Chrysotile asbestos is the only version of the material that is still sold. Nonetheless, it has been judged to post major risks to human health and the environment. As such, it is especially shameful that Canada has been trying to prevent its international restriction, apparently in deference to a few companies in Quebec that still produce it.
The other states seeking to block its inclusion in the Rotterdam Convention are India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Peru and Ukraine. All its inclusion would mandate is the “prior informed consent” of both exporting and importing states, before the substance is traded internationally. In practical terms, that means the material must be properly labelled and include instructions for safe handling. It also requires that importers be informed of any known restrictions or bans on the use of the material. The Canadian Medical Association has accused Canada of participating in a â€œdeath-dealing charade.â€
Hopefully, the Canadian government can be shamed into changing its position. The fact that Parliament has spent more than a decade laboriously removing asbestos from its own buildings is a clear sign that they understand the danger.