Asbestos: The Deadly Mineral That’s Still Used in These Countries
Asbestos is a mineral that was once widely used in construction materials because of its fire-resistant and insulation properties. However, it has since been shown to cause serious health problems, including cancer, when inhaled. Despite this, asbestos is still being used in many countries around the world. Also read: Asbestos Courses Australia
Asbestos is one of the top exports in Russia, and it is used in a wide variety of industries, including construction and manufacturing. In 2010, the country produced over 1 million metric tons of asbestos, accounting for nearly 6% of global production that year.
Like Russia, Kazakhstan has long been known as an asbestos-producing powerhouse; indeed, it accounts for approximately 40% of all world exports of chrysotile asbestos – the most commonly used form of the mineral. Much like its fellow former Soviet Union member countries (including Russia), asbestos use was banned in Kazakhstan in 1999 but was subsequently lifted by presidential decree just 3 years later. As such, chrysotile asbestos continues to be widely used throughout the country.
Although asbestos use has declined in China over the past decade, it still remains a legally acceptable building material for construction and insulation purposes. In fact, there is even government-sponsored research being conducted on ways to further develop asbestos mining in the country’s western provinces. According to some reports, there are many obstacles to overcome if this ambitious plan is to become a reality, including steep infrastructure costs and restrictions on imports of raw materials. But with such a large market demand for chrysotile asbestos – especially in rural areas of China – it will likely remain a mainstay of Chinese industry for years to come.
Brazil has long been one of the biggest producers and consumers of asbestos in the world. In fact, Brazil has been cited as a major reason why global consumption of asbestos continues to be so high; with its manufacturing sector heavily reliant on chrysotile asbestos – which is cheaper than other forms of the mineral such as crocidolite or amosite – it seems unlikely that consumption will decrease anytime soon.
Like China and Brazil, India has historically had one of the highest rates of asbestos use in the world. However, over the past few years there have been efforts to reduce this dependence due to growing awareness about the health risks associated with asbestos exposure. While some government-sponsored research centers continue to study ways to further utilize chrysotile asbestos, other organizations and non-profits are working to end its use within India.
Asbestos use has long been on the rise in Indonesia – indeed, from 2001 to 2013 production more than doubled. This increase has largely been driven by a growing construction industry in the country; however, China has also played an important role in driving demand for asbestos in Indonesia over the past decade. Due to this rapid growth, Indonesia is now one of the top ten producers and consumers of chrysotile asbestos worldwide.