Two important dates for the International Ban Asbestos Network (IBAN) :

Milan, Italy 1993: international conference on the carcinogenic nature of all forms of asbestos without any safe threshold limit in case of asbestos contamination

São Paulo, Brazil 1994: the International Seminar during which the policy of "controlled use" of asbestos was denounced and the ban asbestos strategies defined:

- Support to the victims struggles

- Fight against the lobby of the asbestos industry

- Action for a global asbestos ban and for the substitution of asbestos containing materials by non-hazardous others.

BAN ASBESTOS FRANCE arose in 1995, created by Henri Pezerat (former director of reearch, CNRS), the leader of the first anti-asbestos movement organized in France (1977, University of Jussieu), in cooperation with Annie Thébaud-Mony (Director of Research, INSERM, specialist in occupational health) and Patrick Herman (journalist, whistle-blower on asbestos). Ban Asbestos France has been actively part of the Andeva (National Association for Defending Victims of Asbestos) in 1996. The struggles of the numerous anti-asbestos groups all around the country finally allowed the prohibition of this material in France in 1997. Nevertheless, millions of tons of asbestos are still in place. 

 

 

To read a Global Panorama of National Experiences in Public Health Actions to Ban Asbestos, please visit http://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph/special_issues/asbestos; here is the experience of Japan and that of Taiwan.

 

Brazil : The Federal Supreme Court bans Asbestos in the state of São Paulo and declares that the federal law of so called “controlled use of asbestos” contradicts the Constitution. Please also read "Brazil's asbestos divide" on the site of the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat.

Australia has the dubious distinction of being the country with the hightest rates of mesothélioma in the world.

Here is Australia's asbestos profile written by the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat;

you will also find an article from British daily newspaper "The Guardian" about the asbestos mining town of Wittenom, Western Australia, as well as photos of the city, which the authorities have decided to remove from the map, because all of its territory is highly polluted by blue asbestos (crocidolite).

The news coincide with our file, as the renovation of the Sydney Opera House is stopped due to the presence of asbestos. The health of electricians working on the site is particularly threatened. The Electrical Trades Union has issued a work ban.

Great Britain : Figures released on July 5, 2017 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) document a rise in mesothelioma mortality. In Great Britain the number of mesothelioma deaths in 2015 was 2,542, an increase on the 2014 figure of 2,519 deaths. According to the HSE press release: "The increase in mesothelioma deaths in recent years has been driven mainly by deaths among those aged 75 and above… The latest projections suggest there will continue to be around 2500 deaths per year for the rest of this current decade before annual numbers begin to decline. The current figures relating to asbestos-related cancer reflect widespread exposures before 1980."  See: HSE releases annual workplace fatality figures.

Also please see Message of Solidarity for Action Mesothelioma Day.

Laurie Kazan-Allen,

 

Will impunity continue in France ? Please read the communiqué issued by Ban Asbestos France and Association Henri Pézerat "Against the licence to kill granted to the multinational companies of asbestos… and others, by the French judicial institution"

 

 

Dear all delegates who have participated of the Rotterdam Cop in Geneva,

Please find here our presse release about such frustrating results.

Thanks to all of you who fight so hard during these days.

In solidarity,

Annie

You can also read the communiqué issued by the World Alliance for Action against Asbestos, and the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.

You will find here a brief report from the Asian Ban Asbestos Delegation at the Rotterdam Convention COP 8 in Geneva, Switzerland, and an article on India’s contentious stand on Chrysotile asbestos. Also, the testimony of an Indonesian victim of asbestos.

 

 

Communiqué from Maître Jean-Paul Teissonnière - TTLA / Amisol Case

Deliberation of the Court of Cassation - Instruction of March 31st, 2017
Twenty years after the filling of the complaints:

- After two judgements of the Court of Cassation breaking the first two decisions of dismissed case, a third dismissed case has been pronounced to the advantage of the last CEO of Amisol, on March 31st, 2017,

- A third appeal in Cassation is announced by the plaintiffs,

- The blocking that justice puts up to the organisation of a contradictory public debate on the penal responsibility of the industrialists who massively exposed their employees to asbestos, adds a judiciary scandal to a sanitary scandal at the root of more than 100.000 passings in France.

 

 

Dear Eric & Ian,

In the name of Ban Asbestos, I am sharing congratulations of the International Ban Asbestos Network for such a determinant decision. It is giving hope to all of us!

Thanks for your will and work which succeeded to win against Eternit lawyers and experts.

In Solidarity,

Annie

 

 

Kenya struggles to scrap banned asbestos roofing - Claiming tens of thousands of lives each year, asbestos is recognised as a killer. Efforts continue to get rid of the material once loved by builders. You can watch a video report here.

 

USA - An article on a Russian website is predicting that measures under the Trump Presidency will include the downgrading of regulations preventing asbestos use. Referencing statements made both before and during the election, the journalist concludes that the powers of the Environmental Protection Agency will be greatly watered down and asbestos materials will enjoy a new popularity: "The most obvious way to reduce costs in the construction industry is to end the restrictions on the use of chrysotile asbestos." Read more in the news of http://www.ibasecretariat.org/ - "Russia: Omens for US Asbestos Revival?"

 

Ireland - Asbestos-related deaths are expected to hit a record high in the next few years as the legacy of decades of ignorance about the cancer- causing building material hits the country. You can read an edifying article from the Irish Examiner here.

 

A very instructive article in "The Havana Times" questions why the Cuban government has never taken action against the asbestos hazard. Our Spanish speaking friends can also read this second article, which title can be translated by "the Regime does not know?"

A very important decision of the supreme court could reopen the way of a criminal trial in France (Caper).

Una decisión muy importante de la suprema corte podría abrir el camino de un processo penal en Francia.

the associations' replies to the questionnaire - Social Affairs Commission - Senate, 2nd April 2014
-------------------------------------------------

Lab rats: The anatomy of deadly product defence campaigns - Hazards magazine (New report)

Some scientific hired guns try to hide their industry ties; others flaunt them. Either way cash-for-science can be very bad news for your health. Hazards editor Rory O’Neill follows the money… International health agencies and those scientists not in the pay of industry are clear that chrysotile asbestos is a potent cause of cancer. The asbestos industry though had a four step strategy to give its deadly product a clean bill of health.

1 Buy some evidence

2 Have a promotional tour

3 Get your man on the inside

4 Take the money and run

More here: http://www.hazards.org/deadlybusiness/labrats

Rory O'Neill. Editor, Hazards magazine www.hazards.org

Professor, Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group, University of Stirling, Scotland

Health, safety and environment adviser, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

The International Chrysotile Association, which works on behalf of the worldwide asbestos industry, will be holding an international conference in New Delhi December 3 & 4 to promote the use of chrysotile asbestos in India. REQUEST: Do you wish to add your name to the attached letter to the Indian government, asking the government to reject the deadly misinformation that the asbestos industry is disseminating and to protect the health of its people by banning asbestos ? If so, please send the following information to Kathleen Ruff kruff@bulkley.net, if possible by November 18:

1) Individual scientists and health professionals: please send name, titles & positions, and country.

2) Organisations: trade unions, ban asbestos, asbestos victims, health, environmental, public interest, etc groups, please send name of group and country.

Please forward this message to other scientists and organisations who might wish to sign the letter.

 

Short asbestos fibres - are they toxic? The true "false controversy" of the toxicity of asbestos fibres in France (Annie Thébaud-Mony, 2012)

 

UN Scientific Agency collaborating with scientists involved in sabotaging UN Rotterdam Convention (reading)

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Asbestos: a scandal once again ! Denial of justice announced by the way of press articles - Press release, 15 May, 2013 :

According the journal " le Canard enchaîné ", the investigation chamber of the Appeal Court of Paris should take a shocking decision, on the next 17May, 2013, reversing the indictment of civil servants and other members of the Asbestos Permanent Committee, in the criminal asbestos trial in France.

Failure of secrecy is a serious disruption of the impartiality of judges in making a decision. But the most serious is the decision itself. The Court would have not identify any "link" between the deaths of tens of thousands of victims, for most workers, and the activity of the Asbestos Permanent Committee in which the Ministry of Labour was represented ex officio. However, this activity has been to prevent regulations on asbestos in France and Europe, from the early 1980s to the emergence of the social movement of asbestos victims and the ban in 1996.

Who will anyone believe that "senior officials have no regulatory power"? The state is not powerless when it has to protect the wealth of powerful people. Would it be without any capacity of action concerning the health and lives of workers, whose work has made the fortune of asbestos producers?

This decision, if confirmed, arouses indignation and revolt of asbestos victims and all those who fight at their side. It strengthens their determination to continue the struggle for justice. With their lawyers, Ban Asbestos France and the association Henri Pézerat will continue the action for the recognition by the criminal courts, of the reality of the asbestos disaster and its consequences as an industrial crime.


NO TO DUMPING TOXIC SHIPS ON DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

YES TO CLEAN SHIPS - YES TO POLLUTER PAYS - YES TO GREEN JOBS IN EUROPE

Petition to the European Parliament and to the European Council for an enhanced ship recycling regulation

15 April 2013 : We, the undersigned organisations active in environmental protection, sustainable development, health, labour and human rights, call on the European Parliament and the European Council to strengthen the proposed regulation on ship recycling (COM(2012)118) as presented by the European Commission on 23 March 2012. We believe that the proposed regulation will not prevent European owned ships - making up 40% of the world's fleet - from being scrapped on the beaches of Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan in foreseeable time. Nor do we believe that the proposed regulation will lead to substantial improvements to existing shipbreaking facilities in South Asia to lessen the severe environmental damage, the human rights abuses and loss of lives occurring at these facilities. We call on the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union to work together to finally put an end to the breaking of ships on tidal beaches, to take care for workers' safety, to provide adequate protection of the marine environment from ship-borne pollutants and to hold the shipping industry accountable. A dangerous precedent in EU environmental law. We believe that the proposal in its present form sets an extremely dangerous precedent insofar as it allows the EU to unilaterally withdraw from the UN Basel Convention. Under the Basel Ban Amendment - adopted in 1995 by the Parties to the Basel Convention and ratified by the EU in 1997 - exports of hazardous wastes such as end-of-life vessels to non-OECD countries, notably developing countries, are prohibited. The European Commission has proposed to remove end-of-life ships from its implementing legislation of the Basel Convention, the EU Waste Shipment Regulation (EC 1013/2006). Under international law, however, such a unilateral withdrawal by the EU is illegal, as the Basel Convention has not removed ships from its definition of hazardous waste. The European Parliament and the Council must consider the gravity of this misstep. We urge the European Parliament and the Council to improve the proposal so that it will remain in conformity with the binding legal provisions of the Basel Convention. No perpetuation of beaching of ships. In addition, the Commission proposal lacks clarity when it comes to banning beaching, namely the sending of end-of-life ships flying a European flag and/or owned by European companies to the beaches in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh for dismantling. Nowhere does the proposal address the role of flags-of-convenience as a root of the systematic disregard of the international regulations and the continuous illegal export of toxic wastes to non-OECD countries. The well-known loopholes, which allow shipowners to easily circumvent the Basel Convention and the Waste Shipment Regulation, must be closed. At the same time, the implementation of the already existing regimes must be enforced and ships must remain under the Waste Shipment Regulation. A green shipping industry in Europe. We demand that the new regulation includes an incentive to dismantle ships within the European Union and to support the European recycling industry as well as the environmentally sound and safe management of waste. Moreover, the proposal should draw a clear link between the support of pre- cleaning of the ships throughout their operational life and the development of green jobs in Europe. Not only would classification societies and other service providers benefit from mandatory inventories and auditing schemes for yards, but R&D within shipbuilding and dismantling, recycling and waste management, as well as refitting operations would also provide sorely needed jobs. A financial mechanism to establish the polluter pays principle. The current proposal does not display any ambition to hold the shipping industry accountable for externalizing the costs of the recycling of their vessels onto developing countries. Whereas EU environmental law clearly supports the polluter pays principle for other industries, it shies away from establishing a financial mechanism for the shipping industry in order to include those who benefit from the ships into the bill.

We demand an EU regulation on ship recycling that

" upholds the current prohibition on the export of ships containing hazardous materials to developing countries and to enforce the existing ban;

" explicitly bans the method of beaching ships for dismantling;

" covers not only EU-flagged ships (as only 8% of end-of-life vessels still use EU flags), but also incorporates a financial mechanism to include European-owned vessels and ships calling at EU ports;

" promotes green ship building and ship recycling within the EU (cradle-to-cradle principle);

" establishes the polluter pays principle and holds the shipping industry accountable.

 

Signed by: the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, Belgium

Patrizia Heidegger

Executive Director

 

The Platform's member organisations also signed this petition:

 

Basel Action Network (BAN), USA Jim Puckett

Executive Director

 

Ban Asbestos, France

Annie Thébaud-Mony

Spokesperson and Chair of the Henri Pézerat association

 

Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), Bangladesh

Rizwana Hasan

Chief Executive

 

Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies, Bangladesh

Nazrul Islam Khan

Executive Director & Secretary General

 

The Bellona Foundation, Norway

Svend Søyland

Senior international advisor

 

The Corporate Accountability Desk - The Other Media, India

Madhumitta Dutta

Spokesperson

 

Transport & Environment, Belgium

Bill Hemmings

Programme manager

 

Fédération Internationale des Droits de l'Homme (FIDH), France

Elin Wrzoncki

Head of globalization and human rights office

 

Greenpeace, Netherlands

Marietta Harjono

Toxics Campaigner

 

International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS), UK Laurie Kazan-Allen

Coordinator

 

Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE), India

Ritwick Dutta

Environmental Lawyer

 

Stichting De Noordzee/The North Sea Foundation, Netherlands

Merijn Hougee

Project Manager

 

The Bangladesh Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Foundation (OSHE), Bangladesh

Repon Chowdhury

Executive Director

 

Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Pakistan

Kanwar Iqbal

Senior Research Associate

 

Toxics Link, India Satish Sinha Associate Director

 

Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), Bangladesh

Muhammad Ali Shahin

Platform Project Coordinator in Bangladesh

 

This petition was also signed by the following European NGOs:

 

Catalan Oceanographic Association, Spain

Fernando Condal Domingo

Marine biologist

 

Clydebank Asbestos Group, UK Hope Roberston

Secretary

 

Ecologistas en Acción, Spain

Lydia Chaparro Elias

Sea campaign coordinator

 

European Environmental Bureau, Belgium

Jeremy Wates

Secretary General

 

Greenpeace European Unit, Belgium

Jorgo Riss

Director

 

Legambiente, Italy

Antonio Pergolizzi

National coordinator - Ecomafie observatory

 

LPN - Liga para a Protecção da Natureza, Portugal

Sidónio Paes

Fisheries Policy Officer

LuminaConsult, Belgium Roberto Ferrigno Execu


URGENT APPEAL for AMISOL

February 8, 2013, the Appeal Court of Paris decided that the trial of Claude Chopin, former executive of the French asbestos textile factory "AMISOL", will not take place. No charge has been made against him. The door is now wide open for corporate abusers, free to commit industrial crimes knowing that they can do so with total impunity. In the past decades, a citizens' movement has made visible the asbestos scandal. Today, we ex-workers and factory workers Amisol fighting since 1974, we appeal the minister of justice in our country and to the judges of the French supreme court (Court of Cassation) to reconsider this decision.

Thank you for reading and sign this online petition: "Shame on Amisol French justice to the victims of the worst asbestos factory! '

http://www.petitionpublique.fr/?pi=AMISOL2

 

UK Mesothelioma Statistics in the Education Sector


NDP introduces asbestos right to know bill. David Giles, Global News : Thursday, November 01, 2012 2:05 PM

<http://www.globalsaskatoon.com/pages/media.aspx?id=6442745624&amp;mediaID=6442745624>

Private member's bill would require public access to list of public buildings containing asbestos.

Photo Credit: CHARLY TRIBALLEAU , AFP/GettyImages

REGINA - Saskatchewan's NPD have introduced a new private member's bill that would require a list be made available to everyone of all public buildings in the province with asbestos.

The asbestos right to know bill would cover government-owned buildings, health care facilities and schools. "Saskatchewan already has a list of public buildings which contain asbestos," said Cam Broten, NDP health critic and author of the bill.

"Creating a public registry with that list is common sense and it's the right thing to do." Broten said if passed, the new act would allow workers, patients and the public to make better informed decisions about their health and safety. The government already maintains a list of public building containing asbestos. The act would require that list to be made available online with details about asbestos containment in each building. "For a family choosing a personal care home, a tradeperson heading to a jobsite or a contractor planning a construction job, having an asbestos registry could be an important part of making an informed decision," said Broten.

http://www.globalsaskatoon.com/ndp+introduces+asbestos+right+to+know+bill/6442745624/story.html

Coordinator : c/o Environics Trust 177, Neb Sarai, IGNOU Road - New Delhi-110068 (www.oehni.)


The Ban Asbestos Phenomenon - The Winds of Change (... to read...)

Jean-Paul Teissonnière lawyer of the victims of industrial crimes indicted .... for defamation by the firm Eternit (press release, September, 6)

TURIN : Mr. Minister, Ladies and gentlemen, On behalf of the French activists Ban Asbestos France and Henri Pézerat Association, I wish you to read a public letter to Stephan Schmidheiny which has been sent last december. We express our solidarity with the struggle of the citizens of Casale Monferrato. With our respectful greetings. Annie Thébaud-Mony (06 76 41 83 46) .

 

Michelin should not build this factory in India! Supporting a citizen movement in India, we appeal to all those who reject the rule of the strongest to sign the petition : http://www.petitionpublique.fr/PeticaoVer.aspx?pi=P2012N18922

The social movements can not simply denounce - abstractly - the delocalisation of the economy. Not only does it ruin the job for us, but destroys the roots of the life of the poorest in the South. In India, a terrible conflict between a village of Untouchables - the lowest considered people in this country of castes - and Michelin, our big multinational corporation producing tires. Thervoy Kandigai is a village in Tamil Nadu state (southern India). About 1500 families, are traditionally living of pastures and forests near Thervoy. It is their territory. With this plant, Michelin is destroying it for ever. The forest is an essential area for the survival of this population without land. It is now confiscated and has already begun to be destroyed, with a dramatic risk of drying up the lakes supplying water to local villages. This French multinational corporation has indeed managed to convince the Indian federal authorities, and intends to build an ultramodern tires factory in place of the forest of the Untouchables. Space is already closed, buildings already under construction, a training centre already open. The villagers are fighting alone for two years, multiplying actions and hunger strikes. In return, they face repression, beatings, and police presence. Some of them are in jail since February 2011. They just elected a Panchayat - kind of mayor - openly opposed to the installation of Michelin. And they call for international support. France is at the forefront. As well as the inhabitants of Thervoy Kandigai, the signers of this petition request the cancellation of the project. On its website, Michelin India proclaims: "One of core Michelin's values is respect for people." The time has come to prove that such words are not only commercial advertising. Do not touch the Untouchables' forest at Thervoy Kandigai! The undersigned require:

o The cancellation of the construction project of a Michelin factory at Thervoy Kandigai

oThe land restitution to villagers

o Compensation to villagers for land destroyed

o The release of the eight persons who are jailed, amnesty for 61 persons awaiting for trial and the end of all violence against Thervoy people!

First to sign :

Annie Thébaud-Mony, sociologue, présidente de l'association Henri Pézerat, santé - travail - environnement ; Fabrice Nicolino, journaliste, association Henri Pézerat : Josette Roudaire, présidente du Comité Amiante Prévenir et Réparer, Auvergne, association Henri Pézerat ; François Roca, CGT Michelin ; Thierry Souzon, CGT Michelin ; Michel Chevalier, CGT Michelin ; Jean-Sébastien Gascuel, hebdomadaire Paysan d'Auvergne ; Jean-Pierre Serezat, Université populaire, Clermont Ferrand ; Eric Panthou, Historien,Syndicaliste FSU, Clermont-Ferrand ; Laurent Quinson, Bibliothécaire, Syndicaliste FSU, Lyon Corine Védrine, ethnologue, Saint-Etienne ....

Belgium : The court case being brought against Eternit by Françoise Jonckherre is to begin on Monday, October 24 at 8:30 am at the Palais de Justice in Brussels. It is the very first court case of an environnemental victim against Eternit in Belgium. Abeva, in cooperation with IOTA production, is organizing a conference on asbestos Sunday, October 23 at the Bozar Palace in Brussels. After the afternoon devoted to speaking and exchanges amongst the participants, the film "Dust" will be presented in preview at 19h30. It's a film relating the daily lives and the outcry of victims of asbestos in Casale (Italy). Iit is also a record in the trial image of 1600 plaintiffs against two leaders of Eternit Italy. Representatives and victims from Italy, France, and Britain will join us for the occasion. The Italian producers will also be present.

France/Japan : Sanitary impacts of the CMMP plant in Aulnay sous Bois (Seine Saint Denis) in French. Elements of comparison with the Kubota plant in Japan (2011).

press release of BANI (Rotterdam convention of 2011 june).

ANNUAL REPORT : NGO SHIPBREAKING PLATFORM 2009

Toronto Star - 6 June 2010 - Editorial by Kathleen Ruff

Note that the Government of Canada supports this asbestos lobbying organization with $250,000 per year… Here is their position about including chrysotile asbestos in the Rotterdam Convention: "The simple fact is that the inclusion of chrysotile to the PIC procedure would have been interpreted as a call for a ban and the substitution of chrysotile by replacement products. And, this consequence is against the expressed will of a large number of countries and their governments that favour the controlled and responsible-use policy." "There is no safe level of exposure, and if developed countries with all their laws and resources cannot use it safely, then how can Canada expect developing countries like India, where health and safety regulations are lax and unenforced, possibly use it safely ?" http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Chrysotile%20Institute%20champions%20asbestos%20other%20name/3031134/story.html. Montreal Gazette - 15 May 2010 - Chrysotile Institute champions asbestos - by any other name

By MICHELLE LALONDE, The Gazette

A major player in the asbestos story is the Chrysotile Institute - which until 2004 was known as the Asbestos Institute - a non-profit organization set up in 1984 by the Quebec and federal governments to promote the safe use of chrysotile asbestos around the world. The institute is led by Clément Godbout, former president of the powerful Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ). In March, when NDP MP Pat Martin challenged the federal government's continued funding of the institute - $250,000 for 2010 - Godbout quickly rallied the troops, holding a news conference to defend the industry. At his side were heads of the chambers of commerce from Quebec's asbestos mining region, mayors of of Asbestos and Thetford Mines, the Manufacturers and Exporters of Quebec, Quebec Employers Council, Quebec Mining Association, Pro-Chrysotile Movement, and several union leaders. Clearly Godbout wanted to show that his institute is not the lone cheerleader for asbestos; he announced the formation of a new pro-asbestos coalition called the Regroupement de partenaires en faveur de la fibre chrysotile. Godbout and his colleagues scrupulously avoid the mention of the word "asbestos." The Chrysotile Institute has always maintained that anti-asbestos forces are woefully ignorant about chrysotile and are forever getting it confused with other, more dangerous forms of asbestos. He doesn't say that chrysotile is the only form of asbestos ever mined in Canada, virtually the only type on the global market today, and that the high levels of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses in Quebec today are due mostly to exposure to chrysotile asbestos decades ago. While it is true that conditions have vastly improved in Quebec mines and some workplaces where asbestos-containing products are made, those at risk today are mostly construction, renovation and maintenance workers whose jobs involve removing, cutting or otherwise disturbing asbestos-containing materials, and inhaling the dust. Godbout did not return a request for an interview for this article, but at his news conference in March, he said his institute works hard at raising awareness about the safe use of chrysotile asbestos in Quebec and around the world. He maintained that safe handling of chrysotile asbestos is possible in controlled environments. The institute publishes a "safe use manual" on its website, which explains the need for proper exhaust ventilation systems and/or water spray equipment to control the release of asbestos dust in the air whenever the material is cut, hammered, pierced or drilled. When journalists asked Godbout whether he expected workers in developing countries like India to have access to such specialized equipment, he said the only places where such procedures are not respected are small "mom and pop" shops that operate outside of regulatory frameworks. These places should be shut down by the Indian government, he said. But Dr. Tushar Joshi, director of the Centre for Occupational & Environmental Health at Maulana Azad Medical College in Delhi, said vast portions of India's workforce are unregulated, and the enforcement of safety protocols is almost non-existent in much of the country. "The whole Canadian approach of promoting controlled use of chrysotile asbestos, or saying that it is a safe product, is totally untenable in the light of accumulated scientific evidence," said Joshi, who was in Ottawa this week for the anti-asbestos demonstration on Parliament Hill. "There is no safe level of exposure, and if developed countries with all their laws and resources cannot use it safely, then how can Canada expect developing countries like India, where health and safety regulations are lax and unenforced, possibly use it safely?" he said. Indeed, a 2007 study by Montreal's public health agency found that of the very few companies in Quebec still using asbestos, not one was using it safely. There are 31 million people employed in construction in India, Joshi said, and the Indian government intends to spend $500 billion on construction of infrastructure over the next five years. If use of asbestos continues at its present rate, he fears India will be stuck with a massively expensive health crisis in a couple of decades.But Godbout says if Quebec gets out of the asbestos business, India will simply buy the mineral from countries like Russia that won't be as concerned about promoting safe use. A worldwide ban would have a "devastating effect on the jobs and economic development of certain regions of Quebec," Godbout said. He says those who advocate a ban on asbestos production are "pretty casual about taking away other people's jobs." He scoffed at suggestions that governments could redirect the millions they invest - both in his institute and in foreign trade missions promoting asbestos - toward economic diversification and retraining programs for miners in Thetford Mines and Asbestos. "Governments always talk about doing that," he said, "but it never happens." mlalonde@thegazette.canwest.com

 Ban asbestos completely else lift ban on chrysotile mining, says Indian Ministry of Mines. Civil Society demands ban on mining, manufacturing and use of asbestos.On 28/4/2010, Indian Ministry of Mines held a consultation meeting to explore the possibility of lifting the current technical ban on mining chrysotile asbestos, amidst Kerela Human Rights Commission's order banning use of asbestos in schools and a pending case in the National Human Rights Commission in the same matter. Occupational and environmental groups present at the meeting called for complete ban on asbestos of all kinds because asbestos fibers cause incurable diseases like cancer and sought Mines Ministry's support in getting a ban imposed on import chrysotile asbestos. The draft guidelines prepared by Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), Union Ministry of Mines on possibility of safe mining of chrysotile asbestos drew severe criticism. Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI), an alliance of public health, occupational health, human rights and environment researchers and activists argued, "it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that no safe and controlled mining, production and use of asbestos and its products is possible." Ms Shanta Sheela Nair, Secretary, Indian Ministry of Mines supported BANI's position but argued, "Asbestos should be banned completely if not then why mining of asbestos within India should be not be allowed as well." Under manifest pressure from the "mine owners of Chrysotile Asbestos Mines" from Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand, the Ministry seems to be acting like a rubber stamp for the asbestos mining industry's proposal to lift the ban on mining of asbestos although Supreme Court has held that "The development of the carcinogenic risk due to asbestos or any other carcinogenic agent, does not require continuous exposure. The cancer risk does not cease when the exposure to the carcinogenic agent ceases, but rather the individual carries the increased risk for the remaining years of life. The exposure to asbestos and the resultant long tragic chain of adverse medical, legal and societal consequences, reminds the legal and social responsibility of the employer or producer not to endanger the workmen or the community or the society. He or it is not absolved of the inherent responsibility to the exposed workmen or the society at large. They have the responsibility-legal, moral and social to provide protective measures to the workmen and to the public or all those who are exposed to the harmful consequences of their products. Mere adoption of regulations for the enforcement has no real meaning and efficiency without professional, industrial and governmental resources and legal and moral determination to implement such regulations." Occupational and environmental groups demand that Ministry of Mines must come out with a status paper on asbestos victims in India's asbestos mines and the action it has taken to provide compensation and medical remedy to them.

Notably, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Standard mentioned in the proposed guidelines in this regard is mere paper work with no teeth to act. There is reference to how "No person shall be allowed