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South Africa to Vote on Asbestos Ban

The South African legislature has been examining a complete ban on asbestos for the last few months and is expected to make a ruling before the end of June.

The announcement came from Evironmental Affairs deputy director general, Joanne Yawitch and hinted that legislators would likely agree on the ban.

One of the biggest opponents of the proposed ban has been Turnall Fibre Cement a subsidiary of Turnall Holdings and one of Africa's biggest producers of asbestos. For well over a year they have been lobbying legislators to drop the proposed ban claiming that their white asbestos products pose no health hazards.

They embarked on a massive public relations campaign to try and convince lawmakers that their white fiber asbestos was safe to use compared to the brown variety which still plagues many areas.

Yawitch and fellow legislators argue that there is no difference between the types of fibers. They stated the only difference is one being less catastrophic than the other. She stated that should the ban be approved, the firm will be able to discuss its merits with government officials.

Zimbabwe is one of the world's leading asbestos producers and South Africa consumes nearly 40% of their annual output. It is mainly used for roofing, vehicle components, and irrigation.

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