Concerns Regarding Asbestos Are On The Rise

Last Updated on 23rd March 2023 by Dan

In May 2022, a new publication came into the public eye. The new study examined links between asbestos and health. Authored by The Asbestos Diseases Research Institute, ADRI, based in Australia, the study presented statistics on the ecological association between asbestos-related diseases and asbestos in 70 countries. ADRI is the only institute worldwide focusing on asbestos use and asbestos-related diseases.

This study showed significant rises in the figures, which have more than doubled from a similar study conducted in 2009. Dr Ken Takahashi, director of ADRI, stressed the importance of the findings, especially to developing countries at high risk of asbestos-related diseases. His previous work has been instrumental in countries realising the current and potential problems of asbestos-related diseases and banning the substance.

What The Study Is Highlighting

Sadly, asbestos-related deaths are increasing with diseases such as asbestosis, pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma on the rise. The study did not include lung cancer. Although asbestos can contribute to this illness, it does have other priority causes. The recent research indicates a significant rise in numbers in seven of its eight categories. Historically, countries with low usage of asbestos remain low, but there is an exponential rise in those countries that have not banned asbestos.

For Men, there is an incremental rise of 2.4 deaths per million from mesothelioma, an incurable disease with a life expectancy of 2-years from diagnosis.

For Women, the incremental rise is 1.8 deaths per million from mesothelioma.

The Effort To Ban Asbestos Worldwide Is Still Ongoing

The World Health Organisation has been proactive in attempting to get a ban on asbestos. However, progress is slow, with only 60 of around 200 countries having banned the substance. Most of the developed countries, including the UK, but not the USA, have banned the substance. These countries actively seek to remove any asbestos left behind from its high usage in building activity in the 60s and 70s. Companies like Armco Surveys are integral in determining the presence of asbestos and how to remove it safely.

The study focuses on developing countries and those who can influence policymakers.

In the USA, an estimated 114+ metric tons of raw asbestos was imported into the country in 2022. While not mining asbestos for over 20 years, the USA has not banned the substance, although it is considering more regulations. That, according to the WHO, can not come soon enough.

Problems Keep On Arising With Asbestos

We are still seeing problems with asbestos in baby powder. Asbestos and talc are naturally occurring substances. However, asbestos is often found where the mining of talc is taking place. This problem came to light with 40,000 lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson in the USA and Canada. Recently Tiger Brands recalled its Purity Essentials Baby Powder as a precaution after discovering trace amounts of asbestos in the product.

Unfortunately, the company, the largest food provider in South Africa, will recommence sales after the completion of the recall. Of the many countries it sells to, they include the developing nations of Cameroon, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Chile, and Mozambique. 

What needs to happen next? If the countries listen, enforcing a worldwide ban is the only solution to reducing the rising figures. If they don’t, it’s simple maths, asbestos-related diseases will increase and the deaths alongside that. If you wish to discuss any worries regarding asbestos in your buildings, homes or business, please contact us regarding the right asbestos survey you will need.

Published Nov 22, 2022

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