Posted on November 25, 2019
Last week, CISVISION published a study by a lobbying group, the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor), claiming that there have not been any cases of occupational diseases at the Uralasbest plant and that the level of occupational diseases in the region is steadily decreasing.
But we want to make one thing clear in light of this new report: all forms of asbestos are carcinogenic. There is no safe or controlled use of this deadly fiber. It kills more than 100,000 workers around the world each year, and though this study might not show it, hundreds of thousands more will die if we continue to use asbestos in the United States.
There is a reason nearly 70 other countries have banned asbestos — it is deadly. Asbestos is proven to cause multiple forms of cancer, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, ovarian cancer and asbestosis.
However, these diseases have a long latency period. According to the Asbestos Center, you will likely not show any symptoms of an asbestos-related disease until years after you have first been exposed. They write that the “shortest latency period for asbestosis is 5 to 10 years, although often it takes 40 or more years from first exposure before the disease is diagnosed. There is no maximum latency or time when the risk of developing asbestos-related disease disappears because the asbestos fibers that can cause disease remain trapped in the lungs for life.”
Meanwhile, the study done by Rospotrebnadzor was only conducted during a nine-month span of time, so we may not see the effects and diseases caused by the asbestos from Uralasbest for years to come. Just last year, the plant increased its asbestos production to 315,000 tons, 80 percent of it sold abroad. Of that, it sold 67 tons to the United States. Then, in 2019, Russia became the only country the U.S. buys asbestos from. So far this year, the U.S. has imported 55 metric tons of raw asbestos, all from Russia.
The United States must stand up to the nations who seek to profit off of risking the lives of their labor force. ADAO encourages you to call your Congressperson now and voice your support for the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019. We need to prove that the U.S. cares about the public health of our citizens, not profits coming in from Russia.
Together, let’s make change happen.