Global Appeal to Brazilian President
From all corners of the globe, emails and faxes are arriving on the desk of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff. They come from asbestos victims and grieving family members, doctors, surgeons, epidemiologists, scientists, health and safety campaigners, academics, trade unionists, technicians, asbestos removal specialists, lawyers and politicians in Australia, Austria, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Holland, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malawi, New Zealand, Pakistan, Turkey, UK and US. Although they are written in different languages Portuguese, Spanish, French and English they say the same thing: please support the listing of chrysotile asbestos on Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention! Brazil, now the third biggest producer of asbestos, has said that it will abstain from a vote which will be taken on this issue next week in Geneva.1
An email from Dr. Arthur Frank from the School of Public Health at Drexel University is typical. Dr. Frank is a physician scientist with 45 years of experience doing asbestos related research; he testified at the Brazilian Supreme Court during asbestos hearings in 2012. Dr. Frank appealed to the President to support the listing of chrysotile asbestos at the upcoming meeting of the Rotterdam Convention. His sentiments were echoed by British epidemiologist Dr. Tony Fletcher, Australian Trade Union President Andrew Dettmer, French filmmaker Sylvie Deleuil, Argentinean Ministry official Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, Indonesian Ban Asbestos Activist M. Darisman and so many others.
From Liverpool, a more personal appeal was made in the email sent to the President by John Flanagan of the Merseyside Asbestos Victims Support Group:
I have read of your incarceration and the great sacrifices you have made for workers. I felt humbled when I read your story and all of what you have been through in life and survived. We all, during the course of our lives, have at least one opportunity to do good for mankind, you have had many and adhered to your principles at great personal cost in their support. I now plead with you to ensure Brazil shows the same determination and tenacity that you have shown personally and vote for the inclusion of Chrysotile into Annex III.
The only cure for asbestos diseases is to prevent exposures taking place. The listing of chrysotile on Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention would ensure that importing countries have information regarding the nature of chrysotile so that they can make informed decisions about whether they can use this substance without harming human beings or the environment. Listing chrysotile asbestos is an important first step in preventing future exposures. Brazil, a thriving democracy and host to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, has a leadership role to play in next week's vote on chrysotile.
May 3, 2013
1 Kazan-Allen L. The Rotterdam Convention 2013. April 18, 2013
Kazan-Allen L. A Deadly Alliance. May 1, 2013