Many countries have already taken action at a national level to prohibit the use of all forms of asbestos to limit exposure and so control, prevent and ultimately eliminate asbestos-related diseases, from which at least 107,000 people die each year globally. However, there are other countries that, for a range of reasons, have yet to act in the same manner. With that in mind, the prime intent of this publication is to assist Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) in making informed decisions about management of the health risks attached to exposure to chrysotile asbestos.
The document is divided into three parts. The first part reproduces a WHO short information document for decision-makers on the elimination of asbestos-related diseases, updated in March 2014. The second part addresses questions commonly raised in policy discussions, specifically to assist decision-makers in coming to a view. The third part is a technical summary of the health effects of chrysotile, which brings together and summarizes for the first time the most recent authoritative WHO evaluations performed by its International Agency for Research on Cancer and its International Programme on Chemical Safety. The technical summary also reviews results from key studies published after those evaluations and then, briefly, the conclusions drawn from WHO assessments of alternatives.
This publication will be useful to ministers, government officials and others who may wish or need to take decisions on, or provide advice related to, asbestos and in particular chrysotile asbestos and the health consequences of exposure.