Asbestos’ Global Health Impact

Asbestos continues to play a role in the health of people all over the world. Despite it being banned in many countries since the 1990’s, asbestos exposure continues to threaten the health of thousands of people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declares about 125 million people in the world are still exposed to asbestos. It’s estimated that 107,000 people die from asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma or asbestosis every year, primarily from workplace exposure.*


Mesothelioma diagnoses and other health burdens from asbestos will no doubt rise due to the continual use of asbestos around the world. Even though most countries have banned all forms of asbestos use, some countries have either maintained or increased their use of asbestos. Even the United States and Canada haven’t fully banned the use of asbestos. WHO states one in every three deaths from occupational cancer is caused by asbestos exposure, and several thousand annual deaths are attributed to asbestos exposure in the home.*

Along with other organizations against the use of asbestos, such as the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization and the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, WHO is working to eliminate the use of asbestos and asbestos-related diseases. To do so, WHO is continually working with countries to implement the following steps:

  • Recognize the best way to eliminate asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma and to stop the use of all types of asbestos.
  • Regularly provide information and recommendations on safer substitutes to replace asbestos.
  • Take measures to prevent asbestos exposure.
  • Improve early mesothelioma diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation along with diagnoses of all other asbestos-related diseases.

Learn more about what the World Health Organization is doing to aid in eliminating asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma.

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