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Asbestos Trade Restrictions Blocked

Ever since Canada turned its Jeffrey Asbestos Mine into a virtual Mars, the question has been out there as to who will continue to export and promote the use of the potentially lethal mineral asbestos. Early last month, that question was answered when Russia, the world’s leading exporter, along with Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, India and Vietnam blocked the move to list chrysotile asbestos (also known as white asbestos) under a UN convention that requires member countries to decide whether they wish to take the risk of importing the hazardous substances. At a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, the opposition ignored the lives it may save and argued that it would increase shipping and insurance costs.

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For years, the fight has been waged to include chrysotile asbestos in the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent. Countries would have the right to be advised of the dangers of the product being imported. They would be required to give their consent, in writing, for the acceptance of both the asbestos or asbestos containing product and the risk that is being imported with it. Supporters of its inclusion say that this may save some of the nearly 110,000 people that the World Health Organization (WHO) estimate will die from an asbestos related disease each year. The opposition says the price is too high.

In 2011, Canada stood nearly alone (supported only by the Ukraine) in its efforts to keep chrysotile asbestos off “the list”. Now, in Canada’s absence, powerful industry has joined together and taken a seat at the table. Dollars rather than sense are what were served.

Companies have been aware of the dangers of asbestos since the 1930s. They chose profit over life continuing to use the cheap, heat resistant, mineral in construction products, mechanical equipment, gaskets and brake shoes and much more. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any asbestos related disease, you have rights. Our mesothelioma dedicated attorneys at Reyes, O’Shea and Coloca fight for the rights of individuals who were unknowingly exposed and put at risk. Each case is handled individually and given the attention and priority it deserves by our carefully trained legal team.

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New Scientist: Move to restrict asbestos trade blocked