Asbestos sector challenges WHO death-toll estimate

Quoted from–asbestos-sector-challenges-who-death-toll-estimate

Asbestos sector challenges WHO death-toll estimate

03/01/2012 |Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

The Canadian asbestos sector wants Ottawa’s help to challenge a death-toll estimate from the World Health Organization that says asbestos-related diseases kill more than 100,000 people every year.

The figure is a major irritant for the industry, one often cited by critics who want to block future asbestos development over health concerns.

A leading industry player says the estimate by the WHO, the United Nations health authority, is an exaggeration based on unfounded evidence.

“Where are those deaths? And name at least 10 of those deaths,” Bernard Coulombe told The Canadian Press in an interview from the Quebec town of Asbestos.

“It’s absolutely a fantasy.”

Coulombe noted that the WHO has not responded to his repeated requests for the evidence. The organization only deals with the governments of member states — not industry figures.

To get answers, he said he will ask the Canadian government to step in and urge the Geneva-based organization to provide scientific proof behind the statistic.

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