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The most ambitious study on the matter by the WHO’s main agency for research on cancer

IARC publishes the main results of the largest historical cohort study on chrysotile asbestos covering 30,445 Russian workers

An unprecedented team of high-level scientists from various countries and international organizations recently joined forces to investigate cancer mortality among employees of Uralasbest PJSC, located in the city of Asbest, Sverdlovsk region, Russian Federation.

The research group was supervised by a specially created independent Scientific Advisory Board. It included specialists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization (IARC, Lyon, France), the Federal State Budgetary Scientific Institution Izmerov Research Institute of Occupational Health, Moscow, Russian Federation, the Federal Budgetary Institution "Ekaterinburg Medical and Scientific Center for Prevention and Health Protection of Workers of Industrial Enterprises" of the Federal Service for Surveillance in the Sphere of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare (FBU EMNTs POZRPP Rospotrebnadzor, Ekaterinburg, Russian Federation) and the Institute for Risk Assessment Science, Utrecht University (Utrecht, the Netherlands).

Their findings were published in January 2024, by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute of the USA, January 2024. under the title ‘Cancer mortality in chrysotile miners and millers, Russian Federation: main results (Asbest Chrysotile Cohort-Study)’,

Purpose and scope of the study

The main feature of this epidemiological study is that it examines the largest cohort of workers to date formed to investigate the risks associated with exposure to chrysotile asbestos. The cohort includes all employees of Uralasbest PJSC, the world's largest mining enrichment complex of chrysotile asbestos (quarry and ore-dressing factories), located in the city of Asbest, Sverdlovsk region, Russian Federation who worked for at least one year for Uralasbest between1975 and 2010. A total of 30,445 workers were included in the cohort. Of these, 54% had more than 30 years since their first occupational contact with chrysotile.

The unique feature of the study is the reconstruction of past exposures to dust for every individual worker, by linking the wealth of information of almost 100,000 dust measurements carried out over more than six decades with the detailed occupational history of workers from their employment records of when and exactly where each worker worked in the mine or factories. Cumulative exposure to chrysotile fibres was also estimated based on parallel dust and fibre measurements. Such detailed exposure data were never available in most similar studies worldwide.

Another distinctive feature of this cohort is the high proportion of women – a total of 9,783 female workers who represented 32% of the cohort.

The vital status of workers included in the cohort was assessed until 2015. For each deceased employee, the cause of death was determined using the regional electronic death certificate database. The underlying cause of death of deceased cohort members was manually coded by IARC medical staff in accordance with international ICD-10 coding guidelines to prevent underestimation of causes of death.

A statistical analysis of the obtained data was carried out. To assess the prevalence of smoking in the cohort, a special survey of current and retired Uralasbest PJSC employees was conducted.

Reported results

The paper’s main results regarding cancer mortality among workers involved in the extraction and enrichment of chrysotile asbestos are as follow:

  1. The study has not revealed the effect of exposure to chrysotile on mortality rates from laryngeal and ovarian cancer;
  2. Research also hasn’t found any reliable evidence of the effect of chrysotile exposure on mortality rates from stomach and colorectal cancer;
  3. The only type of cancer for which the dependence of the increase in deaths cases with increasing levels of exposure to total dust was found was lung cancer in men; however, researchers couldn’t establish the existence of a statistically significant relationship between fiber exposure and cancer mortality, due to the presence of other potential causes, namely cigarette smoking;
  4. In contrast, in women there was no increase in the risk of lung cancer mortality with increasing cumulative exposure to total dust mass. Moreover, the cumulative dose of dust and fibers in women is higher than in men. This result could well be due to a number of other reasons, the most important of which is the low prevalence of smoking among women. Overall, during observation period, in the study smoking prevalence was high among men (proportion of smokers was about two-thirds) and low among women (<5%);
  5. Out of the 30,445 workers assessed, there were only 13 mesothelioma cases were found. Researchers made a conclusion about increased risk of mesothelioma only in groups with the highest doses of exposure to chrysotile containing dust, and there were no mesothelioma cases in groups with low doses of exposure.

For completeness, data was also collected and analyzed on other groups of non-cancer diseases. Despite some limitations this study is therefore one of the most informative in the world as it represents the first comprehensive international analysis of the causes of death among workers at the world's largest producing chrysotile mine.

» Read the complete article


At a time when decision-makers are focused on tackling climate change, pollution and bio-diversity loss, how can they best balance the potentially harmful characteristic of some substances with the necessity of their use in order, for example, to sustain basic conditions for human health?

The “essential use” concept was brought forward and codified by the Montreal Protocol in 1992: its aim was to phase out uses of chemicals that deplete the Earth’s ozone layer. Its introduction as a broader tool for chemical risk management has been increasingly discussed in academic and political circles. In 2022, the European Commission, who wanted to strengthen the resilience of the EU chemical industry, decided to elaborate on the concept and relevant criteria. To that end, it launched a broad consultation process involving a range of stakeholders from Member States authorities, industry, NGOs and academia. This lengthy process culminated on April 22nd with the publication of a Communication from the Commission, outlining “guiding criteria and principles for the essential use concept in EU legislation dealing with chemicals”.

It must be noted that in the eye of the Commission, the essential use concept “is not intended to determine whether a certain substance, product or service is itself essential for society, nor whether an individual consumer or company considers the use essential for them”. This being said, the ICA notes that the Commission’s detailed analysis offers many points of convergence with its own position with regards to chrysotile and substitution products. We agree with the EU, for example, when it states that “In all cases, it will be necessary to take into account the context of the use provided by the final product and the service or purpose that it fulfills for society and the users (e.g. consumers)”, or that “for uses proven essential, conditions should normally be set to minimize the emissions and the exposure of humans and the environment”.

The EU document also dwelves into the concept of “acceptable alternatives”, ie “substances, materials, technologies, processes or products, which [...] are capable of providing the function and the level of performance that society can accept as sufficiently delivering the expected services and are safer”. It underlines that such concept is normally defined with specific requirements, in each piece of legislation and the accompanying technical and/or economic feasibility assessments.

For years the ICA has tried, alas to no avail, to force promoters of substitution materials to chrysotile-based products to provide scientific and rigorous efficiency analysis and risk assessments. Numerous studies on the use of chrysotile have concluded, without the shadow of a doubt, that workplace-controlled exposure levels of less than 1 fiber by cubic centimeter of air (1f/cc) do not create undue risks to workers’ health, or the environment. The implementation of collaborative safe and controlled use program involving governments, businesses and workers representatives around the world, in countries which are both producers and users of chrysotile fibre, have led to the development of essential high quality, low-cost water and sanitation infrastructure programs that are making a vital difference in the lives of millions of people, in less developed countries.

It now seems that an EU official document implicitly confirms that the ICA is on the right path.

» Read the full document


Fifty years after scientists first probed the issue, an important study by a group of Italian researchers led by dr. Silvia Damiana Visona significantly increases our understanding of the relevance of asbestos lung burden in determining malignant mesothelioma (MM) risks. Their results were published a few months ago in the online Journal of Translational Medicine.

The researchers compared asbestos contents in the lungs of deceased MM patients and that of healthy individuals. They also assessed the differences in asbestos lung contents between males and females.

The significant difference in asbestos concentration between MM and controls confirms the well-established relationship between asbestos and MM. However, in MM, the majority of asbestos was classified as crocidolite and amosite, while large concentrations of chrysotile and, especially, tremolite and actinosite were found in controls.

In addition, the comparison between males and females pointed out that chrysotile is significantly more represented in healthy female’s lungs and is likely to derive from urban pollution or talc-containing products. This is relevant, as the lower carcinogenic potential of chrysotile in humans is related to its rapid clearance compared to amphiboles. The authors point out that these novel findings about possible differences in asbestos handling in the lung microenvironment between males and females open new perspectives in the understanding of the carcinogenic potential of asbestos and calls for more research in this field.

» Read the full article


As we near the end of a tumultuous year, the International Chrysotile Association (ICA) feels it is important, more than ever, to reassert the fundamental tenets of its position on the controlled use of the chrysotile fiber.

In a global context marred by conflicts and dissent, the ICA feels there are reasons for cautious optimism. Years of advocacy, based on thorough and rigorous research, have resulted in a broad consensus on the need to differentiate amphibole and serpentine fibers. We all agree on the need to ban the former. Over the past decades, numerous studies on the use of chrysotile have also concluded, without the shadow of a doubt, that workplace-controlled exposure levels of less than 1 fiber by cubic centimeter of air (1f/cc) do not create undue risks to workers’ health, or the environment.

This proven scientific data has allowed for the development of collaborative safe and controlled use program involving governments, businesses and workers representatives around the world. To give but one example, these advances, in countries which are both producers and users of chrysotile fiber, are key in the development of essential high quality, low-cost water and sanitation infrastructure programs that are making a vital difference in the lives of millions of people, in less developed countries.

But those positive development should not make us forget the considerable challenges faced by the industry and its Association. Deliberately ignoring science and facts, strident anti-chrysotile lobbies are endlessly spreading false information, encouraging governments to make ill advised-decisions and severely restrict or ban the use of chrysotile in their countries. The ICA has engaged in determined battles to prevent them from transforming such important institutions as the Rotterdam Convention into their own playground, to the detriment of democratic, consensus-based decision-making processes.

On another front, the ICA’s repeated calls for thorough analyses of the costs and potential health risks of replacement products are still largely being ignored. Could a link between the list of countries favorable to banishment and of those where such products are being manufactured explain the reason of such widespread resistance?

More than ever, urgent action is needed. More than ever, in 2024, the ICA will devote its energies to contribute to the dissemination of best practices surrounding the safe and secure use of chrysotile in the workplace. In order to facilitate sound decision-making, we will eagerly participate in all international discussions which will encourage science-based approaches and democratic decision-making processes. We will also remain vigilant, and tirelessly call for further research on replacement products and all their associated risks.

You can count on our determination.


A few weeks ago, representatives from governments, the private sector, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, youth, and academia gathered in Bonn (Germany) for the Fifth International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5), made history and established a “Global Framework on Chemicals – For a planet free of harm from chemicals and waste”.

Administered by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the comprehensive framework was the result of years of discussions. It outlines a roadmap for countries and stakeholders to collaboratively address the lifecycle of chemicals, including products and waste. The roadmap prioritizes fostering solutions and sustainable innovation along value chains, mobilizing leaderships, and maximizing contribution of sound management of chemicals, throughout production, transformation, and utilization processes.

Otherwise seldom mentioned throughout the four-days event, asbestos was one of the four products used as examples during a World Bank side-event. There, it was for example noted that chrysotile consumption has been increasing over the past decade, and that natural disasters can result in unaccounted for exposure. Other issues, related to lead, cadmium and mercury figured prominently in participants’ priorities.

The ICA was of course present at the WB panel and attended all of the ICCM5 discussions. For decades, it has tirelessly promoted the type of collaborative, science-based, results-oriented, and transparent processes that are now embodied in the Global Framework. We can only hope that the ICCM5 results will become a source of inspiration and guidelines for other international bodies – including the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat and those Parties of the Rotterdam Convention questioning the rule of consensus to list chemicals in the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) list.


A few weeks ago, amidst worldwide environmental crises, the launch of an urgent call for action to provide better water and sanitation infrastructures to billions of people currently living in water-stressed countries was largely ignored.

The Blueprint for Acceleration : SDG 6 Synthesis Report on Water and Sanitation 2023 doesn’t mince words : “[o]ur world is dramatically – and dangerously – off-track to reaching our goal of safely managed water and sanitation for all in 2030” . Currently, 42 % of household wastewater worldwide is not treated properly, damaging ecosystems and human health. Every day, millions of women and girls spend grueling hours fetching water. Investments are scarce, innovation is limited, decision-makers are held back by lack of data and silo thinking. To reverse course, we need to move much faster, pour in more funds, and maximize cooperation.

The chrysotile fiber industry can and wants to be part of the solution. Efficient, affordable, and durable chryso-cement water pipes do provide reasonable and realistic answers to some of the problems faced by the world’s poorest countries. Produced in developed and emerging economies where safe and responsible workplace practices are well established, they can be installed while respecting both environmental, health and safety norms, all the while creating jobs in those countries where they are put in.

Anti-asbestos crusaders do not care. They mostly live in comfortable parts of the world where sanitation is never an issue and tap water always readily available. Yet, their ongoing actions and support for rich countries’ exportation of expensive replacement products are simply putting more human lives at risks.

For years, the ICA has called for the creation of an authentic dialogue on the safe and secure use of chrysotile fiber. It has tirelessly voiced its members’ concern about the deepening water and sanitation crisis affecting billions of destitute people. This latest UN report is clear: we can’t afford to ignore their potential contribution any longer.

» Read the full report


Over the past decades, researchers have worked tirelessly to shed new light on the numerous and very complex causal and biological mechanisms that lead to the development of lung cancers, and malignant mesotheliomas (MM).

An important paper published by the online journal Environmental Research, co-authored by Louis-Anthony Cox and 8 American and Italian colleagues summarizes recent insight into causal biological mechanisms underlying the carcinogenicity of asbestos. They focused on the mechanisms and shapes of causal exposure-response functions for asbestos in MMs and lung cancers.

It is now widely recognized that asbestos is only one of many environmental exposures that increase the risk of lung cancers, and the existence of non-asbestos related lung cancers is universally accepted. But despite accumulating evidence to the contrary, asbestos exposure is still thought by many, including some regulatory agencies, to be required for MMs to occur. The authors’ research debunks that belief: evidence from inflammation biology and other sources suggests that there are exposure concentration thresholds below which adverse effects and cancers are not seen.

The results of lung fiber burden analyses in cases of both MMs and lung cancers over four decades demonstrate decreasing fiber burdens and decreasing percentages of cases that meet criteria for asbestos attribution. This is coherent with the generalization of stricter occupational exposure limits and the expected decades-long latency intervals for these diseases. The implications for MMs causation include an expected higher proportion of non-exposure related cases, occurring in genetically susceptible individuals.

» Read the full study


On May 12th, 2023, principles finally prevailed in Geneva when the promoters of an amendment aiming at ending the consensus-based process that governs the listing of substances in Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention failed to attain the necessary 75% of votes in support of their proposal. The crucial vote took place during the Eleventh Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention.

The group led by Switzerland, Australia and the European Union spared no effort to reach their goal, including last-minute revised versions of their proposal that were hastily put together only hours before the plenary discussion, when it became clear to them that their objective might be out of reach. The forceful arguments made by countries such as India, Brazil, China, the Russian Federation, and many others, who together represent two-third of humankind, won the day.

The ICA has always been a strong defender of the Rotterdam Convention’s foundational procedures and has repeatedly sounded the alarm when it found that their integrity was threatened by some members’ hidden agendas. Alas, the proposal that was soundly defeated a few weeks ago in Geneva will most likely not be the last attempt by its proponents to transform the Rotterdam Convention into a convenient tool for their own purposes. More than ever, it will remain vigilant in its defense of the Convention’s true purpose.


For decades, mesothelioma, a cancer of the lungs, has been closely and, for the litigation business, almost exclusively associated with exposition to amphibole asbestos fibers. The ICA has always disputed such views: in a recent article, published in March 2023, eminent specialists support the Association's call for more research, and listening to science.

In April 2022, scientists from around the world gathered in Monticello to share their most recent findings on asbestiform and non-asbestiform elongate mineral particles (EMPs) associated with the infamous lung disease: the conclusions stemming from their four days gathering are detailed in the online publication Environmental Research. They create a much more nuanced picture of the role played by those different EMPs. To cite but one example, one exception discussed is that of taconite miners, who are exposed to grunerite: research reveals an excess rate of mesothelioma, but the role of non-asbestiform EMP remains unclear.

Among the participants, Dr David Bernstein underlined that while there is a strong consensus that long, highly durable respirable asbestiform EMPs have the potential to cause mesothelioma, there is continued debate concerning the biodurability required and the dimensions, shape and dose associated with mesothelioma risk. It weas also noted that while progress is sometimes hampered by the lack of mesothelioma registries, quickly evolving technologies allow for a more nuanced analysis of data accumulated over the past decades, but also for more refined data production and understanding of emerging cases.

This session of the Monticello II conference reinforces the ICA's continuous call for thorough research and a nuanced approach to all risks associated with exposure to all form of EMPs.

» To read the full article.


A few weeks before the 11th Conference of Parties which will take place in May, in Geneva, the Rotterdam Convention is under an unprecedented attempt to alter its fundamental democratic value: decision by consensus.

Recently, as revealed in an article published on line by the Asian Chrysotile Information Center's Chrysotile News, Australia, Switzerland and Mali announced their intent to introduce a “consensus busting” amendment that would modify the long-standing process of inclusion for new substances in the Convention's Annex III. Should they get their way, future inclusions would only be subjected to a qualified majority.

So far, their maneuver has been met with quasi universal rejection, by countries such as India, China, the United States, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation, Eritrea, Argentina, and countless others. It is obvious to all that this is no more than a disguised attempt by the promoting countries to manipulate an international convention to fit their narrow-based interests, namely by promoting certain chemicals over others, especially in agricultural and industrial markets.

The ICA has always been and will always be a staunch defender of consensus-based decision making within the Rotterdam Convention. In May, it will most certainly try its utmost to preserve the integrity of its modus operandi. The Convention is a tool that has most certainly demonstrated its usefulness - and that remains a powerful vector of international cooperation. The interests of a few should not be allowed to prejudice those of millions of people, around the world.

» To read the full Chrysotile News article.


Is the European Commission (EC) compromising the integrity of the Rotterdam Convention’s Secretariat, perhaps inadvertently?

On September 28 2022, the EC, in a public document aimed mostly at addressing the management of asbestos in member States’ workplaces, also stated that “[T]he EU must continue to play a leading role globally to end the use of all types of asbestos. (…) Through technical assistance under the Rotterdam Convention, the EU helps countries replace asbestos materials with safer substitutes, (…)*.

The ICA promptly communicated in writing with the EC Directorate’s Director-General, to respectfully remind him that the aim of the Rotterdam Convention is not to ban, and that it’s Annex III is not a list of forbidden chemicals. Its letter also stated that while the EU has all legitimacy to carry worldwide initiatives to ban asbestos, it cannot use the Rotterdam Convention as a tool towards such end without breaching the spirit and the letter of Convention’s Article 1.

In its reply, the EC Directorate detailed that the EU initiatives that use the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat as an executing agency aim to support “better management of chemicals that are listed under the Convention or recommended for listing by the Chemical Review Committee, including the identification of alternatives”, in countries which are Party to the Convention and wish to phase out the use of asbestos.

Following this reply, the ICA turned to the Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. In a December 21 letter, it highlighted the fact that the European Commission, in its Communications document, contradicts the spirit of the Rotterdam Convention. It also insisted on the fact that “a material difference must be brought between chemicals already listed and those which are not listed because such decision has not been taken by the Conference of the Parties” and asked the Secretariat to remind the EC of those important nuances. The Secretariat, which also offered a very lax interpretation of its own mandate, replied to the ICA that such initiative would fall outside the scope of its responsibilities.

The ICA is of the opinion that this situation created by the EC creates a dangerous precedent, and that it compromises the integrity of the Secretariat’s mandate and work and should therefore be corrected. In the name of transparency and to dissipate any lingering doubts about the appropriateness of contractual relations between the EU and the Secretariat, it also suggests that the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat should promptly disclose all past or existing contracts with the European Commission related to issues of asbestos management in developing countries which are Party to the Convention.

* See:


On November 22 2022, representatives from 19 European trade unions and employers' associations members of the European Network on Silica (NEPSI) gathered in Brussels to launch a new series of tools designed to help protect workers from silica dust and promote health and safety measures in their working environments. Their initiative, the last of a long series that started more than fifteen years ago, in 2006, is officially and financially supported by the European Commission.

Silica is ubiquitous, used in concrete, bricks, mortar, sandstone, quartz - the list is endless. Respirable silica dust is also highly dangerous and is associated to a wide range of respiratory and renal diseases. Like chrysotile, it is listed as a category 1 (carcinogenic to humans) product by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

But while silica related industries, workers' representatives and scientists working together to minimize risks and develop safe and responsible uses of silica in all workplaces have benefited from the ongoing support of national and European politicians of all stripes, the equally important and thorough efforts made by their counterparts in the chrysotile industry have consistently been met by indifference if not downright incredulity.

For years the ICA has strongly decried the discrimination in the way these two very similar substances, silica and chrysotile, have been treated by European industry players and politicians alike. If anything, the considerable, systematic and well-conceived efforts that have led to positive and measurable results in the silica industry are testimony to the value of such approach. So why are similar programs, developed and implemented by the chrysotile industry over the last decades without any financial or political support from regulatory authorities, still ignored to this day?

One is left wondering about the true reasons behind this ongoing double standard.


For more than a hundred years, chrysotile mines were active in two regions of the province of Quebec (Canada). Due to the soaring, worldwide demand for strategic minerals contained inside the mines' tailings (magnesium, amorphous silica, cobalt, nickel, etc.), used namely in batteries and electric vehicles production, those mine complexes are now developing forward-looking projects that will contribute to a green, sustainable economy, and to the communities' prosperity and well-being.

With support from the governments and the help of recent technological progress, companies are starting to exploit serpentine tailings inherited from past mining activities. Various projects have been initiated: they will allow for site remediation and point to a promising economic future.

Regions are resolutely engaged in this exceptional, exciting, and promising transformation. Their economic landscape is changing drastically. Instead of being haunted by the specter of asbestos, their discussions are all about valorization and exploitation of serpentine tailings as well as the extraordinary geothermic potential of some of their former mining sites.

These projects are generating a very high level of social acceptability, as the communities benefit from a long-standing experience in the fiber's safe and controlled use and in-depth knowledge of prevention practices. This accumulated experience and expertise ensure that all challenges are met while strictly respecting the most stringent health, safety, and environmental protection standards.

The future will come about through a transformed economy, evolving cities and villages, and high-quality jobs for their residents. Minerals that will be extracted from the tailings are key to the rise of a responsible economy, which will greatly contribute to reducing GHG emissions and reaching the climate objectives reiterated at recent COP-27, held in Charm-el-Cheikh (Egypt).

» Click here to see the feature on the Thetford Mines geothermic project (in French only)


It is a well-known and scientifically established fact: not all mesotheliomas are caused by exposure to asbestos. But over the past decades, the percentage of “background cases”, or what experts refer to as spontaneous tumor formation, has been rising steadily. A recent meta data analysis published last July in the online Critical Reviews in Toxicology confirms what was already established as a scientific fact more than 10 years ago: in the U.S., after 2040, virtually all mesothelioma cases in the United States will be background cases.

Male workers historically experienced high level occupational exposures to asbestos which explains why, between the 1930s up to the 1990s, the rates of mesothelioma associated with amphibole fibers kept on growing. This fact was often misinterpreted to mean that asbestos was the only risk factor for mesotheliomas. But the banishment of amphiboles and introduction of safe and responsible use in the workplace of the chrysotile fiber, among others, led scientists to examine the causal relations more closely. Other risk factors were identified. However, background cases are not a consequence of exposure to any known risk factor, including amphiboles.

Mesothelioma is a rare disease: currently, cases in the U.S. account for approximately one tenth of one percent (0.10%) of all deaths per year. In his article, author Bertram Price builds on his own 2009 analysis to integrate more recent data from 18 registries produced by the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) data up to 2018: together, these registries include 28% of the U.S. population. He then combined his findings with epidemiology-type studies.

The results of his rigorous and thorough analysis leave no doubt. They also show the importance of including the most recent scientific studies in any assessment of potential risks associated with the use of chrysotile fiber.

» To read the complete review

In the U.S.

If it comes into force, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's April 2022 proposed rule to ban the use of chrysotile asbestos in the United States would lead to an increased use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) whose impact on human health and the environment as well as on the chlor-alkali industry itself have not yet been scientifically assessed.

The industry is the only one that imports raw chrysotile fiber in the United States, as it relies on small quantities of chrysotile fiber in membranes used to control the chlorine electrolysis processes' chemical reactions in chlor-alkali production. The membranes can also be made using some forms of PFAS. Under the proposed regulations, the industry would have 2 years to move away from the use of asbestos containing products.

However, the harmlessness of those chrysotile substitutes has not been proven. PFAS are controversial substances whose inclusion in the Rotterdam Convention's Annex III is still being discussed - as it is the case for chrysotile. Their impact on the quality of drinking water is especially worrying. In the wake of its new Drinking Water Directive, which took effect in January 2021, the European Commission committed to phasing out all PFAS, allowing their use only where they are proven to be irreplaceable and essential to society. In October 2021, eight US federal agencies including the EPA, the Federal Drug Administration and the US Department of Agriculture joined forces in a government-wide effort to protect U.S. consumers from exposure through food packaging. To the ICA's knowledge, there are no studies of their inhalation impacts on exposed workers' health.

In its proposed chrysotile banning regulation, the EPA itself acknowledged the issues and existing risks associated with a likely increase in the use of PFAS. An article in the online US National Law Review also outlined its potentially massive impact on businesses' liabilities under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. One can only wonder whose interests would truly be served by the EPA's attempts to ban chrysotile in the US.

Finally, it is worth recalling that chrysotile is still used in the European Union in the chlor-alkali production. The upcoming review of this exemption before 2025 could lead to a similar debate in Europe since hydrogen is expected to grow in the European energy mix and it needs a strong chlor-alkali production.

» To read the full National Law Review article


In a joint document, 12 Republican attorney generals (AGs) of the United States have stated that a June 30 Supreme Court ruling limits the Environment Protection Agency's (EPA) power to ban substances such as chrysotile asbestos under the Toxic Substance Control Act, which was reformed in 2016.

In the judgment, a majority (6-3) of judges appear to be curtailing the EPA's powers ruling that its decisions of “vast economic and political significance” are only valid if authorized by a statute that “speaks clearly” on the subject at hand.

The AGs write that Congress' refusal to pass several proposed asbestos bills means that it has not spoken clearly in favor of a ban “in the production of either chlorine or petrochemicals despite knowing the downsides”. They point out that “ (…) Congress has taken a more measured approach in requiring the removal of asbestos from areas where its health risks outweigh the benefits of its heat-resistance properties”

But environment and industries attorneys have raised doubts about the 12 AGs' position. Some have indicated that the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) includes “an explicit grant of authority for EPA to ban or restrict 'chemical substances' presenting an unreasonable risk of injury”, which includes asbestos. They also underlined that national changes in the U.S. power supply system that were at stake in the June 30th Supreme Court decision had much more sweeping social and economic consequences than a ban on chrysotile asbestos.

Whether the decision will effectively curtail the EPA's capacity to further limit or ban the use of chrysotile asbestos in the U.S. remains to bee seen.


Are years of diligent, science-based representations by the ICA on behalf of a safe and responsible use of chrysotile and in defense of both the spirit and the letter of the Rotterdam Convention finally paying off?

The outcomes of the Convention's 10th Conference of Parties (COP-10) might lead one to such positive conclusion. It's face-to-face segment was held in Geneva June 6-17, 2022, and, as it was the case during the previous conferences, chrysotile took a fair chunk of the agenda. A number of countries spoke up for its inclusion in the Convention's Annex III, namely the EU, Canada, Iran, Kenya and the USA, who is not Party to the Convention but participates as an observer.

But this time, those opposed to the listing (including Kazakhstan, India, the Russian Federation, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Syria) made robust, clear statements. Moreover, China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam opted to remain neutral, thus not requesting the inclusion of chrysotile in Annex III. It is worth noting that, all together, those countries represent almost half of the world's population.

Kazakhstan's straightforward proposal to eliminate chrysotile from future agenda led to blind reactions from anti-chrysotile parties and was rejected. However, quite remarkably, the Contact Group on Listing of Chemicals in Annex III not only came up with a list of concerns and challenges faced (including the fact that chrysotile can be safely used and a short description of India's approach) but also with a multi-pronged possible way forward. Options included asking the Convention's Chemical Review Committee to develop a matrix (including profits, environmental risks, health risks, etc.), addressing the issue of occupational health separately, updating the scientific data with regard to chrysotile exposure levels and compliance with the rules of the Rotterdam Convention.

In the end, COP-10 adopted a decision on listing of chemicals in Annex III of the Convention taking note of the Contact Group's notes in relation to all the chemicals for which the COP was unable to reach consensus, including chrysotile.

It might be too early to declare that the tireless, constructive efforts by the ICA are finally bearing fruit. But this positive step forward must be welcomed. It is with renewed determination that the Association will mobilize its energies to ensure further steps are taken in that direction and ensure a better outcome during COP-11, which will take place in May 2023 in the Bahamas.


Friday June 10th marks the end of the first week of the Rotterdam Convention's 10th Conference of the Parties (COP-10)'s face-to-face segment, which is being held in Geneva until June 17th. The theme of the meeting is "Global Agreements for a Healthy Planet: Sound management of chemicals and waste".

An ICA delegation is attending the event as an observer – in the same way it has attended most of the previous COP meetings, for the past decades. Over the past months, frank and constructive discussions between the ICA and the Rotterdam Convention’s Secretariat have confirmed that this Association’s status would be fully respected by the Secretariat in all its procedures.

The ICA wishes to reiterate its full support for the Convention’s founding principles, as well as for the decision processes adopted by the Parties at the time of the Convention’s creation.

Delegation members have prevailed themselves of the opportunities offered by this important face-to-face meeting to share their views and some supporting documentation with key participants. Further discussions will be held during the upcoming days. The ICA will report on these upcoming activities in the days following the end of this important COP-10 meeting.

After 16 years of repetitive discussions

Since October 2006, on seven occasions and in as many Conferences of Parties (COP), participants to the Rotterdam Convention have said NO to listing chrysotile asbestos in its Prior Informed Consent (PIC) List, also known as Annex III. Yet, at the COP-10’s face-to-face segment which will take place in Geneva on June 6-17th, the issue will, once again, be on the agenda. For the ICA this situation is as unwarranted as it is regrettable.

ICA representatives will of course attend the in-person meeting as observers. Once again they will attempt to help bring this now useless 16 year long discussion to an end. At the same time, the ICA hopes to assist in correcting the important flaws and mismanagement of the Rotterdam Convention that those endless and unnecessary processes have revealed.

To that end, the Association has produced an ICA Summary for Decision-Makers that sums up in a clear and concise manner 10 key issues and points that must be kept in mind to efficiently settle the matter. Among those, the ICA underlines that:

  • Chrysotile is physically and chemically different from amphibole forms of asbestos which are already listed in Annex III and banned worldwide. 93% of chrysotile’s current usage is in cement application: those processes are governed by the safe and responsible use programs implemented worldwide that ensure that chrysotile causes no harm to human health or the environment.

  • Used mainly in roofing and pipes, the chrysotile-cement products are affordable, durable, climate resilient and sustainable. They contribute to help the world’s most vulnerable populations access water and sewage facilities.

  • The World Health Assembly and the International Labour Organization have long ago adopted a differentiated approach towards the various asbestos fibres, as exemplified by ILO Convention 162, Safety in the use of asbestos. By only listing amphiboles in its Annex III, the Rotterdam Convention has consistently acknowledged this principle.

The ICA document was already favorably received at the COP-10 Regional Preparatory Meetings for Asia which were held in Bali, Indonesia, on March 27-29 2022. The ICA will distribute it largely at the Geneva meeting.

» To get an advance copy

» Access the full background document for an indepth analysis


At the end of January 2022, the coordinating board of trade union organizations in Asbest’s Sverdlovsk Region (Russia) and the Women for Safe Labour and Social Stability (WSLT) movement issued a joint statement, calling for the organizing of an international conference where participants from all over the world could develop measures to protect the industrial use of chrysotile asbestos from discrimination.

Representatives from both organizations underlined that such measures should include a moratorium on bans on the use of chrysotile and

The resolution was fully supported by the Alliance of Trade Unions called Chrysotile, who emphasized that chrysotile is used in more than 300 types of industrial products. Hundreds of thousands of people work in the chrysotile industry worldwide. Chrysotile-based construction material can be used in a variety of complex and difficult tasks. They are more affordable than synthetic counterparts in the market, have a long service life and can be used in any climate zone. In view of such evidence, the regular attacks on the chrysotile industry create suspicion, and suggest that motives other than “public health” are at the heart of the endless campaigns.

As the second part of the Rotterdam Convention’s COP-10 looms on the horizon, the statement also recalls how representatives from countries around the world stood together in 2019 and successfully prevented chrysotile from being added to the Convention’s PIC list. Again, this year the battle is expected to be fierce. The growing number of the Chrysotile alliance members is nevertheless confident that their decades of work for the benefit of mankind, the accumulation of recent scientific studies and the proven benefits of the safe and responsible use of chrysotile will once again allow them to win the day.

The ICA fully commends the initiative undertaken by this alliance of Russian stakeholders and unreservedly supports the positions they defend. For years, it has tirelessly advocated in favor of a safe, responsible, and controlled use of the chrysotile fibers and has insisted that the same approach be used for all products, substance, or fiber with known associated risk to human health or the environment.

In all those situations, the work environment and processes must be adapted to those specific conditions, not the opposite. Decades of collaborative work with organizations around the world have allowed the ICA to identify key success factors: all measures should be based on robust scientific studies and recent data. Solid organizational structures, training programs, and ongoing awareness campaigns must contribute to the adoption and rigorous implementation of appropriate sets of preventive health and safety rules, notwithstanding their demanding aspects.

Success also depends on the quality of collaboration among all stakeholders: management, workers, unions, local communities, and government authorities.

Over time, the safe and responsible use program now deployed worldwide by the chrysotile industry has proven its value and has become a source of pride, for producers, workers, and users alike.

» To read the press release click here



From 2018 to 2020, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted an assessment of the chrysotile asbestos fiber in order to evaluate the true dangers associated with high density products made with such fibers, among which brake shoes and sealing gaskets which could be found on the US market.

During the public consultations, the EPA’s Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) which reviewed the file asked a number of questions before the report’s final version was tabled in December 2020.

Following its publication, it was thoroughly analyzed by a number of organizations, well known researchers and various other stakeholders, some of whom found numerous inaccuracies and deficiencies that raise doubt on the methodology used for the report.

A recent scientific paper by authors Dennis Paustenbach, David Brew, Sabina Ligas and Jonathan Heywood and published in the online scientific journal Critical Review in Toxicology provides interesting information on the slippages and anomalies contained in the EPA document. These shortcomings provide sufficient evidence to consider the document credible by competent authorities interested in safe and responsible use of chrysotile as is now the case.

The authors’ paper confirms that it is amphibole fibers, not the serpentine one, that are responsible for lung cancer (mesothelioma). Other recently published scientific studies have reached similar conclusions.

For more information, the ICA suggests reading a document prepared by Dr Robert Nolan, PhD, which reviews the chrysotile file’s history and evolution as well as the true health risks associated with the fiber’s presence in high density products used in a safe and responsible way.

» Read the document prepared by Dr Robert Nolan, PhD


It is quite possible to directly capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In fact, researchers have been studying this very interesting natural phenomenon for years. It consists in a spontaneous CO2 capture reaction which occurs, for example, inside asbestos mine tailings whose blowholes are the superficial manifestation of this heat production reaction.

Scientists became interested in this natural occurrence at the beginning of the 21st century. This promising phenomenon again made the headlines at the end of 2021.

On November 10th 2021, at the COP26 Climate Change Conference, a team from Sherbrooke University’s (Quebec, Canada) Faculty of Engineering received a $ 250 000 prize and became one of the 20 finalists of entrepreneur Elon Musk’s XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition, which will be awarded in 2025. The team behind the Skyrenu project, which includes researchers from Quebec’s Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), is working on a patented technology that directly captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and use it to decontaminate asbestos mine tailings.

A press release issued by Sherbrooke University on that occasion details the project’s ambitious goals and processes : the team found that asbestos is a perfect material to react with CO2, as carbon accelerates the breakdown of asbestos, which becomes inert, turning the tailings into simple gravel that can be used in multiple ways.

A recent article published by the Quebec monthly Québec Science (in French) surveys other local initiatives that aim to use asbestos mine tailings in ways that will also benefit the environment. One focuses on producing magnesium oxide. Another is looking into phytoremediation.

All those recent developments are interesting and promising news for all chrysotile producing countries. In a not-so-distant future, they could profitably transition from mining operations to CO2 capture or strategic mineral production, and contribute to a greener, circular economy.

» Learn more about the technology developed by the Sherbrooke University’s team


On December 15th, 2021, the British House of Commons’ Work and Pensions Committee made available online the deliberations of one of its meetings, on the issue of Health and safety executives’ approach to asbestos management (HC 560).

It is a notorious fact that for many years, activists from the U.K. have spared no effort in order to convince their country’s competent authorities to order a comprehensive census so as to locate all buildings where asbestos could potentially be found. This crusade for a generalized mapping aims to use such information to call for asbestos removal without taking account of the type of fiber involved.

Anti-asbestos activists were invited to speak to the Committee members, as well as people well known for their in-depth knowledge of subject matter at hand, including Dr. Julian Peto who, for years, has been closely monitoring the issue and who has published numerous studies on this question.

Many noteworthy points were made during those exchanges, among which the fact that asbestos related health issues are related to the presence of amphibole-type fibers. With a determination which could leave nobody indifferent, Dr. Peto underlined that, when the product is in good condition, there is no reason to intervene: the risk to air quality associated with any intervention aiming at removing these fibers is much higher than any potential hazard that could stem from leaving the existing, well-maintained structure in place.

A number of participants also underlined the exorbitant price associated with such an endeavor, at a time when all countries are struggling with a lack of resources, especially in situations where no intervention is truly warranted. If it becomes absolutely necessary, asbestos removal from buildings must be executed according to the responsible approach principles. Any systematic removal program launched without proper preliminary analysis would cost billions to countries who don’t even have resources to adequately respond to their populations’ basic needs.

All this shows all too well how far the banishment culture can lead us. For its crusaders, there is no limit, only humongous interests ingrained in their self-proclaimed missions, in the name of which they are ready to instrumentalize any situation at hand. Rather, for such product, the preferred approach should be “Banishment if necessary but not necessary banishment”.

One can find such troublemakers who call for asbestos removal at all costs in various European circles, including inside the European Parliament. The asbestos removal issue has revealed the extent of their presence.

On many occasions, within the European Parliament, well-known anti-asbestos crusaders have submitted various resolutions to this end. Repeatedly, they championed their mission with absolutely no consideration for the realities which society must face.

On October 20th, 2021, they managed to push through a resolution on asbestos removal. Upon reading their supporting statement, it becomes clear that human health is certainly not the main reason for their intervention. Many other political and economic interests are also at stake.

It is high time that competent authorities from countries around the world together scrutinize the true interests in play and analyze the motives behind such a crusade. It is quite obvious that businesses who thrive on asbestos removal, large attorney offices who make fortunes with their asbestos litigation business and anti-asbestos activists who earn a living through their so-called mission all have vested interests they will protect fiercely. It is also obvious that unions seeking job opportunity for their members and who are present inside the product and fiber replacement industry will support their crusade. Protecting human health and the environment is obviously not the only issue they take in consideration.

Yet, one could expect that with all the health issues that have been confronting us since the beginning of the pandemic, two years ago, we would be entitled to ask that priorities be aligned with real needs and values. Promoting endless debates on asbestos removal in buildings where it causes absolutely no risk doesn’t seem neither justifiable, nor acceptable.

» Read the meeting’s transcript or to listen to the deliberations

French Public Health Agency Conducts Extensive Scientific Review

In a July 2021 extensive report, the French Agence Nationale de Sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail (National Agency for the Sanitary Safety of Food, Environnement and Work – ANSES) concluded that results from existing epidemiological and experimental studies do not provide sufficient basis to establish a link between ingested asbestos and digestive tract cancers.

While the relation between inhaled amphibole asbestos fibers and lung cancers has long been confirmed, there is still a lingering debate over potential risks stemming from ingested asbestos fibers, either in drinking tap water or workplace exposure. Conducted over a three-year period, the comprehensive and extremely thorough ANSES study gathered extensive data on both issues, drawn from more than 80 specific studies and broad reviews of scientific literature.

Its results are unequivocal. Moreover, the ANSES report is extremely critical of two Italian studies published in the past decade by the same Italian team of researchers which had concluded that the risks associated to the ingestion of asbestos fibers were underestimated: ANSES identified important methodological bias and selective data gathering in these studies, which it calls “alarmist”.

It must be noted that the ANSES Report comes on the heel of a 2020 World health Organization publication which had stated that “(…) the current body of evidence (…) does not support a clear association at the present time”.

» Read the complete ANSES study (in French)


A recent study by scholars from Johannesburg’s University of Witwatersrand’s Faculty of Health and Science (South Africa), Gweru’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Science at Midland State University (Zimbabwe) and Bulawayo’s National University of Science and Technology’s Faculty of Medicine (Zimbabwe) demonstrates that exposure levels to chrysotile fibers in two distinct plants in Zimbabwe have decreased significantly over the years and that workers are now operating in a much more secure environment.

The study was remarkably rigorous: its authors had access to data stemming from an inter-laboratory quality assurance and control fiber-program which benefited from the expertise of South Africa’s Department of Mineral and Energy and of a French laboratory. Its validity was further confirmed by an independent evaluation conducted by the U.K.’s Institute of Occupational Medicine.

These studies’ results are in line with those of many others: the asbestos serpentine fiber has certainly been among the most extensively studied, analyzed, and discussed materials, leading to countless articles and reviews in a wide range of serious and renowned scientific publications. Over the past decades, very few natural or artificial substances have been subjected to such international, high level and intense debates. Alas, its detractors still refuse to take into consideration the security measures put in place by companies around the world to lower dustiness and exposure levels.

For years now, the ICA has been accompanying industries around the world in their efforts to develop safety manuals and put in place security measures that allow for a safe and responsible use of chrysotile fibers. Today’s work processes and most recent technologies bear no comparison with past uses. The chrysotile world’s efforts have been constant over the years and they have led to remarkable progress.

The banishment of amphibole type of fibers and of asbestos flocking, along with the compulsory use of encapsulated chrysotile fiber in high density products and rigorous sanitation measures in the workplace have created very efficient risk management processes, something that the replacement products industry simply can’t pretend to.

In fact, plants that use chrysotile fibers are now offering much more secure working environments than many other industries, especially those who handle chemicals and pesticides or those who produce chrysotile replacement fibers and products. Nevertheless, these replacement products, whose dangerousness levels remain unknown, and which have not been extensively studied, receive steadfast support from the anti-asbestos lobby.

Today we can say with confidence that a safe and controlled use has proven, without the shadow of a doubt, that the chrysotile fiber can be used without creating unacceptable risk levels for human health or the environment. Data collected and analyzed in countless studies have led to the conclusion that there is no abnormal, statistically significant level of diseases that could be linked to the controlled use of chrysotile.

» Read the study’s abstract

Rotterdam Convention’s COP-10 Online Segment: There’s Reason for Concern

For years, the ICA has called for every effort to be made to ensure that the Rotterdam Convention becomes an efficient cooperative tool for all countries on the issue of the management of all substances, products and fibers that create risks for human health. Throughout these discussions, the ICA repeatedly shared its concerns and submitted objections, while offering its full collaboration to enhance the Convention’s work. On many occasions, the ICA intervened to call for the full respect the Convention’s original spirit and protect it from the undue influence of some militant groups which are attempting to instrumentalize it towards their own objectives, which, in the case of chrysotile, is total banishment.

We deplore the fact that the anti-asbestos crusaders have unfortunately invaded the Secretariat’s meetings as well as its offices, which allowed them to maneuver to influence the Convention’s management to a point where its original spirit and letter have long been forgotten.

The Secretariat and the Chemical Review Committee’s work has not lived up to their mandate. Quite the opposite, we have helplessly witnessed their very public collaboration with pro-banishment crusaders, which has been very damaging to the Convention’s credibility and progress.

The preliminary work on the Rotterdam Convention’s 10th Conference of Parties (COP-10) has given additional causes for concern. The online meetings that were held in July (COP-10’s online segment) and September (CRC-17) 2021 do not augur well. Participants had to deal with several technical problems which made communications difficult and negatively impacted the quality of the discussions. Furthermore, the ICA, which vigorously denounced the situation, was denied an observer’s status both at the contact groups and at the Conference’s preparatory regional meetings.

The Secretariat and the CRC are biased

A new issue raised by Mozambique brutally highlights the CRC’s malfunction and the Convention Secretariat’s poor management practices, where one would expect rigor and a strict observance of the Rotterdam Convention as it was adopted by member States in September 1998.

The Convention determines that in order to be added to the PIC List of products or substance either banished or whose trade is severely restricted, countries from two different PIC regions must first submit distinct requests to the Secretariat. Each request must include data and scientific studies demonstrating that the risk level associated with said product or substance has been thoroughly evaluated and that the general conditions offer no alternative. When the Secretariat receives such requests, it must share them with all member States and ask the CRC to scientifically analyze them to verify that they meet all existing requirements.

Subsequently, the CRC submits its observations to the Secretariat. If the requests respond to all criteria, they must be forwarded to the COP, which is the only body empowered to act upon them, and solely based on a consensus among all representatives of participating countries. If there is no consensus, the requests must be archived.

The Secretariat must treat each request seriously. It must ensure that all the Convention’s rules and processes are duly followed and that the approach also respects dispositions of other international treaties, namely that of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

In the case of the Mozambique file during the CR-17 meeting, it is very worrying that the Secretariat didn’t reject it immediately, as it was not accompanied by any scientific studies, nor by risk evaluation research of a quality or level usually required by the Convention, and that no other country had submitted a similar request. Again, two regions must submit distinct requests, and Mozambique was the only one to do so.

Many participants to the July and September meetings objected to the Secretariat taking liberties with the standard procedures. The bulletin published on Monday September 27th by the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s Reporting Service for Environment and Development sheds light on the magnitude of the problem and the Secretariat’s discomfort when confronted to this issue.

The ICA will continue to closely monitor the file’s progress, as it highlights the Secretariat’s favorable bias towards a request for inclusion to the PIC List. We sincerely hope that the COP-10’s face-to-face segment will be a success and, especially, an opportunity to completely and transparently inform all members of this matter and of all its related issues. Stay tuned! We will continue to hound the Secretariat and keep you informed.



By waging an indiscriminate and scientifically unfounded campaign and increasing the confusion through the systematic use of the word “asbestos” to describe all types of fibers, Australia is making a serious mistake.

Nowadays, it is well known that asbestos is an antiquated commercial term that was generically used in the past when referring to a group of fibrous minerals. Numerous published scientific studies have demonstrated the huge differences between amphibole type of fibers and the serpentine type of fiber, called CHRYSOTILE. These notable differences were demonstrated both in terms of their chemical composition and of their respective risk levels for human health and the environment.

Numerous sponsored advertising messages aimed at banning chrysotile are filled with speculation, extrapolation, and unhealthy propaganda. The goal is always the same: scare the public by amalgamating all fibers under the same banner. At no time did the Australian anti-asbestos lobby recognize, for example, that the fiber mostly responsible for the lung cancer called mesothelioma is not the chrysotile fiber but rather the amphibole type fibers – a fact exemplified by numerous scientific studies.

Intentionally sowing confusion around the different type of fibers is not only intellectually dishonest: it also hampers all efforts made towards the safe and responsible use developed over the years by the chrysotile industry. These efforts resulted in safe use programs that namely allow emerging countries to safely and responsibly use an efficient and affordable material to build sorely needed sanitary infrastructures.

The expression “banishment if necessary but not necessarily banishment” should guide governments’ decisions. Anti-asbestos crusaders from various parts of the world, including Australia, who have important vested interests in the replacement products industry, are very well aware that the controlled and safe use is realistic, because they promote it for a wide range of other products, including silica. If it works for silica, why would not it be appropriate for chrysotile? When it comes to a certain class of products and fibers, there is no such thing as zero risk, which means that rigorous processes must be put in place to adequately manage and reduce such risk. To that end, one of many studies is highly instructive.

To read more on the differences between fibers, click here.



The crusade led by a few international organizations and some union against asbestos, regardless of the type of fibers, ignores the consequences that a total banishment would have on the lives of vulnerable populations.

Australian People for Health, Education and Development Abroad (APHEDA), also known as Union Aid Abroad, is a non-governmental organization of the Australian union movement established in 1984 as the international aid agency of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. Its goal is to promote global justice through “stronger union and social movements, sustainable development programs, global solidarity and support in times of crisis”. It is currently working in Southeast Asia, the Pacific, the Middle East, and Southern Africa. The four key areas of APHEDA’s focus are dignity at work, social justice, economic equality, and human rights.

Under the guise of these objectives, this organization’s spokespersons are leading an aggressive campaign for the global banishment of asbestos, including chrysotile. The International Chrysotile Association (ICA) considers that they should firstly answer some questions, namely on the financing of their activities, especially those which entail travelling costs for many people (it should be noted that 53 % of APHEDA’s operating budget comes from the Australian government). Furthermore, the organization’s support for replacement products and fibers suggests close relationships with those industries which produce them, which raises a number of questions.

To say the least, the smear campaign against chrysotile seems to have become a very lucrative activity in several countries. The fact that the Australian government supports and funds APHEDA’s role in this crusade should worry this country’s competent authorities. The true questions that should be asked are: who benefits from this crusade? And is the people’s health this organization’s sole objective, as it claims?

Why hide what science has clearly demonstrated on the difference between the types of fibers? Or the fact that published research has established that a 1 f/cc exposure to chrysotile carries a negligible risk, while the safety of using of replacement products still needs to be proven?

With up-to-date methods and practices and the use of chrysotile in high density products, the risk for workers’ health and the general population as well as for the environment is almost undetectable while the assertion that using replacement product is safer than chrysotile has not yet been scientifically demonstrated, contrary to what organizations such as APHEDA claim. All the while one can only note that anti groups and some countries such as Australia remain strangely silent on the issue of risks associated with the use of replacement products and fibers.

Their propaganda is fueled by confusion, extrapolations, exaggeration, and the desire to scare. This is even more to be deplored because a country such as Australia has all the means to refuse to be associated to such a sham and that all its positions should be based on science.

The ICA is well aware that chrysotile, as any other chemical products such as pesticides or others, should be used is a safe and responsible manner. It considers rightly that its demand that all anti groups recognize and support that principle is legitimate. In that, they should even commend the exemplary work the ICA has been doing for decades.

Banishment if necessary but not necessarily banishment. The issue lies with the conditions of use and the degree of security associated with specific uses. The rules applied for chrysotile should necessarily be the same than those used for all other replacement products and fibers. Nowadays, the principle of companies’ full responsibilities with the products they put on the market which have an associated risk for human health and the environment, is largely recognized in all industrial and regulatory processes, throughout the products’ life cycles.

This has been the case for decades in the chrysotile industry and the ICA has been promoting this principle for years. Whether APHEDA and other similar agitators like it or not, the safe and responsible use approach is being adopted everywhere, in every country. Necessarily, it is also becoming the norm for all products, substances, compounds of fibers, particularly for replacement fibers and products promoted by Australia and its crusaders, especially those within APHEDA.

Whether it is for chrysotile asbestos or for any other potentially risky product, prevention is mandatory, through an efficient management of the creation of a quality workplace, involving all its stakeholders. True engagement is the key. In our complex world, the use of any product must be based on the best solutions, which take into account science-based lessons on protecting health and the environment. There is no room here for fudging issues.

We can only hope that, without further delays, all competent authorities will endorse the safe and responsible use of the chrysotile fiber: it is safe, durable, unexpensive, its use can be perfectly controlled and it is accessible to countries who need it, especially to build their drinking water and sanitation infrastructures. This must be done in accordance with the principles put forward by large international organizations such as the ILO, WHO, WTO and others.

For example, wouldn’t it be more purposeful if Australian taxpayers’ money given to APHEDA was used to train workers on the safe use of dangerous products in order to directly reduce the level of risks incurred by the most vulnerable people, rather than to fuel propaganda campaigns against the use of chrysotile in South-East Asian countries?

It would be a demanding task, which would involve implementing regulations, controls, follow-ups, medical monitoring, education, and training. As years went by, this program has proved its worth and is much more promising for countries than fear mongering, unhealthy crusades and the promotion of products that will not always bring to the world much needed responses to the populations’ need for a sustainable economic development.


Australia has clearly lost its way in its all-out attacks against the use of asbestos fibers around the world, especially when it voluntarily and indiscriminately includes the chrysotile fiber, the only one currently commercialized, in its denunciations.

The position taken by its Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA), as summarized in a Fact Sheet, is not new and was determinedly denounced by the International Chrysotile Association (ICA) in 2019. For the past two years it has nevertheless persevered in its omissions and scientific errors, including the shocking dissimulation of the historic reality of Australia’s own amphibole production. The ICA’s July 11 2019, reaction to this document is available here.

Chrysotile producers and users, who together represent more than two-third of humankind, are disappointed by such affirmations coming from a country which is in no position to give lessons to anybody else. A visit to Australia’s Wittenoon region offers ample testimony of the devastating damage done by amphibole-type fibers.

In the context of the current debate on health and the environment, it is troubling to realize that a country like Australia, through an agency it has created for the sole purpose of justifying its calls for a global banishment, can willingly increase the level of confusion around the mineral fibers commonly called asbestos and their respective levels of dangerousness.

Quite obviously, too many so-called stakeholders are only, in fact, mere loudspeakers who lack knowledge and competencies, namely on the issue of the differentiation between the various fibers. Yet, many recently published scientific studies have clearly established that amphibole fibers are 10 times more bio persistent in human lungs than chrysotile. Other studies have also demonstrated that chrysotile is not the substance responsible for diseases, contrary to claims made by the anti-asbestos lobby – a fact that the Australian authorities simply can’t ignore.

It is most regrettable that a country should allow one of its agencies, in this case the ASEA, to spread around affirmations which aren’t in any way scientifically based and to maliciously confuse Asbestos and Chrysotile.

The ICA calls for an end to the unhealthy and systematic demonization of asbestos without any consideration for the difference between fibers and it urges the Australian government and its agency to stop feeding confusion and an almost religious deception aimed at consumers in order to convince them to use replacement products and fibers instead of chrysotile.

We can only deplore this apparently well-thought-out maneuver which officially aims at protecting human health, but whose real intent remains far from obvious. As a matter of fact, one could be led to believe that various interests, with little to do with human health, could hide behind this Australian crusade. It could also be that this war is waged in order to ensure loyalty from other countries’ competent authorities so that substitution products which they are exporting can come in without competition and even if their innocuousness has not been scientifically proven.

A country such as Australia, its ASEA and anti-asbestos crusaders are all very aware of the need of emerging or developing countries and their communities for high-quality, affordable fibers and products which can respond to their needs and allow for in country job-creation.

The ICA understands that each country must defend its own interests. This being said, it will also stand firmly behind the belief that all countries, including Australia, must respect the decision-making autonomy of other countries in all areas, including that of their own sustainable development and populational health, and the creation of sanitary infrastructure for all.

To read the ICA’s July 2019 answer to the ASEA’s blanket statement, click here


The International Chrysotile Association (ICA)’s commitment to a safe and responsible use of chrysotile is a well-known fact. For years, if not decades, the ICA has been promoting a controlled use of the chrysotile fiber (serpentine), which means that its production and use must be done in a safe and responsible way, for the benefit of both the workers and the general population. This also means that the best practices and most recent and efficient processes must be implemented and used at all steps of the fiber’s extraction and manipulation.

As a matter of fact, the people’s health and protection and the respect of the environment have always been the cornerstone of the ICA’s position, which it has tirelessly promoted. Chrysotile is a natural fiber whose unique characteristics make it a high-quality, cost-efficient answer to the needs of populations in user countries around the world. In addition to being available at affordable prices for projects in least-developed countries, this fiber allows for a safe and sustainable development that fulfills the hopes of often destitute communities for a better quality of life.

Notwithstanding a never ending and unprecedented crusade fed by a wide and diverse range of parties whose priorities aren’t always based on the need to protect human health, the safe and controlled use program promoted by the ICA continues to support both producers and users of this high-quality, natural fiber.

The ICA recently wished to solemnly reiterate its engagement in a published declaration of principle.

To read the ICA’s position statement on the safe and responsible use

Everything you need to know about the COP-10

As usual, the 10th edition of the Rotterdam Convention’s Conference of Parties (CPO-10), which was held virtually and just ended was, to say the least, not a great success. Disorganized and ill-prepared, the Secretariat, once again, had to deal with the dissatisfaction of many participating members.

As the International Chrysotile Association (ICA) has repeatedly stated, it is becoming increasingly obvious that many adjustments will be necessary in order to ensure the long-term viability of the Rotterdam Convention. The ICA reiterates that it wants this international convention to be efficient, useful and, most importantly, respectful in its processes of both the spirit and the letter of the tool originally created by its participating members.

Read the complete report prepared by the ICA



For almost thirty years, in the middle of the last century, Australia was one of the world’s largest producer, user and exporter of an amphibole asbestos fiber, crocidolite, commonly referred to as blue asbestos. Today, it is scientifically established and widely recognized that this type of fiber carries a high risk for both human health and the environment.

The exploitation of crocidolite that took place in Wittenoon, Australia, between 1937 and 1966 was infamous and responsible for a wide range of diseases that affected the people who worked in the mines and at the mills. The health of other people, who weren’t necessarily living in the area, was also impacted.

Potential risk analyses reveal that 6 % of the manpower, 1,9% of the women and 1,1% of the children who were living in the area and were exposed to that environment could possibly suffer from a very serious pulmonary cancer, called mesothelioma.

According to an article published by the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, blue asbestos was produced in Australia between 1880 and 2003. It is also well documented that, in the 1950s, Australia was, per capita, the world’s largest asbestos consumer. Besides crocidolite, the country also exported another type of amphibole, called amosite, namely to Japan.

Australia also exploited chrysotile fiber (serpentine) during the 20th century with output reaching its peak in the seventies, following the closing of the Wittenoon crocidolite mine. It lasted into the eighties.

It is thus clear that during all those years asbestos production in Australia was dominated by amphibole type fibers. Australia and South Africa were the fibers’ most important producers and exporters during that period.

This explains why, nowadays, many people are struggling with severe health problems linked to their exposure to those fibers that are now banned. Exposure to amphiboles carries almost unavoidable health risks.

These situations are deeply deplorable. However, they also highlight the need to differentiate between the fibers. Because if science nowadays has informed us, without the shadow of a doubt, of the true risks associated with exposure to amphibole-type fibers, it also has confirmed the distinction that must be made between amphiboles and serpentine, both in terms of their chemical composition and of their dangerousness level.

Safe and responsible use is the only acceptable answer

The safe and responsible use of any product, mix or fibers that carry a certain level of risk for human health is and efficient and respectful answer. However, it also requires a level of rigor that can lead as far as the banishment of products that can’t be efficiently controlled, such as amphiboles, which have rightly been banned for decades. But one should not for that matter yield to the temptation of a blanket banishment, as demanded by some crusaders who refuse to recognize the true findings of contemporary science which dictate that amphiboles must be banned but that serpentine can be used if handled in a controlled and responsible manner.

As the ICA has so often repeated, “[A]mphiboles must be banned, chrysotile must be controlled”. Responsible practices and current knowledge now enable countries to avoid repeating past mistakes and the human tragedy that those generated.

For more information, consult the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, the American Journal of Industrial Medicine and the Bureau of Mineral Resources.


In a few days, for the first time since its inception, the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade will hold one of its statutory meeting with restricted access for representatives from civil society, as shown by the exclusion of observers from regional preparatory meetings and contact groups.

Due to the pandemic context, the Convention’s Secretariat decided to divide it’s tenth meeting (COP-10) in two segments, over several months: a first online segment will take place from July 26th to 30th, 2021, while a second, face-to-face, two-week long segment is tentatively scheduled in June 2022.

The Convention’s Conferences of the Parties are usually attended by a broad range of national and international civil society organizations, representing stakeholders from all over the world. It is to say the least paradoxical that, while on-line meetings made compulsory by COVID-19 have notedly increased participation in all sort of events for the past 18 months, the Rotterdam Convention’s Secretariat has chosen instead to use the situation as an excuse to further limit civil society’s involvement in its deliberations.

The ICA has repeatedly expressed its preoccupation to the Secretariat and called for an opening of the COP-10’s virtual doors to all accredited observers. Notwithstanding the Secretariat’s refusal to modify its position, it has prepared fresh documentation to ensure that its member’s view can easily be shared with all participants. And it will insist that the content of all deliberations held behind closed doors between July 26th and 30th be made public, for the benefit of all.

The ICA document can be found here


“Billions of people will lack access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene in 2030 unless progress quadruples” warn WHO, UNICEF

No country, organization or single individual should remain unmoved by the devastating report recently published by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene in the world. This report confirms that billions of people do not have access to high quality water.

The report specifies that for humankind as a whole, the most recent estimates reveal that 3 people out of 10 were unable to wash their hands with water and soap at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also states that currently, 1,6 billion people have no access to drinking water, 2,8 billion lack proper sanitary installations and that personal hygiene infrastructure remain unavailable to 1,9 billion of them.

When will an infrastructure program relying on chrysotile be put in place?

Obviously, these challenges should be urgently prioritized by the international community. Leaders of international organizations should rapidly review this whole set of issues. Governments, civil society organizations and the private sector should unite and jointly develop programs to quickly create sanitation infrastructures that would truly transform this extremely worrying situation. The fact that human beings are still denied access to drinking water and basic sanitation installations should not be tolerated. It is a fundamental condition if we collectively want to eradicate poverty and misery.

To get there, decisions regarding prevailing situations in the world’s less developed countries will need to be made while taking in consideration their specific political and economic situations. In this respect, calls emanating from rich countries such as Australia and its crusaders who demand the banishment of the use of all type of asbestos fibers represent an unacceptable constraint to the development of essential infrastructure in emerging countries.

It is deplorable that such discourse in favor of banishing chrysotile, an efficient and affordable fiber that can absolutely be used in a safe and responsible manner in building such infrastructure, still has the ear of large number of financiers and of some of the international organizations’ personnel for whom it becomes more important than the inhuman living conditions of the poorest of the poor. One might be led to believe that ambitions other than the health of the population of emerging countries could come into play.

Affordable and durable chryso-cement water pipes cans be installed while respecting both environmental and health and safety norms, all that while creating jobs in those countries where they are put in. Why not rely on this natural fiber?

The ICA calls for swift changes in the shortest possible time. The answers are well known. All products that can foster long-term, sustainable development must be made available at an affordable price to countries where action must be taken – where they will also create jobs. Imposition of expensive imported products, a regrettable and too frequent occurrence, must stop.

For years, the chrysotile fiber industry has been proposing reasonable and realistic answers to problems faced by the world’s poorest countries, offering an efficient, useful and affordable fiber that responds to these countries’ specific situation, while contributing to the creation of authentic wealth through the creation of high-quality jobs and sustainable development.

Yet, the anti-asbestos crusade is brutally and voluntarily preventing the creation of an authentic dialogue on the conditions for the safe and secure use of this natural, affordable and readily available fiber. In doing so, it supports rich countries’ exportation of expensive replacement products, whose innocuousness has still not been always scientifically demonstrated.

Through the last decades, chrysotile has been thoroughly tested and scientifically analyzed in order to determine its real level of risk for human health and the environment. Today, used in a controlled, safe and responsible way, with up-to-date work processes, it is well established that its use doesn’t present an unacceptable level of risk for health or the environment.

It is certainly not the case with replacement fibers and products that some countries and international crusaders are promoting and trying to impose. Too many of these substitutes have not been tested in a way that would allow to identify their true dangerousness, and their potential threat to human health simply remains unknown. Anti-chrysotile lobbies are well-aware of that fact. So, one must ask, who benefits from their crusade?

To read the WHO-UNICEF report, click here


On May 30, 2021, the online journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology published final results of a quantitative inhalation study which examines the risk posed by chrysotile-containing brake dust compared with that of TiO2, pure chrysotile, crocidolite and amosite asbestos. The authors’ scientific findings provide “a clear foundation for differentiating the innocuous effect of brake dust exposure from the adverse effects following amphibole asbestos exposure”.

Authored by David M. Bernstein, Balazs Toth, Rick A. Rogers, Peter Kunzendorf, James I. Phillips and Dirk Schaudien, this rigorous investigation was initiated in 2019. Life-time post-exposure observation of rat groups exposed to the above-mentioned substances for a period of 90 days, at concentration and doses well above those at which humans have been exposed, showed a significant fundamental difference in pathological response between brake dust generated from brake pads manufactured with chrysotile or chrysotile alone in comparison to the amphiboles, crocidolite and amosite asbestos. Chrysotile was not biopersistent, exhibiting in the lung a deterioration of its matrix which results in breakage into particle and short fibers which can be cleared by alveolar macrophages and continue to dissolve.

Furthermore, many scientists who attended the Monticello Conference on Elongated Mineral Particles (EMP) held in 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia (US) came to similar conclusions after an extensive literature review on the same subject.

For so many years, the ICA has repeatedly insisted on the need to recognize that differentiation is the key principle that must guide competent authorities when they seek to establish effective and responsible rules and regulations in order to thoroughly protect both human health and the environment. In spite of the fact that this differentiated approach is endorsed by international agencies at the highest level (World Health Assembly, International Labor Organization and Rotterdam Convention), anti-asbestos crusaders still refuse to recognize what is becoming basic evidence and would rather confuse myths and facts. This position is not only wrong and unhealthy, but it also clearly steers away from science and, in doing so, is becoming increasingly less credible.

Read the full study

The anti-asbestos crusaders invent new emergencies...
And the Quebec government falls in the trap!

A few weeks ago, Le Journal de Montréal, a Montreal daily, informed its bewildered readers that the Quebec government planned to check all of Quebec’s drinking water pipes to verify, firstly, how many of them were made of fibrocement and then, to detect the eventual presence of asbestos fibers in the water consumed by its unsuspecting citizens.

Now, let’s take a deep breath and a few steps back. Contrary to what is suggested in the article, as early as 1989, Health Canada issued Guidelines for Asbestos in Canadian Drinking Water. The document namely stated that “There has been no consistent evidence of an association between cancer mortality or incidence and ingestion of asbestos in drinking water”.

Nevertheless, Quebec’s Environment department, stating “the absence of a Canadian norm”, has announced it would use the one adopted in the United States. Readers of the article would be happy to learn that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as summarized by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), has established Maximum Contaminant Level for asbestos in drinking water of 7 million fibers per liter, longer than 10 μm in length. Shorter fibers are not even considered as posing a risk. The regulations apply to community water systems, non-transient, non-community water systems, and transient non-community water systems.

Last but not least, in 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO), whose extremely critical positions on asbestos are well documented, engaged in a revision of its assessment of asbestos in drinking water. However, it has already stated that “ (…) the current body of evidence (…) does not support a clear association at the present time. It also noted that “The lack of any observed inflammatory lesions and of interstitial fibrosis in orally treated animals is supportive of the low capability of fibers to penetrate the intestinal epithelium; no information is available to indicate whether or not the gastric environment allows the ingested fibers to maintain their shape, dimensions, and surface reactivity that determines in the lung the persistency and hazardous features.”

In view of such weighty evidence and with all the efforts urgently needed to face the numerous environmental challenges threatening our planet, may the ICA suggest that that Quebec’s Environment Minister could review its priorities and do better than focusing on non-existing “emergencies”?

Read more about the current international norms

The pandemic shouldn’t be used as an excuse to trample civil society’s right to participate in the discussions

For years, the functioning of the Rotterdam Convention’s Secretariat has been a source of worries among Member States, stakeholders and other interested parties. Invariably, at each Conference of Parties (COP), the atmosphere is tense and representatives of numerous countries feel rushed – and for good reason.

A brief reminder

Originally, this Convention was conceived as an efficient tool for the management and control of the international trade of pesticides. Alas, it quickly became an unhealthy forum where pressure and various forms of harassment intensified in order to get the chrysotile natural fiber added to the list of pesticides whose use and trade were either banned or severely restricted. The anti-asbestos lobbyists made it a focal point of their crusade, with ample support from countries which had banned chrysotile to further their interests in promoting the use of replacement fibers and products of which they are leading producers.

Observers are out

Preparations for COP 10 are under way and its organizers have already made a decision which is very detrimental to civil society observers interested by the Convention’s debates. Using the pandemic and an alleged limited accessibility of the electronic platforms replacing in-person meetings, the Secretariat blocked the observers’ access to the preparatory regional meetings.

As early as the beginning of April, the ICA questioned the Secretariat on this deeply anti-democratic decision, which apparently was not made using the regular decisional processes, and pleaded for its revision.

Here are excerpts from a letter on this matter sent by the ICA to the Convention’s Executive Secretary:

« As a registered observer, we want to highlight the right of participation enshrined in Rule 7 of the Rules of Procedure. Under this Rule, observers may participate without the right to vote in the proceedings of any meeting. This participation is not only born from our wish to make a constructive, science-based contribution in the decision-taking process of Rotterdam Convention, but it is also based on our firm believe in more transparent, approachable, and accountable international organisations. Indeed, if meetings cannot be attended by those stakeholders who have consistently engaged with the Secretariat and, more broadly, with the Convention, following its rules and procedure, i.e., registering as an observer, there is a serious risk that any decision undertaken in closed, private meetings is perceived by them and the general public as lacking the utmost openness and closeness to the citizens it aims at serving. In consequence, we urgently request and encourage a reconsideration of the negative reply to participation to the regional preparatory meetings expressed by the Secretariat in its email addressed to ICA on 14 April 2021. »

The Secretariat maintains its inequitable decision

In a letter dated May 18th, the Secretariat rejected the ICA’s call for a revision of its decision to exclude observers. On May 25th, the ICA replied to this answer with a second letter urging for a change of course, namely stating the following:

« Particularly, we expressed our concern on the lack of transparency, approachability and accountability of the bodies, even when informal, of the Rotterdam Convention. It is thus a matter of principles rather than stakes: if meetings are organised behind closed doors, the impression given to those left outside, especially if they used to participate, is that they are now being excluded or some information is hidden from them. We do not affirm that these are the cases, but it does not help that the decision was not made public or any explanation given directly to observers (only upon our request of participation) or on Rotterdam Convention’s or BRSMEAS’ websites. »

In a terse reply, the Secretariat confirmed that it has no intention of reversing its decision and that it will maintain its exclusion of observers from all discussions. The ICA is currently examining its options and we will keep you informed of our next initiatives to modify the situation. In our view it is impossible to allow the Secretariat to exclude us from the debate without involving the real decision-makers of the COP-10, i.e., its Member States.  So far it seems that the Secretariat has been the sole proponent of this deplorable initiative, which cannot be tolerated.

So once again, we must deplore the Convention Secretariat’s attitude, and the fact that it is making decisions on matters for which it has no responsibility according to the Convention’s very terms, decisions that are not promoting transparency and openness to all concerned stakeholders. The Secretariat must reverse course quickly. Failing this, Member States will have to steer it in the right direction.

Read the ICA’s May 12th 2021 letter

Read the May 18th 2021 response from the Convention’s Secretariat

Read the ICA’s May 25th 2021 reaction

Read the May 31st 2021 response from the Secretariat

In Val-des-Sources (Canada)

The world of chrysotile and its ICA have been promoting and defending the safe and responsible use of the chrysotile asbestos fiber for years. It is a well-tried fiber whose efficiency has long been proven.

Even if the anti-asbestos crusaders stubbornly refuse to recognize the differences between amphibole and serpentine fibers, even if they negate the positive results arising from the safe and responsible use program and even if they ignore the most recent scientific findings, namely on the fibers’ bio persistency, the file nevertheless progresses.

Those extreme campaigners put all their might in their fight against the valorization and exploitation of serpentine mine tailings and are doing everything they can to stop any project aiming at doing so. Fortunately, the communities’ solidarity and determination are circumventing those sterile and dogmatic obstructions.

Recently, an article posted (In French) on a website dedicated to climate action in Quebec (Canada) mentioned a strong project which extracts magnesium from residues, a 100 % green initiative which garners support and admiration. As confirmed by a recent German study, Alliance Magnesium has created a patented technology which produces magnesium ingots from serpentine mine tailings, with the lowest greenhouse gas outputs on the planet.

This safe and eco-responsible production of magnesium ingots takes place in a safe and secure environment, respects the workers and the community’s health, and protects the environment. The ICA commends the fact that this is made possible through a strong connection with the decades of experience acquired by the chrysotile industry. The industry’s work yields results and becomes a strong asset when it comes to responsible management.

For years the ICA has promoted the principle of rigorous control as opposed to the foggy precautionary principle and the unrealistic zero risk advocated by the wall-to-wall banishment gurus. The ICA, along with chrysotile stakeholders worldwide, instead opted for a realistic and practicable mining exploitation strategy. It can therefore only rejoice that this forward looking and trustworthy project is based on a responsible exploitation of serpentine mine tailings.

Now more than ever we must act in solidarity, firstly against the anti-asbestos crusaders and their propaganda. The ICA also wants to reiterate that special attention must be given to the world’s poorest countries, who urgently need material which are both affordable and environment-friendly. The use of new, safe products that protect both the environment and human health falls naturally within the parameters set and promoted by the ICA and the chrysotile world. Even more so when this magnesium production benefits regional economies and creates high quality jobs.

Read the German Study


In early February, the scientific journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology commemorated its 50th anniversary.

To quote the words of its editor-in-chief, Dr Roger McClellan, “[P]ublication of Volume 50 of Critical Reviews in Toxicology (CRT) provides the opportunity for the editor, the publisher, the authors of 1,000 papers published from 1971 through 2020 and their critical reviewers to celebrate 50 years of publishing remarkable scientific advances in toxicology and risk analysis that have contributed to the betterment of humankind and the environment around the globe.”

Dr. McClellan’s editorial provides a most interesting review of the journal’s evolution as well as that of the legislative and regulatory environments on the global stage. It also describes the rigorous screening process that all its publications must undergo before publication.

“From its origin in 1971 to the present, the primary focus of review papers published in CRT has been on advances in the field of toxicology with a major emphasis on understanding potential adverse health effects of chemical exposures in human populations.”

In his paper, Dr. McClellan also lists some of the most downloaded papers over the last 50 years. Among these articles, the 5th most downloaded was entitled Health Risk of Chrysotile Revisited (David Bernstein, Jacques Dunnigan, Thomas Hesterberg, Robert Brown, Juan Antonio Legasp, et al. Vol. 43(2):154–183, 2013).

The ICA has always advocated for science-based risk analysis and decision-making processes. It considers the popularity of this article to be a telling sign that its approach is widely shared by decision makers and a wide range of informed stakeholders, around the world.

Read the CRT’s editorial

The media have a responsibility towards science and citizens

On January 4th, the Journal de Montréal (a Quebec, Canada daily) published a front page article on the presence of asbestos in a river near the city of Val-des-Sources (formely Asbestos), Quebec, not far from serpentine residue piles. The journalist wrote that the river was seriously contaminated. Regrettably, the article is incomplete and definitely biased.

The ICA has always lamented and will continue to object to this kind of sensationalism which leads some media outlets to deal with complex issues such as this one without taking full account of all scientific parameters.

Notwithstanding the tendentious amalgamations favored by the anti-asbestos lobbies who deliberately attempt to sow confusion and blur the boundaries separating facts from fiction, chrysotile is one of the natural substances that has been subjected to the highest level of scientific research and debates. One would therefore expect the media who want to discuss this substance to take into consideration the most recent studies before crying wolf and pointing to non-existing scandals.

We call upon the media to publish well-balanced articles based on all available scientific data, especially when discussing issues such as chrysotile for which nuances are key. We invite them to avoid publishing one-sided “inquiries”, particularly in situations where they can stir emotions and fuel controversies. When it comes to chrysotile and its true impacts on human health and the environment, this would require abandoning old and ingrained practices. Such change would be worthwhile.
Over the years, numerous scientific studies have demonstrated that, since our blue planet’s earliest years, all sorts of products, substances and fibers have been found both in the earth’s crust and its water tables. To quote only one, the reader should refer to the section addressing the presence of asbestos in water in the Background Briefing Notes issued along with the Report of Royal Commission on Matters of Health and Safety Arising from the Use of Asbestos in Ontario (see Backgound Briefing Note # 5, p. 10).

Every liter of water that we drink contains thousands (some studies talk about hundreds of thousands) of fibers. As per the environment, every human being inhales about 12 liters of air per minute, which amounts to about 17 280 liters of air per day (12 liters X 60 minutes X 24 hours). If one takes into consideration that the ambient air can contain about 0,001/cc or 1 fiber per liter, it means that as much as 17 280 fibers can transit through a person’s lungs daily, without having any damaging effect on his or her life, as stated by many scientific studies that have been published on this matter.

The Journal de Montréal’s article doesn’t even bother specifying which type of fibers have been found, nor their size. Were they airborne, in which case they could represent a level of risk for human health? Such information is key in identifying a potential health threat. Regrettably, the article doesn’t address the issue.

Years of experience over many generations in those regions where this natural resource has been exploited have demonstrated that a damp fiber doesn’t travel in breathable air and that long fibers, which are potentially the most hazardous, can’t easily be airborne. Isn’t it therefore safe to say that trace of fibers encapsulated in damp or dried sediments are also imprisoned and thus, innocuous? The article doesn’t discuss this either.

The ICA does not deny the fact that there are potential risks associated with some very specific situations. It does, however, question the author’s professionalism and finds quite worrisome that a reputable media decided to put the issue on its front page without even bothering to do some background work and check existing scientific sources. The January 4th article aims to scare its readers, it implicitly supports the anti-asbestos lobbies’ crusade and it does so by ignoring its duty to bring to the fore all nuances that are the basis of rigorous and complete information. Out of respect for the Val-des-Sources region and for its many citizens working tirelessly to create economically and socially promising projects, it should do its homework and complete its article on the stream’s alleged contamination by adding essential nuances that it has so carelessly neglected to include.

See Backgound Briefing Note # 5, p. 10


A challenging global situation
Humankind is not about to forget 2020. This year will go down in the books as the one during which the planet was hit by a global sanitary disaster. We have been tried and have been called upon to rise to the occasion with courage and determination. Across the world, people have been asked to make sacrifices. Governments had to make tough, often controversial decisions. But while a safe future has not totally been secured yet, the beginnings of lengthy vaccination processes are showing us that there is some light at the end of this long and very dark tunnel.
Economically speaking, the situation has become very dire for all sectors, including chrysotile. We can look forward to better days but we will be facing quite a few challenges. It is more than likely that the pandemic will leave us with a seriously ill patient – the world economy. The situation confronts us all and it is through mutual respect and harmony that we will be able to turn it around to our collective advantage.

Aggressive attacks against the ICA
Unfortunately, there will always be groups with dubious motivations that will opt for calumny and slander and call for the very disappearance of the ICA rather than agree to an open discussion and rigorous analysis of all scientific studies on the safe and secure use, including the most recent ones. These deep-pocketed organizations will not hesitate to sully reputations to reach their own objectives. In these troubled times, we call for civil exchanges. Irrespective of our views, we must all act in good faith and aim for the social and economic progress of the greatest number.
More than ever, we must act in solidarity in unprecedented ways. We must be particularly attentive to the developing countries, who urgently need our help and support. Humankind must raise to the considerable challenge of a global generosity. It is time for concrete help – the days of discourses and chanting are behind us.

Again and again, promote safe and secure use
For its part, the ICA will continue to promote the safe and secure use of chrysotile. It is a demanding task, but one that guarantees a promising future. It’s also the most realistic approach in order to tackle health related risks, as opposed to the foggy precautionary principle or the unrealistic zero risk. For years now, science has demonstrated that controlled use is the response to counter potential risks associated with the use of certain products, fibers, including chemical products and pesticides. It is not a chimera but a well-known fact.
The chrysotile world is known for its demanding controlled, safe and responsible use program, tirelessly promoted by the ICA.
Developing countries have the fundamental right to offer their population a level and quality of life that is respectful of our basic human condition. Nobody should ever forget that, in order to equip themselves with adequate water and sanitation systems, these countries urgently need top quality products, material and fibres that are readily available at a price they can afford. Furthermore, the deployment of such infrastructure creates employment. Therefore, chrysotile, for two thirds of humankind, is an obvious answer to these challenges.
It is a well-known fact that the chrysotile fibre can meet those needs and science confirms that its safe and controlled use does not create unacceptable risk levels, whether for human health or the environment.

The ICA will continue its work

The ICA laments the fact that certain lobby groups call for its dissolution and try every trick in the book to delegitimize its leaders when the association’s mission is to promote the safe and responsible use of a natural fibre which can, among other, be used in emerging countries to build essential infrastructures – a completely legitimate and honorable endeavor.
Our critics should take it as read: the ICA will, of course, continue to report all unhealthy maneuvers that mar the discourse in favor of chrysotile’s banishment, which benefits solely to the litigation business and the replacement products industry. It will also tirelessly defend the controlled, safe and responsible use of chrysotile, everywhere around the world.

Our wishes for 2021
For 2021, let’s wish that science and common sense will prevail over narrow ideologies favorable to the banishment of products such as chrysotile, which contribute to a better quality of life of some of the most vulnerable populations across the world.
The ICA wants to take the opportunity of this year’s end to extend to you all its best wishes. May your holiday season be restful and the upcoming year filled with good health, well deserved success and prosperity.

The ICA Team

Chrysotile and post-COVID: helping the most vulnerable

In its September 2020 edition, the prestigious British medical scientific publication The Lancet, on the occasion of this year’s World Water Week (August 24-28) conference, draws its spotlights on the urgent need for a serious and responsible intervention in order to help emerging countries build sanitary and drinking water infrastructure.

Held in Stockholm, the virtual conference gathered scientists, business leaders, policy makers and civil society representatives. In its article, The Lancet recalls that a decade ago, the UN General Assembly had adopted Resolution 64/292, which recognizes that all humans have the right to acceptable, accessible, safe and sufficient water.

Since then, it seems that little progress has been made. In fact, a study covering 88 low- and middle-income countries reveals a rather grim picture, namely on the number of diarrhoeal deaths in children under 5 years old that could be attributed to the lack of safe water facilities. The COVID-19’s very detrimental impacts have only added to those deplorable situations.

Chrysotile is among the affordable solutions accessible to emerging countries who want to build much needed water and sanitation infrastructures – as well as rooftops – to give their populations decent living and sanitary conditions. Chrysotile is a natural fibre whose exceptional qualities and efficiency have been widely recognized. It has been demonstrated that it can be used in a safe and responsible way, both in terms of workers’ health and the environment.

Read the article


Quebec's Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE), the provincial government's consultative body on environmental issues, recently published a report on the valorization and exploitation of the serpentine mining residues that can be found across its Appalachian region.

For the region's industries, those residues represent an almost inexhaustible resource which constitutes an interesting, promising mining heritage. To that end, the region welcomes the fact that the BAPE, in its recently released report, recognizes the importance that must be given to the exploitation of the mining residues, in the double perspective of a sustainable economic development for the region and of the very future of its communities.

Moreover, the BAPE’s report underscored the high social acceptability of the forward-looking project. Representations made by economic stakeholders during the public hearings demonstrated their unwavering determination and firm intention to ensure that said exploitation be carried out while fully respecting the population's health and the environment.

Lastly, the stakeholders came forward with an interesting proposal for the government authorities : they suggested that an observatory be created, staffed by a multidisciplinary team of experts, who would ensure that every process be developed efficiently and in accordance with all the proper rules, in a safe and secure manner and with the collaboration of all. The Quebec government must follow through with this request.

For this broad asbestos region, as it is known in Quebec, this project bears testimony to the fact that a true, sustainable development is completely feasible and that it can go hand in hand with an economic development that will benefit all. Throughout years of mining operations, the stakeholders clearly and repeatedly demonstrated that they did take their health and environmental responsibilities seriously. This is why the government should recognize and support their initiative, which will draw on their unique expertise in order to raise to the significant challenge of valorization.


The U.S. EPA is currently reviewing and updating its recently published draft risk assessment for asbestos. As part of this process, EPA requested its Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) to peer review the document in a virtual meeting held June 8-11, 2020.

A group of associations and law firms (later the group) had submitted a letter on June 2, 2020 to EPA taking strong objection to three of the members on EPA's SACC by alleging their bias since that had received compensation for participation on behalf of plaintiffs in asbestos litigation cases and also taking strong exception to some activities by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO). Further, the group requests that the SACC be restructured to include asbestos defendant experts in order for the committee to be balanced while conducting its peer review. The group's letter is herewith as attachment 1.

As a follow-up to the group's letter, ADAO submitted a letter to EPA on June 29, 2020 challenging the allegations of the 11 associations and law firms. ADAO's letter is herewith as attachment 2. ADAO argued that EPA should reject the group's baseless challenge and "allow the SACC as currently constituted to complete its review of the asbestos risk assessment."

Notwithstanding as to how EPA will respond to the group's challenge of SACC's membership, the current plan by the agency is to develop a final risk assessment for asbestos in the next 60-90 days, followed by a 30-day public comment period and a proposed rule in 2021 with a final rule in 2022.

It is worth and necessary for ICA to give to all readers accurate information on this matter. ILO and WHO have never called for a worldwide ban of asbestos use. Such position has been taken by some anti-asbestos activists working for ILO and WHO. But the official position is truly different and DO NOT REQUEST a total ban. ILO official is contained in ILO International Convention 162. The safety in the use is the official position. For WHO, the sole authority, the governing body WHA (World Health Assembly) on May 23, 2007 adopted a crystal-clear position:

« its activities will include global campaigns for elimination of asbestos-related diseases bearing in mind a differentiated approach to the two forms of asbestos – in the line with international legal instruments and the latest evidence for effective interventions and… »

Read The group's letter dated June 2, 2020
Read The ADAO's letter dated June 29, 2020


Following months of intense work and dealing with the turmoil created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Alliance Magnesium marked a crucial milestone on June 29th, 2020 in Asbestos, Quebec, when its leaders officially broke ground on its long awaited, high value-added magnesium ingot production plant.

Alliance Magnesium has developed, and patented technology based on clean electrolysis to extract the magnesium contained in serpentine rock and produce recycled magnesium. The company will capitalize on growing demand for metallic magnesium and alloys, particularly in the aircraft and automotive industries that are facing the major challenge of reducing the weight of vehicles and equipment in order to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

The recent 145M$ financing arranged by Alternative Capital Group, a Montreal based private merchant bank benefits from the support of a wide range of public and private partners, including the Canadian and Quebec governments, Japan's Marubeni Corporation, and Fondaction, a Quebec labour-sponsored fund.

With that financing, the plant's capacity will reach 18,000 tons per year. It already has 15 employees and will create more than 100 well paying jobs in the region.

Part of the financing will be used to accelerate the development of Phase 2, which targets an annual production of 50,000 tons.

The ICA salutes the vision and determination of Alliance Magnesium's founders and partners. Their progress confirms that, far from being a millstone, serpentine residue is better positioned than ever to open the way towards a greener, more profitable future.

See the official launch video
Read the Press release


For years, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been living under the cloak of omerta, the code of silence. Nothing ever transpires of the international organization's inner workings, and some countries are suffering from backlash.

However, in the course of the past few months, voices have been heard and the columns of this Vatican of health have been shaken. In desperation, its director general even called for an independent review, hoping to set the record straight. But there is an important prerequisite if that is to happen.

A change of culture
At the WHO's last World Health Assembly (WHA), the uneasiness of member States was palpable and many of them raised their voice. Real issues, that had been festering for years away from the public eye are now exposed and have made their way to various international media's front pages.

The functioning of the WHO is seriously questioned, as well as the attitude and initiatives of those brigadiers of virtue which were largely left to themselves by a nonchalant upper management. This must now come to an end. Transparency and humility are now rightly expected.

An independent audit
For all the right reasons put forward by various member States and some international organizations, an independent audit must now be conducted. It must go well beyond cosmetic perusals. To that end, a resolution calling for decisive action was voted by member States on May 19th, 2020 at the recent WHA.

The whole management of the WHO must be closely scrutinized, with the significant involvement of member States and of civil society organizations. Bravely, it will have to get to the bottom of things. The WHO should not only accept but embrace this unique opportunity to ensure its survival.

Read the WHA resolution calling for the audit


A few days ago, the Research Service of the European Parliament (EPRS) published a working document which lists a number of worrying issues related to the quality of the work performed by the World health Organization (WHO).

Many of those comments were also echoed by the media. They must be heard.

To read the Parliament's document, click here.

Over the years, the ICA has also identified various problems that affect the WHO's operations. The ICA document can be found here.


In March 2020, Science of Total Environment published an important study on asbestos emissions associated with the demolition of abandoned buildings.

Demolition of old residential dwellings that can create potential risks associated with the presence of asbestos is often a key component of urban revitalization. It was therefore crucial to measure the importance of potential emissions of airborne fibres during the demolition work. Data collected quickly established the very low level of asbestos fibres while it was being performed.

This allowed researchers to estimate that the risk of contracting mesothelioma or other cancers while performing such work would be less than one case per million people. In fact, research revealed that the low level of exposure to asbestos fibres makes the risk negligible.

This recent study confirms the importance of proper controls and safe work procedures, within the framework of responsible use, as advocated by the ICA.

As countries around the world are working to relaunch their economies in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, this study also provides useful guidance to governments seeking reliable evidence to assure the safety of millions of workers in the key construction sector (including building reforms and reconstruction).

Read the full study


Not so long ago, in October 2017, a selected group of high-level scientists was brought together in Charlottesville, Virginia (USA) to discuss a host of key issues related to Elongated Mineral Particles (EMP).

Across the world, a growing number of decision makers and stakeholders are attempting to go beyond preconceived and false ideas put forward by anti-chrysotile lobbies and the litigation business and draw from scientifically proven facts. More and more, they realize that the unhealthy crusade aimed at a total banishment of chrysotile, a natural fibre, is unfounded and should be brought to an end.

A quick look back at the Monticello Conference's main conclusions helps us understand why. One of the first topics broached during the 4-day gathering was the need to recognize the undeniable difference between the amphibole-type of asbestos fibres and chrysotile, both in terms of their dangerousness and of their chemical structure. A rigorous review of the scientific literature confirms without a doubt that, contrary to amphiboles such as crocidolite, amosite, etc., chrysotile seldom causes disease.

Participating scientists also emphasised the need to take in consideration the fibres' size, noting that chrysotile fibres of less than 5 microns wouldn't cause diseases and therefore underlying the need for proper control measures in the workplace. This is incidentally the reason why the ICA has for years supported the safe and responsible use program.

The issue of the threshold for safe use was also on the agenda. Participants agreed that it is not because such threshold is not scientifically determined that it doesn't exist. Thus, with an exposure to chrysotile of 1ff/cc, the risk of contracting a mesothelioma is unlikely, which lead many to conclude that, at that level, the threshold could possibly be met.

The ICA relentlessly continues to call upon competent authorities in countries around the world to differentiate between myths and facts, propaganda and science and, even more important, to implement well-structured safe and responsible use programs.

Know more about the Monticello Conference's findings

Scientific study on exposure

A new, comparative scientific study evaluating exposure, dose-response and fate in the lung and pleura of chrysotile-containing brake dust confirms the major differences between the toxicology of chrysotile fibers and that of other asbestos fibers.

This rigorous, 90-day repeated dose inhalation study of brake dust in rats provides a comprehensive understanding of the biokinetics and potential toxicology in the lung. It included a particle control on chrysotile, commercial crocidolite and amosite asbestos. The interim results have shown an important fundamental difference in persistence and pathological response in the lung between brake dust derived from brake-pads manufactured with chrysotile, TiO2 or chrysotile alone in comparison to the amphiboles, crocidolite and amosite asbestos. In the brake dust exposure groups, no significant pathological response was observed at any time. Chrysotile, being biodegradable, showed a weakening of its matrix and braking into short fibers and particles that can be cleared by alveolar macrophages and continued dissolution.

In comparison, both crocidolite and amosite induced persistent inflammation, microgranulomas and fibrosis which persisted through the post exposure period. The seven-member team of international researchers led by D.M. Bernstein published its two-part research in Elsevier's online Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology journal in December 2019. Another article, detailing subsequent results through life-time post exposure, will follow.

Read the study, part 1
Read the study, part 2

Asbestos Draft Risk Evaluation Available for Public and Scientific Review

EPA is asking for public input on the draft risk evaluation of asbestos. Seeking public input on the draft risk evaluation is the next step in the process outlined by the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for EPA to review the risks associated with this chemical—a process that is designed to review the best available science before taking action to manage any unreasonable risks associated with this chemical. Asbestos is the ninth of the first ten chemicals to undergo risk evaluation under amended TSCA. It’s important to note that EPA in this ongoing study is committed to a transparent process based on sound science.

In the draft risk evaluation, EPA did not find unreasonable risk to the environment under any of the conditions of use. Additionally, the draft risk evaluation discusses how workers, occupational non-users, consumers, and bystanders could be adversely affected by asbestos under certain conditions of use. As with any chemical product, EPA strongly recommends that users carefully follow all instructions on the product’s label/safety data sheet.

The six product use categories being assessed in the draft risk evaluation (chlor-alkali diaphragms, sheet gaskets, brake blocks, aftermarket automotive brakes/linings, other vehicle friction products, and other gaskets) do not impact other actions EPA has taken to protect the public from exposure to asbestos. The 1989 partial ban on products like corrugated paper, commercial paper, and any new commercial uses beginning after August 25, 1989 remains in place. Also, in April 2019, EPA issued a final rule that strengthens the agency’s ability to rigorously review an expansive list of asbestos products that are no longer on the market before they could be sold again in the United States. Products like certain asbestos vinyl floor tiles, insulation, and other building materials, as well as clothing and manufacturing products, are prohibited from being produced and sold before EPA reviews them and puts in place any necessary restrictions or prohibits use.

Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, EPA will accept comments on the draft risk evaluation for asbestos for 60 days in docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0501 on EPA will also hold a virtual peer review meeting of EPA’s Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) on the draft risk evaluation for this chemical’s conditions of use on April 27-30, 2020. The virtual peer review meeting is open to the public to attend and provide comments.

EPA intends to finalize this risk evaluation for the conditions of use that were within the scope prior to the Ninth Circuit decision, and to consider legacy uses and associated disposal in a supplemental scope document and supplemental risk evaluation. The agency believes this is the most health-protective path forward. This approach will also help ensure a higher quality evaluation of legacy uses and associated disposals. Additionally, halting work on final risk evaluations covering non-legacy conditions of use in order to incorporate legacy uses and associated disposal will delay work on any risk management regulations that would be needed to address unreasonable risk found in final risk evaluations.

Additional Information

» View the asbestos draft risk evaluation and supporting documents
» Learn more about the peer review meeting


On 30th March 2020 the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its draft risk evaluation on asbestos: the evaluation focuses solely on chrysotile, since it is the only fiber really used in the USA.

The Agency stressed that this draft evaluation represents the first step of a lengthy process. In the upcoming months, the 300 plus page document will be submitted to both a peer (independent, scientific experts) review and a public review. Following these assessments, the EPA will then develop a final risk evaluation. If a risk is found to be unreasonable for any condition of use, it will draft and publish a proposal to eliminate said risk. The EPA must complete its review within the next three years, with a possible extension of six months. The basis for the risk assessment is condition of use.

Contrary to what has been published in the Washington-based The Hill by anti-asbestos activists, the EPA's initial review doesn't call for a ban.

Moreover, it is also important to note that this process has nothing to do with the EPA's April 2019 decision not to ban cement products, along with several other products. That EPA document states that no risk to the environment and no unreasonable risk to health were determined for products such as chlor-alkali diaphragms, sheet gaskets, brake blocks, aftermarket automotive brakes/linings, other vehicle friction products, and other gaskets.

Read the full text


Alliance Magnesium, a Canadian company, announced last week that it completed near to $145 Million in funding for its commercial demonstration plant for magnesium production.

Located in the northeastern area of Quebec's Eastern Townships, the plant will produce primary magnesium ingots from serpentine mine tailings and secondary magnesium from recycling from the metal processing industry. In addition to using the circular economy, this innovative project is also developing new, environmentally friendly magnesium manufacturing processes: Alliance Magnesium aims to reduce the GHGs emitted per ton of magnesium by more than 22 tons.

The construction of the plant is made possible by the contributions of a group of public and private investors which include the Government of Quebec ($13,4 M), the Japanese company Marubeni ($16,7 M), the labour sponsored Fondaction ($10 M), and the company's shareholders. The funding is completed by loans from an American institution and the Quebec government and by contributions from Sustainable Development Strategies Canada ($12 M) and Transition Énergétique Québec ($3 M).

Magnesium is in high demand in the automotive and aerospace industries. It is used to reduce vehicle weight and is known for its high strength-to-weight ratio. Work on the plant will start this spring and the hiring of the company's first operators and direct employees will be phased in from the fall of this year.

In a country like Canada, where economic prosperity and natural resources development have always gone hand in hand, a forward looking project such as the one developed by Alliance Magnesium is a clear signal that new technologies and carefully monitored transformation processes can give a second life to assets that many were - and still are - willing to discard far too quickly. Chrysotile can and will again offer opportunities to all those communities who were so badly hurt by the mines' closure.

Read the press release


As incredible as it might seem, according to an article published in the Jakarta Post, the Queensland's government (Australian) just recently authorized a mining development (coal mine) in the great coral reef.

Coming from a country that likes to present itself as a beacon of humanity's conscience when it comes to health and environmental issues, this decision is, to say the least, quite astonishing! Australia, who sends vocal representatives to all international fora and gatherings on human health and environmental protection, has possibly just shown its true colours.

To give just one example, all signatory states to the Rotterdam Convention, and especially those who attend its Conferences of Parties, have noted Australia's relentlessness in its efforts to obtain a worldwide ban of the use of chrysotile.

Focusing on a narrow definition of health and environmental protection, this country's position totally disregards the very basic needs of emerging countries who are doing everything they can to improve their citizen's living conditions and for whom the chrysotile fibre is a mean with all the needed characteristics towards that end. Australia rejects the use of this affordable natural fibre for which it has been scientifically demonstrated that it can be used in a safe and responsible way.

In greenlighting a coal extraction mining project in the heart of the coral reef, this country has just shown it's double standards to the world : when it comes to its own economy, huge interests other than health and the environment are suddenly prioritized. One can only regret the highly scalable nature of its virtuous discourses...

That is, unless its position on the banishment of chrysotile is based more on its interests in marketing replacement fibers and products than on concerns for human health and safety!

Really, this project of drilling the coral reef to extract coal is beyond understanding and sheds a crude light on Australia's true face.

To read the article in the Jakarta Post


In response to a Parliamentary question, the European Commission recently reiterated that, despite the ceaseless outcries from the anti-asbestos lobbies, asbestos removal is not required by the 2006 Regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH).

In 2013, the anti-asbestos lobbies had managed to obtain a resolution from the European Parliament (Hughes Report) calling for removal of asbestos in place throughout Europe.

Made by Commissioner Mr. Breton, on behalf of the Commission, the statement details the fact that regulations aiming at preventing and reducing environmental pollution require that member States take all appropriate measures to ensure that ongoing activities do not create any significant risk for the environment and human health.

This response from the European Commission further reinforces the ICA's position who has repeatedly criticized the anti-asbestos lobbies for their rather careless manipulations of the truth. It is therefore most relevant to share it widely in order to put those who attempt to forge a public opinion with no regard for science nor truth squarely back in their place.

To further understand the issue at hand, you are invited to read the question raised and the EC's answer.

A National Study in India on the Fibre-Cement Products Industry

A scientific study completed in 2019 in India titled National Study on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Environment sheds new light on the health of people in relation with the use, in that country, of the serpentine fibre known as chrysotile.

One must bear in mind that, for a number of years, the anti-asbestos lobbies have spared no effort in order to make it illegal the use of said fibre. Nevertheless, it remains a key element in the fight to improve the population's health and socio-economic conditions in emerging countries, an issue linked to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as access to water and sanitation facilities for the most vulnerable.

It is also useful to remember that these lobbies have never been able to scientifically demonstrate the truth of their allegations nor to explain clearly the true motivations behind their campaigns. A few years ago, some of their campaigners were even found guilty of conflict of interest, because of the support they received from businesses competing with those who produced chrysotile. Such situation should have been strongly exposed but, alas, we can't count on those same lobbies' spokespersons to do so!

Competent authorities in countries which have taken pains to gather information on this matter have known for the longest time that in India, the chrysotile industry has made every effort to ensure that this fibre is used responsibly. They are also aware that, in a vast majority of cases, it is used in conditions such that people's health and the environment are never subjected to an unacceptable level of risk.

This new study confirms that, in large industries and in most workplaces, the methods and work practices, governed by stringent rules and monitoring processes, are such that the whole program of controlled use is effectively in place.

The study's authors reiterate the dispositions of the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Convention no 162 concerning Safety in the Use of Asbestos and remind businesses of the importance of its recommendations. The ICA fully agrees with Convention no 162, which it has been promoting since its entry into force.

This recent study confirms once again that in India, the safe and responsible use is not a chimera, but an everyday reality.

To read the study, click here.


As of today, January 16, 2020, a new European Union Directive comes fully implemented all Member States that sets binding exposure limits to products classified as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Why is chrysotile not covered by a similar approach?

The new Directive was adopted in December 2017 and Member States had two years to follow up with appropriate regulation. It covers known carcinogens or mutagens such as chromium VI compounds, wood dust, or silica, which is used in a wide range of everyday products - not unlike chrysotile until a few years ago. For all intents and purposes, the regulation replaces the voluntary social dialogue between employers and workers, which becomes a complement to the new rule.

According to an old saying, what's good for the goose is good for the gander: similar situations should be treated in similar ways. For the longest time and with unwavering determination, the ICA has been advocating the implementation of a limit exposure of 1f/cc as part of a comprehensive approach to chrysotile's safe and controlled use. Its calls should be heard.

To read the study, click here.

A Serious Study on the Impact of Talcum Powder on Women's Health

For many years, the anti-asbestos and litigation business lobbies have been leading a mostly judicial crusade on the risks associated with the use of talcum powder. By all means possible, they have tried to demonstrate that talcum powder contains asbestos fibres which would create a risk for human health. Those anti-talcum lobbies have pretended that its use is devastating, especially for women, and that it was the cause behind a large number of ovarian cancers.

These assertions were never truly, scientifically demonstrated. Nevertheless, they were repeated ad nauseam in all anti-asbestos crusades and brought before the courts on numerous occasions, especially in the United States.

Researchers from various well-known research centres, financed by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), have recently completed a synthesis of four large scientific studies on that subject. Together, these studies followed close to 250 000 women in the United States between 1982 and 2017. Their methodologies were serious, and rigorous. Iain McNeish, Director of the Imperial College London's Research Center on Ovarian Cancer commented that the synthesis was a "very well controlled study".

To all intents and purposes, this lengthy study creates a precedent, as it is the most important review ever conducted on that matter by a team of researchers. It concludes that, if there was a link between the use of talcum powder and an increase in the number of ovarian cancers, it would probably be very low.

It is most regrettable that, notwithstanding these conclusions and the well stated scientific uncertainties surrounding such a link, some businesses must still fight in court against the cantors of the litigation business. This powerful lobby is going after each and every file linked to asbestos, without ever bothering to even differentiate between the various types of fibres. This is how the litigation industry became an extremely lucrative business for large attorney firms, especially in the United States.

To read the study, click here.

European Mapping of Radon Goes Unnoticed!

In 2019, in Europe, a study completed by a team of scientists showed that radon is a poison to humans which contributes to the development of numerous lung cancers. In fact, the study revealed that the radon-related ionizing radiations are the second largest source of lung cancer-related deaths in humans, behind those caused by tobacco, which rank first. Radon, like asbestos, is an element that can be found naturally on the surface of the earth and in ground waters.

The study namely states: “Radon (Rn) is the major contributor to the ionizing radiation dose received by the general population, which is the second cause of lung cancer death after smoking (WHO, 2009). Worldwide radon exposure is linked to an estimated 222 000 out of the 1.8 million lung cancer cases reported per year (Gaskin et al., 2018), and in Europe alone it has been estimated that 18,000 lung cancer cases per year are induced by radon (Gray et al., 2009).”

In fact, the European Union is about to create a "Radon Map in Europe". Nevertheless, one cannot but notice the anti-asbestos crusaders' and litigation business champions' silence on this matter. All those activists who want to convince the world that asbestos fibres, including chrysotile, are the deadliest, would benefit from perusing statistics detailing the number of cancers due to tobacco smoking and to radiations from radon, a substance often found in residential basements.

The ICA's position on this matter has always been very clear. Any product, substance or compound which presents risks for human health should be used in a safe and responsible way. Furthermore, when risks can't be controlled, product use must stop in order to eliminate them. What are those apocalypse preachers proposing to counter smoking and the dangers associated with radon's quite widespread presence?

The ICA has never pretended that there is room for complacency or negligence in the use of chrysotile, quite to the contrary. Controlled use is demanding. The industry is well aware of this and has willingly embraced this approach for decades as it considers that this is the only acceptable rule when it comes to products with associated risks.

The study which clearly exposes dangers associated with radon, without raising hackles from the anti-asbestos activists who claim to defend public health, tends to demonstrate that asbestos fibres, including chrysotile, have been subjected to a witch hunt for reasons which perhaps have little to do with public health.

To read the study, click here.


On April 17, 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency, the American agency responsible for the control of toxic substances (TSCA) announced, by means of a press release, that it had opted for a new regulation on, namely, the use of many asbestos-cement products. It was a first in 30 years. After reviewing the existing records of many chemical substances, including asbestos, the Agency made its observations known following a rigorous and extensive process which included a thorough review of the most recent scientific findings.

It is important to note that in that country, as in other user countries, the product subjected to the review was chrysotile asbestos, which is far less detrimental to human health than other type of fibres, such as amphiboles.

Controlled use has proven its worth

On solid scientific foundations and after having seriously analyzed its relevance, the Agency expressed a formal opinion to the effect that both the use and the trade of an important number of products which contain chrysotile should not be banned.

Banishment if necessary but not necessarily banishment

The US Environmental Protection Agency issued the regulation and will be following on this decision.

Furthermore, the report clearly states that as for the chryso-cement products currently being used in that country, the contemporary work methods and modern technologies render unnecessary any further health-related risk evaluation and do not require the development of new regulations.

As per the products which aren't currently on the market, if need be, prior request will have to be submitted to the Agency to get permission for their use.

This confirms that the safe and responsible use of chrysotile is not a pipe dream but rather a reality that extremist crusaders who call for a world-wide ban refuse to recognize. It’s clear that numerous huge interests are at stake, which motivate those trying by all means to ignore science.

In itself, the silence of some international organizations in the wake of this important announcement on the use of fibre-cement products in the United States and the true risk for human health and the protection of the environment speaks volumes.

By the way, one should bear in mind the judicial decision rendered in 1991 in the United States. On July 12, 1989, the EPA issued a final rule banning most asbestos-containing products. In 1991, this regulation was overturned by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. As a result of the Court's decision, the 1989 asbestos regulation only bans new uses of asbestos in products that would be initiated for the first time after 1989 and bans the following specific asbestos-containing products: flooring felt, rollboard, and corrugated, commercial, or specialty paper.

» Read the decision


Julius Caesar waged one against Egypt, Ivan the terrible did the same during the Livonian War in the sixteenth century: for the East of Russia online Information Analytical Agency, the current anti-asbestos crusade is nothing more, but nothing less than a 21st century trade war.

The article, published on October 1st, first recalls the history of what was originally labelled as the "miracle material", and the distinction that was gradually made between the various type of fibres, which led to the abandonment of amphiboles. It notes that such distinction was even recognized by the WHO: a 2007 brochure titled “Workers' Health: A Global Plan of Action for 2008-2017” stated that the control of asbestos-related diseases should take into account “A differentiated approach to regulating its various forms, relevant international legal documents and the latest evidence for effective activities”.

So why are the anti-asbestos zealots, including some staff of international agencies like WHO, ILO or Rotterdam Convention, now turning their back on the most recent - and now numerous - scientific findings? The article underlines the link between the anti-chrysotile crusade and the arrival on the market of synthetic analogues. Since chrysotile remains cheaper and better than those products, their producers are attempting to win the market by force. Pulling the West's heartstrings is just part of their strategy.

» Read the complete article


Last June, the Rotterdam Convention's Secretariat sent the ICA a letter in which it asked the Association to “provide data on the international trade in chemicals recommended for listing in Annex III and to inform on the measurable impacts of listing chemicals. The letter has been massively sent to all Parties, non-Parties, as well as to representatives of the industry, civil society and other stakeholders as a call of Information and follow up to Conference of the Parties at its ninth meeting (COP-9) held in Geneva in early May.

At this stage, there's no doubt  that the deep frustration stemming from  not having succeeded in getting chrysotile listed in this blacklist is the rationale behind this cynical initiative from the Secretariat (one former Secretary General made a Freudian slip at the official opening of one COP by referring to the…chrysotile Convention).

To sum it up, the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat is asking the Association about the inconvenients that would result from placing chrysotile on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) list, in other words, the procedure applicable to certain chemicals as per Annex II - Criteria for listing BANNED or SEVERELY RESTRICTED chemicals in Annex III. All criteria are listed and clearly established.

The matter has been discussed ad nauseam by member States for more than a decade and at numerous conferences, including the various Conference of Parties (COPs). The Convention Secretariat had front row seats at each of them and was a privileged eyewitness. Moreover, participants could bear witness to the very obvious feeling of sympathy between Secretariat representatives and the position held by those from various European countries, Japan, Australia and Chile, to name but a few. Furthermore, an embarrassing collaboration between the Convention staff and the anti-asbestos lobbies created an unhealthy environment, which allowed the anti-asbestos crusade to fully deploy, as it was able to use the Convention as a privileged and exceptional springboard to promote worldwide banishment of the serpentine fibre.

Today, the Convention's senior executives and staff can't plead ignorance. They have been too close to this machination for their request to the ICA to be in any way credible. In reality, the facts are simple: all countries that have advocated for the inclusion of chrysotile have already banned it, and all countries against banishment are currently using or producing chrysotile. The latter represent two-thirds of humankind and they are acting as responsibly as any other country when it comes to making all necessary efforts to protect the health of the people and of the environment.

The ICA finds unconceivable the request made by the Secretariat that it should explain what the inconvenients would be of having chrysotile added to the blacklist. The initiative is nothing more than a sad sham. The ICA as no intention of re-hashing all the documents it has sent to the Secretariat nor to recall the statements made by its representatives during the few true discussions to which they have been invited (i.e. Riga Seminar, July 2016) over the course of the last ten years which clearly state, in great details, its objections and proposals. Furthermore, it has no intention whatsoever to pursue discussions with the Secretariat which have lasted long enough and have clearly shown that they lead nowhere.

Logically, since it supports the anti-asbestos crusade instead of keeping the neutral position that should characterize its work, it would be the Secretariat's responsibility to hold the burden of proof, that is, to explain how the inclusion of serpentine (chrysotile) would benefit this fibre on the world markets. It is up to the protagonists of a global banishment to explain and demonstrate that there is no relation between banishment and inclusion on the blacklist.

It should also be the Secretariat's responsibility to call the ultra-activists pushing for inclusion to order and to demand that, for once and for all, the lack of consensus among State members which clearly emerged during COP meetings be respected.

The spirit and letter of both the Rotterdam Convention and the International Trade Convention leave no room for nonchalance, laisser-faire, bias, and much less favouritism. Each member State is free to make its own choices, priorities, and future without being subjected to threats, intimidation or harassment from anyone. As well, international conventions' personnel and executives should be imputable to the true authority held by member States as a whole as opposed to a handful of them.

For all these reasons, on October 7th the ICA formerly notified the Secretariat that it would not respond to its request. Our organization has no intention to take on responsibilities which clearly aren't part of its role. It is high time for the sad anti-chrysotile crusade to come to an end, and the will expressed on so many occasions by all user or producer countries should at long last receive as much attention from the Secretariat than that of countries in favor of inclusion. Their voice must be heard and respected.

» Read the full letter the ICA addressed to the Secretariat's Executive Secretary


A few years ago, Australia banned all type of asbestos fibres, without any consideration for the very real differences between those types. Yet this country, which has a long history of producing and exporting one of those asbestos fibres, crocidolite (blue asbestos), very harmful and scientifically known for its role in the occurrence of mesothelioma-type of cancers, is well aware of those differences.

Today, countries around the world are mindful of the leadership role Australia is trying to carve out for itself in various fora where its representatives are promoting a total banishment of asbestos, including chrysotile.

All the while, at home, it is facing numerous health problems that stem from its past practices, notably the use of now banned amphiboles. In this regard, science couldn't be clearer: blue asbestos is responsible for very serious health problems. But by ignoring such past practices, Australia is showing signs of amnesia. Worse still, it's trying to give itself a clear conscience through its vociferous calls for a total, un-nuanced banishment, even if science has established clear differences between the various fibres. Its positioning exercise is therefore not totally open and its self-proclaimed mission, in the name of its new-found virtue, simply ignores existing scientific proof of the various fibre types' different level of dangerousness.

Here, there and everywhere, Australia sides by the anti-asbestos lobbies and forcefully makes its presence known at events staged by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and at every other occasion. In the days before the Rotterdam Convention's COP-9 meeting, its main lobbying arm (the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency) published a pamphlet, titled Chrysotile Key Facts, whose obvious and malicious objective was to influence the participants.

Alas, the publication is full of inaccuracies, imprecision, and contains way to many exaggerations to be credible. It wholeheartedly supports a massive removal of asbestos everywhere with no consideration for the well-known associated costs, and completely ignores the needs of emerging countries.

All countries can only take note that Australia's support for the anti-asbestos crusade is, in fact, a worrying endorsement of the replacement fibre and products industry, with no consideration for their use's associated potential risks for human health. Bizarre, and very unsettling.

The fact that a government allows one of its agencies to move in a direction that has nothing to do with current scientific knowledge is in itself worrying, but going as far as accepting to lend its country's credibility to a publication that rehashes the anti-asbestos and litigation business lobbies' propaganda is downright incomprehensible. Such attitude must bring us to pause, and reflect. What are the true interests at stake? Is health the only concern? To say the least, health seems to bear a great deal, in Australia...


On May 16th, 2019 a noteworthy event, the European Wood Dust Conference, was held in Brussels. Numerous participants shared their preoccupations for workers exposed to wood dust (fibres). Readers will recall that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified wood fibre as a Category 1 carcinogenic for humans.

The Conference called for a better harmonization of legislations as a mean to avoid diseases linked to workers' exposure to wood dust. It also demanded the implementation of unified methods to systematically measure airborne particles and breathable fibres levels, the determination of safe exposure levels and better labelling systems to facilitate the dissemination of information on associated risks to human health.

Experts also pointed out that factors such as cigarette smoking and environmental pollution are associated to a notable increase in risk levels of contracting severe lung diseases (cancers).

At the end of the conference, participants made a series of recommendations to the countries' competent authorities. They called upon said authorities to establish a strict exposure level to wood dust (fibres) and put in place efficient and well harmonized measures in order to foster efficient control mechanisms that will ensure acceptable security levels for wood workers.

It is not the first time that the issue of human health-related risks associated with wood dust exposure have been brought to the fore. A few years ago, health officials in France sounded the alarm and indicated that they had noted an increase in pulmonary diseases linked to wood dust exposure.

Control rather than banish

Such conclusions on wood dust exposure are totally consistent with the ICA's longstanding recommendations calling for the implementation of controlled, responsible and safe use programs for all substances, mixes, products or natural or artificial fibres. To that end, we commend the recommendations made by the European Wood Dust Conference and hope that its message will be heard.

For the ICA it is quite obvious that such an approach that favours a safe and controlled use is much more demanding but so much more realistic and respectful of both humans and the environment. It is highly preferable to the position advocated by the anti-asbestos lobby who would rather sweep the whole issue under the rug by proposing the banishment of products, substances, fibres, etc. that carry a certain level of risk for human health. Banishment is a simple way of not facing reality, it is an easy way out.

The wood unions who are all over the map campaigning against the use of the chrysotile fibre must face the facts: what is good for the goose is good for the gander. The European Commission has already been clear in this regard. Whether with silica, synthetic fibres, polymers or wood dust, the approach favoured, defended and demanded to all stakeholders is one based on safe and responsible use. All stakeholders are invited to take up this difficult but very promising challenge.


For years now the ICA has put itself in problem-solving mode in the hope of contributing to break the persistent deadlock created by a modus operandi that can only be described as chaotic. The reasons for this are clear and well known by all Secretariat members. A significant shift is needed in order for both the core spirit and letter of the Rotterdam Convention to prevail.

The ICA always supported the Parties' true objectives, as defined in the text that was adopted on September 10, 1998, which became the Rotterdam Convention. Such a regulatory tool, which gives the world a prior informed consent procedure for the international trading of certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides is, in the eye of the ICA, of utmost importance. This is why it still wants it to succeed.

However, in order for the Convention's interventions to be supported by the Parties, it has become urgent that it be allowed to work harmoniously, while constantly keeping in mind the Convention's true spirit and intent. For the ICA, this is what should always prevail.

Unfortunately, the May 2019 COP-9 was a sad repetition of the previous eight ones. Asbestos monopolized the discussion of the agenda item Listing chemicals, creating a suffocating atmosphere. The anti-asbestos industry's heavy presence generated a background noise that permeated all discussions. Presentations by anti-asbestos crusaders from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), invited by the Conference's Secretariat, put a damper on the deliberations with insufferable and dated discourses. Argumentum ad nauseam, no less!

Representatives of Member States who supported the inclusion of chrysotile on the list of banned products left the meeting very disappointed. Those who had objections or simply refused to support the inclusion felt pushed aside and ignored, even though they represent, together, more than two-third of humankind and the less wealthy countries. By the way, the situation and needs of developing countries and those in transition were absolutely not taken into account, contrarily to what the Rotterdam Convention specifically calls for. The ICA laments this situation and again worries for the Convention's future.


Perusing the document, one can only realise that the many comments and suggestions made by the Association at the time are still valid today.

This document is a position paper prepared by the ICA for the Intersessional Working Group on the process of listing chemicals in annex III of the Rotterdam Convention. When it was invited to join the Group the ICA, along with other observer members, played an active role in the preparatory efforts that led to the Riga (Latvia) seminar, in July 2016.

For the first time (and for a change...), the Rotterdam Convention's Secretariat had established the Conference of Parties' mandate through a direct, open and transparent process, that allowed Parties (States) and observers alike to dialogue and debate frankly and constructively...

It is unfortunate that this exemplary process of participatory democracy came to an abrupt end in its last leg in 2017, because of the COP-8's decision to exclude observers following a misplaced intervention during the Conference plenary from an observer who anti-asbestos group. Representatives of Parties (the States) finished the work alone...

Ultimately, the so-called 'Riga process' created to 'enhance the effectiveness of the Rotterdam Convention' ended up not being a fair exercise leading to achieving its essential goal but rather another smokescreen to list chrysotile asbestos, come what may, as this substance has become iconic in the Rotterdam Convention's discussions for more than a decade.

It is therefore no coincidence if COP-9 has hardly delivered last week with a diluted decision on the topic of 'enhancing the effectiveness of the Convention', whose only purpose was to keep the door open to the anti-asbestos representatives' intention to attend COP-10, in 2021 (Nairobi).

But despite of all this, the ICA determinedly attempted to bring its humble contribution to the table, in the hope of fostering a deep reflexion, and to put forward suggestions and corrections that would allow the Rotterdam Convention to play a positive role, away from all unduly pressures and influences. Its sole objective was to encourage a collaborative sharing of responsibilities and enhanced cooperation between Parties in the area of international trade of dangerous chemical products and pesticides.

On May 14, 2019, the ICA sent its members some comments underlying its concerns and worries in the aftermath of the Rotterdam Convention's 9th Conference of Parties (COP-9).

To read this document, click here


For the seventh time in a row, participants from Members States to the ninth meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Rotterdam Convention (COP-9) had to realize at their May 8th session in Geneva that there was no possible consensus to be reached for the inclusion of the chrysotile asbestos fiber type on the black list as provided by the Convention's Annex lll - Products to be banned or severely restricted from the international market. One has to realize once and for all that the world is not just there. More than three third of the humanity represented by their competent authorities made their voice loud and clear. Hope that someone received the message.

However, numerous authorities from different countries including ICA have really indicated to the Secretariat of the International Rotterdam Convention that a consensus for the inclusion of the chrysotile on the PIC list was nor achievable and for a just and good cause. Let's mention two fundamental reasons.

The first is that reason has once again prevailed. For years, the Association has tirelessly pleaded in favor of an approach based on the most recent scientific research that clearly differentiates the very specific structure of the chrysotile fibre from that of other, amphibole fibres, and its considerably lower potential risks for human health. It has also unwaveringly reminded all parties of the potential risk posed by replacement products whose degree of hazardousness have not yet been determined through rigorous scientific testing.

Secondly, the spirit and letter of the Rotterdam Convention has to be respected by all Members States. The fight to end the use of chrysotile has undermined that Convention and the Secretariat has accepted that the Convention turned itself into a mission against chrysotile. The message from numerous competent authorities is crystal clear. Propaganda, extrapolation, hypothesis, and lobsters’ traps must cease and so being the end of the anti-asbestos Convention.

Furthermore, the outcome of this ninth meeting reaffirms that –regarding inclusion of new chemicals in Annex III- consensus is, and will remain, the one and only decision-making process endorsed by the Convention. Notwithstanding the efforts made by the Secretariat, whose preparatory note had chartered a narrow path towards inclusion of chrysotile in the List, well-informed participants held their ground and clearly stated their belief that this fibre is and remains a useful and economical resource that can be used in a safe and responsible way.

This International Convention as for any other ones belong to its members (countries the sole authorities) and should be acting accordingly. Activists and anti-asbestos lobby should not be any more considered as stakeholders by the Secretariat.



For many years, the chrysotile producers and users' community has been promoting the safe and secure use of the chrysotile fibre. Many recent scientific studies have confirmed that the use of chryso-cement products, under the current regulations, doesn't create an unacceptable level of health risk for people, or for the environment.

In all chryso-cement products, the fibres are encapsulated and can't be airborne. Those products are durable, high performance and available at affordable costs for emerging countries. Their use therefore allows for an increase of their population's quality of life, in such countries where chryso-cement products constitute a key component of sanitary and drinking water infrastructures.

Through their crusade against chrysotile, the anti-asbestos lobbies ─ against all fibre types ─ end up implicitly supporting the big industrial producers of substitutes for chrysotile products and fibres. Yet, they are well aware that for too many of these products and fibres currently available haven't so far been submitted to scientific evaluations that would assert their safety or whether their use creates risks for human health.

Big, occult interests have been feeding this noxious crusade that pictures chrysotile in a totally unfair manner when compared to potential replacement products and fibres. Such double standards policy doesn't seem to worry people advocating the precaution principle and the famous zero risk approach when dealing with chrysotile, while remaining absolutely silent on the potential risks for human health associated with the use of substitutes.

ICA invites you to read this document which sums up the numerous advantages of chryso-cement products and the precautions used by the chrysotile industry. The most recent scientific studies clearly establish that the controlled use of chryso-cement products is as safe if not safer than those substitutes promoted by the anti-asbestos crusaders.

The methods and processes employed today in the chrysotile industry are the results of decades of the businesses and unions' joint efforts to ensure its' safe and responsible use. A working environment in which a level of 1/ff.c.cube or less of chrysotile type fibres is associated with a health risk level so negligible that it becomes practically non-measurable.

This is why "Science Must Prevail" and that competent authorities in various countries currently under relentless pressure from anti-asbestos crusaders must make sure they differentiate facts from myths and aren't falling for what amounts to propaganda. The anti-asbestos crusade can be quite misleading...

Good News from United States regarding Asbestos Cement Products

EPA has just published a final rule that will become effective in 60 days or about June 17, 2019. This final rule states that NO ban of asbestos cement pipes and sheets will be pursued in the USA by EPA.

When the proposed Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) was published on June 1, 2018, asbestos cement products were omitted from this document but were included in a separate list of asbestos products for risk evaluation and further regulation. EPA had stated previously that asbestos products which were no longer manufactured for use in the USA or were not imported for use in the USA would be excluded from risk evaluation and no further regulatory action taken. Following extensive research within the USA and foreign parties and by interventions that occurred in the USA, EPA has now concluded that asbestos cement pipes and sheets should be included in the SNUR final rule which is a significant and positive outcome.

The essentials of the SNUR final rule are:

  1. NO ban of asbestos cement pipes and sheets will be pursued in the USA by EPA.
  2. NO risk evaluations will be pursued for asbestos cement pipes and sheets.
  3. The only requirement in the future, which has been the case since 1991, is that to begin again the manufacture or import of asbestos pipes and sheets permission must be granted by EPA.

The fact that there will be no ban of asbestos cement pipes and sheets and other products as well in the USA will no doubt trigger a fire storm from the anti-asbestos lobby. This decision is good news for the ICA policy for safe and responsible use of chrysotile fibers, and for emerging countries that are badly in need for an affordable product that can be used safely.

To read more about the decision, click here.


For a number of years, various stakeholders have raised the issue of the safety of replacement products for chrysotile. Repeatedly, in different fora, representatives from international and scientific organizations as well as many well-known scientists have highlighted numerous risks associated with the use of such products whose true impact on human health and level of dangerousness have not been scientifically evaluated.

More than fifteen years ago, in 2002, the European Commission's Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (SCTEE), strongly recommended that further studies be conducted on these matters, a request that was reiterated a few years later (2005) by the European Commission itself. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) also called for a thorough evaluation of all substitutes to asbestos, and the International Labour Organization has also taken very clear positions on this matter. However, as time went by, these issues were drowned by the anti-asbestos crusaders' messages that were heard by a number of world leaders and defenders of similar positions within the WHO, the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat and the ILO itself, to name but a few.

A mere few days ago, on March 18th 2019, a text published by London Loves Business online newspaper again raised the very real issues surrounding the use of a replacement product without taking all necessary precautions. However, the International Labour Convention # 162 is very clear in this regard: the chrysotile fibre can be replaced if and only when it has been scientifically established that the replacement product or fibre is less dangerous and truly carries less risks for people's health. It is a prerequisite condition that should be respected by all stakeholders, including the most strident crusaders advocating for a total ban of all asbestos fibres. Nobody should ignore it. This condition should take precedence over any other interests at play in the decidedly unhealthy crusade against chrysotile.

To read the whole article, click here.


From around the world, an increasing number of voices are making themselves heard in favour of the safe and responsible use of chrysotile asbestos.

On March 14th, the International Alliance of Trade Union Organizations "Chrysotile" gave its official support to the decision of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), the regulatory body of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), to recommend that member countries (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia) develop a unified position on international trade and the use of chrysotile asbestos.

Together, EEU members represent more than 170 million people. The position they will develop will be presented at the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention which will be held this Spring. The Conference rules on the use and trade of hazardous chemicals and pesticides.

The ICA welcomes the EEC's decision. For years, voices coming from emerging or developing countries who wish to continue and increase their safe and responsible use of chrysotile asbestos in various development projects have been under undue and unhealthy attacks by those of powerful lobbies and delegates from Australia and some European Union countries who've been trying to add chrysotile asbestos to the list of banned substances, on the basis of dated studies that have been successfully disputed by more recent, sound, scientific data.

The EEC Board's position accurately summarises the ongoing dispute: "[A]ccording to the expert community of the Eurasian Economic Union, the initiative of representatives of the EU to ban chrysotile asbestos is based on the results of an assessment of the consequences of the use of amphibole asbestos (a prohibited group) and, accordingly, is illegal."

In their review, the authors find that it’s clear that not all mesotheliomas are related to asbestos exposure. They indicate that many situations and other agents have been associated with incidence of mesothelioma, such as mineral fibers other than asbestos, (erionite, fluoro-edenite, etc.). Radiation is also recognized as a possible inducer of mesothelioma (such as the use of thorium dioxide also known as “Thorotrast”) as a contrast medium. Other situations have been reported, such as exposures to gamma-ray emission for radiation technologists.

To read the press release published by the International Alliance of Trade Union Organizations "Chrysotile", click here.

Attanoos et al. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2018; Vol 142: 753-760

For a wide range of different reasons, numerous stakeholders objected to the Trudeau government's plan to ban asbestos, including chrysotile, in Canada. Science, especially the most recent data, differentiates between the different type of fibers and their impact on the health of workers and the population at large. Chrysotile and amphiboles are very different minerals, with very different risk levels.

This review article examines the complex relationship between malignant mesothelioma and its etiologic agents. This review is based on some 125 references from scientific journals. At the outset, the authors state that cases of mesothelioma vary considerably with a number of different situations of exposure such as occupation and industry.

Specifically, they state that “…most pleural mesotheliomas are usually related to prior amphibole asbestos exposure”.

In their review, the authors find that “For workers heavily exposed to commercial forms of amphibole asbestos, between 2% and 18% have developed pleural mesothelioma. Following occupational chrysotile exposure, the incidence of pleural mesothelioma ranges of ranges from 0 % to 0.47 %”.

In their review, the authors find that it’s clear that not all mesotheliomas are related to asbestos exposure. They indicate that many situations and other agents have been associated with incidence of mesothelioma, such as mineral fibers other than asbestos, (erionite, fluoro-edenite, etc.). Radiation is also recognized as a possible inducer of mesothelioma (such as the use of thorium dioxide also known as “Thorotrast”) as a contrast medium. Other situations have been reported, such as exposures to gamma-ray emission for radiation technologists.

To read more, click here.


For a wide range of different reasons, numerous stakeholders objected to the Trudeau government's plan to ban asbestos, including chrysotile, in Canada. Science, especially the most recent data, differentiates between the different type of fibers and their impact on the health of workers and the population at large. Chrysotile and amphiboles are very different minerals, with very different risk levels.

The Government of Canada, who unfortunately listens a lot to the anti-asbestos lobbies, implicitly endorsed an unhealthy crusade which has been going on for a long time. By opting for abusive regulations that would have led to the total banishment of asbestos, including chrysotile and all products containing it, the Trudeau government would have compromised the economic revitalization of those regions where serpentine mine tailings can be found. This rich mining inheritance has the potential to revive a sustainable development, based on the respect of an equilibrium between economic, environmental and social development.

Those regions' intense mobilization and multiple interventions from numerous organizations won the day over the aggressive protagonists of a total banishment. In the end, the valorization and exploitation of serpentine tailings were excluded from the regulations ─ much to the anti-asbestos lobbies' despair.

Brighter days shine on the horizon and hope has returned to the communities whose only aspiration is to be able to live quietly in an environment that can offer them qualified jobs, a sustainable economic development and a well-established quality of life.

For more info, you can read the abstract from an article published by the daily La Tribune here or the original article, in French, here.


Quebec's chrysotile mine workers were pioneers in their fight for health and safety in the workplace

More than 70 years ago, chrysotile asbestos mine diggers wrote a page of history, in Quebec and elsewhere around the world, when they claimed first and foremost their right to better working conditions that would allow them to earn a decent living without losing their health. They collectively decided that their voices should be heard by both their employers and the government.

They were pioneers who demanded the creation and implementation of full-fledged programs for the safe use of chrysotile asbestos. The collaboration of companies, governments, workers and their unions allowed for the creation of laws and regulations which could guarantee healthy working conditions.

This is why it is possible today to earn a living in industries that use chrysotile asbestos in an environment as safe, if not safer, than those prevailing in various types of businesses, namely in the chemical products or the wood industries, to name but a few.

A memorable strike in the history of labour relations

Those worker's great determination will be remembered as the asbestos strike. Their fight bequeathed to all of us not only an example of courage and of resolve to take the issue of their health into their own hands, but also an unprecedented legacy of social and trade union mobilization in many countries which draw upon it. This is exemplified by policies governing the safe and responsible use of many minerals and metals that have become law in many countries. Instead of taking the easy road of calling for banishment, they choose a more demanding, but also a more responsible one, that of a controlled and safe use.

This demonstration of solidarity in the quest for safe working conditions should serve as an example to all competent authorities in their respective countries. They would benefit from drawing inspiration from history to understand the true evolution of the controlled use of chrysotile fibre since that event that happened in Quebec mines. When all stakeholders decided to put their shoulders to the wheel, they made tremendous headways in the area of health in the workplace.

A day will come when those competent authorities will have to realize the extent to which the anti-asbestos activists' (confusing all fibres) and the legal affairs lobbies' crusade has distorted the historic truth and created a negative perception that has little to do with reality.

Gaining a better understanding of the mobiles that lie behind the unhealthy crusade calling for asbestos' global banishment should also be on our collective agenda. So far, these powerful lobbies still refuse to accept that considerable progress has been made over the years or even to discuss openly the state of current scientific knowledge with competent authorities. The safe and responsible use of the chrysotile fibre isn't a myth. It's a reality.

While there is no doubt that all amphibole asbestos fibres should be banned, it is also true that chrysotile can and must be used in a controlled, safe and responsible way.

This unique and historical strike in the Quebec chrysotile asbestos mines and its lasting effects should not be forgotten. It was the starting point for industrial workplace hygiene and health protection. The legacy of this battle for health should inspire the leaders of all countries, including those who have been overly sensitive to the anti-asbestos activists' crusade.


One should always be suspicious of all-out crusaders, who know no limit when it comes to promoting their cause. In January 2019, an anti-asbestos activist posted an article on the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA)'s website, bemoaning the fact that the Canadian Government is not imposing stricter regulations, totally banning all form of asbestos use.

The exclusions provided for in the Government's regulations, which are taking effect in early 2019, aim namely at protecting and supporting sustainable economic development through the deployment of a new industry which looks at exploiting serpentine mine tailings that communities inherited from mining companies. This represents an opportunity to put this resource to good use while creating well-paying jobs regionally.

Alas, anti-asbestos crusaders don't seem to include employment and the communities' life in the list of their preoccupations. It's not in their mission's job description, no more than those regional communities' quality of life, or for that matter, that of the citizens of developing countries who use the product. They also display a total disregard for the needs of countries for whom chrysotile represent an opportunity to improve the quality of their water and sanitation infrastructures at a reasonable cost.

According to the article's simplistic explanations, any form of asbestos exposure will lead to mesothelioma, lung cancer or any other form of cancer. They don't offer any further explanations on the differences between the various type of fibres, in terms of their chemical structure or their respective degree of dangerousness.

The article avoids specifying that it's amphibole type fibres who are responsible for cancer, not serpentine - chrysotile ones.

As time goes by, it becomes clearer and clearer that the anti-asbestos crusaders' position remains unchanged, notwithstanding new evidence revealed by the most recent scientific research, based on serious and thorough data collection and analysis.

The ICA deplores that these activists' life and positions remain stuck in the past, that they refuse to enter a dialogue based on the most recent scientific data and that they choose to stick stubbornly to their original stances and ignore important progress in the use of a natural resource that can prove remarkably useful for communities' development, while fully protecting residents' health and safety.


To read the article, click here.


The ICA wishes to draw your attention to an article signed by Richard Horton in The Lancet on January 5th, 2019. Its author informs us that the new leadership team at the helm of the World Health Organization (WHO) has opted for new ways to manage its files. Could this breath of fresh air bring some hope that the WHO will pay more attention to countries and organizations that, in the past, have asked questions or even raised objections, without ever being heard?

In truth, for too long, the WHO has been working in a vacuum, and sometimes has given very poor consideration for the most recent scientific data.

For the longest time, the ICA has been calling for an open dialogue with all stakeholders as an alternative to attitudes that have been tolerated for too many years. One can only hope that necessary changes will be made that will allow recognized associations to intervene and be heard on all issues related to sustainable economic development, especially in developing countries and while taking into account their specific needs and situations.

Readers will recall that, over the past years, the ICA had to multiply initiatives simply to bring to an end the systematic discrimination practiced against the Association. This is why we greet today the expression of a vision that could translate into a new receptiveness from the WHO.

The ICA justly advocates for the safe use of the chrysotile fibre and totally supports the WHO's efforts aimed at eliminating diseases linked to exposure. Opening up a dialogue with the Organization has always been nearly impossible. Ensuring that the WHO pays more attention to all of its stakeholders would be a welcome step in the right direction.

To read a copy of The Lancet's article, click here.


Quebec's chrysotile mine workers were pioneers in their fight for health and safety in the workplace

More than 70 years ago, chrysotile asbestos mine diggers wrote a page of history, in Quebec and elsewhere around the world, when they claimed first and foremost their right to better working conditions that would allow them to earn a decent living without losing their health. They collectively decided that their voices should be heard by both their employers and the government.

They were pioneers who demanded the creation and implementation of full-fledged programs for the safe use of chrysotile asbestos. The collaboration of companies, governments, workers and their unions allowed for the creation of laws and regulations which could guarantee healthy working conditions.

This is why it is possible today to earn a living in industries that use chrysotile asbestos in an environment as safe, if not safer, than those prevailing in various types of businesses, namely in the chemical products or the wood industries, to name but a few.

A memorable strike in the history of labour relations

Those worker's great determination will be remembered as the asbestos strike. Their fight bequeathed to all of us not only an example of courage and of resolve to take the issue of their health into their own hands, but also an unprecedented legacy of social and trade union mobilization in many countries which draw upon it. This is exemplified by policies governing the safe and responsible use of many minerals and metals that have become law in many countries. Instead of taking the easy road of calling for banishment, they choose a more demanding, but also a more responsible one, that of a controlled and safe use.

This demonstration of solidarity in the quest for safe working conditions should serve as an example to all competent authorities in their respective countries. They would benefit from drawing inspiration from history to understand the true evolution of the controlled use of chrysotile fibre since that event that happened in Quebec mines. When all stakeholders decided to put their shoulders to the wheel, they made tremendous headways in the area of health in the workplace.

A day will come when those competent authorities will have to realize the extent to which the anti-asbestos activists' (confusing all fibres) and the legal affairs lobbies' crusade has distorted the historic truth and created a negative perception that has little to do with reality.

Gaining a better understanding of the mobiles that lie behind the unhealthy crusade calling for asbestos' global banishment should also be on our collective agenda. So far, these powerful lobbies still refuse to accept that considerable progress has been made over the years or even to discuss openly the state of current scientific knowledge with competent authorities. The safe and responsible use of the chrysotile fibre isn't a myth. It's a reality.

While there is no doubt that all amphibole asbestos fibres should be banned, it is also true that chrysotile can and must be used in a controlled, safe and responsible way.

This unique and historical strike in the Quebec chrysotile asbestos mines and its lasting effects should not be forgotten. It was the starting point for industrial workplace hygiene and health protection. The legacy of this battle for health should inspire the leaders of all countries, including those who have been overly sensitive to the anti-asbestos activists' crusade.


One should always be suspicious of all-out crusaders, who know no limit when it comes to promoting their cause. In January 2019, an anti-asbestos activist posted an article on the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA)'s website, bemoaning the fact that the Canadian Government is not imposing stricter regulations, totally banning all form of asbestos use.

The exclusions provided for in the Government's regulations, which are taking effect in early 2019, aim namely at protecting and supporting sustainable economic development through the deployment of a new industry which looks at exploiting serpentine mine tailings that communities inherited from mining companies. This represents an opportunity to put this resource to good use while creating well-paying jobs regionally.

Alas, anti-asbestos crusaders don't seem to include employment and the communities' life in the list of their preoccupations. It's not in their mission's job description, no more than those regional communities' quality of life, or for that matter, that of the citizens of developing countries who use the product. They also display a total disregard for the needs of countries for whom chrysotile represent an opportunity to improve the quality of their water and sanitation infrastructures at a reasonable cost.

According to the article's simplistic explanations, any form of asbestos exposure will lead to mesothelioma, lung cancer or any other form of cancer. They don't offer any further explanations on the differences between the various type of fibres, in terms of their chemical structure or their respective degree of dangerousness.

The article avoids specifying that it's amphibole type fibres who are responsible for cancer, not serpentine - chrysotile ones.

As time goes by, it becomes clearer and clearer that the anti-asbestos crusaders' position remains unchanged, notwithstanding new evidence revealed by the most recent scientific research, based on serious and thorough data collection and analysis.

The ICA deplores that these activists' life and positions remain stuck in the past, that they refuse to enter a dialogue based on the most recent scientific data and that they choose to stick stubbornly to their original stances and ignore important progress in the use of a natural resource that can prove remarkably useful for communities' development, while fully protecting residents' health and safety.


To read the article, click here.


The ICA wishes to draw your attention to an article signed by Richard Horton in The Lancet on January 5th, 2019. Its author informs us that the new leadership team at the helm of the World Health Organization (WHO) has opted for new ways to manage its files. Could this breath of fresh air bring some hope that the WHO will pay more attention to countries and organizations that, in the past, have asked questions or even raised objections, without ever being heard?

In truth, for too long, the WHO has been working in a vacuum, and sometimes has given very poor consideration for the most recent scientific data.

For the longest time, the ICA has been calling for an open dialogue with all stakeholders as an alternative to attitudes that have been tolerated for too many years. One can only hope that necessary changes will be made that will allow recognized associations to intervene and be heard on all issues related to sustainable economic development, especially in developing countries and while taking into account their specific needs and situations.

Readers will recall that, over the past years, the ICA had to multiply initiatives simply to bring to an end the systematic discrimination practiced against the Association. This is why we greet today the expression of a vision that could translate into a new receptiveness from the WHO.

The ICA justly advocates for the safe use of the chrysotile fibre and totally supports the WHO's efforts aimed at eliminating diseases linked to exposure. Opening up a dialogue with the Organization has always been nearly impossible. Ensuring that the WHO pays more attention to all of its stakeholders would be a welcome step in the right direction.

To read a copy of The Lancet's article, click here.


On October 18, 2018, the Canadian Government published its Prohibition of Asbestos and Products Containing Asbestos Regulations. One must bear in mind that those are regulations, not a law adopted by Parliament. In actual fact, this issue was not debated in Parliament.

It is ─ no more, and no less ─ an entirely political decision which absolutely ignores all differences between serpentine (chrysotile) and amphibole type fibres, whether in terms of their respective chemical composition or of their very different risk levels to human health.

Consequently, it is a very questionable decision, especially in view of the fact that numerous scientific studies published in the course of the past years neither support nor propose the banishment of the chrysotile fibre.

A less constraining regulation than what the anti-asbestos had lobbied for

It must be said that the regulations include numerous exclusions in areas such as mining sites, military equipment and chlor-alkali facilities, which are granted long-term exemptions.

Furthermore, it is important to note that asbestos and asbestos-containing products used before these Regulations come into force, on December 30, 2018, will not be affected either.

Good news: the serpentine mine tailings will be exploited

Readers will remember that the Asbestos and Thetford Mine areas' communities, as well as numerous citizens' organizations, had demanded that the Canadian Government exclude the development and exploitation of serpentine mine tailings from the requirements of future regulations. Their voices were heard and the exploitation of mine tailings is also excluded from the scope of the Regulations.

The anti-asbestos lobby still opposes responsible management!

Perhaps stung by the fact that the Regulations are less constraining than what they had hoped for, the anti-asbestos fear mongers are back on the war path. While some media have complacently relayed their indiscriminate attacks, they clearly have lost a lot of credibility.

The ICA can only lament the fact that these activists refuse to move beyond their alarmist slogans and engage in a real dialogue with the communities, or the government authorities. It seems that they can't accept the current scientific knowledge and the various nuances brought to light by numerous studies that have clearly established distinctions between the various fibres and their respective risk levels for human health.

Rather, they choose to wrap themselves up in the farfetched notion of a precautionary principle and an unworkable notion of zero risk, while completely ignoring the potential risks posed by replacement products and fibres.

But communities are resilient and stand firm

The most deplorable aspect of the anti-asbestos' attitude lies in the harm they wish to inflict to communities firmly engaged in building their future on the foundations of their mining heritage. These communities know better than anyone else how to safely work with their resource. They are continuing to defend their plans against those who ceaselessly try to influence government authorities in order to quash projects that could bring well paying jobs and a brighter future to their residents. The fear mongering activists' intentions are clear:  they call for heavier regulations, the multiplication of administrative burden, they harass, abuse, defame projects in the hope of pushing promoters to abandon them.

But communities have seen it all and, with infinite patience, they forge their way towards a sustainable economic development based on their regions' natural resource, their mining heritage. With remarkable resilience, they explain to all who are willing to listen that they have developed and applied a unique expertise in the safe and responsible use of chrysotile mine tailings, that they very well know that such thing as zero risk in fact doesn't exist but that the very nebulous precaution principle invoked by chrysotile's detractors is very questionable.

They nevertheless wonder where the relentlessness of these calls for the banishment of chrysotile comes from, who truly benefits from this crusade, even when a responsible approach has proven its worth.

But today, the Alliance Magnesium project, which has received support from both the Canadian and Quebec governments, is firmly on track. There are reasons to rejoice.

To read the Canadian Government's press release, click here.

New horizons for the commercial production of magnesium
Using serpentine mine tailings

Earlier this week, in what could become a turning point in the development of competitive industrial processes to produce magnesium using serpentine mine tailings, the Quebec government announced a grant of close to C$31M for the establishment of a commercial demonstration plant in Danville, Quebec.

The announcement represents a major development for the Alliance Magnesium project, which was launched four years ago. It comes on the heel of a successful pilot project which allowed for the development and initial testing of new, promising technologies. The commercial demonstration plant, will allow its promoters to formally enter the aluminium, automotive and aerospace industries' markets, and to further test and refine some of the technologies used in the production processes before building a full-fledged commercial plant, in 2022. The commercial demonstration plant, whose total costs are estimated at approximately C$104,9M, will produce 11 700 metric tons of magnesium per year.

The development has been warmly welcomed by the local communities, who have put the safe and responsible use of serpentine mine tailings at the heart of their economic and social development plans. Ultimately, the commercial plant could employ as much as 300 skilled workers.

For more information, click here.

The Situation in Canada:
To Hastily Ban Chrysotile Would Be a Serious and Costly Mistake

The banishment of a natural resource requires a rigorous process, light years away from unfounded perceptions and propaganda. Before decreeing such banishment of a product or substance, authorities must have the political courage to analyse all the social and economic impacts of their decision, based on facts as opposed to myths.

Such is the process that the United States has chosen for itself, making sure that it possesses all the scientific and technical information needed to allow for the most informed decisions in the asbestos fibres and other chemical products' file. Their chosen approach is rigorous, structured and methodical. Before making any decision, they will analyse the results of serious studies that will be made available to all competent authorities. They will therefore be able to make the best possible decisions.

In Canada, the Trudeau government seems to be influenced by a perception fuelled by the anti-asbestos lobbies' unhealthy crusade, which calls upon him to act hastily. Yet, Canada, a natural resources country, has a thorough knowledge of the chrysotile asbestos fibre. It cannot ignore the differences between amphiboles and chrysotile, both in terms of their chemical structure and of their dangerousness. For years it defended the chrysotile's safe, responsible and controlled use. It even promoted it, both in Canada and abroad.

Yet, under the lobbies' pressure, the Canadian government made an about face. For reasons that remain unclear and that, notwithstanding its pretenses, are not necessarily truly linked to human health, it has chosen to precipitate a quick decision of banning chrysotile, without any consideration for its serious consequences.

Wait for Science Before Deciding to Ban

However, it could be enlightened by the numerous analysis and scientific studies that are being made public by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as it moves towards its final risk evaluation, that will be completed by the end of 2019.

Canada simply can't afford the luxury of not waiting for those results and Canadian communities who will be directly impacted by its decisions are right to ask that elementary rigor be applied to the decision making process.

To read the letter they sent to Prime Minister Trudeau, click here.


The assessment based on a potential threat as opposed to a genuine health risk used by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to draw its list of carcinogenic products doesn't mean that the use of those products should be banned across the world.

The ICA has reviewed this long list which currently comprises 120 products, substances, agents or processes, and noted that it includes products currently used in most countries, including those who dare to call for a ban on chrysotile fibre.

Countries and organizations who like to position themselves as health white knights are very familiar with this list where one can find products such as oral contraceptives, X-rays, alcoholic beverages, tobacco smoke and products, processed meats, diesel fumes, wood dust... and many others.

Wherever these products, substances, agents or processes are used, their responsible, safe and controlled use is always preferred to an irresponsible approach that would entail their banishment. In this regard, the use of crystalline silica (Silica Dust, Crystalline on the IARC list), especially in European countries, is very enlightening.

The IARC's approach allows for the identification of a potential health hazard, but the addition of a product on its list is not synonymous with banning its use. The evaluation is based on a potential risk. Unless acting in bad faith, nobody can seriously argue that such evaluation is in itself a scientifically acceptable way to determine a real risk level.

A potential hazard is not synonymous with an actual health risk when these products, substances, agents or processes are manufactured and used in controlled and responsible conditions. Nevertheless, in the crusade against a responsible use of chrysotile, those principles are deliberately set aside. Is such an approach, too remote from science to be credible, motivated by important, vested interests? The answer is obvious. What are the real interests at stake for the anti-asbestos crusaders and the countries that want to force the prohibition of the use of chrysotile fibre? Do they truly boil down only to issues of human health? We doubt it.

For the complete IARC list, click here.


Experts have long recognized that fiber length is among the key factors influencing the potential toxicity of asbestos fibers: it impacts whether the fiber will be inhaled, deposited in the lung and how efficiently it may be cleared.

A team of researchers lead by Christy A. Barlow have recently published a comprehensive review and evaluation of hundreds of studies on the relationship between asbestos fiber length and disease potency. Their review of data collected over several decades supports the conclusion that there is very little, if any, risk with exposure to fibers shorter than 5 µm (0,005 mm).

Their work highlights the fact that since the beginning of the century, several US Federal Agencies such as the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have examined fiber length as a predictor of potency : their findings, which are consistent with the Review's overall conclusions, could influence future regulatory decisions, including on the extraction and commercial use of the various types of asbestos fibers.

However, the scientists warn that fiber length should not be the only metric relied upon in determining risk: differences in biopersistence between chrysotile and amphibole fibers when assessing lung fiber burden. "Often, exposure to even significant doses of chrysotile asbestos does not increase the incidence of cancer in a particular cohort (Pierce et al., 2016), while exposure to lower concentrations of another form of asbestos (i.e. amphibole) can significantly affect the cancer rate in exposed cohorts (Berman & Crump, 2008b; Hodgson & Darnton, 2000)."

These conclusions support the ICA's long held positions in favour of a safe, responsible use of chrysotile asbestos.

To read the abstract, published February 20 2018 in the Inhalation Toxicology Journal by Taylor & Francis Online, click here.

Communities mobilize to develop their regional economy

The International Chrysotile Association (ICA) has been closely following the activities and demands of the industry and the communities where former chrysotile mines are located. For the past 18 months in particular, these citizens have been voicing their strong objections to various federal government departments with regard to a possible total ban on asbestos, including chrysotile, which would be intended to please the extremely strong anti-asbestos lobby.

Several dozen briefs, letters and messages have been sent to the Canadian government requesting that any decision taken be guided by science, rather than a perception fuelled by the powerful anti-asbestos lobbies and activists from various backgrounds and countries, not to mention the litigation business, which is benefitting from this highly lucrative activity. A number of meetings have taken place, and the message from the communities in chrysotile-producing regions has been consistent and clear.

Before banning a natural resource like chrysotile fibre, the government should assess all of the repercussions. Canada is a country with a large variety of natural resources whose use can represent different degrees of risk to health. That is why Canada has always promoted and defended the principle of the safe use of metals and minerals.

The government should recognize the very real difference between serpentine fibres (chrysotile) and amphibole fibres. Numerous published scientific studies have confirmed that amphiboles, and not chrysotile, are largely responsible for lung cancer (mesothelioma).

The communities in which old chrysotile mines are located are strongly demanding that the Government of Canada not oppose the development and use of mine tailing containing serpentine residue. They argue that this is the legacy of their industrial and mining past, and they want to be able to use it harmoniously and without undue hardship. Furthermore, the industry has once again reminded the government that the most responsible position would be to ban the use of amphiboles in Canada and allow the safe and responsible use of serpentine fibre (chrysotile). This position would follow a logic that is applied every day to hundreds of other products and resources that pose certain risks to human health. Finally, the representatives of the communities would like the Government of Canada to draw inspiration from the United States, which decided to undertake analyses based on comprehensive studies in order to have as much information as possible before making a final decision.

With a view to keeping its members abreast of developments in this file, the ICA invites them to read the brief submitted by ProChysotile on behalf of communities and citizens who refuse to accept that a government, for purely political reasons, would oppose any possibility for sustainable and promising economic development for their region. Such a poorly documented and precipitous decision would be prejudicial to the economic future of Canada’s natural resources.

Read the brief submitted by ProChysotile


In the last days of 2017, the Official Journal of the European Union published a Directive adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union reinforcing its 2004 Directive on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens and mutagens at work, setting binding exposure limits. In other words, they stated their belief that safe and controlled use of these potentially dangerous products is actually possible, and should be encouraged.

The new Binding Occupational Exposure Levels cover products classified as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) such as chromium VI compounds, wood dust, vinyl chloride. In the latter case of silica, which ─ not unlike chrysotile until a few years ago ─ is widely used in a broad range of everyday products from bricks to windows to road building materials, a responsible exposure limit will be set: the regulation replaces the voluntary social dialogue between employers and workers which will become a complement to the new rule "in particular to support effective and practical implementation of limit values". The new Directive will come into effect as of January 17, 2020 in all of Europe's member States.

If this is the preferred approach for a product so widely used in such a wide variety of industrial uses why, one must ask, couldn't it be appropriate for regulating the use of chrysotile? The ICA has long advocated the implementation of a limit exposure of 1f/cc as part of a comprehensive approach to its safe and controlled use. Europe is telling us that well designed and well enforced regulation is far better than banishment. Is the Canadian Government taking notes?

To read the New Directive

Through the ICA, the industry states its position:

Never before has the industry spoken so clearly: amphiboles must be banned and chrysotile must be controlled to ensure its safe and responsible use.

Almost a year ago, the Canadian government announced its intention to introduce new regulations that would ban all new activities and use of asbestos and asbestos containing products. Deeply concerned by the muddled and biased nature of the consultation process that has been unfolding over the past few months, ICA decided to intervene, with the hope of prompting the responsible competent authorities to conduct a rigorous, science-based analysis of this file before making any decision.

The new ICA brochure eloquently and graphically summarizes the Association's long held positions. It begins by reminding readers that no more than 20 years ago the province of Quebec was the world's second largest producer of chrysotile and its #1 exporter, with more than 50% of worldwide exports. In this context, the extent of the confusion created by the consultation document raises questions about the extent to which the government simply bows to unrelenting pressures from the vociferous anti-asbestos lobby.

To set the record straight, the brochure offers a quick but comprehensive overview of well documented scientific facts on the fibres' characteristics. It underlines the fact that, due to the prohibition of amphiboles and direct improvements in working conditions and practices such as spraying, the rate of asbestos related diseases has started to decline. It quotes both researchers and business organizations who warn against the dangers of deliberately perpetuating confusion, and ask the government not to bow to external pressures when it comes to making such fundamental decisions about the use one of Canada's numerous natural resources. What precedents would it create? And where are the scientific studies evaluating the risk levels of substitute non-chrysotile fibrous material?

In the ICA's view, for Canada to ban chrysotile without any restriction would amount to denying the widely recognized and accepted principle of its controlled and safe use, a principle which the country has traditionally promoted, defended and applied. Amphiboles must be banned, chrysotile must be controlled: now is the time to move forward, not to retreat to the darkest ages of ignorance and fear.

To read the complete brochure click here.


For the first time in Spain, a group of six researchers has characterized the type of asbestos fibres that can be found in the lungs of exposed and non-exposed populations. Their findings validate the ICA's clear, long standing position on chrysotile's safety.

After analysing samples from 38 patients, the research team, led by Dr. M.I. Velasco-Garcia from the Pulmonology Department of Barcelona's Hospital Universitari Vall d'Hebron, writes that "[A] particularly striking finding is the exclusive retention of amphiboles, which suggests that chrysotile is eliminated after inhalation". The researchers further state that their finding "(...) concurs with previous data showing that although chrysotile is the most commonly used type of asbestos, crocidolite is the fibre most commonly found in the lungs of patients with mesothelioma."

The full article, published online a few weeks ago, can be found here. Motivated by the strong coherence of accumulated data from the most recent scientific research, the ICA is more determined than ever to pursue its efforts so that all future decisions regarding chrysotile are made on the basis of on rigorously demonstrated scientific findings, as opposed to the scaremongering positions of ill-informed and biased anti-asbestos crusaders.

Following COP8's decisive results

On May 3rd, a few hours after the closure of the Rotterdam Convention's 8th Conference of the Parties (COP8), the ICA informed its members that chrysotile asbestos had not been included in the Convention's Annex III's list of banned or severely restricted products. Reason had prevailed.

Once again, chrysotile occupied a disproportionate part of the COP8's agenda. The Convention's Secretariat and the Conference's President spared no effort in their attempt to obtain a consensus in favour of its inclusion. Ten African states banded together and petitioned participants in order to modify the Convention's decision making process and replace consensus by a vote. Their attempt was defeated. Consensus is, and will remain, the one and only decision-making process endorsed by the Convention.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also made its presence felt. One of its anti-asbestos employee, displaying a bewildering ignorance of the most recent scientific data, made an intervention, which was almost identical to the Organization's 6 or 7 past statements. It left participants unmoved. Truth be told, their awareness of recent scientific analyses and their confidence in the well established responsible use program (never mentioned by the WHO) ensured that the level of noise emanating from the Secretariat and the multiplication of procedural strategies were far from sufficient to fool their vigilance.

But COP8's decisive outcome will certainly not be enough to stop the rabid anti-asbestos crusaders' efforts. One can be sure that, along with the Convention's Secretariat, they will soon start preparing new booby-traps in view of COP9, in 2019. ICA, as it has successfully done in the past, will continue to monitor their activities, and to intervene, each and every time they will try to ignore or manipulate existing democratic processes to achieve their goal.

Rotterdam Convention's 8th Conference of Parties (COP8)
Chrysotile asbestos will not be included in the list of products which are banned or whose use is severely restricted.

Today May 3rd, the Rotterdam Convention's 8th Conference of Parties (COP8) ended its discussions on chrysotile and, as was the case at many previous COPs, participants didn't reach the consensus required by the Convention decision-making process. Chrysotile asbestos will not be included in the list of products which are banned or whose use is severely restricted.

For the past eleven years now, countries which have banned the use of chrysotile, such as the members of the European Union (EU), and advocacy groups lobbying for its complete, worldwide banishment, have been receiving the same, expected answer: there will be no such inclusion.

Chrysotile producer and user countries, who together represent more than 2/3 of the world's population, will continue to make their positions known as well as their underlying motives. They reject the approach of the long-lasting anti-asbestos crusade and have forcefully demonstrated that they will not be intimidated by their shenanigans.

The official position on the safe and responsible use of the chrysotile fibre is and will remain for years to come the official position established at the end of the 2017 COP8.

One must bear in mind that scientific studies that were quoted by Australia, Chile and the EU in their notifications are more than 15 years old and have been seriously challenged. This fact was frequently mentioned and denounced by several countries in the course of the discussions.

Lung function not affected by asbestos exposure in workers with normal CT scans

American Journal of Industrial Medicine, March 30, 2017
DOI 10.1002/ajim.22717

This study by was conducted by specialists of occupational medicine and diagnostic radiology from Germany to the Netherlands. They investigated the suggestion that asbestos exposure affects lung function, even in the absence of asbestos-related interstitial or pleural risk factors such as cumulative asbestos exposure or emphysema.

They analyzed associations between known risk factors such as cumulative asbestos exposure and key lung function parameters in formerly asbestos workers with normal CT scans.

They found that lung function parameters such as FVC (forced vital capacity), airway resistance and other lung function parameters were significantly associated with the burden of smoking, BMI (body mass index) and years from end of exposure. However, they were not affected by factors directly related to amount and duration of exposure to asbestos.

The authors conclude that their “results confirm the well-known correlation between lung function, smoking habit and BMI… but no significant association between lung function and asbestos exposure.”

To read the complete article, click here.


Over the past years, the Rotterdam Convention has shamelessly been turned into the “Chrysotile asbestos Convention”, an undisputable fact that damages its credibility and now threatens its very existence. Its Secretariat's incapacity to face the anti-asbestos crusaders and vested interests determined to list chrysotile asbestos in the Convention's Annex III, come what may, is a cause of great concern for those who believe in this crucial instrument.

The ICA has been tireless in its efforts to denounce the perversion of well established proceedings and to shed light on bias and hidden agendas. More than once, it has called upon the Secretariat to protect the Convention's integrity - alas, to no or little avail. As delegates from around the world are preparing to gather in Geneva for the Convention's 8th Conference of Parties (COP8) at the end of April, the Association has now produced a comprehensive brochure which summarizes the issues at stake.

Rotterdam Convention - COP8 2017 is a call for reason to prevail. Firstly, it recalls the issues at stake - in particular from the perspective of developing and low income countries. It then describes the various events of the past years: minute-less seminars and meetings, unanswered letters, biased processes. It exposes the hidden motivations of those determined to derail the existing processes. In particular, it insists on the importance of respecting the consensual decision making process, described as "the most important basic principle of the Convention".

Today, countries that use chrysotile fibre represent two-thirds of humanity. An ever-growing body of undisputable scientific documents have established the fundamental differences between amphibole and chrysotile fibres, both in terms of their chemical and mechanical properties, and the almost negligible risks posed by the latter. In the process, it is allowing for a fundamental breach in its operations and putting its very future at risk. Countries and people around the world deserve that it takes a step back, and return to impartially play the role it was assigned by the international community.

Last but not least, one can't but notice the total absence of reaction to such well constructed scientific evidence from the usually strident anti-asbestos and litigation lobbies. Should it be interpreted as a sign that they too have understood that demagoguery, propaganda and manipulation will never stand as credible substitute to research and science?

The Rotterdam Convention - COP8 2017 document is available here.


In January 2013, the work of an international team of 8 researchers came to its final stage when their paper Health Risk of Chrysotile Revisited was published in the online scientific journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology (Taylor and Francis). A few numbers bear witness to its relevance, and its necessity: in the course of a few years, it has been viewed no less than 5 446 times, and quoted in 40 other scientific publications.

This goes to prove that real science and well articulated research is always of interest to scientists that closely follow the evolution of their chosen field of work.

Based on a critical analysis of 191 previous studies, the authors' very comprehensive effort provides a basis for substantiating the important differences between chrysotile and amphibole asbestos. Furthermore, as more and more people have come to realize and to accept, the importance of that review is that it shows, beyond any doubt, that low exposures to chrysotile do not represent a detectable risk to human health. This scientific study also demonstrates that it is not true that the best way to fight asbestos-related diseases is simply to stop using it. Nowadays, chrysotile is encapsulated in a cement or resin matrix and it can be used safely everywhere, including in emerging countries.

At a time when government specialists are pondering how to best translate legislators' intentions to regulate more tightly all activities related to asbestos and asbestos-containing products, we can only hope that such a crucial document will indeed help them understand the crucial differences between chrysotile and other amphibole fibres, and make the appropriate decisions.

Last but not least, one can't but notice the total absence of reaction to such well constructed scientific evidence from the usually strident anti-asbestos and litigation lobbies. Should it be interpreted as a sign that they too have understood that demagoguery, propaganda and manipulation will never stand as credible substitute to research and science?

To read the complete article, click here.


In a recent decision, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India has rejected an anti-asbestos crusader's complaint and refused to recommend a ban of chrysotile or chrysotile-containing products.

The complaint was made in 2011. To get to the heart of the matter, the NHRC called for reports from all of India's 29 states as well as from every concerned central ministry and key agencies dealing with asbestos-related health issues and with monitoring of work place conditions.

In its decision, the Commission notably quoted a report from the Ministry of Chemicals, which itself included reference to the work of a 2014 Inter Ministerial Committee based on a National Institute of Occupational Health Study (NIOH) Report, "which did not indicate any significant health environment hazards resulting from the use of chrysotile asbestos under proper conditions (...)."

The case is now definitely closed. One can only hope that such a thorough process and its conclusions will set an example for other entities harassed by crusaders around the world.

To read the NHRC's decision, click here.



In the weeks following the announcement by the Canadian government of a new pan-governmental approach to asbestos management in Canada, ICA president Jean-Marc Leblond wrote to Environment and Climate Change Canada's Chemicals Management Division, mandated to spearhead the implementation of the new policy, to present the views of Canadians directly impacted by this decision, dispel false truths propagated by the anti-asbestos crusaders and plead for a renewed commitment towards the safe and responsible exploitation of serpentine residues in Quebec's former mining regions.

Many of the points raised in his letter are well-known to those familiar with the asbestos file: citing numerous studies, Mr Leblond once more explained the difference between amphiboles and chrysotile, and lamented the confusion created by the government through its indiscriminate use of the term "asbestos". He highlighted the numerous potentially damaging consequences of an ill-thought ban, such as the unknown risks carried by replacement products and abusive, costly lawsuits. He also described the thoughtful process through which the US Environmental Protection Agency will review 10 priority products, including asbestos, which should take 3 to 5 years.

Last but not least, noting that the Canadian government has been sending mixed signals with regard to the valorization of serpentine residues in former asbestos mining regions, the ICA President, who also lives in the area, urgently called upon the government to listen to local communities who support the plans and unequivocally commit itself to allowing the projects to move forward.

Mr. Leblond concluded his letter with a warning. "All precautions must be taken because whatever decision will be made will have consequences for all other minerals and metals that are exploited and used in Canada and that contribute to our collective wealth." Will the voice of reason finally be heard?

To read Mr. Leblond's letter, click here.

To read the French Version of Mr. Leblond’s letter, click here.


"Chrysotile asbestos can be used safely". This is the message unwaveringly repeated by ICA President Jean-Marc Leblond in the days that preceeded and followed the Canadian government's announcement that it would ban asbestos by 2018.

"Some mushrooms are deadly" he told the Quebec online daily La Presse in an interview published December 16th. "Should we, for that reason, ban them all?" In the interview, Mr Leblond took pains to explain that the health problems currently associated with asbestos are the result of past carelessness. He also reiterated that all ICA positions are based on the most recent scientific findings and pointed that anti-asbestos crusaders systematically distort the facts when they refuse to acknowledge the much lower risks posed by chrysotile asbestos when compared to amphibole fibers.

In the interview, the ICA President detailed the numerous attempts made by the Association to make its voice heard at the World Health Organization (WHO) and its efforts to prevent the classification of chrysotile asbestos as a dangerous product in the Rotterdam Convention. He reiterated the Association's objection to the recent proposal put forward by a group of African countries to review the Convention's consensus-based decision making process.

Mr Leblond repeatedly declared that not only was Canada's decision "wrong" but also warned that it could put at risk the economic recovery of former producing regions who are currently looking at ways to exploit the rich mineral contents of asbestos mining residues.


In 2014 the World Health Organization (WHO) issued an in-house paper entitled Chrysotile Asbestos which, notwithstanding its many methodological flaws and substantial approximations, quickly became the anti-asbestos crusaders' bible. In response to this paper, a detailed review of that document, which clarifies its many policy contradictions and factual errors has been published.

Even before examining its most important theoretical flaws, it is worth noting that while the WHO takes pains to warn its readers that the document "does not imply the expression of any opinion" on the part of the organization, its foreword is nevertheless penned by its Director of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health Department, Dr Maria Neira - well-known for her aggressive anti-asbestos positions.

This review highlights the WHO paper's lack of nuances, and its amalgamation of all type of asbestos fibers in its review. There is no reference to recent scientific evidence to support its "findings". This does not prevent its authors from drawing specifically policy-oriented conclusions, which disregard established biochemical and scientific facts.

Such a publication runs counter to the position formally adopted by the WHO's governing body, the World Health Assembly, who, in 2007, formally confirmed that in the context of eliminating asbestos related diseases, a differentiated approach may be taken by Competent Authorities when regulating various forms of asbestos. But alas, it seems that the voices of largely ignorant crusaders now have greater credit inside the organization than that of its own political masters.

For a complete version of the review, click here


A new meta-study1 published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network confirms that there is no scientifically demonstrated link between asbestos exposure and laryngeal cancer.

In order to reach their conclusions, the authors collected a total of 160 studies and 2 articles published around the world between January 1, 2000 and April 30, 2016. Each was reviewed for quality using the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine 2011 Levels of Evidence, which yielded a total of 15 articles comprising 438 376 study participants. Notwithstanding the fact that all types of fibres were included, the authors reached the conclusion that «current evidence is lacking to support a correlation between asbestos exposure and laryngeal cancer». While noting that some of the studies did reach the opposite conclusion, they stressed that those «often did not account for the confounding factors of tobacco and alcohol exposure».

This is the type of information the anti-asbestos lobby, their friends in the litigation business and even respected UN bodies such as the World Health Organizations will do their best to ignore. But how long can they still go against the systematic, rigorous and most recent scientific evidence? For years now, the ICA has demanded that science, not greed nor emotionally tainted judgment be used when it comes to evaluating the real damages and risks associated with the various asbestos fibers. Comforted by such scrupulously researched evidence, we will tirelessly continue to do so.

To read the Study

1 FERSTER, SCHUBART, KIM, GOLDENBERT, "Association Between Laryngeal Cancer and Asbestos Exposure - A Systematic Review", JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Published online December 1, 2016. Online version ( accessed December 8 2016.


Beware those who claim to want what's best for you. In a textbook case of narrow-minded politicking fuelled by ill-thought activism, a hitherto unknown federal member of Parliament who belongs to Canada's second official opposition, representing a region where asbestos has never been mined, has tabled a private bill that would “prohibit the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale or import of all form of fabrication, use, sale or importation of all forms of asbestos" across the country.

Elected officials and business people hailing from the Quebec region where asbestos was traditionally produced have unanimously condemned Bill C-321. Noting the various projects aiming at transforming residues into valuable products such as magnesium that are currently under way and calling the bill "futile and irresponsible", the Thetford Mines Chamber of Commerce and Industry is mobilizing its base. Members of Parliament from the Conservative Party, who represent the region in Ottawa's Parliament, underline the local unparalleled expertise, which has been recognized around the world, in the safe and responsible use of chrysotile.

Of course, anti-asbestos activists who haven't even set foot in the region know better. Unfortunately, they have managed to push this aberrant proposal in the legislature. We can only hope that the Bill's opponents will be heard and that, in due time, their informed view of the reality will prevail.


A new proposal by a number of African states to modify Article 22 of the Rotterdam Convention which governs the listing of substances in Annex III is a cause of great concern to the International Chrysotile Association (ICA), who wrote on October 31th to the Executive Secretary of the Convention's Secretariat to underline both the procedural and the fundamental issues raised by this development.

In its letter, the ICA first highlighted the fact that the proposed amendment was submitted directly to the Secretariat, in complete disregard of a resolution passed at the last Conference of Parties (COP-7), which created an Intersessional Working Group (IWG), specifically mandated with reviewing and developing options concerning the listing of substances in the Convention's Annex III, governed by article 22. Such attitude, condoned by the Secretariat, amounts to a lack of respect vis-à-vis all parties involved in the IWG which, the ICA fears, is thus turned into little more than a smokescreen hiding the real intentions of some Parties and the Secretariat itself.

More fundamentally, the ICA's letter details how the proposed amendment represents a 180 degrees modification of the COP's decision-making process and the end of consensus as the only decision-making process to list a substance in Annex III. It insists on the fact that eliminating article 22.5 would not only breach the status governing the process of listing substances but also go against the letter and the spirit of the Convention itself.

For that reason, the ICA called upon the Secretariat to formally express its disagreement with both the form and the content of the amendment proposed by the African countries, and reiterated its willingness to work towards strengthening the Convention, in an open, fair and transparent process.


On June 22 2016, the European Union confirmed that chrysotile fibres will be used in the chlorine industry, at least, until 2025.

Rising above the anti-asbestos lobby's relentless propaganda and the pretenses of a litigation business bent on pretending that a single fibre can be a cause of death, Europe as thus reaffirmed that chrysotile can be used in a safe and responsible manner, in well controlled environments. This decision resoundingly confirms the position the International Chrysotile Association (ICA) has been defending for years.

The Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/1005 namely based its decision on a 2014 opinion adopted by its Committee for Risk Assessment with regard to this industry, which evidentiated, inter alia, that (...) exposure is limited by risk management measures which are effective in controlling potential risks from the use of chrysotile to a risk level of low concern. The opinion further concluded that there is no release of chrysotile to the environment and therefore the health and environment benefits of immediate closure of the two plants would be negligible. Furthermore, the Commission Regulation underlines the fact that Union legislation on the protection of worker's health and safety already provides that employers must reduce workers' exposure to chrysotile fibres to a minimum and in any case below an established limit value.

In clear, the EU has in turn reaffirmed that, on its territory, the safe use of chrysotile is not a pipe dream but a well-documented reality. The ICA and all stakeholders involved in the controlled exploitation and use of chrysotile hope that all the strident anti-chrysotile crusaders will get the message.

Nobody can deny that the responsible, controlled and safe use of chrysotile has proven its worth for years.

Click here to read EU Law and Regulations

Bogus asbestos-related damage claims

Will there be no end to the greed and appetite of US lawyers, doctors and public officials looking for ways to profit from the lucrative bogus asbestos-related damage claims business? On May 3rd, former New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, 72, was sentenced to 12 years in jail after being found guilty of numerous frauds, but above all for his active participation in a bogus asbestos-related damage claims scheme which netted him more than $5.3 million USD.

In this specific case, an article published by the New York Time in January 2015 detailed how Sheldon Silver used public money to grant 500 000$ in research funds to the director of Columbia University's Mesothelioma Center, Robert N. Taub. In return, dr. Taub, an oncologist, referred dozens of mesothelioma patients ─ so-called « asbestos case s» ─ for legal representation by the law firm Weitz and Luxenberg, to which Sheldon Silver was « of counsel ». Year after year, the law firm paid Silver all those millions of dollars for delivering the clients.

In addition to his 12 years sentence, the court also ordered Sheldon Silver to pay a $1.75 million fine and to forfeit about $5.3 million he made from his criminal schemes. In delivering her sentence, on May 3rd, US judge Valerie Caproni, who was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article, said she hoped the exemplary sentence "would serve as a deterrent", adding that "[P]erhaps the fear of living out one's golden years in an orange jumpsuit will keep them on the straight and narrow".

But will it be enough? Five days later, this time in New Jersey, another lawyer, Arobert C. Tonagbanua was sentenced to 2 years in prison and a $232,000 fine for falsifying names of defendants in more than 100 asbestos lawsuits. An article published by the online journal explains how he altered copies of legitimate complaints filed in other courts to add the names of some of his firm's clients, generating more than $1 million in fraudulent fees.

Those recent cases are only the very small tip of a corruption iceberg of enormous proportions. For years, the ICA has been a lonely voice denouncing the systematic and well organized milking by cohorts of doctors, lawyers and elected officials of the more than 40 US trust Funds that have been set to compensate legitimate victims of inappropriate use and manipulation of asbestos. Every time the subject is brought up, rabid anti-asbestos campaigners ─ lobbies, union representatives, scientists, members of international organizations ─ are suddenly nowhere to be found : one can legitimately wonder why they so stubbornly refuse to denounce this ongoing attack on those they pretend to defend.


Bad reputations can be cemented one mistake at a time... and journalists, even with the best of intentions, are not immune to such blunders.

A recent example of this could be found in an article by Forbes magazine contributor Trevor Nace, published online on February 14 and titled "9 Deadliest Rocks and Minerals on Earth". The goal was to help unassuming readers identify dangerous rocks during their treks in the wilderness. "Mineral asbestos" was identified as one of the villains.

Trouble is, there is no such thing as "mineral asbestos". The mistake was spotted by the International Environmental Research Foundation's Robert Nolan. In a letter to the editor, he and his colleague, John Duffus, Edinburgh Centre for Toxicology, patiently explained the differences between the six minerals commercially known as asbestos and the markedly different structure of chrysotile - the only one used commercially. More importantly perhaps, he pointed to the fact that the whole article leaves the readers "with a false impression of the rocks and minerals' toxicological potential". All rocks and minerals have the potential to be deadly...but only if improperly used.

This new case again highlights the importance of the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act (FACT), which was passed by the US House of Representatives earlier this month but is facing strong opposition from the Obama Administration.

To read Dr. Nolan and Dr. Duffus' full letter, click here.


Two years after the bankrupted gasket-maker Garlock decided to hold its ground and fight back profit hungry law firms, a second US firm is joining the fray and is asking a judge permission to sue the Simon Greenstone law firm in Dallas and the Shein Law Center in Philadelphia for the use of fraudulent tactics in winning asbestos lawsuits.

In February 2014, the ICA had reported how a judge had allowed discovery and brought to light how exposure evidence had been manipulated by the law firms in 15 cases against Garlock Sealing Technologies. In his decision, the judge had declared the process "infected by the manipulation of exposure evidence".

In a recent article by well known journalist Daniel Fisher, Forbes Magazine reveals that John Crane Inc, which also made industrial gaskets containing asbestos fibers, was victim of similar fraudulent tactics. Its lawsuit details how evidence that could have led jurors to reduce its liability in two asbestos cases was hidden.

This new case again highlights the importance of the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act (FACT), which was passed by the US House of Representatives earlier this month but is facing strong opposition from the Obama Administration.

To read the article, click here.


Over time, truth can become buried under the fracas of endless debate. Case to point, more than 5 years ago four eminent professors from Laval University had jointly denounced "the confusion around the very nature of the minerals commercialized under the name of 'asbestos'".

In an article published in the Quebec daily Le Soleil and available in English on the ICA's website below, this group of respected geologists and engineers had clearly explained the difference between chrysotile and amphibole fibers, and outlined the much safer nature of the latter in terms of human exposure. They had deplored the fact that the method used by Quebec National Public Health Institute (Institut national de santé publique du Québec - INSPQ) to evaluate the concentration of fibers in tissues did not allow for any differentiation between chrysotile and any other type of mineral fiber, not even cellulose. The scientists lamented that "[I]t does not constitute reliable data and to use it in the current debate amounts to mixing vegetables, apples, bananas and other fruits: what a salad!"

Those voices that, five years ago, insisted that the INSPQ use a more rigorous scientific approach, as recommended by the US National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, have been lost amid the din created by ideologically biased opponents. More than ever, they should be listened to.

(Our translation from French article published in the daily Quebec newspaper Le Soleil)

The debate surrounding the safe use of chrysotile is muddled by the confusion around the very nature of the minerals commercialized under the name of «asbestos». Asbestos is not in itself a mineral, but rather the name used to commercialize a number of products containing mineral fibers endowed with specific mechanical, thermal and chemical properties. In fact, we are referring to six minerals belonging to two different families: serpentine chrysotile, shaped like a rolled-up paper sheet with silky and flexible fibers, and amphibole, a broad family of needle-like fibers. Amphiboles' chemical composition (Fe, Mg, Ca, Na) vary greatly and their physical proprieties are also different. Chrysotile and amphiboles don't develop in similar geological environments: apart from their common fibrous form, they are therefore very different minerals. To amalgamate them amounts to mixing apples and bananas.

In the current public health debate we are especially worried by the fact that the confusion around fibrous minerals, commonly called asbestos, continues to reinforce preconceived ideas. Obviously, many participants are neither sufficiently competent nor expert enough to differentiate the minerals in question. A number of studies have demonstrated that amphiboles remain in the body 10 times longer than chrysotile. Others establish that the quantity of chrysotile fibers must be several hundred times higher for them to induce a risk similar to that of certain amphiboles. Notwithstanding the scientific proofs, which differentiate their health impact, chrysotile and amphiboles are still being wrongly amalgamated under the name of asbestos.

We find particularly regrettable that the Quebec National Public Health Institute (Institut national de santé publique du Québec - INSPQ) doesn't make such distinction. In particular, it uses a method that allows for counting the fibers, but not to differentiate them, not even from other mineral fibers such as cellulose. This means that the concentration of «asbestos fibers» calculated by the INSPQ regroups fibers from all origins. It does not constitute reliable data and to use it in the current debate amounts to mixing vegetables, apples, bananas and other fruits: what a salad!

We therefore think it is essential to call spade a spade in the debate on the safe use of chrysotile. Epidemiological studies that take in consideration the fibers' mineralogical nature must be undertaken in order to clearly establish the risk associated with its different uses. This is what the US National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety has recommended. The method used by the INSPQ must allow to distinguish the proportion of the various minerals. Decision makers must base their choices on complete and reliable information in order to establish criteria that will lead, eventually, to a safe use of chrysotile. We must stop confusing apples and bananas.

Georges Beaudoin, géo., Ph.D., Josée Duchesne, ing., Ph. D., Tomas Feininger, Ph, D., Réjean Hébert, géo., ing., Ph. D.
Professors, Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, Laval University.


The remarkably unique resistance of chrysotile-cement products to corrosion, ultra-violet rays, rot, etc is well known. However, people often forget that the low energy requirements of chrysotile-cement production also make it an environmentally sound and attractive option when compared with products derived from the petrochemical or metallurgical industries.

Quoting a study done in the United Kingdom, a Mineral Commodity Profile from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), available on the ICA website, indicates that manufacturing a square meter of corrugated asbestos cement sheet requires only 16.42 kilowatthours (kWh) of energy, whereas a square meter of corrugated aluminum sheeting and a square meter of plastic coated corrugated steel sheet require 68.92 and 123.5 kWh respectively.

Furthermore, readily available production technologies and well controlled manufacturing processes also reduce environmental risks when compared to technologies based on synthetic chemistry or metallurgy. As well, the performance of the so-called alternative products pales when compared to chrysotile-cement. Aside from its durability (over 50 years), its heat and sound insulation, aerodynamic resistance and coverage efficiency, to name but a few, place chrysotile-cement way ahead of any competition. The complete comparative table of the products is also available on the ICA website.

Last but not least, many combustible construction materials will, in case of fire, release clouds of gases and/or fumes highly toxic to humans and the environment. The extraordinary heat and fire resistance of chrysotile-cement can also prevent or minimize the risk of conflagration.

Whether from an environment or safety point of view, all data confirm that so-called alternative products can't beat the economy, safety and durability of chrysotile-cement.


A recent scientific study conducted by a group of 10 well-known UK scientists confirms the negligible presence of chrysotile asbestos in lung tissue samples obtained from patients with mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Published by BMJ Publishing Group, an abstract is available on the ICA website. The study's aim was to provide decision-makers with reliable data to estimate the risk of asbestos exposure in people born after 1965 and to predict UK mesothelioma rates over the next 50 years. The sampling process of patients currently affected by the aforementioned lung diseases revealed that amphiboles represented 98 % of all counted fibres and the research confirms « the major contribution of amosite to UK mesothelioma incidence ».

To read the complete version of the study, click here


When trying to make their point, anti-asbestos activists never tire of using dubious methodology and data amalgamation.

One of the most recent examples of those well-known tactics can be found in a paper signed by Jukka Takala, a consultant to the Singapore government, who intends to teach Europe and the world how to eliminate occupational cancer. To make things easy, he zooms on « asbestos », without even bothering to differentiate between amphibole and chrysotile fibers. A careful reference selection enables him to paint a bleak picture. Blending data on past exposures and implying that they are current ones allows him to state that « asbestos exposure is the biggest killer ». He also attempts to buttress his argument by using a 2012 McCormack et al study to make extrapolation from mesothelioma to lung cancer cases and to state that the lung cancer/mesothelioma ratio is much higher than previously estimated by the WHO.

Of course, he forgets to state a key conclusion of the McCormack paper, which reminds readers that "[F]or Chrysotile, widely consumed today, asbestos related lung cancers cannot be robustly estimated from few mesothelioma deaths and the latter cannot be used to infer no excess risk of lung or other cancers."

The paper was published by the European Trade Union Institute, which receives funding from the European Union. The latter however had the foresight to request the inclusion of a warning, informing readers that "The European Union is not responsible for any use made of the information contained in this publication". Should we feel relieved? A detailed analysis of the bias and approximations contained in the Takala paper is available here.


Alarmist headlines swirled around the world, leaving millions of meat eaters gaping in fear and astonishment. At the end of October, the oh so respectable International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the World Health Organization's source of information about cancer, announced us that meat causes cancer. And it was no Halloween prank, but, as usual, a brutal lack of necessary nuances and information must be noted.

According to the IARC, not only is meat carcinogenic: with its usual aplomb, the Agency went as far as to declare processed meat (hot dogs, corned beef, sliced ham) to be new agents/substances among 117 others to be classified as Group 1 (the highest) as carcinogenic risks to humans where it joins plutonium, tobacco, wood dust, solar radiation, oral contraceptives, X-Rays, polluted air, diesel engine exhaust, arsenic, asbestos (but without any differentiation between fibres types...) among others as indicated in the annexed list of WHO/IARC. (Please see attached annex)

In the following days, bewildered humans were deluged with explanations about what a Canadian columnist called the «byzantine» way the IARC functions and the relative truths of its pronouncements. What about the distinction between hazard identification and risk assessment and the remarkable silence on a responsible approach based on precaution to be taken among other dose and control…! How the IARC, which concentrates on the former, also blatantly ignores key factors such as frequency, potency or dose of any single product. Frankly they could have come to any member of the chrysotile industry for that information.

For years, the ICA has begged for a proper, science-based approach in IARC's evaluation of health risks associated with chrysotile production and utilization as used nowadays but unable to get open and honest answers to such a reasonable request. We warmly welcome the world-wide meat production industry in this fight.


The plight of American firms struggling to fend off attacks based on mesothelioma victims' bogus claims driven by large lawyers firms has been known for years. Recently, similar stories have started to unfold in the United Kingdom.

In a concise and eloquent article published earlier this month in The Telegraph, Christopher Booker, a respected columnist, reviews the chain of events now threatening the very survival of a long-established building firm being which risked bankruptcy following a 300 000 £ (461,794 USD) law suit.

In his article, Booker sheds light on the perverse and damaging impacts of a UK Supreme Court's 2011 judgment, the Mesothelioma Act passed in 2014 by the government and the lucrative business it offered on a silver platter to claim lawyers.

Luckily this story also proves that embattled companies can fight back against illegitimate claims. See how this one managed to reverse the tide here.


On August 9 2015, Right on Canada's website posted a yet another rant penned by Ms Kathleen Ruff which criticised Concordia University and attacked the institution's reputation. This objectionable approach will be familiar to all those accustomed to the anti-asbestos lobby's usual attitude in dealing with those who do not share their anti-asbestos crusaders position, categorical rejection of any possibly safe use of chrysotile, or refusal to recognize the difference between the various types of asbestos fibers.

Concordia's "unforgivable" mistake would consist of a document, or study, which raises serious questions with regard to the anti-asbestos lobby's positions. Right on Canada's entry takes offense and, rather than proposing an open discussion on the issues at hand, maliciously attempts to offer fodder to some headline-hungry journalists. All the while, it is quite obvious that the organization's real objective is to attract publicity for its crusade.

Let's not forget that a while ago, Rights on Canada tried an analogous manoeuvre with McGill University. Anybody attempting to defend a responsible and safe use of chrysotile has been the object of similar disparagement. It's now Concordia's turn.

According to the media, Ms Kathleen Ruff, who seems to be spearheading the current campaign, introduces herself as a senior advisor on human rights with the Ottawa-based Rideau Institute. Anyone who has seriously examined the chrysotile issue and gathered data from well-informed sources, especially recent scientific publications, has come to the conclusion that scientific findings are very different from the sometimes-frivolous arguments made by Ms Ruff. It is also noteworthy that, to our knowledge, the Institute doesn't divulge its donor’s list nor its senior advisor's source of income. Experience has taught us that in this whole, the anti-asbestos legal lobbies, the very lucrative asbestos removal industry and manufacturers of substitute products are never far away and that serious investigations would be necessary. In this regard, the silence observed by many media and, in some cases, their support of these lobbies are also highly questionable


For years, it's been a well-known fact that Japan was for decades an important consumer of various asbestos fibres, namely amphiboles such as amosite and crocidolite. Analysis of publicly available data indicate that between 1963 and 1990, including during the anti-apartheid economic sanctions campaign, Japan imported between 320 000 and 390 000 metric tons of amosite asbestos and between 70 000 and 110 000 metric tons of crocidolite asbestos, mostly from South Africa. For some reasons, these transactions were never officially recorded. Widely used over a number of years, those fibres created considerable risks to human health.

It is also scientifically established that chrysotile fibres, which are the only type commercialized nowadays, entail much lower if not negligible risks. This information is never mentioned by proponents of an indiscriminate, complete ban of all fibres. In the course of the past few years, a number of Japanese nationals linked to the anti-asbestos movement have actively campaigned for a worldwide ban of chrysotile fibres. Among them, prof. Ken Takahashi, whose relations with the Global Ban Asbestos Network (GBAN) are well-known, which, strangely, has not prevented the World Health Organization and the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat from granting him an expert status.

Disgracefully, their biased crusade consistently ignores information on the specific impact of the use of amphibole fibres, notwithstanding the fact that amphiboles are the real source of asbestos-related industrial diseases and associated problems currently affecting Japan.

Yet, a number of scientific studies have established that chrysotile simply cannot be the main cause of mesothelioma and that its controlled use, with exposition levels of no more than 1 fibre per cc., produces risks so minimal that they become practically non-measurable. Japanese scientists, like their international peers, are well aware of these facts. They should also recognize that amphibole fibres are the sole source of Japan's asbestos-related problems.

ICA would like to submit that Japan and its anti-asbestos crusaders should have the honesty to clearly explain to their constituents the difference between the various type of fibres in terms of their chemical composition and associated health risks. Those proven facts should be widely disseminated, rather than useless propaganda that does nothing to correct real, existing problems and implicitly promotes the use of fibres and replacement products whose risks for human health have not been subjected to rigorous examination and remain largely unknown.

Update on the Rotterdam Convention

ICA invites you to read a brief summary on the Conference of the Parties (COP-7) of the Rotterdam Convention held on May 14th, 2015 in Geneva. Comments and observations on how the Convention works and also what should be reviewed and changed for future effectiveness, and, proposals that were presented as a real desire of participants this year. [...]


Last minute. Geneva, May 14 2015

The International Chrysotile Association salutes the decision of the seventh meeting of the 2015 Rotterdam Convention's Conference of the Parties (COP7), which today did not reached a consensus for the inclusion of chrysotile in the Convention's Annex III.

For the fifth time, inclusion of Chrysotile has not been agreed.

It is historical and without precedent. The policy of controlled use promoted by ICA still is the responsible accepted approach.

Consensus is the respected rule in the decision-taking. More informations pertaining to COP7 (2015) will be given by ICA in the very near future.

Can we put an end to this madness on the part of asbestos fear mongers?

In a judgment issued on April 14, 2015, the French Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation de Paris) agreed with the decision of the Paris Court of Appeal (Cour d’Appel) whose 54-page well-articulated decision of June 27, 2014 rejected the claims of the Andeva lobby group. This lobby, which calls itself the Association pour la défense des victimes d'amiante en France (association for the defence of asbestos victims), has been conducting an anti-asbestos crusade for a number of years now, and searching desperately for a legal platform it can use to constantly denigrate, ban and bring before the courts.

The Supreme Court has just put an end to proceedings that were commenced in France more than 19 years ago against members of the Comité permanent amiante (CPA) and other individuals, including Martine Aubry, a French politician who was a candidate in the 2011 Socialist primary against the current president of the Republic, François Hollande.

The reasons given by the Court in its June 27, 2014 decision are highly interesting. In fact, the Court largely rejected the accusations of the asbestos lobbies that have been repeated for years almost everywhere in the world. It clearly indicated that being a member of the CPA is not sufficient to create a causal link with the occurrence of occupational diseases due to asbestos. The CPA was involved in activities to promote the controlled use of asbestos, but already at that time, it was seeking only a general ban. The CPA was involved in activities to promote the controlled use of asbestos. It created informational documents for executives and workers in the industry, organized company visits, conducted training and intervened in the context of the policy for controlled use. It should be remembered that already at that time, the anti-asbestos group was crusading against the use of asbestos and against the work of the CPA. Anti-asbestos militants stubbornly refused any reconciliation with the principle of controlled and responsible use. For them, nothing but a ban was acceptable.

To read the entire text click here (french only).


At long last, once again, common sense has prevailed.

A few days ago, France's highest tribunal, The Court of Cassation, confirmed the annulment of the indictment against Mrs Martine Aubry and seven other persons for their role in a so-called support to the asbestos industry when in fact the were promoting for years at all level of their country a safe and responsible use approach with the asbestos fibres including chrysotile type.

The Andeva, a well known group of activists that are working in very close collaboration with the anti-asbestos lobbies operating in the name of the Association Nationale des Victimes de l'Amiante (The Plaintiffs' National Association for Asbestos Victims), had appealed the decision render by the Paris Court of Appeal when, in June last year, the Court cancelled all the procedures pushed by Andeva. This recent and final Court decision will put an end to this kind of legal harassment. For Andeva activists, it is a real legal rebuff.

This highly expected decision finally puts in fact an end to 19 years of judicial saga which the French magazine Le Point called so rightly “a real judicial monster”. The alleged accusations revolved in fact around legal and responsible activities from people that took place decades before France decided unilaterally to ban the use of asbestos in 1997.

After decades of prevarication by well identified vested interest groups ─ lawyers, medical examiners, insurers ─ in the name of "asbestos victims", signs that the judiciary is finally coming to its senses and taking a hard look at solid, science based arguments are multiplying. While the two remain unrelated, this decision somehow echoes a growing movement in the United States where the Senate is due to push forward the long-awaited Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act strongly objected by the unhealthy litigation business. Last March, the European Commission also reiterated its position and again flatly rejected calls ─ by well-identified lobby groups ─ in favour of a European-wide asbestos removal campaign. All of which confirms the importance of making our collective voices heard, loud and strong.


On February 9th, the UK Supreme Court dealt a major blow to the anti-asbestos lobby a few weeks ago when it overruled a bill put forward in the Welsh Assembly that would have forced employers and their insurers to pay the national health system, NHS Wales, for treatment costs for asbestosis and mesothelioma sufferers. News of this decision were relayed by a number of media, including the daily Telegraph and the BBC.

The bill, put forward by a backbencher, was part of a campaign aiming to force ex employers to pay for private health care for victims of the disease. But the judges ruled that it went beyond the role of the Assembly and that it lacked "any direct or close connection with the provision of Welsh NHS services".

Following the decision, the Association of British insurers noted that the legislation "would have seen increased insurance premiums for Welsh businesses but no extra compensation for mesothelioma sufferers".


Once again, the European Commission has flatly rejected a suggestion by one of its members, acting on behalf of the ban-asbestos lobby, that it should engage and pay for a Europe-wide campaign of asbestos removal.

For the second time in less than a year, in a written answer to a question submitted by a member from Croatia, the EC strongly reiterated a few weeks ago that "(...) a decision about whether the removal of asbestos from private and public building is the most appropriate risk management measure depends on site specific factors. Therefore, the Commission considers that Member States, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, are better placed to design and implement such initiatives."

One can only applaud the EC's unwavering position in the face of constant pressures by a group driven by dogma and well-identified vested interests rather than by a sound, science-based analysis of local situations.


A thorough investigation of the interests behind the powerful anti-chrysotile lobby in the UK is the only way to stop vested interest feeding on shoddy science from destroying legitimate businesses and depriving genuine asbestos victims from available compensation.

A recently published article in that country reminded its readers that until 1997, the Government's official policy was to the effect that asbestos cement did no harm to human health. It's about face, 9 months later, was and still is based on information originating from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which has never, as far as we know, provided evidence to sustain its claims that chrysotile cement products have ever been the cause of an asbestos related disease. The HSE also refuses to disclose the name of its experts. Bizarre!

The article also restates that the classification of chrysotile asbestos as a Class 1A carcinogen, is not a measurement or assessment of actual risk to health: alcohol and coins find themselves in the same category, and nobody is calling for their ban. Furthermore, the alternative materials used to replace chrysotile in fibre cement have never been properly tested.

The current situation in the UK has been exacerbated by the recently created £300 million fund for mesothelioma patients that will be contributed by insurance companies for sufferers who can't blame an ex-employer. While its intent can't be disputed, the provision in fact encourages people diagnosed by doctors and represented by lawyers who stand to pocket a large chunk of the awards to use the scheme; every school or business where the sufferer has ever frequented will then be called upon to contribute to the compensation. In America, the experience of that kind of super fund has been disastrous for all people except for the litigation business.

One of the many cases that are due to appear before the courts involves a family building business that risks losing it all because of a claim made by an apprentice it had employed in 1965 who briefly and occasionally handled cement gutters. In this particular case, it has been established that the handling methods used at the time would not have breached the current regulations. Many strong scientific evidence has been brought forward to demonstrate that there is no real proven link between that exposure and the cancer.

It will take a full enquiry to expose the various interests behind the anti-asbestos lobby and prevent them from closing legitimate businesses who fuel the country's economic recovery instead to insuring support to real victims.


Every now and then, scientists looking for a cause try to kick up a storm around a well known phenomenon : naturally occurring asbestos in the land.

It recently happened in Nevada. According to an article published by the International New York Times, two geologists «discovered» a few years ago that, in some areas of the US western state, erosion and commercial development where sending naturally occurring asbestos fibers in the wind. They decided the population was at risk and started to alert local residents. Fortunately, the state authorities didn't take the bait. Using their own research, they countered the researchers arguments, pointed that the mesothelioma rates in the state are well within national average and reaffirmed that asbestos' natural occurrence posed no risk to the area's population.

Nevertheless, the controversy delayed the construction of a $490 million highway project, which will run in an asbestos-rich area. In-depth soil analysis were made which concluded that neither workers nor neighbouring residents would be put at risk. To assuage fears, the state's Department of Transport also announced it would continue monitoring the air throughout the building phase and would take special protective measures, such as watering down the roadbed.

«You just don't scare the hell out of people this way» said the state epidemiologist to the NYT journalist. This time again, common sense prevailed. However, one can only wonder how long it will take before such fallacious claims by scientists more preoccupied by their own agendas that by the public good can be definitely put to rest.


Speaking with one voice, some 30 local, municipal and business leaders from the Quebec Chaudières-Appalaches and Estrie regions are asking Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to maintain this country's longstanding position against the inclusion of chrysotile fibre to the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure at the next Rotterdam Convention of Parties (COP-7) which will take place in May.

Still reeling from the brutal closure of chrysotile mines and hobbled by a difficult economic situation, the regions are now looking at ways to exploit the huge potential of mining residues which contain precious metals and minerals such as magnesium, nickel, chrome and cobalt. Stating that "In order to create sustainable development, you first need development", they share their communities' fear that the inclusion of chrysotile fibres in the PIC procedure would make the development of the mining sites and therefore the economic recovery of those regions nearly impossible.

In their letter, the group recalls that no new scientific and medical evidence has been produced in the past years, not even by the WHO itself, which could justify a change in Canada's position. Furthermore, it has been clearly demonstrated that a controlled use of chrysotile that allows for exposure to one fibre or less by cubic centimeter of air represents such a low threshold of risk that it is scientifically immeasurable.

Hoping that the Harper government will create a working group to reinforce Canada's traditional position, the group, called Mouvement ProChrysotile québécois (Quebec's ProChrysotile Movement), sent a copy of its letter to no less than six Cabinet members, including Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec. The group also wrote to Quebec's Prime Minister, Philippe Couillard, to inform him of their attempt to reach out to the federal government and ask him to actively support their initiative.

One can only hope their voices will be heard.
To read the Letter to PM Harper, click here.


A new analysis of the scientific documentation used by the World Health Organization (WHO) to substantiate its statements regarding the number of death linked to asbestos exposure reveals that the data doesn't even support the organization's conclusions.

In their paper, published last summer and available on ICA's website, Bernstein, Dunnigan and Hoskins underline the fact that those studies are based on exposure concentration and that occurred 20 to 50 years ago. The authors also quote from a 2004 WHO commissioned study by Ezzati & al., which differentiates the much higher risks linked to exposure to banned amphibole fibres and the very low ones associated to chrysotile before concluding that " little excess lung cancer is expected from low exposure levels".

The analysis also reveals that the WHO ignores its own data in choosing to perpetuate the confusion between the impacts of high risk amphibole fibres, now banned, and much safer chrysotile fibers. The WHO paper do not support far from there it is a confirmation that WHO does not have in its possession scientific data that demonstrate or support its pretention. As used nowadays chrysotile is not and will not be responsible for 107,000 deaths per year.

Among others, the Driscoll's scientific study is crystal clear on this issue. The combined estimate is based on the best estimates of risk of 400 per 100,000/fiber.year per ml for crocidolite, 0.65 per 100,000/fiber.year per ml for amosite and 2 per 100,000/fiber.year per ml for chrysotile.

So one must wonder: if the WHO chooses to ignore its own scientific data, whose interests is it catering to when it continues to propagate false claims about the risks associated with the use of chrysotile fibre?


For years now, producer countries and users of chrysotile fiber have exposed the scandal of the ─ well organized ─ judicial procedures launched against asbestos, especially in the U.S. It's mechanism was eloquently described by Fortune magazine, in an series of lengthy articles authored by journalist Roger Parloff. Reknown dailies such as the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times repeatedly voiced their concerns over these noxious but very lucrative practices.

Many organizations in various countries who promote a safe, responsible and well controlled use of chrysotile fibers often publicly denounced this sham against asbestos, which abusively confuses all types of fibers. They raised their voices and pointed out the fact that the most important beneficiaries of this whole judiciary pursuit operation were powerful lobbies who in turn fully support rabid anti-asbestos and anti-chrysotile organizations such as International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS) in London, UK.


ICA did its part by bringing up the issue within international bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) or the heads of the Rotterdam Convention. Alas, it's numerous queries were never properly answered.

The judicial procedures scandal's most damning paradox is that they quite obviously go against the real victims' interests but also contribute to hamper progress and development in faraway developing countries' most destitute communities. They compromise the jobs and livelihood of thousands of workers in desperate need of employment. The international organizations and so called progressive anti-asbestos grassroots movements' voluntary ignorance of such harsh realities must stop. It can't be tolerated any longer.

The litigation scandal exposed, again.

Recent examples of those shameless underhand practices were brought to light a few days ago in a well documented article published in the January 24, 2015 edition of the International New York Times. No less than four journalists collaborated to put together this story of how percentage-hungry lawyers, politicians and doctors eager to collect funds for their research labs prospered by facilitating bogus asbestos-related damage claims. Names are named, shameful procedures are explained and the money trails are fully exposed.

There must be an end to such collusion. ICA demands that competent authorities and the court of law stop this nauseating scam which has been going on for far too long. Their action must be quick and harsh, even as they look inwards at their own proceedings. The very credibility of our judicial and political institutions is at stake.

ICA invites you to read attentively the International NYT article and to make sure that in your various countries of residence, competent authorities, media representatives and other asbestos-related organizations are aware of what is really going on behind the curtains of this scandalous crusade against chrysotile and who its real beneficiaries are.


The year 2014 ended on a hopeful note for all those hoping to curb asbestos litigation frauds in the United States.

On December 27th, an article published by the Wall Street Journal reported that House Speaker John Boehner (R) said that asbestos legal reform would be a priority in the New Year. His statement effectively breathes new life in the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act (FACT), introduced by the Republicans in March 2013 and voted in November of that year 2013 by the Congress. FACT would require more than 40 US trusts to disclose the name of claimants and payouts, effectively preventing litigation lawyers from filing bogus claims and getting double or multiple payouts (including for themselves) from various trusts.

Until recently, the Democrat controlled Senate was a major obstacle in getting the FACT Act approved by Congress. The November mid-term election of a Republican majority in both Houses represents a very real opportunity to have it voted by the Senate and sent to the President. John Boehner's re-election on January 6th to serve another 2 years as Speaker of the House is yet another step in this long awaited direction.

To read the WSJ’s article, click here.


Praised for its insulation qualities, mineral wool is used around the world. But is it really safe? Experts disagree.

Some point to the fact that some 15 years ago, research on its toxicity has lead to changes to fiber lengths and their biopersistence, which raises questions about the huge amounts of material installed in countless buildings and homes before that date. A recent article published on the French Agoravox website underlines that fibers less than 3 micrometers long will penetrate the lungs - and that the mineral wool fiber's length are between 2 and 3,5 micrometers long. The toxicity of formaldehyde, which holds mineral wool fibers together, is also well documented.

Once in a while, «new» products are discovered. Their use spreads, and associated risks are ignored as they are touted as a magic replacement for older, better known materials. Recently, basalt fibers have become such darlings, despite high production costs and unproven safety. But experts in substitution fibers point out that while basalt fibers can occasionally be used for products such as gaskets and friction materials, current production processes make them unusable in the production of fiber cement.

In truth, experience shows all insulation and reinforcement material must be handle with care. Risk-free material simply doesn't exist.


Powered by a raise of 7,5% of its fiber-cement sales compared to 3Q13 and a chrysotile mining segment operating at full capacity, Brazilian group Eternit S.A. registered consolidated net revenues of R$ 250.3 million (US$ 98,95 million) for the 3Q14 period, virtually stable compared to 3Q13.

Investments during the period rose by an impressive 59.4% from 3Q13 and totalled R$35 million (US$ 13.8 million). Funds went primarily to the establishment of a new unit for the research, development and production of construction material inputs and to the maintenance and modernization of the Group's industrial facilities. In 2012, Eternit was voted one of the 150 best companies to work for in Brazil, a recognition for its achievements in the areas of governance, workers professional development, career advancement and safe working environment.


The World Health Organization's policy on chrysotile is based on 3 resolutions passed by the 194 member states of its governing body, the World Health Assembly (WHA). To understand correctly the limits of its position, one must bear in mind the sentence included in the resolution passed at the WHA's XIIth meeting, which is presented in the ICA brochure, Science Must Prevail.

The sentence reads as follow: In implementing the global campaign for elimination of asbestos and related diseases, allowance should be made for a differentiated approach to regulating the various forms of asbestos, as laid down in the Rotterdam Convention, on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (1998).

This important distinction, which aims to fully respect the right of every nation state to make decisions according to the most recent scientific findings, should never be forgotten.


An advance report released by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) indicates that world production of chrysotile increased to 2.02 Mt in 2013, from 2.01 Mt the year before.

Russia, China, Brazil and Kazakhstan continue to be the leading producers, while significant consumption increases have been registered in a number of countries, including India, Indonesia and Uzbekistan. Southeast Asian countries continue to lead in the manufacturing of chrysotile products.

The report estimates that ongoing demand for chrysotile based products will translate into stable world production levels. Product-wise, while the chloralkali industry will likely increase its market share in the United States, fiber cement will retain its overall lead position as the main use for chrysotile fiber. A full copy of the report can be consulted here.


A detailed study of costs associated with banning and removing chrysotile in Poland reminds us of the staggering economic consequences of such decisions and once again raises questions about the real interests that motivated them.

In a concise, well-documented paper published last June, Prof. Jerzy R.L. Diczek firstly reminds readers that before the government ban in 1999, 80 % of imported asbestos was used to produce fibrocement sheets utilized in roofing or facades of multistoried residential units, in villages and small towns all over the country. Unfortunately, about half of it were autoclaved plates (encapsulated fibres), containing not only chrysotile but also amphibole asbestos.

Linked to people's stress and frustrations, non material costs are always left out of the equation, underlines the author; nevertheless, they are harshly felt in all communities affected. Having restated that important fact, Professor Diczek then details the effects of the asbestos ban and the various type of costs associated with its removal. More than 25 plants used the product up until 1998 and close to 4,000 jobs were lost: a rough calculation of job reductions, special benefits and health care costs alone brings the total to approximately US$500M. In itself, the cost of removing fibrocement sheets from roofs and facades will oscillate between US$4.18 Billions and US$7.17 Billions.

And those are only a few of the enumerated expenses that the country has to face. Professor Diczek's overall estimates are conservative, lower (by approximately US$897M) than the Polish government's own figures. But whether the total amounts to about US$13,5 Billions or US$14,3 Billions, he eloquently demonstrates how the necessity to eliminate old material and use more expensive, asbestos free products is damaging the Polish economy, in the same way it is hampering the economic vitality of all European countries facing similar issues. To read the full report, click here.


More than three years after passing the original law, the Government of Peru recently adopted the decree that formally allows and regulates the extraction, importation and use of chrysotile.

Within the next six months, chrysotile use will be permitted as long as production and transformation activities include prevention and control measures, and do not cause any health risks to workers involved in such processes. A permanent Technical Multisectoral Commission will be responsible for ensuring the respect of existing regulation and, if necessary, for elaborating further rules. The decree also confirms the ban of all amphibole fibers.

This long awaited decision further confirms that the safe use of chrysotile is not only possible but also represents a sound option, creating economic benefits without compromising the health of industry workers.

Read the document (In spanish only)


Once again, corporate interests are prevailing in a law passed by the British government earlier this year to create a £350M fund to compensate people with mesothelioma who cannot trace their former employer.

The fund was created by the insurance industry and is available for those diagnosed after July 2012: under the new provisions, it is estimated that sufferers will be awarded approximately 80 % of what a Court might have awarded in a «normal» compensation case - approximately £120 000.

Waving any need to substantiate claims ignores the fact that numerous researches and well-known evidences shows that an important percentage of such mesothelioma cases either occur naturally or arise from other causes. Furthermore, it nurtures the confusion deliberately promoted by the anti-asbestos lobby between the genuinely dangerous Blue and Brown forms of asbestos and much commoner chrysotile. Widely used as a bonding agent in cement, the latter's locked in fibres are not airborne and so not responsible for mesothelioma, as the Health and Safety Executive of U.K. readily accepted before it was hijacked by a well selected so-called science of the anti-asbestos lobby for their crusade.

In an article published by The Telegraph, one lawyer representing patients denounced the new program as «a deal written by insurers for insurers», saying the compensation will amount to no more than 25 % of what a procedure in court would have yielded. But considering the fact that in the US 60 % or more of such damages actually go to the lawyers, one can only wonder who sufferers can really turn to in order to get the full compensation they should rightfully receive.


Since the beginning of the century, again and again voices have raised, asking governing bodies of international organizations to seriously examine the risks posed to human health by replacement alternative fibres and products to chrysotile. To this day, their questions haven't been answered.

Are those replacement fibers harmless? The ICA brochure, Science Must Prevail, details the various risks and uncertainties admitted by a number of European and UN specialized bodies and their calls for further research (see p. 14-15). But not only are those bodies turning a deaf ear to those legitimate requests. A judicious and necessary warning about the use of substitute fibres that was included in Recital (2) from Directive 2003/18 of the European Economic Community, suddenly disappeared six years later from Directive 2009/148/EEC.

Considering all the efforts being made to ban chrysotile, wouldn't it be responsible and reasonable to ask that all alternative products and fibres carrying a potential health risk be strictly controlled and subjected to the same regulations as chrysotile?

Evaluation of the scientific basis for the WHO statement on asbestos

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a document entitled "Elimination of asbestos related diseases" which is supposed to provide a "scientific basis" for the statement that there are about 107,000 deaths per year related to asbestos. In particular, the WHO document implies that chrysotile, as used today, is largely responsible for these deaths.

Critical analysis of the basis for such statement has been reviewed by a number of scientists. Briefly put, their conclusion is that the WHO documents stating that "107,000 deaths per year are occurring today" is not supported by actual facts. Specifically, there is a major flaw in the "scientific basis" for the WHO assertions, in that there is no consideration for the vast differences in pathogenicity among asbestos fiber types. The reviewers of the WHO document are appalled by this major omission. The difference in pathogenicity among asbestos fiber types that has been recognized worldwide has been put aside. As a result, the number of deaths is attributed to the collective term "asbestos", including chrysotile, with no appropriate consideration for the current published literature on the subject.

For instance, this difference in risk among asbestos fiber types has been documented by Hodgson ns Darnton's study, which covers from 20-50 years, and concludes that for lung cancer, the relative risks are 50 for crocidolite, 10 for amosite and 1 for chrysotile. For mesothelioma, the risks are 500 for crocidolite, 100 for amosite and 1 for chrysotile. The reviewers have mentioned a number of other studies that are in complete agreement with the above.

WHO's major failure to account for the recognized differences in risk among asbestos fiber types provides no useful avenues for a correct and scientifically-based management of risk in of the different asbestos fiber types.


The market for fibre cement roofing show no sign of abating in India where one company alone, HIL Limited, sold a record-breaking 100,000 tons of its Charminar roofing sheets in May 2014.

Charminar is a household name in India, where it has been sold for more than 60 years. HIL Limited, a subsidiary of the CK Birla Group, has 8 manufacturing plants for a total capacity of 1 million tons a year. The company holds about 20% of the national market for fibre cement roofing products, which is valued at US$669M.

In an interview with Global Cement News, HIL's managing director, Abhaya Shankar, attributed its company's success to ongoing brand-building efforts, which include a strong relationship with distributors, a pan-Indian presence and an efficient customer feedback system. .

An environment-friendly product is one which...
  1. Is produced by low energy-consuming technology

    Manufacture of some products involve high energy consumption, which means a drain on finite resources (hydroelectricity, fossil fuels, etc.), some of which are non-renewable.

    Compared to products coming from the petrochemical or metallurgical industry, asbestos-cement products consume much less energy; in fact, the largest proportion of energy consumption goes into the production of cement.

  2. Has a long useful service life

    Short product life means you have to replace more often, create more waste, and needs more energy consumption, etc.

    The resistance of asbestos-cement products to corrosion, to ultra-violet rays, to rot etc. is remarkable and unique. In fact, few other products have such a guaranteed long service life.

  3. Is made from simple starting materials

    Production of final products may involve complex mixtures of synthetic starting materials, which may be harmful by themselves (ex.: PVC made from vinyl chloride monomers - a known carcinogen), and present a risk not only for plant workers, but for general population as well.

    Composition of high density asbestos-cement products is uniquely simple, and technology is readily available to developing countries, without resorting to the use of more complex ingredients, whose safe handling may present difficulties far greater than those required for the controlled manufacture of asbestos-cement products.

  4. Presents a relatively low risk during its manufacture

    Use of countless products may cause environmental damage to fauna, flora, rivers, lakes, the sea, underground waters may (does) occur, following explosions, radioactive leakage, acid precipitations, etc., as a result of systems malfunction, equipment failure, human error, carelessness or other unforeseen reasons (ex.: Bohpal, Tchernobyl, Minamata).

    Use of countless products may cause environmental damage to fauna, flora, rivers, lakes, the sea, underground waters may (does) occur, following explosions, radioactive leakage, acid precipitations, etc., as a result of systems malfunction, equipment failure, human error, carelessness or other unforeseen reasons (ex.: Bohpal, Tchernobyl, Minamata).

  5. Presents a relatively low risk when in use

    Some products may be consumed by fire, releasing large clouds of toxic and/or corrosive gases.

    Whereas many combustible construction materials may, in case of fire, release clouds of gases and/or fumes highly toxic to man and to the environment, asbestos-cement products are by definition resistant to heat and fire; in fact, they may actually prevent or minimize the spread of conflagration.

  6. Presents a relatively low risk when stored or transported, prior to or after use

    Transportation and storage of some raw materials or finished products prior to their use, or when discarded after use ( ex.: corrosive liquids, hazardous chemicals, storage of discarded PCBs, spent lead batteries, old tire piles, etc. may pose a hazard to both the environment or the general population.

    Transportation and storage of some raw materials or finished products prior to their use, or when discarded after use ( ex.: corrosive liquids, hazardous chemicals, storage of discarded PCBs, spent lead batteries, old tire piles, etc. may pose a hazard to both the environment or the general population.

  7. Constitutes a relatively low risk at final disposal site

    Some products present a high degree of hazard to the environment (soil and/or water contamination) if not securely contained in specially designed and tightly supervised disposal sites.

    Safe disposal of many modern products and waste has become an environmental and economic nightmare, often requiring especially designed and costly disposal sites, which must be monitored constantly to prevent leakage of contaminating substances into the environment. Waste management is often so complex and costly that "easier" solutions are often found... Chrysotile-cement waste disposal is inexpensive, simple and recognized practices are well known. They are made of naturally occuring material which return to the environment after use.



After years of suspicion, ICA's thorough analysis confirms that one of opponents to a responsible use of chrysotile favourite claim, that "an estimated 100,000 workers die every year from exposure to asbestos" is nothing more than a pure extrapolation.

As explained in the recently published ICA brochure, Science Must Prevail, the number was first put forward at a conference in Dresden in 2003 by J. Takala, who extrapolated from statistics in Finland to generate a world-wide estimate. In his communication, the author carefully underlined that the number didn't refer to recorded cases - a caveat quickly and conveniently forgotten by interested parties. One must also note the author didn't make any distinction between the different types of asbestos and their respective pathogenic potential.

Bottom line, the alleged 100,000 death a year claim is certainly not applicable to chrysotile fibres. The most recent scientific published studies have in fact debunked the anti-asbestos lobby propaganda on this pretention.

To read more about the issue, please consult chapter 5 of the ICA brochure.


The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), who came in first in that country's European Parliament elections, wants to get rid of the «hazardous» classification of asbestos cement, made with chrysotile. However, crocidolite and amosite would remain strictly controlled.

The information is contained in an overview of UKIP's Agricultural Policy, which was unveiled last March. It was further relayed by Asbestos Watch, a company who offers science-based advice to commercial and residential property owners and calls for common sense approach to handling building material containing asbestos.

This new policy document reiterates UKIP's long standing position on chrysotile. In 2013, the Party played a key role in the decision made by the European Parliament in 2013 to reject the Hughes resolution, supported by the ban asbestos lobby. Among others, the resolution called for the removal of all asbestos containing material in use within Europe. Asbestos Watch estimates that this measure alone would have cost the UK farming industry more than 10 billion dollars in remedial costs.


Zimbabwe's economy stands to benefit from an estimated 180 million dollar boost as the country gets ready to reopen its Shabanie and Mashaba chrysotile mines.

The announcement was made in Harare by the Industry and Commerce Minister, Michael Bimha, during the launch of the government's Zimbabwe Chrysotile Position Paper on May 29th. The document, which represents the national policy on mining, value-addition and handling of chrysotile, follows extensive consultation held by the National Chrysotile Task Force with the private sector, asbestos industry and labour. It is expected to be endorsed shortly. In his declaration, the Minister also reiterated Zimbabwe's determination to fight against the inclusion of chrysotile in Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention.

The mines were closed in 2004, after the government took over their ownership. It is estimated that the Zimbabwe industry could produce 180 000 metric tonne of chrysotile yearly, most of which would be exported. At its peak, it employed about 5 000 workers.


For the first time since the approbation of the Hugues Report by the European Parliament in March 2013, the European Commission (EC) has unequivocally stated that the screening and decontamination of public buildings containing asbestos is not of its competence and that it remains the Member States' sole responsibility.

In conformity with the EC's 2009 directive, the strongly worded declaration also reiterated the responsibility of employers in carrying risk assessments and ensuring that exposure is below the EC sanctioned limit value of 0.1 fibres per cm3 as an eight-hour-time-weighted average. It was issued, officially and on behalf of the EC, by the Commissioner for Social Affairs in response to a parliamentary question regarding the implementation of EU legal requirements on asbestos in Portuguese public buildings.

The European Trade Unions and the anti-asbestos campaigners have been insistently arguing, for many years, that EC should promote a pan-European programme to remove asbestos in place in Europe. The leitmotiv of the Hughes Report was, precisely, to have an "institutional weapon" - a resolution of the European Parliament- for the purposes of those groups.


A new brochure published by the International Chrysotile Association (ICA) denounces the way World Health Organization (WHO) activists run counter to the World Health Assembly's 2007 decision regarding the safe use of chrysotile. It also brings together an impressive collection of peer-reviewed scientific papers that address all key issues related to biological response to exposure to amphibole and chrysotile fibers, risks associated with the use of substitutes and conditions for a safe, controlled use of chrysotile.

The first part of the brochure exposes the wide chasm between the WHO's Director for Public Health and Environment, Maria Neira, public statements and the official position adopted by the Organization's governing body, the WHA, on chrysotile fibres and the Global Action Plan to eliminate asbestos-related diseases. In the second part, readers will find abstracts summing up essential findings on the complex subset of issues pertaining to the use of chrysotile and useful sources for further reading.

Concerns repeatedly expressed by numerous interested parties with regards to WHO public official's activism have not been answered. With this brochure, the ICA sets the record straight, and clearly indicates the correct way to respect WHA guidelines. It also provides ample, science-based explanations of why this should be the only, reasonable approach to this essential matter.

The brochure can be found on the ICA website by Clicking here.
To receive a paper copy, contact


Alliance Magnesium, a Canadian company, is reinventing the future of asbestos mining residue.

For the automotive and the aerospace industries, reducing the weight of vehicles and equipment covered by mandatory goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is the key to a greener and profitable future. Lightweight magnesium plays a central role in their efforts: most experts predict demand will grow consistently in the foreseeable future.

Decades of chrysotile-asbestos mining in Quebec generated huge tailings of serpentine rock with a 23.3% magnesium metal content. Alliance developed a patent-pending extraction technology, based on an electrolytic clean-tech approach which innovates on current archaic and energy intensive methods used by most magnesium producers, essentially located in China. Its source of raw material is located in Quebec, near existing infrastructure, with relatively inexpensive energy supply.

A few weeks ago, Alliance presented its business model to highly interested representatives of major players of the auto industry and material suppliers at the Global Light Weight Materials event that was held in London. It plans to invest a total of $535 million to build a full-scale magnesium metal production plant with a production capacity of 50,000 tons/year and hopes to become a key global source of magnesium production by 2015-2016.


In a remarkable decision made public earlier this week, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has proposed to extend its authorization for the use of chrysotile in the production of diaphragms used in the electrolysis process by European chlorine industry firms until December 31 2025.

This measure confirms what the ICA and its members have been constantly saying: safe, controlled use of chrysotile is indeed possible. For some businesses, it represents the best possible option.

While all asbestos fibers have been banned in the 28 countries of the EU, the chlorine industry still holds an exemption which allows the use of diaphragms containing chrysotile for existing electrolysis installations until they reach the end of their service life or until suitable asbestos-free substitutes become available. Currently, two EU companies, AarhusKarlslamn Sweden AB (AAK) and Dow Deutschland Anlagengesellschaft mbH (Dow), with two different electrolysis processes, are using chrysotile. The first was granted a company specific exemption by the Swedish government while in Germany, the exemption is national.

In January 2013, the European Commission (EC) requested the ECHA to prepare a dossier with a view of prohibiting the marketing and use of diaphragms containing chrysotile. ECHA chose instead to propose an extension of the exemption until the end of 2025.

The ECHA Report is based on extensive consultations with the two companies and scrupulous examination of their processes. It confirms that the design processes and personal protective equipment used by AAK and Dow minimize the risk of worker exposure to almost inexistent levels. In doing so, it also validates ICA's long-standing arguments that hazards associated with chrysotile use in industrial processes can be managed to a point of negligible risk.


At long last, the World Health Organization (WHO) is turning the spotlight on one of the real problems threatening our collective future. A few days ago, it revealed that its estimates suggest that 7 million people died prematurely due to air pollution in 2012 alone.

In comparison, the WHO's Director for Public Health and Environment had mentioned in an interview aired last February that slightly more than 100 000 deaths worldwide could be linked to asbestos exposure, over an unspecified number of years.

Already in 1986 WHO had stated that The risk of mesothelioma and lung cancer, attributable to asbestos exposure in the general population, is undetectably low; the risk for asbestosis is practically nil" . ( Environ. Health Criteria #53, 1986, WHO, Geneva).

In the face of its own evidence, one can only hope the WHO will stop bowing to pressure from strident lobby groups and devote its energies to addressing the real issues affecting millions of people around the world.


Despite the anti-asbestos lobby that will never stop its crusade against asbestos, the European Commission has announced no plan to promote additional health management models for areas where people have an increased risk of being exposed to hazardous substances.

Following a question raised in February by a member of the European Parliament, the EC also reiterated in a non-equivocal, written answer, that member States are responsible for ensuring correct implementation of European legislation and directives concerning the monitoring and use of potentially hazardous substances such as asbestos. In its answer, the Commission also listed the numerous and detailed actions it has undertaken over the past 25 years in order to clarify requirements for the protection of workers potentially


The results of a meta study on rare thoracic cancers, supported by the European Commission and published in 2012 in the European Journal of Cancer, show that while mesothelioma cancer incidence rates are still expected to be high in the upcoming decades, the magnitude of recent trends in younger men is generally lower than those estimated for older men. Even more important, the study, drawing data from other research published in the past decade, confirms that a deceleration has started in some countries, notably in France and Great Britain.

This important information validates the impact of the ban many years ago of amphibole fibers and asbestos flocking practices as well as the efficiency of the various rules and regulations that currently signpost the many uses of chrysotile. It also confirms the important role national and regional cancer registries can play in monitoring the positive impact of those regulatory frameworks.


Dr. Maria Neira, director of WHO's Public Health and Environment was interviewed recently (February 2, 2014) and the interview was posted on YouTube.

What have we learned exactly from this 55-minute interview?

In fact, Dr. Neira restated the WHO's position on the need to eliminate asbestos-related diseases, a goal no one should be against. She insisted that in order to reach that goal, there is only one solution: the ban of all varieties of asbestos, including chrysotile. During the interview, Dr. Neira stated that this position and recommendations (ban all future uses of all varieties) was based on a review of evidence gathered by the IARC last analysis, which concluded that all types of asbestos can induce cancers, in particular lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Questioned on what was the “evidence-basis” to support WHO’s position, she indicated that WHO had some evidence that all fiber types were carcinogenic, and that this “evidence” was mainly from the IARC recent review.

On the WHO’S Global Action Plan, she was questioned also to explain the meaning of the phrase “… bearing in mind a differentiated approach to regulating its various forms”, she replied that this differentiated approach was “legalistic”, i.e. to be used at the country level, but for the WHO’s point of view, all forms of asbestos are carcinogenic, period.

The rest of this 55-minute interview was the usual and expected propaganda of the WHO in its efforts to reach a global ban of the use of all types of asbestos.

Dr. Neira’s simplistic appreciation of the need for a differentiated approach to regulate its various forms as “legalistic” was an admission that the scientific consensus on the vast difference in health risk from the amphibole forms (crocidolite and amosite) and chrysotile should be discarded in the face of evidence provided by IARC that all forms of asbestos are carcinogenic.

First, the evidence that there is an enormous difference in risk between the amphiboles and chrysotile was illustrated in a publication in 2000 by Hodgson and Darnton (Hodgson JT and Darnton A. The Quantitative Risks of Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer in Relation to Asbestos. Ann. Occup. Hyg. 2000, 44(8): 565-601). From their meta-analysis, Hodgson and Darnton estimated the specific risk for lung cancer and mesothelioma as follows :
For lung cancer : 1 :10 :50 respectively for chrysotile, amosite and crocidolite.
For mesothelioma : 1: 100: 300 respectively for chrysotile, amosite and crocidolite.

There is thus a science-based evidence for differentiating between chrysotile and the amphiboles. It is not “legalistic” as Dr. Neira would have it.

The second point (all forms of asbestos are carcinogenic) is equally important: What is important is to fully understand the true meaning of the IARC classification of human carcinogens. It should be understood, as the IARC mentions in the “Preamble” to its classification, that the classification is about “hazard”, not about “risk”. A hazard is about the possibility of adverse health effects when exposure intensity and duration reach high enough levels to induce harm. Risk is determined by the intensity above which harm will be manifest.

In the IARC classification of carcinogens, there are presently some hundred substances, mixtures and activities listed as “human carcinogens”. Surely, IARC has never indicated that all these substances, mixtures and activities should be banned globally. IARC’s classification of these “hazards” must be controlled in order for the “risk” to be undetectably low, and practically inexistent.

While the end of the use of amphiboles over the last decade is certainly welcome in terms of risk to workers and the general population, the safe use of chrysotile has been shown to be a reality when mandated maximum exposure levels are observed. Here are a few examples showing that the safe use of chrysotile is not only possible, but a reality:

Weill, H., Hughes, J. and Waggenspack, C. (1979). Influence of dose and fibre type on respiratory malignancy risk in asbestos cement manufacturing. American Review of Respiratory Disease 120(2): 345-354.
An investigation on 5,645 asbestos-cement manufacturing workers, showing no raised mortality resulting from exposure for 20 years to chrysotile asbestos at exposure levels equal to or less than 100 MPPCF.years (corresponding to approximately 15 fibres/ml.years).
The authors state:"...However, the demonstration that low cumulative and short-term exposures did not produce a detectable excess risk for respiratory malignancy may be of assistance in the development of regulatory policy, because a scientifically defensible position based on these data is that there are low degrees of exposure not associated with a demonstrable excess risk".

Thomas, H.F., Benjamin, I.T., Elwood, P.C. and Sweetnam, P.M. (1982). Further follow-up study of workers from an asbestos cement factory. British Journal of Industrial Medicine 39(3):273-276.
In an asbestos-cement factory using chrysotile only, 1,970 workers were traced, and their mortality experience was examined. There was no appreciably raised standardised mortality ratio (SMR) for the causes of death investigated, including all causes, all neoplasms, cancer of the lung and pleura, and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. The authors indicate: "Thus the general results of this mortality survey suggest that the population of the chrysotile asbestos-cement factory studied are not at any excess risk in terms of total mortality, all cancer mortality, cancers of the lung and bronchus, or gastrointestinal cancers".

Gardner, M.J., Winter, P.D., Pannett, B. and Powell, C.A. (1986). Follow up study of workers manufacturing chrysotile asbestos cement products. British Journal of Industrial Medicine 43:726-732.
A cohort study carried out on 2,167 subjects employed between 1941 and 1983. No excess of lung cancers or other asbestos-related excess death is reported, at mean fibre concentrations below 1 f/ml, although higher levels had probably occurred in certain areas of the asbestos-cement factory.

Ohlson, C.-G. and Hogstedt, C. (1985). Lung cancer among asbestos cement workers. A Swedish cohort study and a review. British Journal of Industrial Medicine 42(6):397-402.
A cohort study of 1,176 A/C workers in a Swedish plant using chrysotile asbestos showing no excess related mortality at exposures of about 10-20 fibres/ml.years.

L. Sichletidis D. Chloros D. Spyratos A.-B. Haidich I. Fourkiotou M. Kakoura, D. Patakas (2008) Mortality from occupational Exposure to Relatively Pure Chrysotile : A 39-Year Study. Respiration, Published Online: October 9, 2008.
An investigation covering a span of almost 40 years on the mortality rate among workers exposed to relatively pure chrysotile in an asbestos cement factory that opened in 1968 in Greece. The factory used approximately 2,000 tonnes of chrysotile annualy until 2005. Fiber concentration was measured regularly, and was always below permissible levels. Date and cause of death were recorded among all active and retired workers.

No case of mesothelioma was reported. Overall mortality rate was significantly lower than that of the Greek general population. Conclusions of the authors : “Occupational exposure to relatively pure chrysotile within permissible levels was not associated with a significant increase in lung cancer or with mesothelioma.

Berry, G. and Newhouse, M.L. (1983). Mortality of workers manufacturing friction materials using asbestos. British Journal of Industrial Medicine 40(1): 1-7.
A mortality (1942-1980) study carried out in a factory producing friction materials, using almost exclusively chrysotile. Compared with national death rates, there were no detectable excess of deaths due to lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, or other cancers. The exposure levels were low, with only 5% of men accumulating 100 fibre-years/ml. The authors state: “The experience at this factory over a 40-year period showed that chrysotile asbestos was processed with no detectable excess mortality.

Newhouse, M.L. and Sullivan, K.R. (1989). A mortality study of workers manufacturing friction materials: 1941-86. British Journal of Industrial Medicine 46(3):176-179.
The study referred to in the preceding slide has been extended by seven years. The authors confirm that there was no excess of deaths from lung cancer or other asbestos related tumours, or from chronic respiratory disease. After 1950, hygienic control was progressively improved at this factory, and from 1970, levels of asbestos have not exceeded 0.5-1.0 f/ml. The authors conclude: “It is concluded that with good environmental control, chrysotile asbestos may be used in manufacture without causing excess mortality.

Liddell FDK, McDonald JC and McDonald A. Ann. Occup. Hyg. 41:13-35 (1997)
This study is undoubtedly the largest cohort of asbestos workers ever studied and followed for the longest period is that of the miners and millers of the chrysotile mines in Québec. The cohort, which was established in 1966, comprises some 11,000 workers born between 1891-1920 and has been followed ever since. The authors have updated their study several times, with a total of 9,780 men traced into 1992. Results from exposures below 300 mpcf x years, roughly equivalent to 900 fibres/ml x years - or, say, 45 fibres/ml for 20 years - lead the authors to conclude: “Thus it is concluded from the point of view of mortality that exposure in this industry to less than 300 mpcf.years has been essentially innocuous.

Paustenbach D.J., Finley B.L., Lu E.T., Brorby G.P., and Sheehan P.J. (2004). Environmental and occupational health hazards associated with the presence of asbestos in brake linings and pads (1900 to present): A ‘state-of-the-art review’. J Toxicol Environ Health, Part B 7 : 33-110
This publication is a “state-of-the-art” review of the risk associated with the use of asbestos in the manufacture of friction materials and their use in the general automotive service industries. This review, covering studies and observations published over several decades, demonstrate that in general, exposures have been minimal and did not show any demonstrable risk when chrysotile was used, and that the relatively few instances of increased health risks were always associated with the use of amphiboles.

Yarborough C.M. (2006). Chrysotile as a Cause of Mesothelioma : An Assessment Based on Epidemiology. Critical Reviews in Toxicology 36: 165-187 This is an extensive review of the epidemiological cohort studies undertaken to evaluate the extent of the evidence related to free chrysotile fibers, with particular attention to confounding by other fiber types, job exposure concentrations, and consistency of findings. This review of 71 asbestos cohorts exposed to free asbestos fibers does not support the hypothesis that chrysotile, uncontaminated by amphibolic substances, causes mesothelioma.

DJ Paustenbach, BL Finley, ET Lu, GP Brorby, PJ Sheehan (2004)
Environmental and occupational health hazards associated with the presence of asbestos in brake linings and pads (1900 to present): A "state-of-the-art" review Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part B - Critical Reviews, 2004, Vol 7, Iss 1, pp 33-110

In this review, the authors covered the post-1974 time period, when most of the information on exposure of brake mechanics to airborne asbestos during brake repair was gathered, primarily from a series of sampling surveys conducted by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health in the United States. These surveys indicated that the time-weighted average asbestos concentrations (about 1-6 h in duration) during brake servicing were between 0.004 and 0.28 fibers per cubic centimeter, and the mean time-weighted average concentration was about 0.05 fibers per cubic centimeter. The data also showed that brake mechanics were not exposed to time-weighted average concentrations above workplace exposure limits in effect at the time of the study.

From 1975 to 2002, more than 25 epidemiology studies were conducted examining the risks of asbestos-related diseases in brake mechanics. These studies clearly indicated that brake mechanics were not at increased risk of adverse health effects due to exposure to asbestos. Specifically, the studies found no increased risk of mesothelioma or asbestosis in brake mechanics, and no evidence that lung cancer in this occupational group can be attributed to exposure to asbestos during brake repair.

Finally, with regard to the risk for the general population, the following quote is of interest :
"The risk of mesothelioma and lung cancer, attributable to asbestos exposure in the general population, is undetectably low; the risk for asbestosis is practically nil" . ( Environ. Health Criteria #53, 1986, WHO, Geneva)


(disponible en anglais seulement)

After years of abuse, some light is finally being shed on the irregularities that allow litigation lawyers representing alleged asbestos victims to win their day in court.

In its February 8-9 2014 edition, the Wall Street Journal drew the attention on very troubling facts. New to asbestos cases, a suspicious US North Carolina judge allowed discovery in 15 cases Garlock Sealing Technologies, a gasket maker forced into bankruptcy in 2010, had already settled. He found that exposure evidence had been withheld in all of them.

Failing to disclose is a weapon of choice for lawyers who milk trusts by hiding their clients' exposure to other sources of asbestos, filing parallel claims based on contradictory evidence and misrepresenting evidence. No wonder asbestos-related claims continue to rise even though the number mesothelioma cases is waning: according to the National Cancer Institute the incidence of mesothelioma cancer in the US fell 22% between 1992 and 2009, to 0.96 new cases per 100 000.

Will this deluge of bogus claims ever end? As journalistic investigations and judicial enquiries uncover an ever-growing number of frauds, one can only hope the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act (FACT) passed last year by the Congress will also be adopted by the Senate in 2014. Requiring the more than 40 trusts currently active in the US to publish quarterly reports disclosing the name of claimants and payouts would go a long way towards reducing - if not eliminating altogether - litigation lawyers' greedy take on money put aside for the real victims of asbestos.

Busting the asbestos racket should be a goal shared by all who claim to have those victim's best interests at heart. Similar shameful scams have been publicly denounced before. These new revelations make the anti-asbestos lobby and the powerful litigation business' stubborn silence on these matter even more remarkable.


(disponible en anglais seulement)

Twenty years after establishing bankruptcy trusts to help asbestos victims, the American Congress is now trying to stop the plaintiffs bar from bilking the trusts with fraudulent claims.
Two weeks ago, the Congress passed the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act (FACT), which would require asbestos trusts in the United States to file quarterly reports about the payouts they make and who receives them.
Since the early 2000's, the overwhelming majority of claims have been filed on behalf of plaintiffs who were completely asymptomatic. These claimants may have had some marker of exposure, but are not now and never will be afflicted by disease.

Companies sued into bankruptcy often created trusts to fund compensations for current and future asbestos victims. Trusts don't share claims data with each other or with the courts, which means that the plaintiffs bar can file claims with many trusts on behalf of the same client.

In an article published on Wednesday, November 13, the Wall Street Journal exposed how the approximately 60 asbestos trusts established in the United States, which together manage some $36 billion dollars, are being looted. In particular, it highlights the role played by prominent law firms who take advantage of a weak legislative environment.
The Journal explains how «trial lawyers get contingency fee payouts from litigation while also taking cuts on the thousand of claims they simultaneously run through trusts». It describes how in 2006, an Ohio judge had discovered a law firm had filed claims to trusts arguing that asbestos caused its client's mesothelioma, while suing a cigarette company for causing the same cancer. The firm was subsequently barred from practicing in Ohio. In March, the Journal had reported that the Johns Manville trust had paid $26,250 to a claimant invented by a law-firm employee. It also found that more than 2,000 applicants to the Manville trust claimed to have been exposed to asbestos working in industrial jobs before they were 12 years old. According to the Journal, Manville, who went bankrupt more than 30 years ago, still receives some 85 claims a day.

The FACT act is the first federal asbestos reform since 1994. By requiring trusts to file quarterly reports with bankruptcy courts that give the names of claimants and their payouts, it will help all parties involved to sort legitimate and fraudulent claims. Opponents argue it will discourage legitimate claims. In truth, the legislation prohibits the release of confidential medical details, Social Security numbers or other sensitive information protected in the normal course of bankruptcy.
Introduced last March, the FACT will now go to the Senate for consideration. While it could still be blocked, its vote by the House sends an important signal that Congress wants to stop the legal fraud its trusts made possible, whose intention was to compensate legitimate victims, not enrich lawyers.

Critical Reviews in Toxicology

This review provides a basis for substantiating both kinetically and pathologically the differences between chrysotile and amphibole asbestos. Chrysotile, which is rapidly attacked by the acid environment of the macrophage, falls apart in the lung into short fibers and particles, while the amphibole asbestos persist creating a response to the fibrous structure of this mineral. [...]
(disponible en anglais seulement)
Télécharger le document [.pdf]

Convention de Rotterdam

After three frustated attempts, where consensus has not been reached (2006, 2008 and 2011), the 150 Parties of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, will again deal with the inclusion of chrysotile in the Prior Informed Consent List (PIC List), during this Conference of the Parties (COP6) in Geneva (April 28 – May 11, 2013). There is no new scientific evidence justifying a change in the position taken before.
(disponible en anglais seulement)
Télécharger le document [.pdf]

Bulletin de L'Institut du Chrysotile

Pour l'utilisation sécuritaire et responsable du chrysotile.
Volume 10, Numéro 1, Novembre 2011.
Télécharger le document [.pdf]

Bulletin de L'Institut du Chrysotile

Pour l'utilisation sécuritaire et responsable du chrysotile.
Volume 9, Numéro 2, Novembre 2010.
Télécharger le document [.pdf]

Décision historique de la Cour suprême de l'Inde

Dans une décision d’une grande importance rendue le 21 janvier dernier, la Cour suprême de l’Inde a refusé la demande de bannir l’amiante, comme le lui demandait une ONG liée au mouvement anti-amiante. La Cour a plutôt ordonné au gouvernement du pays et à ceux des États de mieux réglementer l’utilisation de l’amiante.
Télécharger le document [.pdf]

Il nous fait plaisir de soumettre à votre attention l’extrait d’un article récent (2008) intitulé :

« La théorie de la causalité à un degré d’exposition si minime soit-il : base peu valable d’une causalité de l’amiante selon des témoignages d’experts ».
(Notre traduction de: The “any exposure” theory:
An unsound basis for asbestos causation 
and expert testimony).

Communiqués de presse

Objet: Regroupement de partenaires en faveur de la fibre chrysotile.
Pour l'usage sécuritaire, responsable et contrôlé de la fibre chrysotile. (PDF)

Lettre de l'Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Chaudière-Applaches

Objet: Très faible risques à la santé en lien avec la présence de fibres d'amiante dans l'air à Thetford Mines.
Document Francais/Anglais


Nous vous invitons de lire le dernier Bulletin de l’Institut pour le suivi et conclusions des réunions de la Convention de Rotterdam, tenues en octobre 2008, à Rome, Italie.
Lire le bulletin >>

Convention de Rotterdam COP IV – Rome, Italie (27-31 octobre 2008)

La quatrième conférence des parties (COP 4) à la Convention de Rotterdam sur la procédure de consentement préalable en connaissance de cause (PIC) applicable dans le cas de certains produits chimiques et pesticides dangereux qui font l'objet du commerce international se tiendra à Rome, en Italie, du 27 au 31 octobre 2008. Le secrétariat de la Convention a publié tous les renseignements pertinents au cours des dernières semaines.

Le chrysotile à Thetford : une menace pour la santé publique ?

Un article alarmiste dans La Presse en oublie des grands bouts !


Conférence internationale sur le chrysotile - Compte rendu

C’est un grand plaisir pour l’Institut du chrysotile de rendre publiques les présentations de la Conférence internationale sur le chrysotile, qui s’est tenue à Montréal les 23 et 24 mai dernier.

Conférence internationale sur le chrysotile

Le chrysotile à un point tournant – bilan et perspectives scientifiques
23 et 24 mai 2006, Hôtel Le Reine Elizabeth, Montréal, Québec, Canada.

Silicosis Claims Split the Plaintiffs Bar

The so-called phantom epidemic of silicosis has become a hot potato for the plaintiffs bar.

Chrysotile proven to be far less hazardous
Conclusive results from a study by international scientists

August 5, 2005. To demonstrate, proof in hand, that chrysotile can be used safely and responsibly, the ICA released the results of studies by teams of leading international specialists several months ago.

Based on new evidence
Chrysotile is entitled to fair and balanced treatment

August 5, 2005. Based on results obtained in many recent studies, ICA feels that chrysotile is entitled to fair and balanced treatment, as it is known today that safe and responsible use is effective and a reality in many countries of the world.

Article disponible: 

Non-malignant consequences of decreasing asbestos exposure in the Brazil chrysotile mines and mills - Occupational Environmental Medicine, June 2005


Le triomphe du bon sens sur la démagogie

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