European Chrysotile Ban Upheld 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



On July 26, 1999 a written procedure was signed which banned asbestos in Europe as of January 1, 2005. Directive 1999/77/EC stated that: "no threshold level of exposure has yet been identified below which chrysotile asbestos does not pose carcinogenic risks." The Directive also said:

"scientific knowledge about asbestos and its substitutes is continually developing; whereas the Commission will therefore ask the Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (CSTEE) to undertake a further review of any relevant new scientific data on the health risks of chrysotile asbestos and its substitutes before 1 January 2003; whereas this review will also consider other aspects of this directive, in particular the derogations, in light of technical progress; whereas, if necessary, the Commission will propose appropriate changes to legislation."

The report: Risk to Human Health From Chrysotile Asbestos and Organic Substitutes by the CSTEE was published on December 17, 20021. Having reviewed the evidence on cellulose fibres, PVA fibres and p-aramid fibres, the members of the CSTEE concluded:

"The most recent scientific findings are in line with previous data. Thus, CSTEE reiterates its previous conclusion that the evidence for harmful potential is more extensive for chrysotile than for its organic substitutes.

In particular, there is sufficient evidence that all forms of asbestos, including chrysotile, are carcinogenic to humans. No evidence of fibre-caused cancer occurrence in humans is available for any of the three candidate substitutes."


1This report can be viewed at:
Go to this site and search for the word asbestos.


February 11, 2003



       Home   |    Site Info   |    Site Map   |    About   |    Top↑