Support for Scientists Attacked by Asbestos Industry 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



An “International Call for Action to Stop Intimidation of Scientists by the Asbestos Industry,”1 is currently being disseminated which expresses support for colleagues targeted by asbestos stakeholders due to their criticism of chrysotile asbestos. The timing and nature of the legal actions being taken against scientists in Thailand, Brazil and India are unlikely to be coincidental; it is probable that these attempts to silence asbestos critics represent a new phase in the coordinated, industry-backed global campaign to promote the use of asbestos despite the evidence which condemns it as a carcinogenic substance.

Under attack are individuals such as such as Professor Vithaya Kulsomboon of Chulalongkorn University who has received legal threats from the Chrysotile Information Center over his attempts to inform the public about the asbestos health hazard. Professor Hermano Albuquerque Castro of the National School of Public Health in Rio de Janeiro has been threatened by the Brazilian Chrysotile Institute; his “crime” was sharing evidence-based scientific information on the human health risk of chrysotile exposure with the public and the media; while in India, a number of scientists including Professor Sanjay Chaturvedi and Dr. T. K. Joshi have been threatened by a trade association representing the interests of the asbestos-cement sector.

A copy of the “International Call for Action to Stop Intimidation of Scientists by the Asbestos Industry,” was appended to a letter sent today to the Prime Minister of Thailand Yingluck Shinawatra by Dr. Ken Takahashi (Japan), Dr. Arthur Frank (U.S.) and Professor Colin L. Soskolne (Canada) which detailed the actions taken by the Chrysotile Information Center of Thailand to intimidate Dr. Vithaya Kulasomboon and personnel at the Consumer Protection Health Plan and Chulalongkorn University.2 Detailing some of the lies told by the Chrysotile Information Centre and other asbestos lobbyists in Thailand, the letter states that the threats being made by the industry represent a “serious challenge to academic freedom as well as to public health…”

May 29, 2012






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