Alliance news

Chrysotile out of consensus

Delegates of the member states to the Rotterdam Convention failed to reach an unanimous decision on inclusion of chrysotile in Annex3

18 May 2015

Those who attended the seventh meeting of the 2015 Rotterdam Convention’s Conference of the Parties (COP7), for the fifth time did not reached a consensus for the inclusion of chrysotile in the Convention’s Annex III. This document in fact, impedes global trading of substances included in it.

The Parties discussed the issue at the Rotterdam Convention’s Conference of the Parties (COP7) organized on 13 May, without making any decision. They managed to agree upon the only single substance out of five ones . To resolve the situation, the participants decided to establish an intercessional working group composed of parties and observers to explore the means by which the objectives of the RC could be achieved in instances in which the COP is unable to reach consensus on listing of chemicals recommended by the CRC.

Some countries constantly attempt to include chrysotile asbestos into the list of toxic substances. However, whereas the attempts are not corroborated with convincible and sound facts and evidence, the Parties decline the proposal on a recurring basis. This year such countries as Zimbabwe, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Cuba, Pakistan and Russia have refused to agree on the inclusion of chrysotile into Annex III. The refusal was supported by representatives of Belarus, which is not a Party member.

More and more countries oppose the inclusion of chrysotile asbestos into Annex 3 of the Rotterdam Convention year by year.

China, Canada, Indonesia, Philippines and Mexicowere neutral. Therefore, the countries, where a substantial part of the global population lives, consider the chrysotile inclusion proposal as unreasonable. As a tribute to common sense, after 11 years of discussions, countries do not see the need to includechrysotile into Convention’s Annex III.

Representatives of trade unions who directly deal with production of the substance unanimously agreed that the controlled use of chrysotile is necessary. It is unreasonable and discriminatory to ban chrysotile, according to the delegates. Tens of thousands of people may lose their jobs, with manufacturers of hazardous synthetic substances getting preferential conditions for their activities.

If controlled, chrysotile is a safe type of asbestos that is broadly used in manufacturing and construction. If safety rules and standards are observed, chrysotile is not dangerous for human health as opposed to other forms of asbestos. Furthermore, chrysotile has advantageous differences from low-cost identical materials with lower wear resistance.