Yet More Russian Asbestos Lies 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



The results of research undertaken into statements by Russian asbestos vested interests reveal claims made in them to be false. Analytical tests undertaken in Europe and research conducted in Canada definitively prove that Russian industry lobbyists were lying. The website of Russia's Uralasbest Joint Stock Company, one of the world's largest asbestos mining companies, claimed that Russian and Canadian banknotes contained chrysotile asbestos; pictures of a fifty rouble Russian banknote and a one dollar Canadian banknote backed up these allegations.1


Picture from Uralasbest website.

However, scientific tests commissioned by IBAS in English and Austrian laboratories confirm that no asbestos was present in samples taken from Russian banknotes. An asbestos bulk identification certificate issued on September 16, 2011 by Riverside Environmental Services Ltd. in Hextable Kent, UK states that there was “no asbestos detected in sample.” On October 3, 2011 Heinz Kropiunik from aetas Ziviltechniker GmbH in Vienna, Austria reported that tests using scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive analysis found no asbestos fibres.

Enquiries made by Canadian MP Pat Martin ascertained that “all Canadian bank notes from older series and the new polymer bank notes do not contain asbestos.”2

Commenting on these findings, Dr. Olga Speranskaya, Director of Chemical Safety Program for the Russian NGO Eco-Accord, a group which is spearheading research on the asbestos hazard in Russia, said:

“Of course, it is no surprise that information coming from the asbestos industry is not true… Nevertheless, the fact that these tests reveal yet more pieces of false information leads us to challenge Uralasbest to defend their claims or delete these claims from their website.”3

The possibility that Russian and Canadian currency might contain chrysotile asbestos was extremely alarming as paper made with asbestos traditionally contained a staggeringly high proportion of carcinogenic fibre. Should Uralasbest's assertions have been true, then the use of these banknotes would almost certainly have been illegal in countries with asbestos bans. The fact that these enquiries have proved that Canadian and Russian currencies do not contain chrysotile will, no doubt, come as a huge relief to everyone, everyone except Uralasbest's spin doctors. Nevertheless, the claims made on the Uralasbest website reveal the ongoing disconnection between the asbestos industry and the truth. There is absolutely no statement this deadly industry makes and no fact advanced in defense of their indefensible industry which can go unchallenged.

October 11, 2011


1 The Uralasbest website is: The sentence describing the use of chrysotile in currency reads: "Стабильность химического состава, эластичность и прочность используются при изготовлении гербовой бумаги и денежных знаков." The picture of the Russian and Canadian banknotes was in the section entitled: “Chrysotile and its uses:"

2 Response from the Library of Parliament on September 19, 2011; this quotation was part of the response made by the Bank Note Communication Team of the Bank of Canada to the enquiry made by the Library of Parliament.

3 Eco-Accord is a Russian based NGO working on environmental health and sustainable development since 1992. Materials and useful links can be accessed on Eco-Accord website:



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