The scientific world was recently shocked after six members of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention (COP-8) managed to block the addition of chrysotile asbestos from the Convention’s list of hazardous substances. The block came despite a unanimous recommendation from the Convention’s scientific committee to name the substance to the list, which leading scientists in the field called “ridiculous,” according to reports.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), chrysotile asbestos is a known carcinogen linked to serious health conditions including lung, larynx, and ovarian cancers, in particular mesothelioma. While asbestos has been banned in almost all commercial and industrial applications in the United States, many developing nations rely on the relatively cheap and malleable mineral for numerous applications.
Under the rules of the conference, additions to the hazardous substances list can be blocked by only a single voting member. In this case, six of the world’s biggest asbestos exporters, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, India, and Syria, all voted to block the deadly carcinogens naming to the list. The veto was hailed by the International Chrysotile Association, an advocacy group that actively lobbies to shut down chrysotile asbestos.
The International Chrysotile Association claims chrysotile asbestos possess less of a danger to public health because in its chrysotile form, asbestos leaves the body more quickly and therefore less able spur cancer growths. Leading experts refute those claims, arguing despite the substance’s quicker exit from the lungs, that does not mean it may leave completely.
To combat the so-called tyranny of the minority, a dozen nations proposed altering the committee’s rules of procedure to require only a three-quarters majority to name substances like asbestos to its hazardous substances list. According to the committee’s current rules, those changes would need to be ratified by signatory nations. Those discussions are ongoing and no timeline for action is expected.
Asbestos Still Poses Danger Worldwide
According to reports, over 180,000 individuals lose their lives from diseases and complications related to asbestos each year, with mesothelioma being the leading cause of death. For decades, businesses in many countries used asbestos in common applications like auto parts, ship building, drywall, and insulation. Asbestos gained popularity in these industries due to its low cost and heat resistant properties.
Unfortunately for many asbestos cancer victims, companies knew for decades about the serious health risks posed by the mineral but failed to warn the public about the potential dangers. Fortunately, the law gives mesothelioma victims the legal right to file lawsuits to recover damages for medical bills and lost wages and to hold wrongdoers responsible for their indifference to public safety.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyer
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced nationwide mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.