The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized that asbestos is one of the most important occupational carcinogens in the world and that the burden of asbestos-related disease is rising. The organization reports that as many as 43,000 people worldwide die from asbestos-related disease each year, with around 10,000 new mesothelioma cases reported annually in Australia, Japan, North America, and Western Europe combined.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that during 1999–2015, a total of 45,221 malignant mesothelioma deaths were reported, increasing from 2,479 (1999) to 2,597 (2015). Mesothelioma deaths increased for persons aged ≥85 years, for both sexes, persons of white, black and Asian or Pacific Islander race, and all ethnic groups. Says the CDC, “continuing occurrence of malignant mesothelioma deaths in persons aged <55 years suggests ongoing inhalation exposure to asbestos fibers and possibly other causative elongate mineral particles (EMPs).”
With so many asbestos-related deaths and newly diagnosed mesothelioma victims each year, it would make sense that most, if not all, countries around the world would ban asbestos. Sadly, this is not the case.
With more than 250 countries, territories, colonies, and dependencies around the world, just 59 have bans on all types of asbestos. The U.S. is not one of them. Neither are countries such as Mexico, Canada, China, Russia, or India. Instead of all out bans on asbestos, these and other countries strictly limit its use. Though this has certainly led to a significant decline in asbestos use, despite these regulatory actions, “the annual number of malignant mesothelioma deaths remains substantial.”
Further, says the CDC, “contrary to past projections, the number of malignant mesothelioma deaths has been increasing. The continuing occurrence of mesothelioma deaths, particularly among younger populations, underscores the need for maintaining efforts to prevent exposure and for ongoing surveillance to monitor temporal trends.”
To find out if the use of all types of asbestos has been banned in your country, check the list below, which was compiled by the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat. The list is current as of February 18, 2017.
National Asbestos Bans
"Bulletin of the World Health Organization." WHO. World Health Organization (WHO), 13 June 2011. Web. 24 Mar. 2017.
"Countries of the World." Fact Monster. Sandbox Networks, Inc., Publishing as Fact Monster, 2000-2017. Web. 24 Mar. 2017.
Kazan-Allen, Laurie. "Current Asbestos Bans and Restrictions." International Ban Asbestos Secretariat. IBAS, 18 Feb. 2017. Web. 24 Mar. 2017.
"Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 02 Mar. 2017. Web. 24 Mar. 2017.