Countries with the biggest interest in the mining of chrysotile asbestos succeeded last week in keeping the mineral off the Rotterdam Convention’s list of hazardous substances.
According to an article in the Irish Times and other newspapers, a total of seven countries voted against white asbestos’ inclusion on the list. Those countries included at least a few that still mine chrysotile including Russia and Zimbabwe. Others that joined them included Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, India, and Vietnam.
Signed in 1998 and put into force in 2004, the convention establishes the need for “prior informed consent procedure” for hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade. This includes proper labeling and directions on safe handling for the substances included on the list.
Of the six forms of asbestos known to man, five are already on the convention’s list, but chrysotile remains in the clear. For years, it was Canada that rallied to keep it off the list, seeking to protect that country’s controversial asbestos industry, which included huge mines in the province of Quebec. Those mines are no longer in operation, closed by a new government that recognized the dangers of the mineral.
“This is a disaster and a human tragedy,” said Kathleen Ruff of the Rotterdam Convention Alliance. “The convention has been used to protect industry profits rather than public health, and as a result risks becoming a farce.”
Others who were dismayed at their inability to place chrysotile on the list expressed the fact that it seemed the convention, held in Geneva, Switzerland, was “hijacked” by the asbestos industry, with members of the industry rallying to avoid the implementation of health and environmental safeguards, which could seriously affect their bottom line.
Chrysotile asbestos was used in hundreds of products for decades, including many household items like hair dryers and ironing board covers. While the material is banned in most developed countries, it’s exported to many Second- and Third-World countries and often used irresponsibly, resulting in increased cases of asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma.
Read more: http://www.mesothelioma.com/news/2013/05/chrysotile-kept-off-rotterdam-convention-list.htm#ixzz2TYXAjxYr
Cliveden House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It’s been a busy few days, work has been hectic and has involved a few days in Birmingham, not the most glamorous of destinations. Whilst there the weather was terrible , at one point while trying to get a taxi gale force winds were nearly blowing me over, followed closely by horizontal rain. Lovely!!
Think I was a bit to keen to pack away all my winter clothing, I had to get my winter coat back out this week, but so far I have resisted the return of the woolly tights. Although the heating is back on, much to the cats delight.
We spent the weekend visiting Cliveden House, which was lovely. The house itself is now very smart private hotel, but the grounds are open and owned by the National Trust. As well as some magnificant yellow tulips there is a beautiful woodland walk that sweeps down to the Thames. Of course what goes down also has to come back up – up 173 steps in fact . We were both huffing and puffing after that.
This weekend we had hoped to manage to get out and about , so hopefully it won’t be too wet. It makes such a difference to Ray when the weather is better, warmer weather is easier for him to breathe and we both get such a boost from some sunshine.
Plans are also underway for our birthdays in August, there are of course hospital visits and scans before then , so plans are a bit loose. We have a date and that is about it so far, still at least it is a start
This week has been busy with quite a few evenings out – Monday in particular was a special event as we went to the opera to see the opening night of La Boheme. This was the same opera we had booked in August 2010 to see in January 2011. These plans of course went completely out of the window when Ray was diagnosed with meso in Nov 2010 when somehow thinking of seeing an opera when someone dies of a lung disease doesn’t seem that appealing.
The day we were booked to see La Boheme, Ray was in surgery and we were both still trying to comes to terms with the diagnosis.
We got a credit note on the tickets and used them up on a different opera, but this week we went back to see the original – so not really an anniversary time wise, but definitely not something I ever thought we would do together back in January 2011.
English: Poster for the 1896 production for Puccini’s La bohème (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Meanwhile the sun is shining and it looks as though we are all going to be having a beautiful bank holiday.
Like Oxford Linda, I was contacted by Susan Vento whose husband Bruce – a serving congressman for the state of Minnesota – died as a result of mesothelioma. Susan is a spokesperson for the Asbestos Cancer Victims Rights Campaign (ACVRC).
Recently in the states, asbestos companies have been using their political influence to introduce a new bill called “Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act” or FACT for short.
ACVRC is justifiably concerned that this act will delay and, in some cases, deny justice and badly needed compensation to people suffering from asbestos-related diseases. It has launched a campaign to fight and defeat this unfair legislation.
Many thanks to Linda for supplying the text and letting us know how you can help:
1. Sign the petition to stop legislation that threatens cancer victims. Go to http://cancervictimsrights.org/take-action/sign-the-petition/ and follow the instructions to sign the petition at the bottom of the page. Every signature matters!
2. Spread the word by sharing today’s post with others who are, or might be, affected by this issue.
The end of winter is now official at my house, with sweaters and wooly tights confined to storage and last year’s spring and summer dresses taken out from hiding, hopefully, they will see a bit more wear this year than last. I may have been a bit too keen as I see a frost and return to cooler weather is now forecast for the weekend.
Ray seems to be busy cleaning cars at the moment, as next doors loft conversion and landscaping continues. He has a hire car whilst his is in for service and came home to find it covered in a light dusting of cement. Unfortunately this got even worse as there was just enough of a dew overnight to help it set, so the car now has a thin cement crust in place, which needs careful cleaning so as not to scratch the paintwork- you can imagine how happy this has made him!
Having packed away my winter coats have discovered I gave away last years raincoat to charity and never got round to replacing so I see a shopping trip this week ( I refuse to wear a heavy winter coat again until October)
Thoughts are with lots of fellow warriers, good news from Tess who is in the middle of chemo, whilst Linda and Steve sound as though they have had a great time in Spain and Jan is enjoying the warmth on her cruise More difficult times over in Kent though, here’s hoping some trial options or treatment are out there for Mavis, who is such an inspiration too so many, would be good if you could find us the trial that works for everyone please!
The link between chrysotile asbestos and illnesses such as mesothelioma will be high on the agenda when the sixth UN Rotterdam Convention meets in Geneva, Switzerland in late April.
The group, made up of representatives from around the world, will be considering whether or not chrysotile or white asbestos will finally be added to the list of Controlled Hazardous Substances. In order to include chrysotile asbestos on the list, the vote of all represented countries must be unanimous. In the past, countries that still export, import or use asbestos, including Canada, Brazil, Russia and India, have worked to keep chrysotile off the toxic list. India withdrew its objection in 2011, but Canada has held its ground.
According to an article in The Lancet, chrysotile asbestos is the only type still produced and accounts for more than 95% of all asbestos mined. Despite the mesothelioma risk, Canada, Russia and several other countries continue to maintain multi-billion dollar asbestos industries, selling it primarily to underdeveloped countries such as Bangladesh where regulations may be lax or nonexistent.
Although news reports in advance of the Rotterdam Convention, which runs from April 28 to May 10, suggest that Canada may finally stop opposing chrysotile’s addition to the toxic list, several other major players still oppose it. In a joint statement released in February, the WHO and the International Agency for Research on Cancer stated that all forms of asbestos are carcinogenic and called for an end to all uses of asbestos
The last few days have been busy as we make sure we enjoy the sunshine, lots of walks out and about over the weekend, lots of daffodils but the trees are still really bare so that it looks more like February. We came across a lovely Italian restaurant in a nearby village and stopped for an impromptu lunch, isn”t is extra special when you get an unexpected treat!
More mundane things have seen cars taken in for service, new tyres sorted and various insurances sorted out. Feeling suitably optimistic and taking a leaf out of Aussie Steve’s book we have also looked at improving the house. The back garden has always been a bit of a pain because of it’s situation it’s either too windy to sit in or too hot when you actually do get some good weather. Before diagnosis there were plans for an improved patio, pergola and new planting to provide some protection from the wind.
This all went totally off the cards with the meso diagnosis, then last year the weather was so awful there was no point . This year inspired by the warm weather the plans have resurfaced and builders contacted. The next scan is July but he has his determined head on that why not go ahead with the plans now and get the benefit.