Seven countries, including India, Russia, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Kyrgystan, Kazakhstan and Cuba have unfortunately blocked the bid to list chrysotile asbestos as a dangerous substance.
The decision was to be made at a UN meeting in Geneva on Saturday 16th. It was necessary for all nations to agree for the restriction to pass, but seven opposed chrysotile asbestos’ addition to the Rotterdam Convention List.
The opposition came despite health experts’ warnings and evidence of the carcinogenic properties of chrysotile asbestos.
Chrysotile asbestos is widely used, with two million tonnes produced every year. Those opposed to its ban claim that the substance is safe. But by ignoring the warnings from scientists and doctors, the continued exportation and trade of chrysotile asbestos suggests a greater concern for profits than the health and wellbeing of people who could face the detrimental effects of exposure to asbestos.
The 1998 Rotterdam Convention restricts the trading of pesticides and industrial chemicals that have been banned or severely restricted for health or environmental issues. There are currently 14 industrial chemicals on the restricted list, including other types of asbestos. For an addition to the list, all signatory members must be in agreement, meaning that the seven countries opposed have blocked the ban. This will likely be raised again at the next conference on the Rotterdam Convention in 2017.
Brian Kohler, speaking on behalf of the IndustriALL Global Union, said, "The failure to list chrysotile asbestos means millions of exposed workers will stay ignorant of its deadly dangers." Trade Union campaigners, IndustriALL, united with union affiliates in Australia and the UK to campaign as the UN vote on listing chrysotile asbestos as a dangerous substance. See our previous blog here.
National Practice Operations Coordinator of the Chest and Asbestos Disease Group from Slater and Gordon, Dominic Smith, stated, “This decision by seven nations to not ban chrysotile asbestos as a dangerous substance is a backward step for all countries, considering the known dangers of this asbestos product.”
Exposure to asbestos in the workplace is an epidemic that continues to plague people all over the world. Statistics from the World Health Organization reveal that over 100,000 people worldwide die from asbestos-related diseases every year. Asbestos is a banned substance in 50 nations, but elsewhere the commercial use of asbestos has increased.
You can read more on asbestos awareness, and Global Asbestos Awareness Week 2015 here.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers can provide immediate legal representation and sympathetic support for people exposed to Asbestos anywhere in the UK.
If you or a family has suffered from an Asbestos-related cancer or disease call the expert Personal Injury Solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers on 0800 844 0275 on contact us online.