Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ottawa silent on danger of Quebec asbestos

Delegates at UN-sponsored talks in Rome failed Friday to reach agreement to place the type of chrysotile asbestos mined in Quebec on the list of the world's most dangerous substances.

Chrysotile asbestos is the only variety of the cancer-causing material still on the market.

The negotiators also couldn't agree on the pesticide endosulfan, but they approved listing tributyltin, a powerful gender-bending chemical able to cause female snails to develop male sexual characteristics.

A scientific panel concluded that all three substances pose major risks to human health or the environment, but countries with commercial interests in both chrysotiles and endosulfan blocked efforts to list them.

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