GENEVA, May 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
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 and fifth and sixth meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention. No decision had been taken due to lack of consensus.
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 fibre 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 fibre differences between «asbestos» fibre 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 fibre production is used in the manufacture of cement products where the fibre is firmly encapsulated in the matrix and therefore not airborne.
The representatives of the International Trade Union Movement "For Chrysotile" from Russia, India, Brazil, Canada, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Mexico, Colombia, gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, with a view to express their opinion in defense of the rights of millions of workers around the world chrysotile industry and members their families.
Trade Union Movement insists that there is no consensus either in political, scientific and trade union circles to include chrysotile in Annex 3 of Rotterdam Convention and declares this unjust and discriminated to hundreds of thousands workers around the world. We stand for the controlled use of chrysotile in accordance with ILO Convention No.162, and non-inclusion chrysotile into Annex 3 of Rotterdam Convention.
The latest scientific evidence published, in peer-reviewed scientific journals in the past decade alone, strongly supports the following views:
- Chrysotile is significantly less hazardous than the amphibole forms of Asbestos;
- When properly controlled and used, chrysotile asbestos in its modern day high-density applications does not present risk on any significance to public or worker health.
Unnecessary administrative complications become trade barriers. The strongest proponents of inclusion of chrysotile in Annex III are advocates of a complete ban on chrysotile. Most substance included in Annex III are eventually completely banned.
It would be the people from the poor countries that would pay the biggest price. Not only would they lose the jobs involved in the mining, trade and manufacturing of chrysotile and chrysotile-bearing products, but they would also lose a low-cost, very effective substance, that answers some of their very basic needs, such as sanitary infrastructure and housing.
The initiators and followers of anti-chrysotile campaign did not take into account existing scientific validated data on safe and controlled use of chrysotile, ignore the needs of the millions of people who use cheap and durable chrysotile-containing building materials, and force the developed countries to use expensive alternative materials whose impact on human health and the environment has been little studied.
We believe that the ban on chrysotile
* It is - the impossibility of social housing needed by people cheap and affordable chrysotile-containing materials;
* It is - you can not use safe for health and long-lasting chrysotile-containing pipes to provide people with water, heat;
* It is - the artificial lobbying of the use of more expensive, hazardous or less well-known to influence the health of the materials;
* It is - the loss of jobs and the ensuing social upheaval for millions of workers and their families.
The International Trade Union Movement for Chrysotile firmly follows the position of chrysotile safe use within the framework of decisions taken by highest decision making bodies of WHO and ILO concerning chrysotile and is strictly against inclusion of chrysotile asbestos into Annex III of Rotterdam Convention.
Chrysotile is 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.
The International Trade Union Movement for Chrysotile
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SOURCE International Trade Unions Movement "For Chrysotile"