The scientific basis for a total asbestos ban

La Medicina del lavoro, 2006 Mar-Apr; 97(2):383-92

Numerous countries have already enacted total bans on asbestos, while others continue to use it as if the documented dangers over the last century never existed. This disparity, with developed countries tending to ban asbestos and poorer countries serving as dumping grounds for asbestos makers, led the University of Turin’s Center for the Study of Asbestos to conduct a review of the scientific basis for a total asbestos ban.

The review concluded that in order to ensure adequate protection for workers, their families, and people involved in everyday activities, there is no alternative to a total ban. The review concluded that the evidence for carcinogenicity of chrysotile is as good as for the amphibole type fibers, and it noted that while the carcinogenic potency of chrysotile is lower than that of the amphiboles, risk estimates must be based on the fact that chrysotile represents 95% of asbestos used worldwide. The review insisted that the role of asbestos as the cause of mesothelioma does not warrant reconsideration.

The review also rejected calls for “controlled use,” pointing out that the safety of the controlled use theory has not been tested scientifically and that it is impractical in the countries that are currently the major consumers of asbestos.



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