ILO Support for Asbestos Ban! 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



On June 14, 2006, a Resolution Concerning Asbestos1 was adopted at the 95th General Conference of the International Labor Organization (ILO) which committed the ILO to actively promote a global asbestos ban. Dr. Jukka Takala, Director of the ILO's SafeWork programme, says:

“Asbestos is the most important single factor causing death and disability at work, some 100,000 fatalities a year… There is no 'safe use' of asbestos… the ILO should have a campaign of its own to eliminate future use of asbestos, and properly manage asbestos in place today...

The task is now to increase the number of countries that have already eliminated future asbestos use from the present 40 countries to at least 100 in the coming 10 years. This should certainly reduce the asbestos use radically. The priority order is to concentrate on the present biggest producers, importers, and users of any kind of asbestos.”2

Anita Normark, General Secretary of the Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) who has, with her colleague Fiona Murie actively campaigned for this resolution, characterized this as a “landmark decision,” which “should hasten the demise of a dying industry.” The BWI is calling for employers to end their “courtship with a known killer” and is urging the ILO to “push for a swift and absolute stop to asbestos trade, to ensure we bring an early end to this industrial genocide…”3

July 5, 2006


For the text of the Resolution concerning asbestos, see page 69.





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