Asbestos victims appeal to the 170 countries attending the UN Rotterdam Convention Conference: End the cover-up of asbestos hazards

Tue, Apr 30, 2013


Kathleen Ruff,

On May 7, 2013, the 170 countries attending the Conference of the Parties to the UN Rotterdam Convention will be asked to approve the recommendation of the Convention’s expert scientific body to put chrysotile asbestos on the Convention’s list of hazardous substances.

In the letter below, organisations around the world, representing thousands of asbestos victims, call on all countries to support the listing and to end the cover-up of asbestos hazards.

Association of Asbestos Victims Families, Casale, Italy

Dear Parties to the Rotterdam Convention:

We call on every country attending the 6th Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention to support putting chrysotile asbestos on the Convention’s list of hazardous substances, as the Convention’s expert scientific body (the Chemical Review Committee) is, for the fourth time, recommending.

Chrysotile asbestos represents 100% of the global asbestos trade today and, over the past one hundred years, 95% of all asbestos traded was chrysotile asbestos. There is an overwhelming scientific consensus that all forms of asbestos, including chrysotile asbestos, are hazardous to health. Yet, for the past many decades, the asbestos industry covered up and denied the scientific evidence that all asbestos can cause disease and death. As a consequence, many thousands of people have lost their lives, including our loved ones and comrades.

In February 2012, an Italian court sentenced two Eternit asbestos executives to 16 years in prison for their criminal conduct in having covered up the hazards of asbestos, thus causing a human and environmental catastrophe. Yet today, the asbestos industry is exporting asbestos to developing and middle income countries, while continuing to deny its hazards.

The Rotterdam Convention requires that countries exporting hazardous substances practice responsible trade and obtain prior informed consent before exporting a hazardous substance on the Convention’s list, thus enabling countries to protect the health of their citizens and the environment.

All Parties to the Convention have a duty to practice responsible trade and to respect the right of prior informed consent.

We, who have witnessed at first hand the terrible suffering and death caused by asbestos, urgently call on every Party to the Convention to support placing chrysotile asbestos on the Convention’s list of hazardous substances.

Romana Blasotti Pavesi

President, AFEVA (Association of Asbestos Victims Families, Casale, Italy)

Piazza Castello 31, 15033 Casale AL Italy



National Association of Asbestos Victims (ANDEVA), France

Association of Asbestos Victims (ABEVA), Belgium

Asbestos Victims Support Groups’ Forum (AVSGF), UK

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), USA

Brazilian Association of Asbestos Exposed People (ABREA), Brazil

Spanish Federation of Associations of Asbestos Victims and Communities (FEDAVICA), Spain

Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia (ADSA), Australia

Canadian Society for Asbestos Victims (CANSAV), Canada

Korean Federation for Asbestos Victims

Occupational Health and Safety Association (OHSA), India

Asbestos Interest Group in Kuruman, South Africa

Krantikari Majdoor Sangh, Mumbai, India

Agrupación Peruana de Expuestos y Victimas del Asbesto (APEVA), Peru

German Asbestosis Victims Group

Dutch Asbestos Victims Committee

Committee for Asbestos Mine Victims in Korea

Busan committee for asbestos Victims in Korea

Merseyside Asbestos Victims Support Group, UK

Northeast Asbestos Support and Awareness Group, UK

A Walk to Remember Victims of Asbestos – Canada and USA

Victims of Asbestos/Industrial Disease, Canada

Canadian Voices of Asbestos Victims, Canada

Saskatchewan Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (SADAO), Canada

Japan Association of Mesothelioma and Asbestos-related Disease Victims and Their Families, Japan

Hong Kong Association for the Rights of Industrial Accident Victims (ARIAV), Hong Kong

Gippsland Asbestos Related Diseases Support Inc. (GARDS), Australia

Asbestos Victims Society of South Australia Inc. (ADSSA), Australia

Bernie Banton Foundation, Australia

Asbestos Related Disease Support Society, Queensland, Australia





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