Claims that asbestos bans will be damaging to the economies of countries making the move are not true, a study has found.
Scientists from the World Health Organisation’s Europe office, the University of Sydney and a US economic consulting group found economies quickly recovered from any downturn and that countries persisting with asbestos use could expect ‘substantial costs’ as a result.
Findings published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health note: “As countries have shifted away from asbestos, we did not find an observable negative economic impact following the institution of bans using country-level data. To the extent that asbestos represents a similarly small share in the economies of the current consumers, a similar ban would not be expected to have a large economic impact at the national level.”
The paper adds: “Where relevant regional-level data were available, we did not observe a persistent effect at a local level following declines in asbestos consumption or production.”
Warning about the consequences of continued asbestos use, they conclude: “Whereas the shift away from asbestos has not had an observable persistent negative economic impact, continued use of asbestos is expected to result in substantial costs, including health costs as well as remediation/removal costs and potential litigation costs.”
- Lucy P Allen, Jorge Baez, Mary Elizabeth C Stern, Ken Takahashi and Frank George. Trends and the Economic Effect of Asbestos Bans and Decline in Asbestos Consumption and Production Worldwide, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, volume 15, number 3, page 531, 2018.