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Asbestos Hazard in War Debris

Jun 14, 2024

A dossier released by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Ukraine on June 11, 2024 detailed the scale of environmental damage caused by Russian attacks. To deal with the huge amount of building debris, an innovative facility for processing waste opened in the Kyiv region with support of UNDP and the European Union. To ensure no asbestos is present in recycled material, a special laboratory is being installed and measures adopted to identify asbestos fibers in both waste and air. Currently, asbestos waste is wrapped and stored in temporary facilities prior to developing a technology for burying it in designated landfills. See: ООН открыла в Украине инновационную станцию по переработке отходов войны [The UN has opened an innovative station for processing war waste in Ukraine].

Asbestos Hazard During Wartime

Dec 12, 2023

According to the article cited below which was uploaded on December 12, 2023: “Russian shelling has triggered millions of tons of asbestos to be released, forming heaps of contaminated rubble – a cause for concern given that an estimated 70% of Ukrainian buildings contain asbestos.” With so much destruction caused by the bombing, it makes sense to recycle as much waste as possible. Decontamination recycling projects – such as one undertaken by, Neo-Eco in Hostomel, a city north of Kyiv  – are ongoing. separating asbestos from other rubble as part of efforts to progress a “'green reconstruction” of Ukraine. See: Could recycling rubble contaminated with asbestos be dangerous for Ukrainians?

Asbestos Contamination in War Zone

Dec 5, 2023

During a press interview given by the Director General of the European Commission’s DG Environment Florika Fink-Hoojer – during the Ukraine Green Reconstruction Conference in Vilnius (November 28-December 1, 2023) – the EU official highlighted some of the problems posed by dealing with the vast amount of construction waste created by the Russian war on Ukraine. “This waste,” she said “cannot just be used in rebuilding again because of some legacy chemicals in destroyed buildings, like asbestos and others.” See: Asbestos in war debris waste poses long-term threat – head of DG Environment.

Asbestos Ban NOW in Force

Oct 23, 2023

On October 1, 2023, two pieces of legislation came into effect in Ukraine which banned the use of asbestos throughout the country and mandated protections for workers exposed to asbestos products already in place.
See: ЗАКОН УКРАЇНИ: Про систему громадського здоров’я [The Law of Ukraine: About the public health system].
МІНІСТЕРСТВО ОХОРОНИ ЗДОРОВ'Я УКРАЇНИ: Про затвердження Державних санітарних норм і правил "Про безпеку і захист працівників від шкідливого впливу азбесту та матеріалів і виробів, що містять азбест" [Ukraine Ministry of Health: On the safety and protection of workers from the harmful effects of asbestos and materials and products containing asbestos].

British Tanks Sent to Ukraine Toxic

Sep 29, 2023

Scores of Russian articles like the one cited below were uploaded on September 22/23, 2023 reporting news published in the British tabloid, the Daily Express, that 2,000 pieces of military equipment sent to Ukraine by Britain could contain asbestos. Amongst the contaminated items were Challenger 2 tanks, Warrior infantry fighting vehicles and Bulldog armored personnel carriers. See: СМИ узнали, какой ядовитый "сюрприз" зашит в британской технике, отправленной для ВСУ [The media found out what a poisonous “surprise” was incorporated within British equipment sent to the Armed Forces of Ukraine].

Ecocide Created by Russian War

Aug 25, 2023

The destruction left in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has created an environmental as well as a humanitarian disaster. Environmental expert Alexander Ignatenko believes that “every missile hit and destruction can be considered a mini ecocide by the Russian army.” Ukraine regulations regarding the disposal of building waste before the invasion were unsatisfactory; since the war, because of the amount of contaminated debris created – estimated to exceed 12 million tonnes much of which contains asbestos – the situation has worsened. See: ОТХОДЫ ВОЙНЫ: ЧТО ЭТО И ЧТО С НИМИ ДЕЛАЮТ В КРИВОМ РОГЕ [WAR WASTE: WHAT IS IT AND WHAT IS BEING DONE WITH IT IN KRIVOY ROG].

After the War is Over

Mar 13, 2023

The article cited below explored the environmental catastrophe which will be left once Ukraine has won the war started by its Russian neighbors. In the starkest of terms, the author of the text explained: “The fact is that grenades, mines and other explosive shells destroy buildings, and they, in turn, emit asbestos.” Asbestos contamination is just one of the ecological problems Ukraine will face during its reconstruction; the others include: ground and water contamination with mercury, arsenic, lead and explosives – including TNT (trinitrotoluene). See: Война в Украине приведет к экологической катастрофе [War in Ukraine will lead to ecological catastrophe].

Waste Management in the Post-War Era

Oct 26, 2022

Campaigners from a non-governmental organization in Kryvyi Rih, the largest city in central Ukraine, have expressed concern over the dangers posed by toxic substances such as asbestos present in the tonnes of construction debris created by the Russian invasion. In a video created by the NGO, basic interim measures for the safe management of waste were outlined. See: Громадські активісти у Кривому Розі привертають увагу до небезпеки будівельного сміття, що утворилось внаслідок обстрілів міста: що з ним робити? [Public activists in Kryvyi Rih draw attention to the danger of construction debris created as a result of shelling].

Post-Asbestos Era

Oct 19, 2022

As Ukraine embraces a post-asbestos era, traditional and new technologies are being explored to develop asbestos-free measures for insulating domestic properties. Inventor Vasily Smerklo has been producing thermal insulation panels made from reeds using skills he learned in the Netherlands making reed roofing. Technical aspects of this process were discussed in the article cited below. See: Поможет согреть дом в самую суровую зиму: украинец предлагает утеплять жилища необычным и экологичным материалом [It will help to warm the house in the most severe winter: Ukrainian offers to insulate dwellings with unusual and environmentally friendly material].

Post-War Reconstruction

Oct 8, 2022

In an article earlier this month, Ukrainian politician Olena Shuliak discussed her Government’s plans to reconstruct the country’s infrastructure respecting EU norms. “European standards are,” she said “not only about modern architecture. They pay a lot of attention to environmental safety. For example, the Council recently legally banned the use of asbestos in construction. We overcame a frantic lobby, including that of Russian companies, to get rid of this harmful carcinogenic material.” Techniques for dealing with asbestos-containing debris are currently under investigation. See: Олена Шуляк: Відбудова інфраструктури України враховуватиме екологічну безпеку [Olena Shulyak: Reconstruction of Ukraine's infrastructure will take environmental safety into account].

Asbestos Ban Clarification

Sep 14, 2022

The Russian language article cited below, which was uploaded on September 10, 2022, considered the September 6, 2022 vote by the Ukrainian Parliament which banned the use of asbestos and debunked myths being spread by pro-asbestos interests to spread alarm. The ban only pertains to the new use of asbestos and does not mandate removal of asbestos material already incorporated within the built environment. Ukraine industry has a year to make the transition to safer asbestos-free technologies. See: Запрет использования асбеста в производстве: почему он вреден [The ban on the use of asbestos in production: why it (asbestos) is harmful].

Ukraine Bans Asbestos!

Sep 7, 2022

This week the Parliament of Ukraine adopted draft law No. 4142, which prohibited the use of all types of asbestos-containing products for construction. Explaining these developments, Ukrainian politician Olena Shulyak said that the process to ban asbestos had been ongoing for some years but outside forces from Russia and Kazakhstan had brought pressure to bear on the Government hoping to block progress. Finally, Ms. Shulyak concluded, as a result of a vote in Parliament on September 6, 2022 “Ukraine will get rid of the health-threatening Soviet construction legacy.” See: Олена Шуляк: У будівництві заборонять азбест [Olena Shulyak: Asbestos will be banned for construction].

MP Explains Ban Asbestos Legislation

Aug 25, 2022

Since 2017, the path to an asbestos-free Ukraine has not been an easy one, said MP Elena Shulyak. The first ban announced by the Ministry of Health was quashed by the Government under intense pressure from industry lobbyists. Legislation now progressing through the Parliament in bill No. 4142 will institute a comprehensive and immediate prohibition on the use of all types of asbestos. The prohibition will bring the country into alignment with EU regulations as per requirements set out in the Association Agreement with the EU. See: Депутат рассказала, почему в Украине хотят запретить использование асбеста в строительстве [MP tells why Ukraine wants to ban the use of asbestos in construction].

August Asbestos Offensive!

Aug 23, 2022

A Ukrainian asbestos industry propagandist issued yet another broadside over the Ukrainian government’s efforts to ban chrysotile asbestos. Lobbyist and executive director of the Ukrainian Chrysotile Association – an association representing the interests of asbestos industry stakeholders – Petro Pozharko said that the Government’s evidence supporting the ban was a collection of outdated information, junk science and fake news. According to Pozharko, there is no reliable epidemiological data from Ukraine that justified outlawing the use of asbestos, a substance used by countries worldwide. See: Ініціатори заборони хризотилового азбесту спираються на фейки та маніпуляції, - експерт [The initiators of the ban on chrysotile asbestos rely on fakes and manipulations, the expert said].

Ukraine Parliament Must Act!

Aug 18, 2022

To protect public health, Ukrainian Parliamentarians are urged, in the commentary cited below, to ignore asbestos industry propaganda and progress work to outlaw all asbestos use. The first sentence in his exposition makes the author’s position crystal clear: “Asbestos, used widely in construction for many decades, is a dangerous carcinogen.” Citing the position of multiple international agencies which advocate ending asbestos use, the author is “convinced that the document [draft legislation] should be adopted so that the use of asbestos finally becomes a forgotten practice in our country.” See: Чому Верховна Рада має заборонити азбест [Why the Verkhovna Rada should ban asbestos].

Asbestos Propaganda: Reboot

Aug 18, 2022

Considering the progress being made by the Ukrainian Parliament in outlawing asbestos, the industry has hit back in a commentary by Petr Pozharko, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Chrysotile Association, hardly an unbiased party to the debate. In his skewed text, Pozharko claims that there is no legitimate reason for Ukraine to ban asbestos; the use of chrysotile (white) asbestos is not harmful to human health; and chrysotile, when bound within a cement matrix, is safe. The author concludes by assuring readers that: “There are many international medical studies confirming the safety of chrysotile.” See: Петр Пожарко: Ни один международный документ не обязывает Украину запретить использование асбеста [Petr Pozharko: No international document obliges Ukraine to ban the use of asbestos].

Update: Progress of Asbestos Ban

Aug 15, 2022

An article on a Ukraine news portal on August 8, 2022 highlighted the role played by Ukrainian politician Serhiy Nagornyak in trying to persuade Parliament to renege on efforts to ban asbestos in Ukraine. According to the text, on July 26 Nagornyak told members of the Parliamentary Committee on Health Issues that unless the ban was rejected, scores of people would face unemployment at the building materials factory in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine in territory now controlled by the Russians. According to an agreement with the EU, Ukraine is obliged to ban asbestos as part of the process of joining the EU. See: "Слуга" намагався загальмувати заборону в Україні небезпечного азбесту [“Servant” tried to stop the ban on dangerous asbestos in Ukraine].

More Asbestos Lies!

Aug 10, 2022

The article cited below listed lies being spread about a draft piece of Ukrainian legislation (Bill No. 4142) on public health, intended to bring the country into compliance with the EU legal system. Amongst the most targeted provisions of the bill is, said Mykhailo Radutsky, the proposal to ban asbestos. The disruptors, who use multiple methods to spread false rumours including Russian bot farms, say that these provisions will force Ukrainians to remove asbestos roofing; this is untrue. as the prohibition only bans the use of new asbestos material. See: Михайло Радуцький спростував найвідоміші фейки про законопроект № 4142 про систему громадського здоров’я [Mykhailo Radutsky refutes the most notorious lies concerning draft law No. 4142 on the public health system].

Alert: Asbestos in Building Debris

Jul 18, 2022

The environmental repercussions of the Russian bombardment of Ukraine were the focus of the article cited below. The author explained that due to the historic use of asbestos-containing building products – especially roofing material – throughout Ukraine, there is a very real chance that building rubble could contain asbestos fibers; exposure to asbestos can cause a series of respiratory conditions as well as deadly diseases including multiple types of cancer. Ukrainians were warned that toxic asbestos waste must be wrapped and disposed of only at designated sites; it should never be discarded elsewhere. See: Украинцам объяснили, в чем главная угроза здоровью от разбомбленных домов [Ukrainians told of the main threat to health from bombed house [debris]].

Asbestos Legacy during Wartime

Jul 5, 2022

The environmental and ecological effects of Russia’s constant bombardment of Ukraine were the subject of the article cited below. The repercussions of the destruction of natural eco-systems and the pollution of the environment will not only be felt throughout Europe but will also exacerbate the climate crisis. The widespread usage of asbestos in Ukraine in the past has left a deadly legacy in the bombed-out ruins and damaged infrastructure with asbestos fibers becoming airborne and thus a potent human health hazard. See: Випалена земля і забруднена вода: катастрофічні екологічні наслідки війни Росії проти України [Scorched Earth and Polluted Water: Catastrophic Environmental Consequences of Russia's War Against Ukraine].

Environmental Disaster in Ukraine

Jun 20, 2022

A repercussion of the Russian invasion of Ukraine not often mentioned was the focus of the article cited below which considered the nature and amount of construction debris caused by the continued bombardment of the country. The quantity of the rubble, much of which is contaminated with toxic substances like asbestos, dwarfs Ukraine’s capacity to dispose of it to landfill sites. A new Law on Waste Management is under consideration by a Parliamentary Committee. In the meantime, Ukrainians are warned to use precautions when dealing with toxic waste including debris from asbestos roofing. See: Будівельне сміття: куди подіти залишки об'єктів інфраструктури? [Construction waste: where are the remnants of infrastructure to go?]

Post-Disaster Reconstruction Hazard

Jun 10, 2022

The insightful and timely article cited below, which was uploaded on June 8, 2022, highlighted the environmental and ecological disaster in Ukraine caused by the Russian invasion. “One issue of serious concern,” wrote the co-authors “is the problem of unprecedented asbestos contamination, at a scale that the world is ill-equipped to deal with… Ukraine itself was [whilst part of the Soviet Union] a major producer of asbestos, and used high volumes of asbestos-containing materials in construction.” It’s believed that up to 60% of roofing in the country is asbestos-cement material. See: Rebuilding Ukraine: The Imminent Risks.

Time to Ban Asbestos!

May 23, 2022

On May 4, 2022, the UN Global Compact in Ukraine – a UN initiative that brings together business, investors, civil society, labor organizations, local and federal governments to pursue Sustainable Development Goals – called on the Parliament to ban the use of all types of asbestos and products containing them. Ukraine had prohibited asbestos in 2017, only for the ban to be reversed after pressure from vested interests. A bill going through Parliament, which was approved on its first reading, will ban asbestos in line with EU legislation. See: Верховну Раду закликають заборонити азбест та запустити циркулярну економіку задля відновлення України [We call on the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to ban asbestos and launch a circular economy to restore Ukraine].

Asbestos Hazard: Ecological Update

May 16, 2022

A blog uploaded last week by Ukrainian Parliamentarian, ecologist and economist Elena Krivoruchkina highlighted the deadly legacy posed by the asbestos used to construct the country’s built environment in light of the widespread destruction caused by Russia’s attack on the country. The author noted that on the first reading in Parliament in February 2021. the bill to ban asbestos was approved; it has not yet been finalized. She categorized Russia’s destruction of Ukraine not only as a war crime but also an eco-crime in light of the hazard posed to human beings by the liberation of asbestos fibers from damaged structures. See: Азбестова бомба уповільненої дії: війна та радянський будівельний спадок [Slow-motion asbestos bomb: war and the Soviet construction legacy].

Asbestos Ban Remains on the Agenda!

May 9, 2022

A Russian language article uploaded to a Ukrainian website on May 6, 2022, highlighted the ongoing struggle by the Ukraine Parliament to ban asbestos in order to comply with EU regulations. The author of the text cited below reported some disturbing facts: Ukraine continues to import asbestos from Russia and Kazakhstan; the Russian-Kazakh asbestos lobby continues to spread pro-asbestos propaganda in Ukraine; the asbestos lobby plans to rebuild cities destroyed by the Russian army with products containing Russian asbestos. See: Верховную Раду призвали запретить асбест и принять закон "Об отходах" [The Verkhovna Rada urged to ban asbestos and adopt the law "On Waste"].

Parliamentary Reading of Asbestos Bill

Jan 7, 2022

In a January 6, 2022 interview with Mikhail Radutsky, Chair of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Health, Medical Assistance and Health Insurance, the Parliamentarian confirmed that a second reading of the Ukraine Parliament’s Bill No. 4142 “On the Public Health System” was due to take place shortly and would include draft legislation outlawing asbestos use. Since most of the country’s former asbestos-using factories have already transitioned to safer non-asbestos technologies, this ban should have little impact on the national economy. See: Михаил Радуцкий, председатель Комитета ВР по вопросам здоровья нации, медицинской помощи и медицинского страхования [Mikhail Radutsky, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Health, Medical Assistance and Health Insurance].

Pushback by Asbestos Lobby

Jan 4, 2022

Yet another Russian language pro-asbestos media blitz by vested interests was uploaded on December 28, 2021 to a Ukraine news portal which intimated that people who supported the Ukraine Government’s plans to ban asbestos were, like anti-vaxxers, anti-science. According to the author of the article cited below, there is no valid evidence for the use of chrysotile asbestos to be banned in Ukraine and enacting the draft prohibition currently under discussion by the Parliament could negatively impact the country’s economic prospects. See: Запрет асбеста: что думают об этом специалисты отрасли [Banning asbestos: what industry experts think of it].

Fighting to Ban Asbestos in Ukraine

Dec 22, 2021

The text of the article cited below, which was uploaded to a Ukraine news portal on December 17, documented the ongoing controversy in the Ukraine Parliament over plans to ban the use of asbestos, a prerequisite for joining the European Union. Kazakh officials and other asbestos vested interests were, the author reported, bringing pressure to bear on Ukraine parliamentarians to reverse or, at least, delay the planned prohibitions in order to preserve markets for chrysotile (white) asbestos and products containing it. See: Некоторые “слуги народа” в Раде выступают против запрета в Украине опасного асбеста из Казахстана [Some “servants of the people” in the Rada oppose the ban in Ukraine of hazardous asbestos from Kazakhstan].

Weird Twist in Ukraine’s Asbestos Battle

Dec 14, 2021

One of the world’s largest asbestos mining companies and the only asbestos conglomerate in Kazakhstan – Kostanay Minerals JSC – has been pressurizing the Ukraine Parliament to abandon ban asbestos plans. In a bizarre twist, not seen before in asbestos politics, Kostanay is now trying to bribe Ukrainian vested interests with the enticement that the company (Kostanay) will make a major investment in the Ukraine mining sector to develop sites for the exploitation of titanium ore deposits or to purchase a major titanium company in Ukraine. Previously, there had been rumors that Kazakhstan would supply Ukraine with Kazakh Covid-19 vaccines in return for a U-turn on the planned ban. See: Казахский производитель асбеста заинтересовался украинскими недрами [Kazakh asbestos producer is interested in Ukrainian subsoil].

Ukraine Fight to Ban Asbestos

Dec 8, 2021

A detailed of analysis of the fight by the Ukraine government to ban asbestos, as has been done throughout the European Union, highlighted the lobbying of domestic and foreign asbestos vested interests who mounted a coordinated attack to preserve the status quo. Although a first bill passed through Parliament some months ago which included a provision to ban asbestos, it is possible that threats from the Kazakh-Russian asbestos lobby could succeed in postponing the implementation of asbestos prohibition regulations. Civil society groups in Ukraine continue to campaign for a ban to protect Ukrainians from deadly exposures to asbestos. See: Откажется ли Украина наконец от опасного асбеста? [Will Ukraine finally give up dangerous asbestos?].

Ban Asbestos Battle in Ukraine

Dec 8, 2021

On December 6, 2021, two articles were uploaded detailing the fight by the Ukraine Parliament to ban asbestos as part of the country’s plans to join the European Union; the first reported on: Kazakh opposition to Ukrainian plans to halt the use of asbestos. According to this article, between 2006 and 2016, Ukraine imported 556,000 tons of chrysotile asbestos, of which 64.5% came from Russia and 35.5% from Kazakhstan. The article cited below recounted steps taken by Kazakh governmental and commercial interests to forestall the ban in order to protect the profits of Kostanay Minerals, a Kazakh asbestos mining company. See: Украина планирует отказаться от использования асбеста в строительстве [Ukraine plans to abandon the use of asbestos in construction].

Evidence for Ukraine Asbestos Ban

Oct 25, 2021

An English language article uploaded on October 20, 2021 to a Ukraine news portal reported an interview with Andreas Helbl, Director of iC Consultants Ukraine and Managing Partner of CES clean energy solutions. Helbl was categorical about the human health hazard posed by the use of asbestos saying exposure to “any type of asbestos is dangerous… We know that asbestos is dangerous in principle… Therefore, most countries in the world have banned the use of asbestos a long time ago. The market began to offer new types of building materials, and it turned out that there is no such great need for asbestos and that it can be easily substituted...” See: In sustainable construction, the use of recycled materials gives the building extra points and increases the company's rating.

Demand for Asbestos-Free Materials

Oct 22, 2021

An article on a Ukraine news portal reported increasing consumer demand for building materials which are asbestos-free. According to Andreas Helbl, CEO of iC consultants Ukraine, the transition to asbestos-free technologies will, judging from past experiences, not adversely affect the economy as it will be a gradual process with sufficient time for industrial processes to be transitioned to produce safer material. Plans to ban asbestos are well underway in Ukraine with an asbestos prohibition bill currently under consideration by the Parliament. See: Отказ производителей стройматериалов от асбеста не влияет на экономику – эксперт [Refusal of manufacturers of building materials to use asbestos does not affect the economy – expert].

Asbestos Offensive

Aug 6, 2021

Whilst the Ukraine Parliament – the Verkhovna Rada – is in summer recess, asbestos industry propagandists continue their onslaught on plans by Ukraine to ban asbestos. A lengthy article on a Ukraine news website criticized what it termed an ill-informed and damaging step by the country, stating: “Unfortunately, Ukraine's intended choice [to ban asbestos] is not based on a scientific approach, data analysis, procedures and criteria. It is based on slogans and poor understanding of the issue.” See: А как там у них за бугром? Мировая практика регулирования использования асбеста [And what of them over the hill? World practice in regulating the use of asbestos].

Kazakh Asbestos Lobby: Business as Usual

Jun 18, 2021

On June 18, 2021, Kazakh asbestos vested interests from industry and government will upscale their efforts to stop a planned asbestos ban from being implemented by Ukraine during the 14th meeting of the Interstate Ukrainian-Kazakh Commission on Economic Cooperation. The asbestos lobby will be represented at the meeting by personnel from the Russian-Kazakh holding “Kusto group,” owners of the Ukraine monopoly on asbestos cement roofing production. See: Правительственная делегация Казахстана планирует пролоббировать интересы асбестового монополиста – СМИ [Kazakhstan Government delegation plans to lobby in the interest of asbestos monopolist – media].

Asbestos Ban: Update

May 26, 2021

Progress on efforts to ban asbestos in Ukraine was updated in the article cited below which detailed Parliamentary work on the adoption of bill No. 4142 to prohibit the use of asbestos-containing building materials such as roofing tiles, pipes, insulation and cement sheets. Although the asbestos materials were cost effective they were “significantly inferior to modern and safer products.” The author raised the question of what effect the ban would have on the asbestos products already incorporated within the built environment, arguing that: “Millions of residents do not have the opportunity to exchange asbestos tiles for modern expensive tiles.” See: В Украине могут запретить шифер [Slate may be banned in Ukraine].

Update: Progress on Asbestos Ban

May 21, 2021

The Deputy Director of the Department of Urban Development and Architecture of the Kiev City State Administration Yuriy Tatsiy announced on Facebook that the use of asbestos-containing building materials in Ukraine would be banned under measures currently being progressed in bill No. 4142 by the Verkhovna Rada [Ukraine Legislature]. In 2007, the use of all types of asbestos fibers and asbestos-containing products was outlawed by the Ministry of Health; that ban was over-turned after pressure was brought to bear by asbestos vested interests. See: Использование асбеста при строительстве в Украине будет запрещено [The use of asbestos in construction in Ukraine will be prohibited].

Ukraine’s Asbestos Battles: Update

May 5, 2021

An update to the war over the right of the Government of Ukraine to ban asbestos reported that one of the main companies involved in the attack on the democratic process was the Russian-Kazakh Kusto Group. The author of the article cited below noted that in 2017 this group had “managed to abolish the decree of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine #339 ‘On the safety and protection of workers from the harmful effects of asbestos and materials and asbestos-containing products’ with the help of the Administrative Court of Cassation of Ukraine.” Support for Parliament’s attempt to ban asbestos had been received from international organizations and Parliamentarians. See: Russian-Kazakh holding blocks the ban of hazardous asbestos-containing production and that threatens Ukraine's integration into the EU.

Naming Names!

Apr 29, 2021

The article cited below from a Ukraine website named the Kazakhstan Kusto asbestos company as one of the main groups lobbying against efforts by Ukraine’s government to ban the use of asbestos, noting that: “Back in 2017, the Kusto Group lobby was able… to cancel the Ukraine’s Ministry of Health’s [ban asbestos] order No. 339…” To counter the pressure from asbestos interests, a campaign was launched to inform Ukrainians of the importance of ending the use of this known carcinogen to protect health and comply with EU regulations. See: Российско-казахский холдинг-монополист блокирует запрет изготовления опасного асбеста, что угрожает интеграции Украины в ЕС [Russian-Kazakh monopoly blocking ban on manufacture with hazardous asbestos, which threatens Ukraine's integration into EU].

Attack on Asbestos Ban Proposal

Apr 27, 2021

An article examining the repercussions of Ukraine bill No. 4142, a voluminous piece of legislation revising the country’s public health system which was adopted by Parliament on its first reading, singled out just one article of the draft legislation: the one banning asbestos. The author of the text, no doubt informed by asbestos lobbyists, engaged in scaremongering by warning that citizens would face exorbitant bills for asbestos-free roofing. The prohibition was ill-advised, said the author, when chrysotile asbestos roofing tiles were “safe, time-tested and affordable.” See: «Крыша поехала»: депутаты объявили шифер вне закона [“roofing gone”: deputies to outlaw slate].

Update: Asbestos Ban Bill

Apr 12, 2021

The first reading of a bill (No. 4142) to ban asbestos was approved by the Ukraine Parliament. The draft legislation prohibited: “The production and use of asbestos, regardless of the type, as well as asbestos-containing products and materials, is prohibited in technological processes and in the implementation of construction and installation work at any facilities.” According to Mikhail Radutsky, Chair of Ukraine’s Parliamentary Committee for Health, Medical Care and Medical Insurance, the ban legislation is facing stiff opposition from the “asbestos lobby.” See: Законопроект о системе общественного здоровья ко второму чтению получил около 900 поправок – Радуцкий [Public health system bill receives about 900 amendments to the second reading – Radutsky].

Ukraine’s Asbestos War

Apr 9, 2021

As Ukraine Parliamentarians work to protect citizens from potentially deadly exposures to asbestos by adopting legislation banning its use, industry stakeholders have gone on the media offensive to incite support for asbestos-containing building products by alleging that the new law would force the removal of toxic roofing and that asbestos-free products would be prohibitively expensive. A one-sided pro-asbestos article, which categorized the situation as a war between medicine vs economics, warned that “Panic is already rising in the villages.” See: В Украине хотят запретить использовать шифер и еще ряд стройматериалов. Заставят ли людей менять крыши? [In Ukraine, they want to ban the use of slate and a number of other building materials. Will people be forced to change roofs?].

Asbestos Alert

Jan 25, 2021

An article by a medical specialist from Ukraine which highlighted the hazard of environmental exposures to carcinogenic substances warned of the dangers posed to construction workers by their use of asbestos-containing building products. The author, erroneously, said that Ukraine had banned the use of these products. Unfortunately, the ban had been overturned after pressure was exerted by industry stakeholders (see: Ukraine’s Asbestos Debacle). The “scientifically proven” finding of the International Agency for Research on Cancer that asbestos was a Group 1 carcinogen was accurately reported. See: Hе надеясь на удачу. Можно ли предотвратить рак [Not hoping for luck. Cancer can be prevented].

Asbestos Propaganda

Dec 3, 2020

Asbestos industry propaganda, masquerading as a news article, has been uploaded to a Ukrainian website. It is noteworthy to point out that the 2017 ban on asbestos mandated by Ukraine’s Ministry of Health was overturned in 2019 on a procedural technicality. The text of the article rehashed key low points of the asbestos lobby’s arguments saying that: chrysotile asbestos (the type mined in Russia), is harmless to human health; chrysotile fibers are safely dissolved in the lungs; the campaign to ban asbestos is a profit-driven exercise sponsored by the manufacturers of non-asbestos products. See: Опасность асбеста: влияние асбеста на здоровье человека [Dangers of Asbestos: Effects of Asbestos on Human Health].

Asbestos Offensive

Oct 20, 2020

A Russian article on a Ukraine website purporting to be an examination of the reasons for the European Union’s asbestos ban was industry propaganda informed by the asbestos lobby; as evidenced by the inclusion of statements such as “there are quite a few areas in which chrysotile asbestos can be useful (and often even irreplaceable)”; “the environmental harm of chrysotile asbestos is also exaggerated”; and “the myth about the harmfulness of asbestos is proof of that”. It is noteworthy that the asbestos ban mandated by Ukraine’s Ministry of Health in 2017 was overturned after pressure had been exerted by vested interests. See: Асбест хризотил: опасность и вред хризотилового асбеста опровергнуты учеными [Chrysotile asbestos: dangers and harm of chrysotile asbestos refuted by scientists].

Asbestos Media Offensive

Sep 16, 2020

A Russian-language infomercial about asbestos on a Ukrainian website extolled the virtues of chrysotile asbestos, discounted reports regarding toxic consequences of occupational or environmental exposures and reasserted asbestos industry propaganda “that the use of chrysotile is harmless to human health under controlled use, because it does not cause serious consequences, such as cancer of the respiratory system.” The author explained that concerns over the global epidemic of asbestos-related deaths were part of a capitalist ploy driven by commercial motives. See: Асбест: вредность и опасность асбеста, воздействие минерала на организм человека [Asbestos: the harmfulness and danger of asbestos, the effect of the mineral on the human body].

Propaganda Offensive in Ukraine

Jun 5, 2020

A text on a Ukraine news portal with the headline “Is it possible to use asbestos?” repeated asbestos industry’s arguments stating that chrysotile asbestos was “the safest among industrial [asbestos] fibers” and that exposure to chrysotile “should not cause concern about the harmful effects on the body with controlled use.” This infomercial concluded as follows: “Due to the Euro-oriented course of Ukraine, in 2017 in our country they also tried to ban all asbestos-containing materials, including those with safe chrysotile. But, fortunately, the decision of the Ministry of Health was suspended by the court, and today the use of chrysotile asbestos is legal.” See: Влияние асбеста на организм человека – можно ли использовать асбест [The effect of asbestos on the human body – is it possible to use asbestos].

Unsafe Choice: Asbestos Pipes

Sep 9, 2019

An online article on a website from Ukraine analyzed alternative products available for usage in sewage systems including those made from: ceramics, cast iron, plastic and asbestos cement (AC), pointing out that the hazards posed by the use of AC pipes meant that they should only be used “if other materials are not suitable due to low throughput or the inability to work in difficult conditions.” “Asbestos is,” the author noted “quite fragile, and also dangerous for the environment and people. Cement is heavy, difficult to install.” See: Трубы для канализации: есть ли лучший материал? [Sewer pipes: is there any better material?].

Pro-Asbestos Propaganda

Mar 27, 2019

As litigation continues in Ukraine to reinstate the national ban on asbestos, propaganda is being circulated asserting that the ban would be a social and economic disaster, as the usage is essential “because the properties of asbestos cement pipes are unique, their advantages over other materials are obvious” and “most of Ukraine’s buildings, both residential and administrative, are covered with slate, which contains chrysotile [asbestos].” “It is obvious,” the article states “that products containing chrysotile asbestos have no analogues in the world, because they are safe, durable and affordable.” See: Запрет асбестоцементных труб: можно ли заменить асбестовые трубы? [Prohibition of asbestos-cement pipes: is it possible to replace asbestos pipes?].

Asbestos-Cement Pipes Banned

Mar 19, 2019

After the 2017 asbestos ban adopted by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine was overturned by the Ministry of Justice, action on the human health hazard posed by asbestos has been temporarily forestalled by legal proceedings. In February 2019, the use of asbestos-cement containing pipes for water delivery and sewage was prohibited as per restrictions to state building codes introduced by the Ministry of Regional Development. See: В Украине запретили использование асбестоцементных труб во внешних сетях и канализации [Ukraine has banned the use of asbestos-cement pipes in external networks and sewage].

Asbestos Propaganda

Dec 17, 2018

As litigation progresses in Ukraine to reinstate a national ban on asbestos use, asbestos stakeholders continue their propaganda offensive with the latest pro-asbestos article published on December 13, 2018. The author concludes that chrysotile asbestos, imported from Kazakhstan, is “indispensable” for “owners of private houses and professional builders” because of its “technical characteristics,” and its low cost, stating Russian research had proved that “no one had any health consequences” from its use contrary to opinions of major international agencies including the ILO, WHO and IARC. See: Хризотил-асбест: вред, применение, характеристики асбеста [Chrysotile asbestos: harm, use, characteristics of asbestos].

Asbestos in the Boilers

Dec 13, 2018

In the Russian occupied Ukrainian city of Kerch in the east of Crimea, workers have protested over a week of toxic exposures experienced during the replacement of a boiler containing asbestos under hazardous conditions. Their complaints to the company went unanswered. After contacts were made with the authorities and trade union, nine respirators were provided for 27 at-risk workers. According to those affected: no measurements of airborne asbestos levels have been taken. See: РАБОТНИКИ ЦЕНТРАЛЬНОЙ КЕРЧЕНСКОЙ КОТЕЛЬНОЙ ДЫШАТ АСБЕСТОВОЙ ПЫЛЬЮ (ФОТО И ВИДЕО) [Workers of the central Kersch boiler room breathe asbestos dust (photo and video)].

Asbestos: a Silent Threat

Oct 29, 2018

The Ukrainian language commentary referenced below was uploaded on October 22, 2018; it examines economic factors and political dynamics which have prevented Ukraine from enacting ban asbestos regulations in accordance with EU legislation and as was mandated in 2017 by the Ministry of Health (MoH). As litigation by the MoH proceeds through the Ukraine courts to reinstate the asbestos ban, the author of this article asks: “How long will Ukrainians remain hostage to the business interests of representatives of the asbestos lobby?” See: Заручники азбесту: мовчазна загроза здоров’ю нації [Asbestos: a silent threat to the health of the nation].

Asbestos Offensive in Ukraine

Oct 24, 2018

An article in Ukraine’s biggest selling Russian language tabloid “Fakty I Kommentarii,” on October 22, 2018 warned Ukrainians of the dangers posed by impending asbestos prohibitions sought by the Ministry of Health (MoH) which has been involved in litigation against the Ministry of Justice which forestalled MoH plans to ban asbestos. The article cited “research” which proved that asbestos use was not hazardous and data which showed that the incidence of cancer amongst Ukrainians in the asbestos industry was not elevated. See: Минздрав может оставить украинцев без крыши над головой [Ministry of Health may leave Ukrainians without a roof over their heads].

Asbestos Propaganda

Aug 8, 2018

On August 6, 2018, the day before Ukraine’s Ministry of Health returned to court to progress litigation seeking to reinstate the national ban on asbestos, an online article in Russian was uploaded to a Ukraine news platform which downplayed the human health hazard posed by asbestos exposures with misinformation and lies including the following: chrysotile asbestos does not deteriorate, numerous studies have shown that exposure to chrysotile is not harmful, chrysotile asbestos dissolves “easily even in a weakly acidic medium (such as is found in human lungs),” and exposure to asbestos poses “minimal risk.” See: Асбест и его влияние на человека. Стоит ли опасаться асбеста? [Asbestos and its effect on man. Should I be afraid of asbestos?].

Asbestos Health Warning

Apr 7, 2018

As litigants in Ukraine challenging the suppression of the country’s ban on asbestos prepare for their next day in court on April 18, 2018 (see: Ukraine Asbestos Ban: Round 2), an online article detailing the top ten causes of the global cancer epidemic highlighted the toxic nature of human exposures to asbestos: “Asbestos was used as an insulating material for many years until it became clear that [exposure to] the dust from it is directly related to the development of lung cancer.” See: Медики назвали главные причины появления рака [Physicians name the main causes of cancer].

Asbestos: Mixed Messages

Jan 22, 2018

On January 18, 2018, a commentary on the health hazards of asbestos exposure appeared on an online Ukraine news portal. Ukraine’s Ministry of Health banned asbestos in June 2017; this decision was reversed by the Ministry of Justice in October 2017 (see: Ukraine’s Asbestos Debacle). Having detailed the tradespeople most at-risk of exposures, the author reasserts the asbestos industry mantra: “it is quite safe to be surrounded by asbestos materials as long as they are isolated and do not spread their particles into the air.” See: Асбестоз: причины и симптомы, лечение и профилактика асбестоза [Asbestosis: Causes and Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention of Asbestosis].

Mesothelioma Causation

Oct 26, 2017

A feature linking asbestos exposure and the occurrence of incurable malignant mesothelioma has been uploaded to an online news source in Ukraine, a country whose asbestos ban had been prevented by industry stakeholders earlier this year (see update to: Ukraine Bans Asbestos!). The article highlights many commercial uses of asbestos as well as the hazards from occupational and environmental exposures and the take-home risk posed to family members of asbestos fibers on workclothes. See: Злокачественная мезотелиома: причины и лечение [Malignant mesothelioma: causes and treatment].

Asbestos Industry Offensive

Sep 26, 2017

Yet another pro-asbestos feature by the Ukraine Chrysotile Association (the Association) has appeared online extolling the benefits that chrysotile asbestos brings to the country and disparaging calls by the Ministry of Health for its use to be banned. Accepting that perfectly suitable asbestos-free substitutes exist, Yuri Torosyan of the Association says that people in Ukraine are not willing to pay the price for healthier products which are, he states, inferior in performance to those containing chrysotile asbestos. See: Как производят шифер из хризотил-асбеста и есть ли ему альтернатива [How to produce slate from chrysotile-asbestos and is there an alternative to it].

Challenge to Asbestos Ban

Sep 18, 2017

At a September 14 press conference in Zaporizhia, a city in south-eastern Ukraine, a representative of the Ukrainian Chrysotile Association – responding to an announcement some weeks ago that Ukraine planned to ban asbestos – said that the country’s “economy is not ready to completely abandon the use of asbestos.” Asbestos industry lobbyist Yury Torosyan told journalists that: “For cars, especially heavy trucks, as well as railway carriages, there is virtually no alternative to asbestos-containing [brake] pads.” See: Экономика Украины не готова к отказу от асбеста – профильное объединение [The economy of Ukraine is not ready to abandon asbestos - a profile association].

Asbestos Industry Offensive

Jul 18, 2017

The Ukrainian Center for Steel Development has warned of the escalation of building costs following the recent announcement by the Ukraine Ministry of Health (MoH) that asbestos use and imports would be banned in six months. Two thirds of Ukraine’s asbestos imports come from Russia with the remainder coming from Kazakhstan. An asbestos industry trade association – the Ukrainian Chrysotile Association – is calling on the government to reverse the decision taken by the MoH. In 2015, Ukraine consumed 12,070 tonnes of asbestos. See: Запрет асбеста в Украине затронет ещё один стройматериал [Prohibition of asbestos in Ukraine will affect another building material].

Asbestos Ban!

Jun 28, 2017

The announcement on June 26, 2017 that Ukraine was banning asbestos was welcomed by global asbestos activists. The press conference at which the Ministry of Health spokeswoman declared the new policy can be watched on youtube in the original Ukrainian and with English translation. Press briefings regarding this development are available online in Ukrainian and in Russian. There are currently seven companies in Ukraine employing 4,000 people who process asbestos fiber from Russia and Kazakhstan. See: The Ministry of health has banned the use of all forms of asbestos.

Strategy to Derail UN Convention

Nov 28, 2012

News that an asbestos conference was being held in the Ukraine on November 21-22, 2012 led to widespread speculation regarding the ultimate purpose of that event. Any doubts about the nature of what took place in Kiev last week have been dispelled by the resolution adopted by the meeting. The text reveals that this "scientific conference" was a propaganda exercise mounted by asbestos lobbyists intent on forestalling United Nations action in 2013 to list chrysotile asbestos on Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention. Please read the attached text to verify that statement: (Draft) Resolution of the Kiev Conference. See also: Chrysotile Industry Counteroffensive 2012.