International Alliance "Chrysotile" Applauds the Decision Of the 8th Conference of Parties to the Rotterdam Convention

The participants of the 8th Conference of Parties to the Rotterdam Convention did not reach consensus on inclusion of chrysotile asbestos in Annex III which is the list of dangerous substances. International Alliance of Trade Union Organizations «Chrysotile» is welcoming this decision and supporting the positions of Russian Federation, Zimbabwe, India, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Syria and Belarus that opposed listing of chrysotile asbestos and insists on providing convincing results of scientific studies.

International Alliance of Trade Union Organizations «Chrysotile» represents the interests of hundreds of thousands of workers and local communities around the world and insists that the safe use of the chrysotile is possible and justified by existing practice and scientific data.

During COP 8 meeting there were some claims by the anti-asbestos lobby that International Agency for Research on Cancer has recognized asbestos as a type 1 carcinogen and its use therefore must be banned. We would to like to stress that among type 1 carcinogens there are a lot of proven carcinogenic agents such as: cadmium, chromium, nickel compounds, silica, the Sun rays, vinyl chloride, alcoholic beverages, salted fish, tobacco smoke, saw dust, diesel fuel Etc. The IARC classification identifies a substance’s hazard, not the risk. Consequently, a substance classified in group 1 does not mean its use must be prohibited, only that is should be properly controlled as chrysotile is used today.

The strongest proponents of inclusion of chrysotile in Annex III are advocates of a complete ban on chrysotile. Most substances included in Annex III are eventually completely banned.

Workers in many countries fought long and hard to achieve safe and controlled use of chrysotile. They know how to use it in a safe manner and they intend to keep doing so. In countries which use only chrysotile form of asbestos safely there is no elevated risk of diseases.

The latest scientific evidences, including numerous studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals in the past decade alone, strongly supports the following views:

1. Chrysotile is significantly less hazardous than the amphibole forms of asbestos;

2. When properly controlled and used, chrysotile asbestos in its modern day high density applications does not present risks of any significance to general public or worker’s health.

Today, countries that use chrysotile represent 2/3’s of humanity. The chrysotile based products give an opportunity for millions of people all over the world to make their life safer and better.

«The people of many countries would pay the biggest price,» said Andrey Kholzakov, chairman of International Alliance «Chrysotile.» «Not only would they lose their jobs involved in the mining and manufacturing of chrysotile and chrysotile-containing products, but the low-income population would suffer because chrysotile products meet their essential needs such as sanitary infrastructure and affordable housing.»

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