Greeted by loyal local acolytes and feted by the media – the global champions of the international ban asbestos lobby camped out in a 4-star hotel in Bangkok.
Dr Ken Takahashi who appears confused, and perhaps conflicted, on whether he is an anti-asbestos activist from the Global Ban Asbestos Network (GBAN) or a director at the supposedly independent World Health Organisation.
The pair have been racking up the air miles alongside fellow frequent fliers like Asian Ban Network “General” Sugio Furuya.
Chrysotile is asbestos, they say, and all forms of asbestos are carcinogenic and therefore must be banned (although so are wood shavings, salted fish and silica – but there are no calls for a prohibition on these!).
These scaremongers point to health crisis in other parts of the world, places where different, more dangerous, forms of asbestos were widely used without regulation, and claim that it is only a matter of time before Thais start dying.
asbestos deaths and that 70-years is too short a timeframe for the problem to surface.
They deliberately ignore the fact that the unarguably serious health problems elsewhere are caused by other forms of asbestos, amphiboles, like blue and brown asbestos, which are highly dangerous.
With perfect timing, the ban lobbyists took up residence in Bangkok just as their wealthy friends at local conglomerate, The Siam Cement Group (SCG), turned the screw on their buddies in the government to back a ban on chrysotile.
Now, with the noisy lobby for company SCG hopes the new rulers will ban its competitors’ products – probably forcing them into bankruptcy — and simply hand the firm a countrywide monopoly.