France calls for worldwide ban on asbestos

6th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

GENEVA, June 5, 2006 (AFP) - France on Monday called for the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to ban asbestos all over the world.

GENEVA, June 5, 2006 (AFP) - France on Monday called for the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to ban asbestos all over the world.

The proposal, presented to the ILO by junior employment minister Gérard Larcher, is likely to meet with hostility from asbestos-producing countries, especially Canada, which favours stricter regulation but not an outright ban.

"France strongly urges the International Labour Organisation to host a far-reaching debate with a view to rapidly ending the use of this material which has caused a major catastrophe," Larcher told delegates from the ILO's 178 member states in Geneva.

France banned the fire-resistant mineral, now known to cause a number of respiratory diseases including lung cancer, in 1997.

But in December last year, the country's Senate said the French state's failure to act before 1997 could be blamed for as many as 100,000 cancer deaths in coming years.

Asbestos is now illegal across the 25-member European Union, but worldwide only around 60 countries have banned it, some with various exemptions.

Larcher said the world should follow Europe's example.

But the minister admitted that his proposal ran counter to the positions of "a number of industrialised countries ... where asbestos still represents a sizeable market and who think that protective measures are sufficient."

Canada, the world's number one producer of asbestos, has resisted previous attempts to ban the substance.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article