Posted on October 28, 2021

For decades, science has shown that all types of asbestos cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, according to the World Health Organization, as well as cancer of the larynx and ovary, and asbestosis (fibrosis of the lungs). Exposure to asbestos occurs through “inhalation of fibers in the air, in the working environment, ambient air in the vicinity of point sources such as factories handling asbestos, or indoor air in housing and buildings containing friable (crumbly) asbestos materials.” There is no safe level of exposure. 

To date, nearly 70 nations have enacted federal legislation to prohibit the use, imports, and/or mining of asbestos. Beginning in 1983, when Iceland prohibited asbestos imports other countries began to follow their lead by passing ban legislation.  Norway did the same in 1984 and several Middle Eastern countries followed suit in the 1990s, including Kuwait (1995), Bahrain (1996), and Saudi Arabia (1998).

Thanks to the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency and the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat, ADAO has compiled the below list of countries that have banned asbestos. As you can see, the United States is the only industrialized western country who has not banned asbestos. Over 40,000 Americans each year die from asbestos-caused diseases, and there is legacy asbestos found in our homes, schools, workplaces, and in our air, water, and soil. 

It is time we ban asbestos, and protect public health, like the rest of these countries.

Country Year Enacted   Country Year Enacted  
Algeria 2009   Korea (South) 2009  
Argentina 2003   Kuwait 1995  
Australia 2003   Latvia 2005 (EU)  
Austria 2005 (EU)   Liechtenstein 2005 (EU)  
Bahrain 1996   Lithuania 2005 (EU)  
Belgium 2005 (EU)   Luxembourg 2005 (EU)  
Brazil 2017   Macedonia 2014  
Brunei     Malta 2005 (EU)  
Bulgaria 2005 (EU)   Mauritius 2004  
Canada 2018   Moldova 2016  
Chile 2001   Monaco 2005 (EU)  
Colombia 2019   Mozambique 2010  
Croatia 2005 (EU)   New Zealand 2016  
Cyprus 2005 (EU)   Norway 1984  
Czech Republic 2005 (EU)   Oman 2008  
Denmark 2005 (EU)   Poland 2005 (EU)  
Djibouti 1999   Portugal 2005 (EU)  
Egypt 2005   Qatar 2010  
Estonia 2005 (EU)   Romania 2005 (EU)  
Finland 2005 (EU)   Saudi Arabia 1998  
France 2005 (EU)   Serbia 2011  
Gabon 2002 – 2004   Seychelles 2009  
Germany 2005 (EU)   Slovenia 2005 (EU)  
Gibraltar 2005 (EU)   Slovakia 2005 (EU)  
Greece 2005 (EU)   South Africa 2008  
Honduras 2004   Spain 2005 (EU)  
Hungary 2005 (EU)   Sweden 2005 (EU)  
Iceland 1983   Switzerland 1990  
Iraq 2016   Taiwan 2010  
Ireland 2005 (EU)   The Netherlands 2005 (EU)  
Israel 2011   Turkey 2010  
Italy 2005 (EU)   New Caledonia 2007  
Japan 2012   United Kingdom 1992  
Jordan 2006   Uruguay    

The international ban asbestos list is compiled from The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency and the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat, and ADAO’s research.