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Special Issue "Global Panorama of National Experiences in Public Health Actions to Ban Asbestos"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Ken Takahashi

Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (Director and Professor), University of Sydney
Website | E-Mail
Interests: epidemiology, prevention and international collaboration on asbestos-related diseases (ARD)
Guest Editor
Dr. Jukka Takala

Workplace Safety and Health Institute, Singapore (Senior Consultant to the Ministry of Manpower, Singapore); International Commission on Occupational Health (President)
Website | E-Mail
Interests: occupational diseases and injuries; occupational cancers; ARD
Guest Editor
Dr. Annette M. David

Health Partners, LLC, Guam (Senior Partner); Cancer Research Center, University of Guam (Adjunct Research Faculty)
Website | E-Mail
Interests: tobacco-related diseases; epidemiology of tobacco use; occupational cancers; noncommunicable disease prevention and control

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over 50 countries in the world have adopted a national ban on asbestos; these countries have “national experiences” to make the transition from an asbestos-using society to a non-using society. The lessons learned by these countries derive from the culmination of legal and regulatory measures to phase out new use of asbestos (combined with minimizing exposure to existing asbestos), engineering technologies and marketing strategies to substitute asbestos, medico-social infrastructure to diagnose, treat and compensate people with asbestos-related diseases, and general awareness-raising and advocacy. This Special Issue aims to showcase national experiences and key lessons learned in the context of leadership, know-how and capacity (“soft” technology), which are transferrable to the many countries still using asbestos, but with a vision to ban asbestos. Contributing authors will be chosen to represent a range of countries/regions and will be requested to follow a “guideline for authors” designed specifically to ensure adherence to the theme and readability.

Dr. Ken Takahashi
Dr. Jukka Takala
Dr. Annette M. David
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. For only the Second Round, research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs).

We would like to acknowledge the Heads of the Asbestos Coordination Authorities (HACA), Australia, for funding the open access publication of the first stage of this special issue.

Keywords

  • asbestos, ban, national experience, international cooperation

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle The Asbestos Ban in Korea from a Grassroots Perspective: Why Did It Occur?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 198; doi:10.3390/ijerph15020198
Received: 16 December 2017 / Revised: 17 January 2018 / Accepted: 19 January 2018 / Published: 25 January 2018
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Abstract
In 2009, asbestos was finally banned in Korea, about 70 years after the first opening of asbestos mines under Japanese control. After having presented the history of asbestos industry, together with its regulations and health effects over time, we constructed narrative analyses of
[...] Read more.
In 2009, asbestos was finally banned in Korea, about 70 years after the first opening of asbestos mines under Japanese control. After having presented the history of asbestos industry, together with its regulations and health effects over time, we constructed narrative analyses of how the asbestos issue under the prevailing risk system was managed by whom and for what purpose, to provide context for the change. We could identify five different phases: laissez-faire, politico-technical, economic–managerial, health-oriented cultural, and human rights-based post-cultural risk systems. The changes leading to the asbestos ban evolved over different phases, and each phase change was necessary to reach the final ban, in that, without resolving the previous issues by examining different categories of potential alternatives, either the final ban was not possible or, even if instituted, could not be sustained. An asbestos ban could be introduced when all the alternatives to these issues, including legitimate political windows, economic rationalizations, health risk protections, and human rights sensitivities, were available. We think the alternatives that we had were not in perfect shape, but in more or less loosely connected forms, and hence we had to know how to build solidarities between different stakeholders to compensate for the imperfections. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Banning Asbestos in New Zealand, 1936–2016, an 80-Year Long Saga
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1457; doi:10.3390/ijerph14121457
Received: 25 October 2017 / Revised: 21 November 2017 / Accepted: 21 November 2017 / Published: 25 November 2017
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Abstract
The banning by the New Zealand Government of the import and export of asbestos-containing products resulted from the interplay of a number of factors. At a personal level, there were the actions of the asbestos sufferers, their families and support groups. At the
[...] Read more.
The banning by the New Zealand Government of the import and export of asbestos-containing products resulted from the interplay of a number of factors. At a personal level, there were the actions of the asbestos sufferers, their families and support groups. At the political level, there were the activities of progressive trade union groups representing the hazardous trades, such as labourers, construction workers and demolition workers, and at a Government level, there was a positive response to these public health pressures. The Prohibition Order 2016 concerning Imports and Exports (asbestos-containing products) was the outcome of this 80-year long saga. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Tale of Asbestos in Sweden 1972–1986—The Pathway to a Near-Total Ban
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(11), 1433; doi:10.3390/ijerph14111433
Received: 29 September 2017 / Revised: 2 November 2017 / Accepted: 15 November 2017 / Published: 22 November 2017
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Abstract
This paper provides a narrative of the national intervention strategy in Sweden aimed to restrict the industrial use of asbestos. For many years, asbestos was imported for widespread industrial use, resulting in large amounts throughout Swedish society. In 1972, the whistle was blown
[...] Read more.
This paper provides a narrative of the national intervention strategy in Sweden aimed to restrict the industrial use of asbestos. For many years, asbestos was imported for widespread industrial use, resulting in large amounts throughout Swedish society. In 1972, the whistle was blown in a Communist Party parliamentary motion describing asbestos as a health hazard and requesting action to prohibit its use. Although the motion was rejected, it initiated the extensive charting of asbestos sources on a tripartite basis, involving government agencies, and employer and trade-union organizations. Restrictive asbestos management practices were enforced from July 1982. The year 1985 saw the Government Asbestos Commission review, covering use-determining factors, international regulations, and assessments of cancer risks. The relative risks of chrysotile and amphibole were considered internationally (by the IARC), since chrysotile (a Canadian export) was regarded as unharmful in Canada at that time. Prohibiting asbestos use resulted in its virtual disappearance as an import to Sweden from the early 1980s. However, asbestos has undergone a transition from an occupational to a public-health hazard (although some work-related hazards, such as handling and disposal, remain). The transition reflects the public’s exposure to existing stocks, in homes, workplaces, etc. Mesothelioma incidence has come to be regarded as an indicator of prevention effectiveness. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Asbestos Ban in Italy: A Major Milestone, Not the Final Cut
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(11), 1379; doi:10.3390/ijerph14111379
Received: 19 September 2017 / Revised: 3 November 2017 / Accepted: 6 November 2017 / Published: 13 November 2017
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Abstract
Background and history: Italy was the main asbestos producer and one of the greatest consumers in 20th century Europe until the asbestos ban was introduced in 1992. Asbestos exposure affected the population in a wide range of working environments, namely mining and marketing
[...] Read more.
Background and history: Italy was the main asbestos producer and one of the greatest consumers in 20th century Europe until the asbestos ban was introduced in 1992. Asbestos exposure affected the population in a wide range of working environments, namely mining and marketing of asbestos, asbestos cement production, shipyards and textile industries. This also determined a widespread environmental asbestos exposure affecting the surrounding communities. Methods: To investigate the drivers and difficulties of the process leading to the asbestos ban and its subsequent implementation, we focused on stakeholder involvement, environmental health policies, capacity building and communication. Results: In the past three decades, stakeholder involvement has been instrumental in advancing the industrial asbestos replacement process, prevention and remediation interventions. Furthermore, involvement also contributed to the integration of environmental and health policies at national, regional and local levels, including capacity building and communication. In a global public health perspective, international scientific cooperation has been established with countries using and producing asbestos. Discussion and Conclusions: Key factors and lessons learnt in Italy from both successful and ineffective asbestos policies are described to support the relevant stakeholders in countries still using asbestos contributing to the termination of its use. Full article
Open AccessArticle History of Asbestos Ban in Hong Kong
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(11), 1327; doi:10.3390/ijerph14111327
Received: 29 September 2017 / Revised: 26 October 2017 / Accepted: 28 October 2017 / Published: 31 October 2017
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Abstract
As millions of immigrants moved to Hong Kong (HK) from China in the recent decades, large amount of residential housings were built in the early years and a substantial proportion of those buildings used asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). Since the number of new cases
[...] Read more.
As millions of immigrants moved to Hong Kong (HK) from China in the recent decades, large amount of residential housings were built in the early years and a substantial proportion of those buildings used asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). Since the number of new cases of ARDs diagnosed has increased year by year since 1990’s, the remarkable increase of incidences had drawn the attention of the public and most importantly the HK government. It became one of the trigger points leading to asbestos ban in HK history. Comparatively, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), labor unions and patients’ self-help organizations demonstrated a more aggressive and proactive attitude than the HK government and have played a key role in the development of asbestos banning policy in HK. After numerous petitions and meetings with the government representatives by those parties in the past decade, the HK government eventually changed its attitude and started to consider terminating the endless threat from asbestos by amending the policy, and the new clause of legislation for banning of all forms of asbestos was enacted on 4 April 2014. Other than the restriction of asbestos use, the compensation system about ARDs has also made some great moves by the effort of those parties as well. Based on the experience we learnt through the years, efforts from different stakeholders including patients’ self-help organizations, NGOs, legislative councilors, and media power are absolutely essential to the success of progression and development in today’s asbestos banning in HK. Full article
Open AccessArticle Experience of Japan in Achieving a Total Ban on Asbestos
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(10), 1261; doi:10.3390/ijerph14101261
Received: 25 September 2017 / Revised: 16 October 2017 / Accepted: 18 October 2017 / Published: 20 October 2017
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Abstract
This paper aims to examine the process through which a total ban on asbestos was achieved in Japan. We reconstructed the process, analyzed the roles of involved parties/events, and drew lessons from the Japanese experience of achieving the ban. In Japan, a bill
[...] Read more.
This paper aims to examine the process through which a total ban on asbestos was achieved in Japan. We reconstructed the process, analyzed the roles of involved parties/events, and drew lessons from the Japanese experience of achieving the ban. In Japan, a bill to phase out asbestos was proposed in 1992 but rejected without deliberation. Wide support for such a ban subsequently grew, however, largely due to the actions of trade unions and civil societies in establishing a coalition, raising awareness, organizing asbestos victims and their families, and propagating information on international developments. A governmental decision towards a ban was made in 2002 based on several national and international factors. A huge asbestos scandal in 2005 preponed the achievement of a total ban and led to the establishment of comprehensive measures to tackle asbestos issues. However, challenges remain for the elimination of asbestos-related diseases. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Transnational Dynamics Amid Poor Regulations: Taiwan’s Asbestos Ban Actions and Experiences
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(10), 1240; doi:10.3390/ijerph14101240
Received: 21 September 2017 / Revised: 13 October 2017 / Accepted: 14 October 2017 / Published: 17 October 2017
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Abstract
This article describes the history of the asbestos use regulation process in Taiwan and the associated factors leading to its total ban in 2018. Despite the long history of asbestos mining and manufacturing since the Japanese colonial period, attempts to understand the impact
[...] Read more.
This article describes the history of the asbestos use regulation process in Taiwan and the associated factors leading to its total ban in 2018. Despite the long history of asbestos mining and manufacturing since the Japanese colonial period, attempts to understand the impact of asbestos on the health of the population and to control its use did not emerge until the early 1980s. We attempted to investigate the driving forces and obstructions involved in asbestos regulations by reviewing available public sources and scientific journal articles and conducting interviews with key propagators of the asbestos regulation and ban. Correlation between asbestos exposure and asbestos-related diseases has already been established; however, authorities have been unable to effectively regulate the extensive application of asbestos in various light industries that support economic growth since the 1960s. More stringent regulations on asbestos use in industries and an eventual ban were caused indirectly by appeals made by visionary scholars and healthcare professionals but also due to the subsidence of asbestos-related industries. With the elucidation of factors that affect asbestos regulation and ban, a thorough long-term healthcare plan for the neglected victims of asbestos-related diseases and upstream measures for policy change must be developed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle How Canada Changed from Exporting Asbestos to Banning Asbestos: The Challenges That Had to Be Overcome
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(10), 1135; doi:10.3390/ijerph14101135
Received: 5 September 2017 / Revised: 21 September 2017 / Accepted: 22 September 2017 / Published: 27 September 2017
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Abstract
Less than ten years ago, the asbestos industry enjoyed the support of every Quebec and Canadian political party. The Chrysotile Institute and the International Chrysotile Association, both located in Quebec, aggressively marketed asbestos around the world, claiming scientific evidence showed that chrysotile asbestos
[...] Read more.
Less than ten years ago, the asbestos industry enjoyed the support of every Quebec and Canadian political party. The Chrysotile Institute and the International Chrysotile Association, both located in Quebec, aggressively marketed asbestos around the world, claiming scientific evidence showed that chrysotile asbestos could be safely used. The industry created a climate of intimidation. Consequently, no groups advocating for victims of asbestos or campaigning for its outright ban existed in Quebec to challenge the industry. A campaign was launched to mobilize the scientific community to speak out. Working with scientists, activists, and asbestos victims around the world, a small group of Quebec scientists exposed the false arguments of the asbestos industry. They publicly and repeatedly challenged the unscientific and unethical asbestos policy of the government. By appealing to Quebec values and holding those in power accountable, the campaign won public support and succeeded against all odds in defeating the asbestos industry. Full article

Review

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Open AccessReview Asbestos-Related Disorders in Germany: Background, Politics, Incidence, Diagnostics and Compensation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(1), 143; doi:10.3390/ijerph15010143
Received: 12 November 2017 / Revised: 19 December 2017 / Accepted: 11 January 2018 / Published: 16 January 2018
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Abstract
There was some limited use of asbestos at end of the 19th century in industrialized countries including Germany, but its consumption dramatically increased after World War II. The increase in use and exposure was followed by the discovery of high numbers of asbestos-related
[...] Read more.
There was some limited use of asbestos at end of the 19th century in industrialized countries including Germany, but its consumption dramatically increased after World War II. The increase in use and exposure was followed by the discovery of high numbers of asbestos-related diseases with a mean latency period of about 38 years in Germany. The strong socio-political pressure from the asbestos industry, its affiliated scientists and physicians has successfully hindered regulatory measures and an asbestos ban for many years; a restrictive stance that is still being unravelled in compensation litigation. This national experience is compared with the situation in other industrialized countries and against the backdrop of the constant efforts of the WHO to eliminate asbestos-related diseases worldwide. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Toward an Asbestos Ban in the United States
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(11), 1302; doi:10.3390/ijerph14111302
Received: 16 August 2017 / Revised: 28 September 2017 / Accepted: 8 October 2017 / Published: 26 October 2017
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Abstract
Many developed countries have banned the use of asbestos, but not the United States. There have, however, been multiple efforts in the US to establish strict exposure standards, to limit asbestos use, and to seek compensation through the courts for asbestos-injured workers’ In
[...] Read more.
Many developed countries have banned the use of asbestos, but not the United States. There have, however, been multiple efforts in the US to establish strict exposure standards, to limit asbestos use, and to seek compensation through the courts for asbestos-injured workers’ In consequence of these efforts, asbestos use has declined dramatically, despite the absence of a legally mandated ban. This manuscript presents a historical review of these efforts. Full article
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