“No doubt about the harmful effects of asbestos”
A call for a ban on the extraction, use and export of all forms of asbestos worldwide was addressed Tuesday by 150 international health organizations and scientists from 20 countries.
The announcement came shortly after the Quebec government’s decision to extend a $ 58m loan to reopen the Johns-Manville asbestos mine to produce and export the mineral for another 20 years.
“The continued use of asbestos will be devastating to public health, with illnesses and early deaths in the decades to come, echoing the epidemic nowadays of industrialized countries that used to use asbestos,” he said in a statement. Stanley Weiss, chairman of the Joint Committee on Epidemiology Societies, which is home to numerous organizations fighting for the elimination of asbestos.
Although activists argue that asbestos is linked to cancer, industry representatives insist that the material can be used safely as long as we handle it properly.
“There is no doubt about the harmful effects of asbestos and we should not undermine efforts to change policy,” said Professor Colin Soskolne, former president of the Canadian Society of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
Asbestos advocates are calling on major producers, including Brazil, Kazakhstan, Russia and Canada, to halt asbestos mining and exports, helping to move societies to other industries.
“Fostering fraud is unethical and we need to help mining-dependent societies develop new industries,” the professor concluded.