Zimbabwe – Asbestos mining companies in the country are losing employees as a result of the recent ban on the use of the product.
Zimbabwe is joining a list of more than 50 countries that have decided to place a ban on asbestos due to concerns over the material’s health effects on those who have been exposed to it.
However, the ban does have one major negative impact on the country. Before the ban, Zimbabwe was one of the larger asbestos-manufacturing countries, producing nine percent of the world’s asbestos supply and generating US $60 million annually.
The nation’s asbestos industry has supported tens of thousands of jobs over the years and has helped keep the troubled economy afloat. The ban is expected to cause massive job losses.
Companies tried to reassure citizens that the type of asbestos they produced, chrysotile, was not dangerous. However, scientific research has shown that exposure to the material leads to incurable and fatal diseases.
The South African regulation was introduced in 2004 but did not come into effect until this year. Its objectives are to prohibit the use, processing or manufacturing of all asbestos and asbestos-containing products unless it is proven that proper alternatives do not exist.
The leader of global initiative to ban asbestos is a group of environmentalists named the European Green Movement, who hopes to rid the world of the cancer-causing material.
Japan, one of the key markets for asbestos products from Zimbabwe, decided to ban the import of chrysotile in 2004.
The United States has not banned asbestos.