Prof. McDonald Investigation sign now

“Our studies of Quebec chrysotile miners and millers have consistently shown little evidence of a cancer risk except at very high levels of exposure and conclusively only for lung cancer and mesothelioma”1

We request that McGill University organize a fully independent investigation into the allegations of scientific misconduct of Prof. J. C. McDonald, for his asbestos research on Quebec miners, while a faculty member at McGill University.1-6

A thorough, independent, and transparent investigation is essential, given the gravity of the allegations and the role of the study findings in supporting the continued mining and use of chryostile asbestos. For example, Christian Paradis, federal Minister of Natural Resources has said: “All recent scientific studies show that chrysotile fibers, the only asbestos fiber that is produced and exported from Canada, can be used safely under controlled conditions”7. In addition, the Government of Canada blocked the recommendation of the expert scientific body of the Rotterdam Convention (the Chemical Review Committee), which has repeatedly called for chrysotile asbestos to be added to the Convention’s list of hazardous substances. This would require Canadian exporters to warn recipient countries of health risks.

McGill University has an ethical responsibility to ensure that this investigation into the allegations against Prof. McDonald is rigorous and transparent. We do not consider the internal investigation recommended by the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine to meet these essential standards, no matter the personal integrity of any individuals involved. The current investigation may jeopardize McGill’s international reputation as an academic institution and so we urge that a new investigation be initiated now.


1. MacDonald JC, MacDonald AD. Chrysotile, Tremolite and Carcinogenicity. Ann Occ Hyg 1997;41(6):699-705.
2. Case BW, Churg A, Dufresne A, Sébastien P, McDonald AD, McDonald JC. Lung fibre content for mesothelioma in the 1891-1920 birth cohort of Quebec chrysotile workers: A descriptive study. Ann Occup Health 1997;41(S1):213-236.
3. Liddell FDK, McDonald AD, McDonald JC. The 1891-1920 birth cohort of Quebec chrysotile miners and millers: Development from 1904 and mortality to 1992. Ann Occup Health 1997;41(1):13-36.
4. McDonald AD, Case BW, Churg A, Dufresne A, Gibbs GW, Sébastien P, McDonald JC. Mesothelioma in Quebec chrysotile miners and millers: epidemiology and aetiology. Ann Occup Health 1997;51(6):707-719.
5. Liddell FDK, McDonald AD, McDonald JC. Dust exposure and lung cancer in Quebec chrysotile miners and millers. Ann Occup Health 1998;42(1):7-20.
6. McDonald JC, McDonald AD, Huges JM. Chrysotile, tremolite, and fibrogenicity. Ann Occup Health 1999;43(7):439-442.
7. Morris J, Bradshaw S. Inside the global asbestos trade. BBC News. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-10623725

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