Another chance to list Asbestos as Hazardous: Will Canada block again?

The Green Party is reiterating its call for Canada’s government to step out of the way of chrysotile asbestos being listed as a hazardous substance under the United Nations Rotterdam Convention.  The Convention meets in Geneva starting Monday and the world waits to see if Canada will once  again block the listing, as we have done for the past 30 years.

“The Green Party was the first party in Canada to call for banning asbestos, and we will continue this fight on behalf of all those who have  suffered because of this hazardous substance,” said Green Leader  Elizabeth May.  “Listing asbestos as hazardous under the Convention does not mean we stop selling it.  It only means we have a duty to provide  prior informed consent to importing countries so that they are made  aware of the risks.  Canada has been against that under both Liberal and Conservative governments.”

Canada is one of the world’s main exporters of chrysotile, the type of  asbestos fibre mined in Quebec, even though it is no longer used  domestically because of its dangerous carcinogenic properties.  The  World Health Organization cites asbestos as responsible for over 90,000  deaths annually.  The Rotterdam Convention regulates international trade in dangerous substances and was introduced to protect developing  countries from hazardous imports.

“Canada’s continued role as an exporter of this cancer-causing substance is  shameful,” said May.  “What is needed is a fair transition strategy for  asbestos miners in Quebec so that we can phase out this toxic industry.”