Australia should support international bans on asbestos trade
The adverse health effects of asbestos are well known, with all forms of asbestos recognised as human carcinogens, causing malignant mesothelioma, lung, laryngeal and ovarian cancers1 as well as the debilitating non-malignant diffuse lung disease, asbestosis, and pleural plaques. Although use, import and export of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials is banned in Australia and 51 other countries,2 an estimated 125 million people around the world are still exposed to asbestos in their home and work environments.3 Crocidolite (blue asbestos) and amosite (brown asbestos), two forms of asbestos that were heavily used in the past, are no longer in use. Chrysotile (white asbestos) accounts for 95% of the asbestos produced and used globally since 1990. There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos4 and no discernible threshold below which there is no risk of mesothelioma.5
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- 7. United States Department of the Interior, US Geological Survey. 2008 Minerals Yearbook — Asbestos [advance release]. USGS: Reston, 2009. http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/asbestos/myb1-2008-asbes.pdf (accessed Jul 2010).
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