India along with a handful of countries including Russia, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Cuba once again blocked the listing of Chrysotile Asbestos in the Prior Informed Consent list (PIC) at a UN convention meeting currently underway in Geneva, using bogus science and advocating “controlled use”. We would like to point out that “Controlled” or “safe” use of all varieties of asbestos including Chrysotile is a “myth” and that all major independent scientific bodies including the WHO and ILO have categorically stated that Chrysotile (white) asbestos cannot be safely used. Mere listing of chrysotile in the PIC list does not constitute a trade ban or ban on use but it helps the importing country to get information regarding the hazardous effects of the chemical and empowers them to take an informed decision. The Indian delegation should be directed to act with the knowledge that listing chrysotile asbestos under the Convention does not constitute a trade ban on chrysotile asbestos.
More than 800 victims of Chrysotile asbestos related disorders have been diagnosed by independent doctors across the country. One of these victims has also travelled to Geneva to participate in the conference and urged the delegates to allow the listing.