10/10/2006

Chrysotile asbestos - inclusion in the Rotterdam convention?

On October 9-13, 2006, there will be discussions in Geneva on whether
chrysotile asbestos will be added to the list of hazardous chemicals in Annex
III of the Rotterdam Convention. Exporters of the designated chemicals are
obliged to supply documentation to importing countries disclosing minimal
information on the hazardous of their product. The Building and Woodworkers
International (BWI) and the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS) have
jointly produced a briefing document entitled: Chrysotile Asbestos: Hazardous
to Humans, Deadly to the Rotterdam Convention.

The implementation of the Rotterdam Convention after years of negotiation was a
remarkable achievement; it engendered a new hope that order might be imposed on
the flourishing global trade in hazardous chemicals and pesticides, a trade
which exposed vulnerable populations to avoidable risks. By establishing
protocols for supplying information on chemicals included on the PIC list,
exporters of hazardous substances would, for the first time, be required to
share responsibility with importing countries. As of 2006, dozens of chemicals
had been approved for listing including five types of asbestos: actinolite,
anthophyllite, amosite, crocidolite and tremolite. Action on only one substance
nominated by the Interim Chemical Review Committee for inclusion has been
stalled: chrysotile asbestos. Despite the fact that chrysotile satisfied all
the Convention's criteria, national governments, led by Canada, defeated
attempts to obligate exporting Parties to share information on the potential
health and environmental effects of this acknowledged carcinogen.

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AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work