Asbestos victims call on President of the International Chrysotile Association to resign

Fri, Nov 27, 2020


Kathleen Ruff,

In a letter (English, French) sent to Emiliano Alonso, the President of the International Chrysotile Association (ICA), asbestos victims organisations in Belgium, France, Italy and the UK call on Alonso to:

  • Respect the overwhelming scientific evidence that all forms of asbestos should be banned;
  • Stop promoting the use of asbestos in developing countries;
  • Stop disseminating misinformation that causes harm and loss of life;
  • Immediately resign his position as President of the International Chrysotile Association.

The ICA is funded by and serves the financial interests of asbestos mining companies in Russia, Kazakhstan and Zimbabwe and asbestos dealers in India and Mexico. It lobbies to block and defeat bans on asbestos in developing countries and lobbies at the United Nations to block and defeat safety protections regarding asbestos.

Emiliano Alonso is a Spanish lawyer who has set up a consulting company, Alonso y Asociados, with offices in Madrid and Brussels to lobby on behalf of his clients at the United Nations, the European Union and elsewhere. He has been paid by the ICA for many years to promote the interests of the asbestos industry. He is now the President of the ICA.

Discrimination, racism and asbestos

In the past year we have seen widespread protests in Canada, the United States and other countries against long-entrenched, horrific racism. It is critically important that action be taken to end systemic racism inside countries. Racism also exists when privileged western countries protect their own citizens from toxic products, but continue to sell these toxic products overseas, sending a clear message that they consider the lives of people in developing countries to be of inferior value than their own lives.

Thus pesticides that are banned in Europe are sold overseas. Thus asbestos is banned in Europe, where Alonso lives and works, yet he assists the asbestos industry to deny that same protection to populations overseas.

Asbestos victims organisations in Europe are calling on Alonso to stop aiding and abetting this discrimination and racism. They are calling on him to stop helping the asbestos industry create more asbestos victims in developing countries.

His response is awaited.

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