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.

Who we are

This website belongs to the International Trade Unions’ International Alliance on Chrysotile, which aims to protect the interests of chrysotile workers around the world.

We are a trade union organisation, which backs the safe and responsible use of chrysotile and opposes the global chrysotile ban campaign.

We represent thousands of workers who are concerned their views and livelihoods are not being taken into account, particularly by organisations like the World Health Organization (WHO), which appears to be moving towards the introduction of a global ban on chrysotile and chrysotile based materials.

We believe that in doing this they are ignoring scientific studies that prove responsible and control use of chrysotile, using modern techniques and production technologies, is safe.

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Trade union of Russian builders has been denied participation in the BWI international conference on asbestos

The international conference organized by the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) will take place in Vienna, on 6 and 7 May 2014. During the event all issues and problems related to the use and production of materials containing asbestos will be discussed. Leaders of European and some other international trade-union organizations apply double standard practices in respect of chrysotile and asbestos industry. Despite the absence of convincing scientific evidence of the hazardous nature of chrysotile, they demand a ban in respect thereof ignoring the opinion of the workers of chrysotile industry enterprises whose interests they are bound to protect. It is surprising that BWI, which minds the interests of the tens of thousands workers, including members of the trade unions, refuses to listen to the representatives of the chrysotile industry trade unions.

The International Alliance of Trade-Union Organizations “Chrysotile”, which includes over 40 trade-union organizations of construction and construction materials industrial enterprises in Russia and other CIS countries, is in possession of the information that the conference organizers have denied participation in the conference to the Trade Union of Russian Builders and a number of other organizations affiliated with BWI.

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Say «Your Word» Trade Unions Campaign

ywSay «Your Word» Trade Unions Campaign against inclusion of Chrysotile in Annex 3 of Rotterdam Convention resulted in thousands of photos of chrysotile industry workers with «NO CHRYSOTILE BAN» sign. We fight for our jobs, for our families, for our hometowns! We work with chrysotile everyday and we know we can use it safely under control!

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The Resolution of the Working Meeting of International Trade Union «For Chrysotile»

27th of April 2013. Geneva, Switzerland.

We-representatives of International Trade Union Movement For Chrysotile gathered here, in the heart of Europe and anti-asbestos lobby in Geneva, Switzerland in order to speak our voice to defend rights of millions of workers of the world chrysotile industry and members of their families from Russia, Brasil, Canada, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Mexico, Columbia, Peru, Bolivia.

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The position of International Trade Union Movement For Chrysotile of non-inclusion chrysotile Into Annex 3 of Rotterdam Convention

In accordance with Rotterdam Convention procedure, the question of the inclusion of chrysotile asbestos in Annex III has been considered on two occasions by the Chemical Review Committee, and also at the third, fourth, fifth meetings. No decision had been taken due to lack of consensus. Chrysotile asbestos is again on the agenda of the sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention

This crusade against chrysotile asbestos must end.

The inclusion of chrysotile to the PIC list of the Rotterdam Convention must raise international concerns and would go beyond the principles of the Convention.

The crusade by a well organized group of activists is calling for a global ban, arguing on the heritage of the past misuse and high exposures of different asbestos fiber types, in particular the amphiboles. This crusade is generally based on the misrepresentation and selective quotations of published evidence, never taking stock of the recent studies showing the vast differences in health risk between chrysotile and the amphiboles. It is striking that the most aggressive interventions have been generally limited to «asbestos», in careful ignorance of any mention of the proven fiber differences between «asbestos» fiber types. Having in mind that the word «asbestos» is a generic word and a commercial term to indicate any silicate, fibrous mineral with a fibrous form. Today, only chrysotile is commercially exploited in any appreciable manner and about 90% of the fiber production is used in the manufacture of cement products where the fiber is firmly encapsulated in the matrix and therefore not airborne.

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Аsbestos pandemic in WHO. The statement of the international Alliance of trade-union organizations “Chrysotile”

RUK_8094Recently in the World health organization has grown asbestosphobia. One might think, that the world soon will face next pandemic- at this time of the asbestos-related diseases.

The officials at WHO intentionally bring completely improbable figures about the amount of annual deaths from the asbestos-related diseases to frighten the public opinion of imaginary threat. The minutes and decisions, accepted by the supreme body of WHO – World Health Assembly on the issue of elimination of asbestos-related diseases are intentionally distorted. There is an association of the WHO officials engaged in issues of occupational health at the WHO Geneva office and a WHO regional office for Europe for protection of environment in Bonn with the representatives of a global asbestos litigation industry. The people nominated as the WHO temporary advisers on the questions of asbestos-related diseases, are supervised by the International ban asbestos secretariat, which is created and financed by a global asbestos litigation industry. The native sister of the owner of one of the asbestos litigation companies of USA, specializing in asbestos claims supervises the international ban asbestos secretariat and her brother in his turn is appointed to the management of asbestos trusts, with accumulate tens of billions dollars in assets.

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The chrysotile industry future is in the hands of the young!

teens13.10.2011, Moscow/Asbestos – the Ural meeting of Youth union took place in Asbestos on October, 5-8th 2011. It resulted in creation of a new trade union organization. This time the chrysotile industry was supported by the young. The Federal Mass media representatives personally got a chance to get all the information at first hand.

At their final meeting the members of the Ural Youth union unanimously decided to join the Chrysotile Industry Youth League and support the native industry interests along with senior colleagues. The new public organization will represent the young employees of chrysotile asbestos enterprises, oppose antiasbestos campaign and protect their own social and labor, industrial, professional and economic rights. The key objectives of the Union are the organization of the conferences and courses on chrysotile asbestos safe use and international relations development.

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The statement of the international trade union movement for chrysotile

Geneva 17.06.2011

On June 16, 2011 the Report of the Committee on the Application of Standards was finally approved by 100 International Labour Conference. During the work of the Committee, Canada was listed on the application of Asbestos Convention No.162.

In this connection the International Trade-union Movement For Chrysotile declares the following:
We fully agree with the point of view expressed by the Employer members who stated “…the general
Prohibition of chrysotile asbestos (also called white asbestos) could not be construed from the relevant
Provisions of the Convention, which distinguished between the various types of asbestos…”(ILS Provisional record 18 Part two, page 106).

The ILO Convention No.162 specifically prohibits the use of crocidolite (blue asbestos) and products containing this fibre. Spraying of all forms of asbestos is also prohibited.
The Government representative of Canada noted “ …the trade unions representing asbestos workers in province of Quebec not only supported the continuation of mining but an increase in investments in this industry. “(ILS Provisional record 18 Part two, page 103).

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Workers From Around the World Support Safe Use of Chrysotile and Object the Inclusion in Annex 3 of Rotterdam Convention

Geneva, June 22, 2011 — The International Trade Union Movement for Chrysotile, representing hundreds of thousands of workers from the mines, mills and factories that produce chrysotile products, as well as the workers from the companies that support this activity, voice their strong opposition to the inclusion of chrysotile in Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention. These workers are primarily from countries such as Brazil, Russia, India, China, Kasaksthan, Kirghistan, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, Bolivia.

Inclusion would translate into the necessity for exporting and importing countries to extensively document all specific shipments of chrysotile from one country to another This is not necessary, as chrysotile is a very well-known, naturally occurring substance, whose impact on human health has been extensively studied for decades. There are relatively few buyers and sellers. The companies that trade in chrysotile and the governments that regulate this trade in exporting and in importing countries know very well how to handle this substance safely. International transportation of chrysotile is already regulated by a stringent protocol and exporting companies are bound by agreements with their respective governments to export only to responsible users that can demonstrate they use it safely.

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Veterans are battling for chrysotile


May, 20 2011. On the eve of celebration of Victory Day labour veterans met in Asbest for the foundation of «Association of veterans of chrysotile industry”. They cooperate for the protection of Russian chrysotile industry and join the ranks of opposition to false attacks of antiasbestos campaigners.

More than 12 thousands of veterans, «gold reserves” of chrysotile enterprises, are ready to enter the new Association. At the Founding Congress, held on April 16, 2011, the day of Chrysotile’s protection, more than 500 veterans from 27 veteran’s union from cities Yasny, Asbest, Belgorod, Volzhsky, Sukhoi Log, and also Kazakhstan, Mordovia etc. participated.

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European lobbists are trying to change the position of russia concerning chrysotile asbestos use

From October 14 till October 15 in Moscow took place a conference » Hazardous chemical substances: the national and international tools of politics and practice», which was held by noncommercial organization «Eco-accord» and a network of non- governmental organizations » Women in Europe for a Common Future «(WECF). The basic attention was planned to be given to questions of handling chemical substances included and planned for inclusion into the list of Rotterdam Convention.

In 2011, the next conference of the parties of Rotterdam Convention will be held, where the question of inclusion of chrysotile asbestos into the list of dangerous substances will be put into the agenda. Now we see the informational and organizational preparation, which consists in formation of necessary public opinion for changing the official position of Russian Federation at the international level, concerning chrysotile asbestos use. That activity at the territory of Russia is being carried out by non- governmental organizations, financed by European governmental structures, interested in the removal of chrysotile asbestos from the global market of industrial fibres.

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The statement of the international trade union movement for chrysotile

On September 06, 2010 on a website of ILO Safework department appeared the so-called Position on safety in the use of asbestos», referred to as the ILO official point of view on asbestos, which contains an appeal to a global ban of chrysotile (white asbestos) use, with the reference, in particular, that the ILO Convention on asbestos №162 should not be used to provide a justification for, or endorsement of, the continued use of asbestos.

In this connection the International Trade-union Movement For Chrysotile declares the following:
The ILO convention ?162 imperatively prohibits the use of crocidolite (blue asbestos) and products containing this fibre. Spraying of all forms of asbestos is prohibited.
It is the uncontrollable use of amphiboles in the past that had resulted in significant growth of the asbestos-related diseases in the countries of Western Europe, Australia, South Africa, etc. In those countries, where chrysotile was historically applied, the essential growth of the asbestos-related diseases is not observed.

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For whom it is favourable to demonize chrysotile asbestos? — the statement of the international trade-union movement for chrysotile

On July 21, 2010 through information channels of BBC and International Consortium of Investigative Journalists was distributed the information review of a condition global chrysotile industry.

The published material under heading » Danger in the Dust » can’t help giving rise to surprise and bewilderment, as it represents «rattling mix» of doubtful facts, lies, exaggerations and manipulations with the scientific data aiming at single purpose — to convince public of the special danger of chrysotile and necessity of its ban.

Prediction of dozens millions of deaths from asbestos till 2030, can eclipse of a prediction a WHO about threat from «swine» flu. We repeatedly emphasized in our materials, that the policy of forcing fear, by means of manipulations with the statistical data, is not acceptable to such international organizations, as WHO and ILO.

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Putin supported russian chrysotile industry


The meeting of Vladimir Putin, the Russian Prime-Minister, with the leaders of trade union committees, was held in Moscow. Andrey Kholzakov, the leader of International Trade Unions Movement ‘For Chrysotile’ was among the invited activists.

At the meeting Andrei Kholzakov (second on Prime Minister’s left in the photo) informed Prime-Minister about problems of the chrysotile industry, and Vladimir Putin promised to support Russian producers.

‘The studies showed that the chrysotile use under proper conditions and using modern technologies is not hazardous to human health. Besides, chrysotile containing materials — roofing tiles and pipes — are significantly cheaper than alternative materials. I talked to the Prime Minister about it. He promised to support Russian producers of chrysotile, especially in situation where we find ourselves under political pressure at the international level. There is an official position of Russian Federation on Chrysotile asbestos use and it supports the principles of its controlled safe use and this is where we stand», — Andrey Kholzakov said at the end of the Meeting.

Vladimir Putin said at the Meeting: ‘Andrei Kholzakov talked about the competition at a global scale. Do you know what we really need? Responsibility for our people and our country — at the level of the Government and regional governments, as well as at the level of the trade unions. We can’t afford and must not allow anybody to use our difficulties in own interests and ‘press’ us out. I’m not talking about politics here, I mean the ‘pressure’ in competition in global markets. If we behave irresponsibly our opponents will certainly use this situation — it goes without saying, I’m sure about it».

General overview

This document studies the use of the chrysotile asbestos fibre from an international field of scientific and institutional data covering its advantages and disadvantages, and particularly its effects on human health and, thus, its consequences for the fibre industry in general.

The distinguishing qualities of the chrysotile mineral fibre, marquedly differentiates it from the amphibole variety and makes it of the outmost importance for the WHO and ILO to examine its properties comprehensibly and in depth. The studies (see further) of the specific properties of this particular fibre have become an important competitive factor for numerous enterprises and their struggle for new markets. The fibre industries are primarily concerned about turning mineral fibres into something that business can utilise safely, especially in countries, which cannot afford other similar materials. It is important that these international institutions, approached in a politically neutral framework, give some specific and valid answers to some of the most vital challenges the world is faced with.

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Address by the Chairman of CIS Countries Trade Unions’ International Alliance “Chrysotile”

chmanDear Friends,

we have been living under the pressure of anti-asbestos propaganda for about 30 years. So, conditions of our enterprises’ existing are getting worse and we are loosing the opportunity to change social status of members of trade union organizations of chrysotile asbestos mining and chrysotile asbestos consuming industry.

Lately European Trade Unions played an active role in anti-asbestos campaign. Defending jobs and wages of their trade unions’ members and using demagogical ways our European colleagues wish to look true at the expense of our jobs and our interests.

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