In an article on the industry’s cover up of asbestos’ toxicity published March 18, 2014 in the British newspaper New Statesman, journalist Nic Fleming reports that in the UK asbestos continues to kill 13 people a day, more than die in car accidents. In the U.S., asbestos mortality will reach 10 000 this year. As reported by the article, the link between asbestos and lung cancer was already well established in the mid-1950s. Yet, in 2012, asbestos production increased and international export grew by 20 %. While the use of asbestos is banned in the EU, controlled use is allowed in the U.S. and Canada. As such, asbestos continues to be authorized as a filler, additive, adjuvant for polymers in food contact materials in the U.S.. In Asia, Eastern Europe and South America asbestos use also continues. Asbestos is the generic name for six types of asbestos, chrysotile, amosite (brown asbestos), crocidolite (blue asbestos), anthophyllite, tremolite and actinolite. Mesothelioma is an aggressive type of lung cancer exclusively found in people that have been exposed to asbestos fibers via inhalation, which kills 9 out of 10 patients within 1 year. Other lung diseases associated with asbestos exposure include normal lung cancer and asbestosis, a chronic inflammation of the lungs. For a long time, asbestos was used as a flame retardant in uniforms, buildings and military vehicles. In the article Jessica van Horssen, an environmental historian at York University, Toronto, Canada, is quoted saying that many people who used to work in the asbestos industry believe the myth that asbestos can now be handled safely, and that the occurrence of cancer can be exclusively related to smoking.
Nic Fleming (March 18, 2014). “Killer dust: why is asbestos still killing people?” New Statesman.