International asbestos lobby organisation shrinking and doomed

Fri, Dec 8, 2017

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Kathleen Ruff, RightOnCanada.ca

The Asbestos International Association (AIA) was formed in the UK in 1976 by asbestos corporations operating in more than thirty countries. For forty years it has spent millions of dollars to suppress and distort scientific evidence and to exert political pressure in order to continue profiting from its deadly trade.

It moved from the UK to France and in 1997 it moved from France to Quebec, as Europe was moving to ban asbestos, whereas the Quebec and Canadian governments were pursuing new markets for asbestos in developing countries. In 2005, in a public relations initiative to avoid using the word “asbestos”, the AIA changed its name to the International Chrysotile Association (ICA).

The ICA is still operating today out of Quebec. It is registered as a non-profit organisation, even though its purpose is to promote the profits of its members.

The ICA gets its funds from the asbestos mining and asbestos products corporations who are its directors.

ICA shrinking

By 2011, the ICA had shrunk from having directors in thirty countries to having directors in sixteen countries. Those sixteen countries were: Russia, Kazakhstan, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Bolivia, Colombia, Iran, Senegal, China, Quebec, USA and the United Arab Emirates.

Since 2011, directors from the following nine countries have quit the ICA:

  • United Arab Emirates
  • Indonesia
  • Bolivia
  • Colombia
  • Vietnam
  • Sri Lanka
  • Iran
  • Senegal
  • China

The ICA has thus shrunk from having directors from over 30 countries to directors from 16 countries to directors from just seven countries – Russia, Kazakhstan, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Mexico, India and USA.

Brazil has banned asbestos and will leave the ICA

The Federal Supreme Court of Brazil has handed down an order banning the production, commercialization and use of asbestos. One can therefore expect that ICA director Rubens Rela Filho, who represented the Cana Brava asbestos mine in Brazil, will quit as a director of the ICA.

This will be a further blow to the ICA and further loss of its funds, since the asbestos mines in Russia, Kazakhstan and Brazil have been the key funders and foundation of the ICA.

The US director at the ICA, Bob Pigg, was, in the past, President of the now-defunct Asbestos Information Association/North America. Pigg is a stranded, isolated and discredited asbestos lobbyist who apparently provides his services to the ICA as an individual and does not represent any organisation.

The ICA has acquired a new director from Zimbabwe – Chirandu Dhlembeu, Chief executive officer of the Shabani Mashaba Mine and a director of Turnall Holdings Limited, who hope to re-open the mine in Zimbabwe but who face serious financial and physical hurdles.

The four remaining key players at the ICA

Thus the four remaining key players at the ICA are:

  • Yury Kozlov representing the Asbest mine in Russia
  • Kanat Kopbayev representing the Kostanai asbestos mine in Kazakhstan
  • Dr. G Vivekanand, Chair of the Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers Association of India
  • Antonio Galvan Carriles representing the Mexican asbestos lobby organisation, Instituto Mexicano de Fibroindustria A.C.

Jean-Marc Leblond , who sold Quebec asbestos overseas for decades, was appointed a director and President of the ICA in July 2011. On June 1, 2011, Leblond registered a for-profit company, Polyser Inc., with the Quebec corporate registry. Leblond is President and chief shareholder of Polyser, which provides consulting and international representation services for companies, ostensibly asbestos interests. Both Polyser and the ICA operate out of the same office in Thetford Mines in Quebec and Polyser submits bills to the ICA for its services.

Leblond is listed as a director and President of the ICA in reports filed with the Quebec corporate registry in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. In 2016 and 2017, however, Leblond was no longer listed as a director or President of the ICA in these government reports. In his personal professional profile, Leblond does not list any position with the ICA but refers only to being President of Polyser. In the media and on the ICA website, Leblond is still, however, identified as President of the ICA.

Isolated, discredited and doomed

The corrupt, deadly propaganda put out by the ICA has been utterly rejected by the world scientific community, by the courts, by the World Health Organization, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, by the World Bank and by the World Trade Organization.

Yet the ICA continues to serve the interests of the Russian and Kazakhstan asbestos mines.

It is increasingly isolated and discredited and its days are numbered.

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