Asbestos is still with us: repeat call for a universal ban

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Collegium Ramazzini

Keywords

asbestos, asbestos related diseases, ban, cancer, mesothelioma, chrysotile, controlled use

Abstract

All forms of asbestos are proven human carcinogens. All forms of asbestos cause malignant mesothelioma, lung, laryngeal cancers, and may cause ovarian, gastrointestinal and other cancers. No exposure to asbestos is without risk, and there is no safe threshold of exposure to asbestos. Asbestos cancer victims die painful lingering deaths. These deaths are almost entirely preventable. When evidence of the carcinogenicity of asbestos became incontrovertible, concerned parties, including the Collegium Ramazzini, called for a universal ban on the mining, manufacture and use of asbestos in all countries around the world (1). Asbestos is now banned in 52 countries (2) and safer products have replaced many materials that once were made with asbestos. Nonetheless, a large number of countries still use, import, and export asbestos and asbestos-containing products. And still today in many countries that have banned other forms of asbestos, the so-called “controlled use” of chrysotile asbestos continues to be permitted, an exemption that has no basis in medical science but rather reflects the political and economic influence of the asbestos mining and manufacturing industry. To protect the health of all people in the world – industrial workers, construction workers, women and children, now and in future generations – the Collegium Ramazzini calls again today on all countries of the world, as we have repeatedly in the past, to join in the international endeavor to ban all forms of asbestos. An international ban on asbestos is urgently needed.

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