Across the globe it has been estimated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that approximately 125 million people are annually exposed to asbestos in the work place. The popularity of asbestos is currently rising around the world, despite prompts to restrict or ban the material, mainly due to a growing need for affordable and easily mass produced building materials within developing nations.
The world top leader in asbestos exports in 2013, was Russia by a large margin, with them shipping off around 618,037 metric tons in a year. Despite the fact that the country banned the amphibole type of asbestos in 1999, today it still supplies approximately 60 to 75 per cent of all asbestos used worldwide. High production numbers within the country stem mainly from the city Asbest, located in a remote section of Russia 900 miles northeast of Moscow. The city is home to one of the largest asbestos mines in the world, measuring approximately seven miles long, and one and a half miles wide. However this has taken its toll, with it now being titled ‘the dying city’ due to its high rates of mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos.
However, Russia is not the only country to have felt the effects of asbestos exposure on such a mass scale. It has been reported that Chinas annual death toll due to mesothelioma and related diseases could reach 15,000 by 2035. The countries manufacturers and builders depend heavily on the mineral, using it for roofing materials, walls, brake pads, gaskets and cloth. Despite this, China has begun to acknowledge the damaging effects of asbestos, with some pushing for a complete ban on all forms of the mineral at the 2009 Asian Asbestos Conference.
Australia is yet another country that exhibits the damaging effects asbestos can have on a region, it has a long history of use and production of the mineral, reaching its peak levels in 1975 with it exporting an estimated 70,000 metric tons. However the toxicity of this production has rebounded on the country with devastating effects, nationally an estimated 18,000 people have died, but more specifically in the town of Wittenoom mining has lead to it being titled the area with the highest rates of mesothelioma in the world. The town was shut down in 1966, due to the low profits as well as the escalating concern over disease.
Despite the growing trend towards greater asbestos use, specific countries have begun to take into consideration the effects of asbestos. In India, the Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) has attempted to initiate a ban across the country displaying a growing awareness of the health and environmental implications associated with asbestos.
So as you can see England isn’t the only one facing the dangers of asbestos, if you have any concerns at all about the presence of asbestos in one of your properties, please don’t hesitate to contact us, either by phone on 0333 772 0424.