x
Print This Page

Asbestos: Paradis reiterates his support

Le Soleil (April 11, 2009)
English translation follows (En Français)

paradis1

Reacting to the publication of a report by Health Canada (rapport en Français ici) summarizing the work of a group of experts on chrysotile asbestos, the federal minister of Public Works, Christian Paradis, reiterated yesterday the support of his government for the safe use of this mineral produced at Thetford Mines and at Asbestos.

“On reading this report, one realizes that the scientists did not agree on a firm position. They had irreconcilable positions. Some are favourable to safe use, while others say to not touch it,” resumed the minister.

“What I draw from all this is that there is nothing new under the sun. There is there no reason to change our policy of safe use of chrysotile. It is a question of risk management: the product is harmful if it is badly handled,” he continued.

The minister also attributes the delay in releasing the report, which was ordered by Health Canada in 2007, to the absence of consensus among the experts. “If there had been consenus, the study of the report would not have been so long”, he underlined.

Last summer, Drs Trevor Ogden, chair of the group of experts, and Leslie Stayner wrote to the Minister of Health denouncing the slowness in the publication of the report, which Health Canada have had in their hands since March 2008.

The group of experts supported the approach adopted in two large studies on the link between cancer and exposure to chrysotile. The experts estimate that, in a general manner, exposure to this type of asbestos is closely associated with lung cancer, but that the relationship is much less certain in the case of mesothelioma.

The members of the group signed a consensus declaration and summary, but two of them expressed certain reservations, notably on the subject of the possibility of distinguishing in a realistic way the effects of chrysotile and those of amphiboles in the case of lung cancer.

Three members indicated that there was between 5% of probability that chrysotile has a toxicity equal or superior to that of amphiboles with regard to lung cancer, three others estimated a probability between 10%, 36% and 80% respectively.

Reservations were also expressed on the unexplained and apparently much higher level of carcinogenicity of chrysotile in a textile factory in North Carolina than in the mines and factories of Quebec and on the probability that risk could not be detectable in the actual levels of exposure in Canada.

The End

TAKE ACTION NOW:
Click here to send the Prime Minister an email on Asbestos – it will take only 2 minutes!