Russian scientists opinion on the issue of a global asbestos ban



Prof. Nikolai Izmerov, Academician of Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Director of RAMS Institute of Occupational Health

Prof. StanislavDomnin, Head of the Department of Scientific Maintenance, Federal Centre for the State Sanitary and Epidemiologic Surveillance; Chief Expert in Hygiene of the Ministry of Health

Prof. LudmilaElovskaya,Leading Researcher of RAMS Institute of Occupational Health

Prof. ViolettaMilishnikova, Deputy Chief Occupational Physician of the Russian Federation

Dr. Tatyana Burmistrova, Chief of the Roentgenologic Department, Occupational Health Clinic, RAMS Institute of Occupational Health

Dr. Eugeny Kovalevsky, Senior Researcher, RAMS Institute of Occupational Health

Dr. Sergey Kashansky, Head of the Department of Work Hygiene, Ekaterinburg Medical Research Centre for Prevention and Health Protection of Industrial Workers, Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation

The given material was forwarded to the Commission of the European Community in September 2002

Directive 1999/77/EC on asbestos ban adopted on 26 July 1999 by the European Council affected negatively asbestos industry of Russia where a great number of workers was employed causing serious socio-economic impact to the Russian economy in general and to chrysotile asbestos branch, in particular, involving adversely other branches related to the fabrications of products based on it.

It seems necessary to note that the states – members of the European Council enjoy their inviolable right to decide on what materials, or substances, they are to use at their territories irrespective of economic, political, social, and other prerequisites, and that the EC decision on asbestos ban exceeds the limits of the internal EU problem. Guided by the EU opinion the world’s community treats it as the only true one.

Chrysotile asbestos has been mined for more than one hundred years in Russia. The use of chrysotile asbestos compared with other substances and products did not give any grounds for the disastrous spread of diseases though one cannot deny chrysotile adverse effects if it is used uncontrollably.

Taking the latter into account, we think it reasonable to present an opinion that speaks in favor of the lack of sufficient grounds for the further ban of chrysotile asbestos. This opinion is based on multi-year experience of Russia and other countries that contributed to its controlled use.

Beneath general provisions are given that represent approaches of leading occupational health centers and competent authorities of Russia whose aims are directed to health promotion of workers and general population, and who are responsible for decision-making concerning further use of materials and products for national economy. Download the full text of the Judgment in PDF format