2018 is right around the corner. And it’s set to be a wonderful year for Canadians. It will be the year when our nation finally bans asbestos completely. According to Matt Mauney on Asbestos.com, Canada was once considered a world leader in asbestos production. However, the toxic material is the leading cause of occupational deaths in our country. Thankfully, other nations are catching on. Canada is now joined by Ukraine, Moldova and most recently Brazil as countries who have declared a ban asbestos for good.
“The world’s third-largest producer of chrysotile asbestos, also known as white asbestos, ruled last week to ban the production, distribution and use of the toxic mineral,” Mauney reports in a December 4th article, “Brazil’s Supreme Court on Nov. 29 voted 7 to 2 on the measure to ban the substance responsible for deadly mesothelioma and other diseases.”
It officially makes the nation the most populous one in the world to ban the hazardous material. According to the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS), informs Mauney, China, India and the United States – nations with populations larger than Brazil – still use chrysotile in some capacity.
The Brazilian ban, however, is huge for entirely different reason. The South American nation stands to lose a major revenue stream considering that approximately 95 percent of the raw chrysotile asbestos that is imported into the United States comes from Brazil. According to a 2017 study from the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. imported 340 metric tons of the toxic material last year.
Fernanda Giannasi is the advisor to Brazil’s Association of the Asbestos-Exposed. In a statement to BBC Brazil, she communicated a hope for seeing other countries following suit. “This decision will have a global impact on the market. It will create a domino effect,” she is quoted as saying, “If an asbestos-producing country like Brazil is capable of making such a decision, why wouldn’t it be followed by those countries that buy asbestos?”
As it stands, Brazil and Canada are now two out of 62 countries that have banned asbestos. For some reason, the United States continues to not be one of them. “The U.S. remains one of the few industrialized countries without a ban or phase-out plan in place,” writes Mauney, “Of the 10 most populous countries in the world, only Brazil and Japan have passed comprehensive legislation to ban asbestos. Roughly 10,000 Americans die each year from preventable asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.”
It is assumed, however, that instead of joining the 62 other nations in banning asbestos, the United States will turn to Russia to import the material. Russia, explains Mauney, has long been a world leader in asbestos mine production – to the tune of 1.1 million metric tons each year. That’s more than half of the world total! It trails only China in being the world’s top consumer of asbestos products as well.
The team, here at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. applauds Brazil’s wise decision to ban asbestos. And as far as we’re concerned, the new year can’t come soon enough. We look forward to an asbestos-free Canada. We know, however, that many in our nation are still impacted by asbestos. For information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.