Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 7:49 EDT

Epidemiology Organisations Launch Call for a Global Ban on Asbestos

July 24, 2012

OTTAWA, July 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – In a Statement released today, national
and international organisations that study the causes and prevention of
disease epidemics, call, for the first time, for a global ban on the
mining, use, and export of all forms of asbestos. The Statement has
already been endorsed by over 150 public health, civil society
organizations and individual scientists from twenty countries.

The Statement comes just when plans are underway to re-start the former
Johns-Manville mine in Quebec and export millions of tons of asbestos
overseas over the next 20 years.

“Continued use of asbestos will lead to a public health disaster of
asbestos-related illness and premature death for decades to come,
repeating the epidemic we are witnessing today in industrialised
countries that used asbestos in the past,” stated Dr. Stanley Weiss,
chair of the Joint Policy Committee of the Societies of Epidemiology
(JPC-SE), which released the Statement today (www.jpc-se.org). The JPC-SE comprises a number of Canadian, U.S. and international
epidemiology organisations.

“We call specifically on the major asbestos exporting countries -
Brazil, Canada, Kazakhstan, and Russia – to respect the right to health
by ceasing the mining, use, and export of asbestos, and providing
transition assistance to their asbestos-mining communities,” said Dr.
Robert Hiatt, representing the American College of Epidemiology.

“The asbestos industry continues today to undermine public health policy
by denying the overwhelming scientific evidence and promoting asbestos
use in developing countries,” said Professor Colin Soskolne, PhD,
past-president of the Canadian Society of Epidemiology and
Biostatistics. “Over a hundred thousand people around the world die
unnecessary and painful deaths every year as a result.”

The Statement urges countries to inform their citizens of the hazards of
asbestos and to establish an inventory of asbestos already in place,
particularly in schools where children are at risk of exposure.

The Statement notes that the asbestos industry has used tactics of
intimidation to try to silence scientists. It urges public health
organisations to support the right of scientists and academics to carry
out their work in the public interest free from intimidation.

SOURCE Rideau Institute on International Affairs

Source: PR Newswire