Brazil asbestos ban strengthens the fight in our region

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Australia welcomes the news that the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court has banned the use of asbestos in Brazil.

The Court found there are no safe levels for the use of asbestos.

Brazil is one of the top five asbestos consuming countries in the world, and it will now join more than 70 other countries, including Australia, to ban use of the deadly substance.

Russia, China and Kazakhstan are now the only commercial producers of asbestos in the world.

Australia plays an international leadership role in curtailing the deadly asbestos trade, by leading the push to stand up to the global asbestos industry, and helping Southeast Asian countries confront the problem.

As bans have dried up markets around the world, the global asbestos trade has focused on less developed and transition economies, including in Southeast Asia.

Between 2000 and 2012, Asia’s asbestos use went from 53 per cent of the world’s total, to 72 per cent.

Quotes attributable to Peter Tighe, CEO, Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency:

“Australians are often surprised to learn that asbestos is still heavily mined, manufactured and used around the world.

“Australia will not be completely safe from asbestos until there is a total global ban.

“We are up against a pro-asbestos lobby, led by Russian-backed interests, that pulls out all stops to promote their heinous trade.

“Australia has done a lot of work to counter this, through the global treaty for the trade of hazardous chemicals, the Rotterdam Convention, and in working with our nearest neighbours in Southeast Asia.

“Brazil’s ban is significant, being one of the top five asbestos users in the world.

“It is our hope that Southeast Asian countries grappling with the huge burden of asbestos will follow suit.

“I congratulate the global asbestos campaigners who have fought so hard for so long to have the world’s major asbestos using countries finally do the right thing.”

Media Contact: Rebecca Nicholson – 0409 216 053