Groups want a modern Rotterdam Convention to protect public health and environment

Global unions and environmental groups today released a statement calling on the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention (RC COP-11) to adopt an amendment to the Convention to defeat the tactics of Industry and a small group of countries, that block the listing of highly hazardous chemicals and pesticides, including chrysotile asbestos, that they say, cause death and significant harm to human health and the environment. 

The groups said that the asbestos Industry is spreading lies, particularly in developing countries in South East Asia and South Asia, that Chrysotile asbestos is fundamentally different from, and far safer than, other kinds of asbestos. However, the advocates explained that no less than the World Health Organisation (WHO)- International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified Chrysotile asbestos as a human carcinogen (group 1). 

“It is highly lamentable that the greed of some business interests is taking precedence over the right of governments to critical information and exercise the prior informed consent to protect its citizens and the community from harmful industrial chemicals. The proposed amendment to the Rotterdam Convention is intended to fulfil its envisioned mandate.” Ambet Yuson, General Secretary, Building Workers International (BWI) said. 

Read their joint statement.