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Australia has clearly lost its way in its all-out attacks against the use of asbestos fibers around the world, especially when it voluntarily and indiscriminately includes the chrysotile fiber, the only one currently commercialized, in its denunciations.The position taken by its Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA), as summarized in a Fact Sheet, is not new and was determinedly denounced by the International Chrysotile Association (ICA) in 2019. For the past two years it has nevertheless persevered in its omissions and scientific errors, including the shocking dissimulation of the historic reality of Australia’s own amphibole production. 

Chrysotile producers and users, who together represent more than two-third of humankind, are disappointed by such affirmations coming from a country which is in no position to give lessons to anybody else. A visit to Australia’s Wittenoon region offers ample testimony of the devastating damage done by amphibole-type fibers. In the context of the current debate on health and the environment, it is troubling to realize that a country like Australia, through an agency it has created for the sole purpose of justifying its calls for a global banishment, can willingly increase the level of confusion around the mineral fibers commonly called asbestos and their respective levels of dangerousness.

Quite obviously, too many so-called stakeholders are only, in fact, mere loudspeakers who lack knowledge and competencies, namely on the issue of the differentiation between the various fibers. Yet, many recently published scientific studies have clearly established that amphibole fibers are 10 times more bio persistent in human lungs than chrysotile.

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