Controversy Over Asbestos Industry- Funded Research at McGill University Continues

Early this year, Montreal's McGill University became the focus of accusations that the asbestos industry essentially purchased a favorable report by a McGill professor by financially supporting his research on the health effects of Chrysotile asbestos, commonly mined in Canada.

According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, John Corbett McDonald and other researchers at McGill University received more than $1 million from the Quebec Asbestos Mining Association to conduct a study of the hazards of the Chrysotile asbestos produced by members of this organization. At the time McDonald's research was funded, the Canadian asbestos- mining industry was facing severe financial difficulties and one of the Canadian mines was in the process of filing for bankruptcy. McDonald's research funded by the Quebec Asbestos Mining Association was used as a justification for the Quebec government to support continued production of asbestos in Canada, in spite of evidence of the extreme hazards of asbestos production.

McGill University has conducted an internal investigation into the ethics of McDonald's research and issued a report, which health advocates have called "a whitewash [that is] biased, misleading, and inaccurate." Other professors, such as Dr. Colin Soskolne of the University of Alberta, Edmonton, commenting on the effects of McDonald's research have stated that, "the toxicity of Chrysotile asbestos continues to be denied... thanks to industry-funded studies, such as Professor McDonald's."

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