Selling Cancer: Quebec Greed v. The Truth
We have recently published news reports about the potential reopening of a chrysotile asbestos mine in Asbestos, Quebec, Canada involving major investments from Indian industrial concerns supported by a large loan from the provincial government of Quebec. Those seeking to justify this purely commercial transaction are continuing to recycle the old claims that “controlled use” of asbestos is perfectly safe, even in Third World developing countries. However, over the past century and continuing to the present, no Quebec asbestos manufacturer or mining company, even with the support of the Provincial Government and the scientists and physicians at McGill University, has ever been able to ensure the safety of Canadian workers. How they think that Quebec industry and government will be able to ensure the safety of Asian workers in the future is a mystery.
In light of these developments, it makes sense to take another look at the recent commentary published by the Collegium Ramazzini in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene this past August. The Collegium is the world’s most respected academic society devoted to occupational and environmental medicine and has no business or commercial interests at all. The Collegium’s paper summarizes the current state of scientific knowledge, describes the worldwide use and limitations on use regarding asbestos, and concludes with an unequivocal call “to protect the health of all – now and in future environments – the Collegium Ramazzini again calls on all countries of the world to join in the international endeavor to ban the mining and manufacture of all forms of asbestos.”
The wisdom of the Collegium’s position could not be more obvious. It is far past time for the Government of Quebec to put the health of the world’s workers above preserving a few local jobs and making a few Canadian and Indian businessmen even wealthier than they already are.