage, everywhere that chrysotile is used, the implementation of
conditions meeting the requirements of Convention 162 of the International
Labour Organization (ILO) on its safe use.
    An information and reference centre on the safe use of chrysotile in
terms of workplace health and safety, public health and the environment, the
Institute organizes seminars, conferences, training sessions and expert
missions. It publishes newsletters and participates in numerous international

    (*) The biopersistence of Canadian chrysotile asbestos following
        inhalation; Inhalation Toxicology, 15: 1247-1274, 2003, Authors:
        D.M. Bernstein; R. Rogers; P. Smith.

For further information:

For further information: Clément Godbout, (514) 877-9797, (514)
236-9677; Source: Chrysotile Institute

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