India opposes listing of Asbestos

Day 2: India opposed the listing of chrysotile asbestos in the PIC list on day two of the Rotterdam Convention. India cited pieces of national evidence suggesting that the substance can be used safely. Sudan too cited the same reasons for opposing the listing of chrysotile asbestos also known as white asbestos. But India and Sudan were not the only countries opposing the listing of asbestos in Annex III of the convention. Ukraine, Kazakhastan,Kyrgyzstan and Vietnam stated that the scientific cases regarding risks of chrysotile asbestos was inconclusive and there were no substitutes available.Zimbabwe, The Russian Federation, Iraq and Asbestos Information Centre opposed the listing and questioned the evidence of harm to human health.The International Alliance of Trade Union Organisation too opposed the listing citing loss of jobs of many.

The Chemical Review Committee had recommended the listing of white asbestos on the grounds of WHO findings that asbestos was a hazardous substance harmful to human health and environment; it had also stated that PIC was especially important for developing countries which have weak legal and institutional structures for addressing hazardous materials. It should be understood that enlisting in PIC list is not equivalent to imposing a ban instead it increases the transparency between trading countries.

Countries like Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, Switzerland, Australia and the EU have supported the listing of asbestos in Annex II.