Respiratory diseases linked to exposure to products such as asbestos: are preventive measures sufficient?

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2004

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There is a clear scientific consensus that asbestos in all its varieties (amphiboles or chrysotile) is a carcinogen in humans, even at low doses. Asbestos in its various mineral forms is a natural substance existing on all continents, with many remarkable chemical and physical properties. It has been known of since ancient times, and was used extensively in the 20th century for purposes as varied as protecting buildings and ships against fire, strengthening plastics, constructing sheeting and pipes (from asbestos cement), reinforcing road surfaces and making fireproof cord, gaskets and brake linings, and heat-protective clothing, to name just a few of its possible applications.

The general realisation that working with asbestos poses serious risks to health led more and more countries to adopt increasingly strict measures to protect workers from the mid-1970s onwards, and then to restrict and ban its use. Since the 1990s, repeated recommendations from health-related international organisations have aimed to replace asbestos with less dangerous technologies or substances. More and more states have decided to impose a total ban on all forms of asbestos, with some temporary exceptions for the few cases where substitution still presents some technical difficulties.

Other data

Sector / Industry covered: 
STAVEBNICTVÍ
Demolice
Provider: 
International Social Security Association (ISSA)
Tasks covered: 
Construction
Hazard - physical state: 
Dusts
Fibres
Hazard - health effects: 
Carcinogens
Exposure route: 
Inhalation
Substance Description: 

asbestos

CAS Number: 
1332-21-4
EC number: 
601-801-3
Purpose of the material: 
Awareness raising
Report
Target group: 
OSH consultant
Policy makers
Researchers

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