The Asian Asbestos Conference 2009 is hosted this year by the Asia Monitor Resource Centre
along with the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat and other partners (you can see more here
). Asbestos is a lethal substance still in use across Asia. Even though it is banned in many countries, an "asbestos cancer epidemic may take 10 million lives worldwide before its probable global ban" (as stated by Joseph LaDou, University of California).
It is tragic that in Asia we are still talking of a ban, where asbestos related diseases hardly surface in official statistics and few doctors are able to correctly diagnose occupational lung diseases like silicosis and asbestosis (which are routinely diagnosed or misdiagnosed
as tuberculosis), but thousands are dying quietly and without assistance of any kind. To add to the misery, the asbestos manufacturing lobby, which in the past was led by the Chrysotile Institute from Canada and now aggressively promoted by the Chrysotile Association led by Russian manufactures, has been active in promoting "white asbestos" as a safe and cheap
material when used under "controlled conditions". Controlled conditions were difficult to achieve in the West and it is ambitious to say the least that such conditions exist in Asia.
AAC 2009 is an important event and will start this Sunday (27 April). It will be worthwhile attending if you happen to be in town and are interested in the issue.