Though most uses of asbestos are already banned in Taiwan, the EPA noted that some uses are still permitted, meaning a total elimination is still necessary. As a result, the EPA has established guidelines for the implementation of specific phases of the asbestos ban.
The schedule adopted by the EPA was reportedly designed to give industry groups a specific deadline to curtail, and ultimately, eliminate the use of the carcinogenic substance. Once the plan is fully adopted, Taiwan would join a growing list of countries that have decided to ban asbestos.
The deadline for the first phase of the plan has already come and gone, as on August 1, the use of asbestos in manufacturing “extruded cement composite hollow panels and construction sealants” was banned.
The next phase, which will be adopted on February 1, 2013, calls for the prohibition of asbestos in the manufacturing of roof tiles, according to the EPA. Asbestos can be found in roof tiles across the globe, as the material was once prized for its resistance to fire and utility as an insulator.
The final step in the EPA’s plan to fully ban asbestos in Taiwan will be implemented on July 1, 2018, when the carcinogenic substance will no longer be allowed in the manufacturing of brake linings, the administration said in its release.
In setting these deadlines, the EPA noted that the phasing out of asbestos use in the manufacturing of such products will lower the overall amount of the carcinogen in the country and, as a result, reduce the prevalence of asbestos-related illnesses, which include lung cancer, asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer.
Asbestos illnesses remain a major concern
Taiwan’s efforts to ban asbestos are crucial, particularly as the World Health Organization estimates that approximately 107,000 people die each year as a result of asbestos-related diseases.
The phase-out plan also sends a strong message to the rest of the world, particularly given the recent news from Canada, where an asbestos mine is scheduled to be revitalized as a result of a government loan.