MONTREAL - Scientists from 28 countries are appealing to Quebec Premier Jean Charest to put a stop to asbestos exports from the province.

They are asking Charest in a letter dated today to take heed of extensive international scientific opinion that all forms of asbestos present a danger for public health.

The 100 or so scientists say the province needs to stop mining asbestos -- also called chrysotile -- and stop sending it abroad.

The powerful asbestos industry in Quebec is a fierce defender of the product and say it's safe if precautions are followed.

But the academics say Quebec's position is hypocritical and they also want the province to stop funding a lobby group that promotes asbestos.

The letter states while Quebec exports asbestos to foreign countries, it rarely uses it in construction projects at home.

Canada's $100-million-a-year asbestos industry is localized mainly in Thetford Mines, Que., home to the country's last operational mine.