The health dangers of asbestos are widely known, but where in the world is asbestos use against the law? While asbestos use is not fully banned in the United States, many other countries have completely forbidden the use of asbestos and asbestos products. Other countries, like the U.S., have only banned certain types of asbestos. There are six main types of asbestos, which include the following:
1. Chrysotile (most commonly used form of asbestos)
2. Amosite (brown asbestos)
3. Crocidolite (blue asbestos)
4. Tremolite (a contaminant in chrysotile asbestos)
5. Anthophyllite (gray-brown color, mined primarily in Finland)
6. Actinolite (often found in metamorphic rock)
Below is a list of the dates and countries that have issued full bans or de facto bans on the use of all six of the types of asbestos, according to the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat website.
- 1980 – Israel issues a de facto ban on the use of asbestos.
- 1983 – Iceland bans (with exceptions) all types of asbestos.
- 1984 – Norway introduces a ban on all types of asbestos.
- 1995 – Kuwait bans all types of asbestos under Resolution No. (26) for the year of 1995.
- 1996 – Bahrain bans asbestos by the Ministerial Order No. / 1996, which bans the import, manufacturing and circulation of asbestos materials and products.
- 1997 – Poland bans all types of asbestos.
- 1998 – Saudi Arabia bans asbestos under the Council of Ministers Decision No. 162.
- 2000/2001 – The four most industrialized states in Brazil (70 percent of the national asbestos market) ban asbestos.
- 2001 – Chile bans asbestos with the Decree No. 656 by the Ministry of Health.
- 2004 – Honduras introduces an asbestos ban with some exceptions.
- 2005 – Bulgaria bans the import, production and use of all asbestos types.
- 2005 – Japan announces a total asbestos ban within three years.
- 2005 – Egypt bans the import and manufacture of all types of asbestos.
- 2006 – Jordan bans all types of asbestos for all uses.
- 2009 – South Korea bans all types of asbestos use.
- 2009 – Algeria bans all types of asbestos and asbestos products by Executive Decree No. 09 – 321.
- 2010 – Taiwan announces a comprehensive ban on all types of asbestos that would be implemented within ten years.
- 2010 – Mozambique issues a comprehensive ban on the production, use, import, export and trade of asbestos and asbestos products.
- 2010 – Turkey bans all types of asbestos.
- 2011 – Thailand’s Thai Cabinet approves a resolution to ban all uses of asbestos.
- 2012 – Japan issues a total ban on asbestos.
As you can see, the United States and Canada are not on this list. Canada continues to mine and export thousands of tons of chrysotile asbestos every year. Both countries continue to use asbestos-containing products. Because of this, workers like automobile mechanics can still be exposed to asbestos today through products like brake pads, brake linings, clutch facings, gaskets and more.
For a list of asbestos products not banned in the United States, visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s webpage on asbestos.