Another Travesty by the Asbestos Institute
On November 22, 2003, in an article entitled Asbestos makeover reignites old battle Canadian Journalist Peter Gorrie wrote:
“The jolt of fright came at the bottom of an information sheet sent to reporters: ‘This press release is printed on chrysotile paper’...The press release, from a Montreal-based lobby group called the Asbestos Institute, is part of an effort by the industry and the federal and Quebec governments to rehabilitate asbestos by demonstrating it can be used safely.”
The beige-coloured shiny paper looked fairly innocuous and was being promoted by the AI as an innovative product suitable for archival and other uses. In January, 2004 a sample of this paper was analyzed by a UKAS-accredited laboratory in England; it was found to contain up to 80% raw chrysotile (white asbestos) fibre and 20% organic fibre. The asbestos was NOT bound by any substance into a matrix and would, upon tearing or rough handling be almost certain to liberate fibres into the atmosphere.
Analyst John Master, Operations Director of S. P. Shutler Associates in Newcastle under Lyme, who has seen other types of asbestos paper during his long career, has never seen any with such a high asbestos content. He says that the use of this paper appears to be an obvious breach of the Asbestos Prohibition Regulations of 1999. The Health and Safety Executive is being advised of the potential of this paper to cause hazardous exposures; MPs will be seeking assurances from the Canadian Government, which provides political and financial backing for the Asbestos Institute, that this paper will not be used in the UK.
January 28, 2004