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UN cancer agency asked to sever its ties to asbestos propagandists

In an open letter, the IARC was asked to stop the Uralasbest research project on chrysotile asbestos due to the partner’s unethical and improper conduct

19.04.2013 |Righton Canada and WECF

In an open letter, signed by multiple researchers, IARC (international agency for research on cancer) has been asked to stop collaborating with the Scientific Research Institute of Occupational Health of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences (RAMS) and with Dr. Evgeny Kovalevskiy because of improper and unethical scientific conduct.

Dr. Kovalevskiy and the RAMS are known to promote the interests of the Russian asbestos industry instead of conducting impartial science. The RAMS has already been terminated as a collaboration centre of the WHO.

Both, Dr Kovalevskiy and RAMS have deliberately misinterpreted findings of studies to claim that asbestos is supposedly not harmful to the health of asbestos workers or people in contact with the substance and that it should be used further on. This is of course false. Furthermore, the misinterpreted study was unsound and for instance did not account for cancer incidents and other long-term asbestos related diseases. Russia, the world’s biggest producer of chrysotile asbestos is now using the collaboration to crush resistance towards importing asbestos in developing countries.

WECF is co-coordinator of the Rotterdam Convention Alliance (ROCA) for the 6th Convention of the Parties (COP6) of the Rotterdam convention in Geneva, in late April. The ROCA's position paper calls for commitment to environmental justice and to finally list chrysotile asbestos. WECF already has an extensive campaign and action programme on asbestos and its dangers and will fight for banning chrysotile asbestos with the ROCA in Geneva.

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