|Let's Make Asbestos-free World|
|Japan Citizens' Network for Wiping out Asbestos|
Asbestos is Called a "Subtle Time Bomb"
Asbestos can causes numerous diseases after asbestos dust (fibers) are inhaled, including lung cancer, malignant mesothelioma (a malignancy of the membrane which surrounds the lungs and the abdomen) and pneumoconiosis (asbestosis), etc. Malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer can be caused from little of exposure, and it is well known that the latent period may last from 20 to 50 years before these cancers start to develop. For this reason, asbestos is called a "subtle time bomb".
Asbestos has various qualities; it is non burnable, insoluble by acid or alkali, thermostable, can be used as sound-proofing, or as an electric insulate. Asbestos is also very cheap so it is used in about three thousands types of industrial and household products. Asbestos has been used in everyday places. In houses it is used in asbestos cement sheetings and roofings, flooring tiles and wall building materials. Inside the house, asbestos was used in kerosene heaters, oven toasters and hair dryers. In buildings, it is used in boilers, air-conditioning systems, and was sprayed on ceilings, walls, and steel frames. Water pipes and paints contain asbestos substances. In cars, asbestos was used in break-linings, clutch-facings, and insulations around engines. Fire-proofing clothing for fire-fighters or heat-proofing clothing for factory workers were once made with asbestos.
The danger of asbestos is well known world wide. In Britain, more than one thousand people died from mesothelioma in 1991, and it is estimated that about three thousands people will die in 2020. In eight countries in Europe (Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy and Germany) asbestos is banned. In many countries including U.S.A., United Kingdom, France and Australia the amount of asbestos used a year has dramatically decreased in recent years. Japan imports most of the asbestos it uses. Asbestos imports peaked at 350 thousands tons in 1974, and then decreased to 20 thousands tons last year, which is about seven times more than asbestos used in U.S.A. Today Japan ranks second in world consumption of asbestos next to the former Soviet Union.
Asbestos in The Third World
World production of asbestos amounts to approximately 4 million tons per year. The major producing countries are Canada, the former Soviet Union, South Africa, and Brazil. As asbestos consumption in industrialized countries decreased, asbestos exports to the third world increased. We are afraid that many workers and residents might be killed by asbestos.
Japanese companies which manufactured or handled asbestos- containing materials in Japan have made factories and offices in Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippine, Indonesia, India, etc. They might manufacture or handle asbestos-containing materials there.
In Australia, many workers and residents in Wittnoom, West Australia, are being killed by blue asbestos fibers scattered from asbestos mine. Workers in State Electric Company of Victoria are also damaged by asbestos used.
To Make Asbestos-free World
In Japan, the use of, and manufacture of blue asbestos and brown asbestos was prohibited on April this year. But white asbestos, which is most widely used in the world, remains not prohibited. We are making efforts to ban white asbestos in Japan, and wish to make asbestos-free world. A worldwide Network named "Ban Asbestos Network" was established last year.
If you want to know about asbestos, please don't hesitate to contact us by fax 81-3-3711-4843 ASNET.