International asbestos lobby loses another member

Thu, Oct 11, 2018


Kathleen Ruff,

The Asbestos International Association was created by the asbestos industry in 1975 to promote the global asbestos trade. Located first in Paris and then London, it moved to Quebec in 1997 and continues today to operate as a “non-profit organisation” registered in Quebec. In 2005 it changed its name to the International Chrysotile Association, wishing to avoid the use of the word “asbestos”.

For the past twenty years the International Chrysotile Association (ICA), situated first in Montreal and now in Thetford Mines, Quebec, has worked to increase the sale of asbestos to developing countries and carried out political lobbying activities to prevent these countries from banning asbestos. It is funded by asbestos mining companies and those who profit from selling asbestos.

Members of the International Chrysotile Association shrink from 23 to 6

Five years ago in 2013, the ICA had 23 directors involved in the asbestos trade in 16 countries. Those countries were: Kazakhstan, Russia, Brazil, China, India (three directors), Indonesia, United Arab Emirates (two directors), Colombia (two directors), Mexico (two directors), Sri Lanka (two directors), Canada  (two directors), USA, Bolivia, Vietnam, Iran and Senegal.

By the end of 2017 the ICA had shrunk to seven members from seven countries. Now they have lost another key member – Brazil.

Brazil’s huge Cama Brava asbestos mine was a long-time member and major funder of the ICA. No longer. Rubens Rela Filho, representing the Cana Brava mine, has now left the Board of Directors of the ICA. In November 2017, the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil issued an order forbidding the sale or use of asbestos, stating that this violated people’s right to health and the right to a sustainable environment contained in the Brazilian constitution.

Only three countries continue to mine and sell asbestos

Now only three countries in the world continue to mine and sell asbestos – Russia, Kazakhstan and China.

The ICA is thus now in reality funded by asbestos mines in just two countries – Russia and Kazakhstan (China is no longer a member) – and by asbestos sellers in India and Mexico.

The six directors of the ICA today are:

  • Kanat Kopbayev, representing the Kostanai asbestos mine in Kazakhstan
  • Yury Kozlov, representing the Uralasbest mine in Russia
  • Dr. G. Vivekanand, representing asbestos sellers in India
  • Galvan Carriles, representing asbestos sellers in Mexico
  • Chirandu Dhlembeu, representing a possible future asbestos mine in Zimbabwe that the government wants to re-open
  • Bob Pigg, former president of the long defunct Asbestos Information Association, North America, who represents nobody but himself

The International Chrysotile Assocation registered in Quebec has no representative in Quebec

The International Chrysotile Association is registered in Quebec as a non-profit corporation (Personne morale sans but lucratif). In the past, Jean-Marc Leblond of Thetford Mines, who was for years the Vice-President for Sales for the now closed LAB Chrysotile Inc. mine, was listed as the President of the ICA and as the physical representative of the Association.

That is no longer the case. Nobody is identified as the president of the ICA today. Emiliano Alonso Pelegrin is now identified as the ICA’s “physical representative” in Quebec with his address given as 3900 – 1 Place Ville-Marie, Montréal (Québec). This is the address of Dentons, a big law company with more than a hundred lawyers.

Mr. Pelegrin, however, is not a resident of Quebec. He has a law firm, Alonso & Asociados, located in Spain and Belgium, which carries out lobbying activities at the European Union and the United Nations  on behalf of various industries.

The address provided by the International Chrysotile Association seems to be false

The address in Montreal that the ICA provided to the Quebec corporate registry for its “physical representative” (Pelegrin) seems to be false. When asked, Dentons (whose offices are at the address given for Pelegrin) confirmed that Pelegrin is not a lawyer with their company.

Under Quebec law, the “physical person” who represents an organization incorporated in Quebec must reside in Quebec. However, the ICA’s physical representative does not reside in Quebec, nor do any of its directors. Perhaps they fear that it would be bad publicity to have as a representative or director someone who lives in a country that is banning the use of asbestos, while selling it as a safe product to other countries.

Alonso Pelegrin was hired to represent the ICA in 2017 to carry out lobbying activities to prevent the Rotterdam Convention Conference of the Parties from putting chrysotile asbestos on its list of hazardous substances.

A non-profit organization in Quebec is one that is engaged in activities “that are altruistic, moral, cultural, social, philanthropic, national, patriotic, religious, charitable, scientific, artistic, professional, athletic, sporting, educational or other in nature and are not intended to provide members with a profit or economic advantage.”

In reality, the International Chrysotile Association engages in activities intended to increase the profits of its members and that cause suffering and death. Their activities are condemned as immoral by the scientific community of Quebec, Canada and the world.

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2 Responses to “International asbestos lobby loses another member”

  1. Jagdish Patel Says:

    Information in this article is so soothing!! Thank you. Feel bad that India still has representation on ICA. With continued efforts, ICA will still shink further. You have played a great role in getting them out of Canada

  2. Tran Tuan Says:

    Very informative paper! Do you have a name of ICA Director in Vietnam some years ago?
    Is that Dr. DIEM QUANG VO?

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