SHP online reported in May 2017 that Chrysotile, or white asbestos, will not be added to the Rotterdam Convention’s list of hazardous substances.

The block came about at the eighth meeting of The Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention (COP-8), where unanimity is required to list a substance and where a handful of countries, blocked the listing.

Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, India and Syria all blocked listing of chrysotile as a hazardous substance. Listing can be blocked by a single convention signatory.

Thomas Kraus, specialist in occupational medicine at Aachen University in Germany, who has advised the World Health Organization (WHO) on this topic described the decision as a ‘catastrophe’ and stated “all types of asbestos are harmful to people and all types are carcinogenic. This is a ridiculous decision.”

Tony Windsor, CEO Windsor Integrated Services Group, based in the UK responded to the story: “White asbestos is classified as carcinogenic and without any avoidance of doubt, is a hazardous substance. In our opinion its use should therefore be banned not just throughout Europe but across the globe. It’s perhaps not surprising that the only countries that opposed the ban are the ones where it is manufactured and have a vested commercial interest.”

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