Mr. Speaker, in response to a) Following are the terms of reference of the expert panel on chrysotile:
The panel will consider and report on the dose-response relationships for pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma and lung cancer associated with exposure to Canadian “commercial chrysotile asbestos” fibre.
Panel members’ responsibilities
On November 13-14, 2007, panel members are to attend and share expertise at the Chrysotile Asbestos Expert Panel: Characterizing the Toxicity of Chrysotile Asbestos, in Montreal, Canada.
Panel members, working individually and collectively, are asked to determine the main areas of scientific agreement and disagreement on the toxicity of chrysotile asbestos fibres, and to assess the importance of these agreements and disagreements.
Panel members, working individually and collectively, are also asked to produce a probabilistic estimation of the dose-response relationship for chrysotile asbestos and cancers rather than a point estimate. If dose-response estimation is not possible, panel members are asked to estimate the relative dose-response between chrysotile asbestos and various amphibole asbestos.
If it is concluded that amphiboles are significantly more potent than chrysotile asbestos, the panel is asked to assess the toxicity of “uncontaminated chrysotile asbestos” and the effect of reported tremolite contamination on the toxicity of Canadian commercial chrysotile asbestos.
Panellists are to debate constructively with peers holding opposing views, and work together to reach consensus. However, where individual views differ, these are to be reflected in the report.
In response to b) The panel was convened to provide Health Canada a perspective on scientific studies on the health effects of chrysotile that have been published since the last international peer-reviewed study of this substance which was published in 1998 by the World Health Organization.
In response to c) Dr. Michel Camus, Health Canada, had the lead scientific responsibility for ensuring that the panel fulfilled its commitment.
In response to d) Direct expenses of $101,387.96 were incurred in the preparation for, and conduct of, the panel meeting and the writing of its report.
In response to e) As part of their ongoing, normal duties, approximately nine different officials or administrative staff worked on a part time basis to help establish and support the panel.
In response to f) There were no external consultations for this report.
In response to g) There were no consultations with other parties. The costs of the panel were wholly borne by Health Canada.
In response to h) The chair and each of the panel members were reimbursed their travel expenses and were additionally paid a flat fee for their time.
In response to i) No new research was commissioned in support of the study.
In response to j) It is premature to assess how the panel might affect government policy.
In response to k) The panel did not consider Canadian consumer products in its deliberations. [See terms of reference in answer a)].
In response to l) The panel has completed its work.
In response to m) The panel report will be made available to the public once Health Canada has reviewed the findings. The time-frame for release is yet to be determined.