Iran Campaign to Ban Asbestos 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



The progress of the Iran's debate on asbestos is evinced by a front-page article which appeared in the most popular newspaper in Tehran on October 24, 2011. The text in the headline read: “People of Tehran ask Government to Ban Asbestos.” The journalist explains that in 2000 the [Iranian] Department of the Environment passed regulations setting a seven year phase-out period during which all asbestos-using manufacturers must make the transition to asbestos-free technology. In 2011, four years after the deadline had expired, nothing had changed. Highlighting the asbestos health hazard, in particular the risk of cancer, a call is made for stronger action. “Many experts,” the journalist writes “think that we should pass a law at parliament or cabinet to ban asbestos in Iran.”


The call for legislative action appeared just days before the most recent Tehran meeting where the asbestos hazard was discussed. On the agenda of the October 28-30 occupational health conference, which took place at the Imam General Hospital, was a presentation by Dr. Ramin Mehrdad entitled: The Asbestos Situation in Iran and Asia.


Associate Professor Dr. Ramin Mehrdad.

The awareness of health problems related to asbestos exposure in Iran has grown in recent years with high levels of concern being found in big cities. Iran's asbestos debate began in earnest only a relatively short time ago. In August, 2009 and February 2010, facets of the asbestos threat were discussed at a medical symposium at the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences and at the 4th National Congress on Occupational Diseases in Tehran1. Building on this interest, in August 2010, a revised edition of the publication Killing the Future – Asbestos Use in Asia was published in Farsi that included a new chapter on the Asbestos Situation in Iran (see: English version of this new chapter).

December 9, 2011


1 Subjects on these agendas included screening for asbestos-related diseases, radiological and pathological findings for asbestosis and mesothelioma and treatment therapies.



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