Canada’s At It Again:This Time, Blocking the Inclusion of Asbestos on a UN List of Hazardous Materials

June 24, 2011  |  Mesothelioma

This week, a United Nations summit met in Switzerland. Interestingly, asbestos was a hot button issue at the summit, as the UN was considering listing chrysotile asbestos in the Rotterdam Convention. Putting asbestos on the list would put stronger restrictions on the material and would force exporters of asbestos(ex: Canada) to warn countries receiving the asbestos about any health hazards. Then, a country could refuse to accept the material if they feel that it could not be safely handled in their country.

After refusing to say a word on the issue at home or during the early days of the summit, Canada chose to block the inclusion of asbestos on the list.

They were the lone voice of opposition.

Even Vietnam, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, who initially opposed the listing, switched their positions after India (who, ironically enough, imports a lot of Canada’s asbestos) announced their support for the listing.

This is the third time that Canada has blocked the inclusion of asbestos on the list.

The Ottawa Citizen called the move “an embarrassment” to all Canadians.

We just want to know: What gives, Canada?

The irony is that asbestos is highly regulated in Canada and the Canadian government is spending millions to remove it from public buildings, including the Prime Minister’s residence. If asbestos is safe, as the government has stated, then why the big removal campaign?

We have to agree with a Canadian political group that the called the country’s move in Switzerland “the ultimate in hypocrisy.”

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