On November 27th this year in Manchester a conference on asbestos was arranged by the Lucian Group entitled “Asbestos- The Truth 2013″
Followers of the Asbestos Watchdog’s campaign will know that despite continued calls, since 1999, for an open and honest debate into the issues surrounding white asbestos, we have instead witnessed an endless array of government avoidance tactics and industry sponsored smear campaigns.
It was understandable then, that when Specialist Speakers – the conference organisers, extended an invitation to Asbestos Watchdog’s Professor John Bridle to attend this years event as a guest speaker and to sit on the live panel debate, it was initially met with some concerns as to the underlying intentions of the industry sponsors.
Despite the unavoidable scepticism however John Bridle confronted representatives of the asbestos industry, whom he has criticised for exaggerating and misrepresenting the facts relating to white asbestos products. Amongst the evidence presented was the 1996 UK Government’s peer reviewed and published position on white asbestos which shows that white asbestos in its raw form is not a causation of the asbestos cancer Mesothelioma and that the hard products made from it present a risk to heath too small to be measured. All of this data, which was accepted by the WHO in Geneva in August 1996 remains unchallenged today.
The deception was exposed when these facts were contrasted with the lobby’s MP claiming in Parliament that white asbestos cement would kill 10,000 UK workers a year. This lie resulted in the ban on white asbestos, placing a massive financial burden on UK property owners and adding over £4 billion per year to vested interest profits. The biggest travesty however is not the unnecessary financial burden placed on duty holders but the growing compensation culture and misdiagnoses siphoning much needed funds away from genuine asbestos victims.
The lobby’s representatives were given the opportunity to challenge the Professor’s facts at the conference but were not able to do so. Whilst Watchdog is impressed with Lucion’s apparent intention to tidy up what is considered to be rather dishonest industry, we hope that future conferences will extend the scope of the debate and provide a platform to other prominent scientists on the subject along with government decision makers able to take more formal action.