Ukraine Asbestos Ban: Round 2
On January 31, 2018 the latest salvos were fired in the battle by Ukraines Ministry of Health (MoH) against the Ministry of Justices (MoJ) and the State Regulatory Services (SRS) quashing of its decision to ban asbestos to protect citizens from deadly exposures. On that day, Kievs District Administrative Court held the first hearing on a case brought by the Ministry of Health to reinstate the 2017 prohibition banning the use of all types of asbestos including chrysotile (white asbestos) which had been invalidated in October 2017 by the MoJ and the SRS.1
In the face of serious opposition from industry stakeholders, the court admitted the non-governmental organization (NGO) MAMA-86 as a third party to the process, taking into account the experience and achievements of MAMA-86 in its ten-year campaign to end asbestos use in Ukraine. While the NGO is supporting the position of the MoH, the Ukrainian Chrysotile Association operators of an asbestos-cement factory in Zaporozhye City in the southeast of the country was admitted to the case to support the defendants.
In an email exchange on March 5, 2018, a close observer of these developments confirmed the determination of the MoH to take every action possible to ensure that Ukrainians, like citizens of many other European countries, were protected from avoidable asbestos illnesses and fatalities. If, he wrote, asbestos is too hazardous to be used in France, Norway, Portugal and Poland, surely it is too toxic to be used in Ukraine.
If the MoH succeeds, and one must hope it does, Ukraine will be yet another country which has resorted to judicial action to overcome those determined to prioritize corporate profits over human health. The asbestos industry was defeated by the Supreme Court in Brazil in 2017;2 lets hope that the judiciary in Ukraine will also act to protect citizens from deadly asbestos exposures.
March 8, 2018
1 Kazan-Allen L. Ukraine Bans Asbestos! July 8, 2017.
Kazan-Allen L. Ukraines Asbestos Debacle. November 9, 2017.
2 Kazan-Allen L. Brazil Bans Asbestos. December 1, 2017.