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UICC Seeks Global Ban of Asbestos

The Union for International Control of Cancer (UICC) took a major step recently when it called for a complete ban on the mining, use and exportation of all forms of asbestos, Right On Canada reported.

According to the news source, the UICC, which includes more than 700 member organizations throughout 155 different countries, pointed specifically to countries that mine and export the carcinogenic substance. The organization sought to halt these mining and exportation practices, while offering economic assistance during the transition period for mining communities.

One community that immediately comes to mind is that of the appropriately named Asbestos, Quebec. With Canada well-known for its exportation of asbestos to developing countries, the town of Asbestos is a major factor, as it hosts the Jeffrey Mine. The mine recently received a boost in the form of a $58 million loan from the government. This, despite a number of calls for Canada to bring its exportation policies more in line with its asbestos restrictions at home.

UICC statement points to scientific evidence

In its Position Statement calling for the ban of asbestos and the halting of such exports, the UICC noted that there has been a known link between asbestos and lung disease since the early part of the 18th century. Since the mid-1960s, it has been known that exposure to asbestos can lead to the development of lung cancer, asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer.

Such evidence is a major factor in the decisions of many countries to adopt bans on asbestos, particularly when the true toll of asbestos-related diseases is taken into account. According to the UICC’s statement, more than 92,000 mesothelioma deaths were reported in 83 different countries between 1994 and 2008.

Further, according to the World Health Organization, approximately 107,000 people around the world each year succumb to asbestos-related diseases like asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

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