For the first time in four years of lobbying, Canada remained neutral in opposition to have Chrysotile asbestos added to the hazardous substance list of the Rotterdam Convention. However, even though all but seven of the attending 143 countries agreed to add Chrysotile asbestos to the hazardous substance list, without unanimous approval the toxin cannot be added to the list.
The Rotterdam Convention is a joint treaty by member nations to endorse united responsibilities in relation to importation of harmful substances. When a substance is included on the list, exporters of the hazardous chemicals are required to use accurate tagging on their shipping materials, include directions on safe usage, and notify buyers of any known restraints or prohibitions. Distributing nations that participate in the Convention are obligated to make sure that producers of the hazardous substances within their authority conform to the exportation and labeling requirements. Unfortunately, in order for a chemical to be included on the hazardous substance list, a unanimous agreement is needed. Therefore, Chrysotile asbestos remains free from exportation restrictions.
Asbestos is a known carcinogen. The toxic fibers become airborne when not handled properly and are then inhaled. Once in the lungs, the fibers become embedded deep in the lining of the lungs where they can remain dormant for 20-50 years. Once mesothelioma develops from the fibers, there is no cure, and death usually follows within a year of diagnosis. Asbestos fibers pose risks not only to those who handle the product, but also to those with second-hand exposure. The tiny fibers can be carried from place to place on the clothes, shoes, and hair of those exposed, and can be inhaled by friends and family members who come in contact with the material.
Despite the widely-acknowledged link between asbestos and mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, seven countries participating in the Rotterdam Convention remain in opposition to classifying Chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance. Russia and China are the leaders in asbestos production, producing approximately 1 million tons of the substance just last year. Russia participated in the annual Rotterdam Convention for the first time this year, joining forces with Zimbabwe, Kazakhstan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam and Ukraine to block the addition of Chrysotile asbestos to the hazardous substance list.
A diagnosis of mesothelioma or asbestosis is devastating. The Pennsylvania asbestos attorneys at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler have been representing victims of asbestos exposure since 1984. Our experienced asbestos attorneys have helped victims of asbestos exposure seek justice and compensation. If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos, or has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease like mesothelioma or asbestosis, call us today at 800-369-0899 or contact us online. We can help you and your family determine the best legal strategy and represent you throughout all phases of your claim.