by Laurie Kazan-Allen, International Ban Asbestos Secretariat
The shift in the public perception of asbestos from “magic mineral” to “deadly dust” owes much to the mobilization by asbestos victims, ban-asbestos activists, health and safety campaigners, and individuals concerned about the global asbestos death toll. Cognizant of the proven links between asbestos and disease, governments of industrialized countries banned further use, as a result of which consumption shifted to developing countries; between 2000 and 2010, asbestos use in Asia grew dramatically. In the face
of a powerful industry lobby, members of the ban-asbestos network have lobbied national governments to outlaw asbestos use, challenged industry propaganda, and cooperated with social partners on coordinated multinational initiatives. Major developments in the campaign to end the mining, sale, and use of asbestos which have taken place over the last 50 years are delineated in this paper.