International alliance claims double standards from the EU deprive millions access to drinking water

27-04-2018

According to United Nations statistics published on the organisation’s website, more than 40 per cent of the world’s inhabitants suffer from a moderate or acute scarcity of drinking water. By 2025, the amount of those who face such problems is expected to increase to 5.5 billion people. But water that is available for technical and consumer needs is also polluted.

“About 90 per cent of sewage and 70 per cent of industrial wastewater are discharged without previous treatment, which often results in contamination of usable water resources,” the UN special commission stated.

The intermediate result of this catastrophic ecological situation is reflected in statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which predict that an estimated 5.5 million people will die every year from problems related to the poor quality and inaccessibility of drinking water.

Chrysotile, an international alliance, has declared that there are capabilities and technical solutions that can be applied to solve a range of problems related to the safe transportation of water resources. The use of durable and safe chrysotile-containing pipes makes it possible in a short period of time to create an effective system of water supply and drainage. Moreover, the cost of establishing such a system would be minimal.

The only obstacles to the implementation of these solutions are the double standards of controlling organisations which are formally or indirectly controlled by the European Union (EU) government.

A recent example can be found in the amendments to the Directive on protection of workers against risks associated with exposure to carcinogens and mutagens at work. According to the new regulations, substances such as chromium VI compounds, wood dust and vinyl chloride, classified by the International Agency for Cancer Research as carcinogens of the first group, are permissible for use at work. According to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, at the moment, technological progress and the pace of production modernisation make it possible to neutralise the negative effect from using the described group of materials.

According to WHO, as set out in the second edition of the Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality Analysis, vinyl chloride pipes contribute to high concentrations of lead in drinking water, which can result in lead poisoning. Chromium VI, also mentioned in this document as a recognised mutagen and carcinogen, is still a major element of environmental pollution in industrialised areas, and can provoke serious illnesses. Until recently, its use was limited to the EU’s territory, but now the carcinogen, used in the creation of textile fabrics for mass consumption, is allowed for widespread use.

Thus, dangerous substances classified by WHO are in fact legalised by the EU and its Member States. Despite having equivalent dangers according to IARC ratings, chrysotile asbestos remains prohibited.

Moreover, the document includes the relevant, yet ignored, conclusion of a specialised commission which states that chrysotile asbestos pipes are considered absolutely safe for the supply of drinking. Scientists write that “there is no consistent, convincing evidence that the asbestos consumed (together with food or drinking water) is dangerous for human health” and therefore do not see the need to establish a maximum permissible threshold of asbestos fibres content in drinking water.

On top of that, a highly relevant study was published following the July 1996 meeting of the International Programme on Chemical Safety, as well as additional studies conducted by scientists from WHO as well as Specialists of the International Labour Organisation.

Chrysotile considers it necessary to eliminate double standards in relation to chrysotile asbestos in EU countries and to allow its safe and regulated use. Such a solution would help effectively solve many of the problems of water supply and create a foundation for the safe and comfortable development of all the countries of the world, preventing the death of people from water scarcity and diseases associated with its pollution.