01/21/2012 12:09 EST | Updated 03/22/2012 05:12 EDT

Asbestos opponent targets Montreal merchant, volunteer

Anti-asbestos activists are pressuring a pair of health institutions to cut ties with a Montreal-based asbestos exporter.

Asbestos opponent Stacy Cattran is leading a letter-writing campaign against Roshi Chadha, an executive with Seja Trade Ltd., a Montreal-based company that exports the mineral to India.

Chadha is also a member of the boards of both St. Mary's Hospital Foundation and McGill University.

Cattran says those two activities are incompatible.

"Asbestos causes cancer and a hospital should not be legitimizing the asbestos industry by having one of the main faces of the asbestos industry sitting on their board," said the Ontario-based activist, who lost her father to mesothelioma in 2008.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer linked to asbestos exposure.

Until last week Chadha served on the governing body of the Canadian Red Cross — but resigned after Cattran's letter-writing campaign lobbied the humanitarian organization.

St. Mary's Foundation said it is reviewing Chadha's position.

But McGill's board issued a statement saying Chadha is a valued volunteer member, and it has no further comment.

CBC calls to Chadha have not been returned.