domingo, 14 de junio de 2009

Canadian Asbestos in India

Last night, the Canadian Broadcasting Co. National News presented a
major documentary on the use of Canadian asbestos in India. They had
film footage showing workers picking up piles of asbestos fiber with
their hands, feeding it into processing equipment, fiber and dust
everywhere, in a textile plant using Canadian chrysotile asbestos. It
looks like the investigators had gotten in a time machine and gone back
100 years to film this. Canadian government and taxpayer-supported
Chrysotile Institute spokesmen declined to face the CBC interviewer. A
stunning piece of investigative journalism, 15 minutes long.

It remains to be seen how long Canada will cling to its pariah status in
promoting its asbestos exports to the developing world. There is only
one asbestos mine left operating in Canada, employing a few hundred
workers. As a national election looms, members of Parliament are
starting to say it's time to close the asbestos mines and join the ~ 45
countries that have banned asbestos. Medical authorities and public
health scientists in Quebec have protested Canada's opposition to
including chrysotile asbestos under an international convention that
requires prior informed consent from the intended importing country
before the product can be shipped. The Canadian Cancer Society has
called for an asbestos ban. And finally the media are starting to raise
the issue, with some insight and persistence. If the government of
Canada and the "Canadian Chrysotile School" of scientists promoting
asbestos can be sidelined, we will be able to better confront this
quasi-criminal industry in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Barry Castleman, ScD
Environmental Consultant
P.O. Box 188
Garrett Park MD 20896 USA
Tel. 301-933-9097

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