Thursday, April 14, 2011
BANI Condemns Quebec Govt’s Support for asbestos mine expansion
Scientists, Doctors & Jurists Seek Elimination of White Asbestos
Environmental & Health Groups Demand Asbestos Free India
Existing Ban on Asbestos Mining in India Must Continue
New Delhi/14 April 2011: Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI), National Alliance for Asbestos Free India & Asbestos Mukti Andolan has condemned the Quebec government’s approval of the expansion of the Jeffrey asbestos mine in Asbestos, along with a $7.5-million economic diversification fund for the region. Quebec is a province in Canada.
Lyle Hargrove, Chairperson, Occupational Clinics for Ontario Workers, Canada who was in New Delhi in March, 2011 said, “I believe that it is real Black mark on my Canada for exporting ASBESTOS to India. We have cities devastated by Asbestos Manufacturing in the sixties and 70s. Workers were dying from Asbestos diseases and others were Sick including people that work in the plants, their family was getting sick as well. I demand that Canada quit exporting Asbestos to India and quit mining in Quebec. Asbestos is too dangerous to work with and I believe there is no safe level.”
Scientists and doctors ask, why is it that Canada applies strict measures domestically to protect the health of Canadians handling asbestos and yet exports asbestos to developing countries such as India, where the capacity to implement and monitor the application of similar precautionary measures is inadequate.
Collegium Ramazzini, a Italy based independent, international academy founded in 1982 by Irving J. Selikoff, Cesare Maltoni and other eminent scientists that comprises of 180 internationally renowned experts in the fields of occupational and environmental health too has called for ban on chrysotile (white) asbestos to protect public health.
Balcorp Ltd buys chrysotile (white) asbestos from the Jeffrey Mine in the town of Asbestos, about 150 kilometres northeast of Montreal, for the last 15 years. Balcorp Ltd company is an international trade and marketing firm with offices in Westmount, New Delhi and Mumbai. It sells the killer fibres of asbestos to more than a dozen asbestos products manufacturers in India.
Quebec government has shown inhuman insensitivity towards the outrage expressed by world’s scientific and medical community and the India’s ongoing ban asbestos movement who had sought stoppage of export of these lethal mineral fibres.
Earlier, in March 2011, while on a visit to New Delhi, Dr Alec Farquhar, Managing Director, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, Canada said, “We now have around 500 asbestos cancer cases every year in Ontario from a population of 13 million. If you (India) continue on your current path, you will multiply our death count by 100 times. That would be 50, 000 Indian workers dying every year from asbestos. In Ontario, we learned that safe use of asbestos is impossible. I urge you from the bottom of my hear, please do not make the same mistake as we made in Canada. Stop using asbestos and use a safe alternative.”
The exposure to this carcinogen is a human rights violation, disturbed by asbestos consumption in India, Professor Elihu D Richter MD MPH, Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Medicine, Israel said, “All form of asbestos kill. India should bury asbestos, not people. Here is a case for examining whether those countries which export asbestos to India are committing a crime against humanity, because they are engaging in willful neglect. India should not repeat the mistakes of going back some 70 years which will kill tens of thousands of workers and their families.”
Commenting on the propaganda unleashed by Quebec’s asbestos companies, Prof. Arthur L Frank,PhD, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Drexel University School of Public Health, US said, “No matter what mis-information comes of Canada or the Indian asbestos industry about Chrysotile, there is no question that science has shown that Chrysotile causes asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. This is the conclusion of World Health Organisation. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, and other organizations that have no bisases except for protecting people’s health”.
Prof (Dr) Qamar Rahman, fellow of National Academy of Sciences, Dean, Integral University, Lucknow & former Deputy Director, Industrial Toxicology Research Centre, Lucknow asserted, “This is high time that Government of India should ban the use of asbestos in India. It has been proven scientifically that asbestos based articles such as roof ceilings, storage tanks will release fibers. The asbestos fibers will be the cause of exposure to our coming generations.”
New Delhi Declaration Seeking Elimination of all forms of asbestos including chrysotile from India was adopted and endorsed by eminent scientists and doctors on 24th March, 2011 at a Round Table which happened immediately after the conclusion of International Conference on “Emerging Trends in Preventing Occupational Respiratory Diseases and Cancers in Workplace”. The Declaration is attached.
The Ministry of Mines, Government of India must ensure that the existing ban on white asbestos mining is not lifted in the interest public health the proposal of Indian Bureau of Mines at the behest of asbestos mining lobby. BANI has made its submissions to the Ministry citing resolutions of WHO and ILO seeking elimination of future use of asbestos which has been endorsed by the Supreme Court of India in its January, 2011 order. There is a Bill pending in the Rajya Sabha seeking ban on white asbestos. BANi appeals to all the political parties to support the passage of the Bill to safe guard the health of present and future generations.
Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI), which has been working for asbestos free India. BANI has been campaigning for a asbestos free India and is assisting the Asbestos Mukti Andolan in Bihar.
For Details: Gopal Krishna, Convener, Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI)/National Alliance for Asbestos Free India/ Asbestos Mukti Andolan, Bihar Mb: 09818089660, 07739308480 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org, Blog:banasbestosindia.blogspot.com