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
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.
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
At last some good weather, we were out and about over the weekend making the most of the spring sunshine. We managed a three mile walk through the fields, it was meant to be four miles but I was in charge of the navigation so we seemed to cut a bit off at one corner. Unfortunately that meant we got to the pub quicker than expected – shame!
The pub was a great find The Leather Bottle in Mattingley, full of charm, great food and lovely service. Despite a yummy chicken pie I just about squeezed in a dessert, probably needed that four mile walk after all.
Not only is spring starting out in the countryside, it is definitely afoot in my garden. Though rather confusingly my tulips are now in full bloom whilst my daffodils are still in bud and don’t look as though they are anywhere near flowering.
There has been non stop flirting going on for the past few weeks, but it now looks as though the blackbirds, sparrows and wren have settled down in my ivy hedgerow again. There is certainly a lot of flying in and out and a great deal of fussing going on. It is very well protected form cats and they all raised successful nests last year.
Next door developers are due to start shortly so there is going to be a lot of noise and dust. The root of the ivy is next door so I am hoping they don’t come in and destroy it. Not only will it leave my garden exposed there’s a chance it will destroy the protection the nests currently have from the elements and predators.
Back from a hectic few days in Paris, when we definitely made the most of the trip. We had a guidebook with suggested walks, the idea was you picked a couple, we managed to do most of them. Walking back from the train station at the end of our journey was so sore on my feet, I could just about manage slippers for the next two days.
Ray was in fact the healthier of the two of us as I had a terrible cold, luckily he hasn’t picked it up. Am beginning to think he now has a super duper immune system, as he hasn’t picked up one of my colds so far this year- long may that last.
He even managed the steps up to Montmartre without a break, with me wheezing along behind in his wake.
Paris was fantastic, cold but sunny, so it had a touch more Spring about it than the UK. I loved all the little shops and the architecture. We stopped off for various aperitifs and snacks on our journey round the sights. The hotel was lovely, although staffed by very self assured , well dressed people, so I felt seriously under dressed and scruffy , coming in each time with my bright red nose and tissues escaping from my pocket.
Back now to the first day of summer – ha ha. We decided against walking down to see the boat race as too cold. The good news is Ray is back off the painkillers and no more nose bleeds, so lets hope for some more good days. He has also started taking the PSP- PSK supplement for his immune system that I mentioned a while ago.
Not that I think they are related but today saw a return of the dreaded nosebleeds. The problem is it starts with an ordinary blow of the nose and end up still bleeding intermittently four hours later. At least it has now stopped but it’s horrible while it is happening.
The cold weather doesn’t help, it is so bitter that there is no chance of spending any time outside, the cold air goes straight into the compromised lung. This is because a normal lung contracts when out in the cold air so it can regulate the cold air as it goesin and warm it up slightly, a lung that has been stuck to the chest wall can’t do this properly, so the cold air floods into the lung causing breathlessness and chest pain.
The other side to the cold weather is that the heating is up on full, making the atmosphere drier than normal indoors, which may be contributing to nose bleeds and general levels of snottiness. Shopping plans for a humidifier at the weekend.
This will of course need to be fitted in between the rugby and the grand prix, one of Ray’s original targets was to see Lewis Hamilton win another world championship. Maybe this is the year!
There is a lot of research currently underway in the US on some very old chinese medicines. One in particular that has received attention has been PSK and PSP extracts from Coriolus versicolor, a mushroom traditionally used by Asian healers. Its medicinal effects are as a result of two naturally occurring chemicals, polysaccharide K (PSK) and polysaccharide-peptide (PSP). Studies have been done on both for their effectiveness in treating cancer.
In present day Japan, PSK has been approved by the Japanese government as a way to treat various types of cancer. Japanese patients have used PSK in conjunction with more traditional cancer therapies, such as radiation and chemotherapy. PSP is a newer extract which has only been more recently discovered. Studies are being done in China to determine the effectiveness of PSP. A third extract, verisicolor polysaccharid (VPS), is also sold in supplement form in the United States and is also being studied for its effectiveness.
Sloan kettering one of themajor cancer hospitals in the US even refers to it on thier website. It can’tbe prescribed as it hasn’t passedthe testing necessary for the FDA, however, they have been recommending it to breast cancer patients to take before and during chemotherapy.
Initial studies have been extremely promising regarding the mushroom’s impact on cancer. PSK has been shown to have anti-cancer properties which are effective on both animal and human subjects. In animals, PSK was shown to slow the growth of cancer cells. Although PSK has not been shown to be effective on every type of cancer, it has been shown to be helpful for cancer of the esophagus, stomach, colon and breasts. By using PSK with other conventional cancer treatments, patients had higher survival rates and longer periods of time without the disease.
PSK also boosted the immunity of human subjects when used in conjunction with chemotherapy. It is believed that PSK is also a strong anti-oxidant, and as such it can block free radicals which further damage cells.
It is now being looked at for other cancers such as meso, as part of the ongoing emphasis on immunotherapy.
Here’s hoping some of these chinese medicines start to show potential to help in the meso fight
First part of the scan zone has now been completed- with the scan itself now finished. Not to early a start for a 1045 appointment, although as ever the transport was a bit traumatic. How London underground manages to constantly announce there is a goos service on all lines when you wait 30 mins for tube that is meant to run every 7 minutes is a mystery. Not obviously working on the same definition of “good” as the dictionary.
The delay resulted in an extremely stressed patient rushing late into St Thomas’s for the radioactive isotope injection. For once the compulsory resting period of 90 minutes was quite welcome. He is such an old hand now he was even prepped with his ipod to while away the time.
The scan itself doesnt take to long, although he has been so stiff lately that he needed a bit of help to get out of the machine.
As you can’t eat beforehand , not even acup of tea, step number one after the scan was to eat a banana he had taken with him( ready prepped again- a regular boy scout ) then back for lunch. Now we just need to manage the next few days until Wednesday afternoon when we get the results.
Have found we react to the stress of this time very differently, Ray gets more energised and slightly manic in his activity levels due to all the nervous energy. So he finds it hard to sit still, sleeps very badly etc. On the otherhand, I get more and more lethargic, feel as though every action is being done through treacle and can just about keep my eyes open.
Hopefully we can both get back to our new normal next week.
Having bought his new riding hat Ray has returned to the saddle 32 years later on from his last expedition. He braved the scorn of 12 years old and signed up for a horse riding course at his nearest stables – two lessons later ( and very wobbly legs) the good news is he can still sit down in comfort – the bad news is that’s the only comfortable position. Standing, walking, kneeling, going upstairs, coming downstairs all are accompanied by the same degree of ows and ouches.
He is really enjoying it even with the aches and pains, it’s also been a great way of him getting out and about for some exercise.
He has been allocated a very easy going horse called Dougal on account of his long mane so I am going to start calling him Florence.
Right now his short term target is to be able to get out of the riding school training ring and into the countryside on a hack with other people- for a longer term target I have helpfully suggested Rio 2016!
Unfortunately this is a familiar melody tp meso warriors and their families, the band start tuning up a few weeks out and are in full swing by results time. We have entered the tune up stage, they’re all on stage and about to get playing.
It is very difficult to describe that slow build up of dread, let’s just say waiting for exam results doesn’t come close, that always had that mixture of excitement with the dread, trust me there’s no excitement around scans. Even when the news has been good.
It also makes it very difficult to concentrate on anything else, so work matters start to slide mainly because i start to become incapabable of making a decsion- without an accompanying caveat.
As usual have started tieing myself in knots to keep everything crossed