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close this bookAsbestos Overview and Handling Recommendations (GTZ, 1996)
close this folderPart IV Country analysis
close this folder5 Summary
View the document5.1 Economic Implication
View the document5.2 Legislation
View the document5.3 Research and Development
View the document5.4 Substitutes
View the document5.5 Risk philosophy

5.1 Economic Implication

As already mentioned in the introduction, the Asbestos subject is not a specific problem of the developing countries. As can be seen in Figure 6, however, in 1991 more than 75% of the world production of Asbestos was mined in developing or verging countries or especially in the states of the former Soviet Union. Therefore, Asbestos production represents a significant source of income at least for some developing countries.

Figure 6: Worldwide Asbestos Production 1991

Source Asbestos - 1991, USA

From a political perspective on employment, however, Asbestos mining should not be an important factor either in the developing countries or in the industrialized countries, because of the low number of workers in this sector.

As for the processing of Asbestos, it may be presumed that in the industrialized countries Asbestos will soon be pushed out of its areas of application. In contrast, it is expected that in the developing and verging countries, particularly China and the countries formed from the former USSR, the trend to use Asbestos will continue for a long time. This is due to the fact that the necessary financial means to apply substitutes are not available, and the positive product characteristics of Asbestos are of primary importance. Since the processing of Asbestos products in developing countries is largely performed in small operations, which are often active in the informal sector of the economy, it may be assumed, that safety measures are only used to a very small extent. Another dilemma is the insufficient accessibility of statistical data, which hardly allows the country's own government to properly evaluate the Asbestos problem.