Asbestos remains a global health threat, with over two million tonnes produced in 2008. Developing countries are mining and importing asbestos for domestic use, according to an article published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
Peter Sly, Deputy Director of the Queensland Children's Medical Research
Institute at the University of Queensland, and co-authors are calling for
action to support the latest international effort to ban the mining and
manufacturing of all forms of asbestos; to increase effective education of the
dangers of asbestos; and to urge our legislators to increase their efforts to
rid the world of asbestos-related disease.
Sly said that asbestos exposure comes from two main sources: residual-asbestos
containing materials remaining in buildings constructed before the mid-1980s,
and continuing mining and use of asbestos in some parts of the world.
Australia, the legacy of asbestos remains a problem. In most cases, asbestos is
in a non-respirable form and is not a hazard to human health if undisturbed.
However, if damaged, it can become friable and change to a respirable form,"
Prof Sly said.
will be with us for decades, so targeted and contextually appropriate education
programs for at-risk populations are required.
most of the people who will die of asbestos-related cancers already have
asbestos in their lungs, research aimed at preventing or curing these cancers
is also vital.
countries, especially in Asia and Eastern Europe, are mining or importing
asbestos for domestic use, and now account for the majority of the world's
exposure to asbestos.
if not millions, of people are likely to die in these countries as a result of
continued asbestos exposure," Prof Sly said.
The Medical Journal of Australia
publication of the Australian Medical Association.