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National use of asbestos in relation to economic development.
Le GV; Takahashi K; Karjalainen A; Delgermaa V; Hoshuyama T; Miyamura Y; Furuya S; Higashi T; Pan GW; Wagner G
Environ Health Perspect 2010 Jan; 118(1):116-119
BACKGROUND: National disparities in asbestos use will likely lead to an unequal burden of asbestos diseases. OBJECTIVES: As economic status may be linked to asbestos use, we assessed, globally, the relationship between indicators of national economic development and asbestos use. METHODS: For the 135 countries that have ever used asbestos, per capita asbestos use (kilograms per capita per year) was compared with per capita gross domestic product (GDP) in 1990 Geary-Khamis dollars (GKD) for the period 1920-2003. Countries were grouped into three income levels (high, middle, and low) that were adapted from the 2003 World Bank categories. RESULTS: The historical pattern of asbestos use followed the environmental Kuznets curve in which use by high-income countries peaked when incomes attained 10,000-15,000 GKD and essentially ceased at income levels over 20,000 GKD. Currently, middle- and low-income countries are increasing their use of asbestos, closely following the paths once traced by higher income countries. CONCLUSIONS: Developing countries have the opportunity to eliminate asbestos use sooner than high-income countries and thus reduce the future burden of asbestos diseases.
Asbestos-products; Biological-effects; Biological-monitoring; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Exposure-methods; Toxic-effects; Author Keywords: asbestos diseases; asbestos use; economic development; environmental Kuznets curve; income level; inflection points
Ken Takahashi, Department of Environmental Epidemiology, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Iseigaoka 1-1, Yahatanishiku, Kitakyushu City, Japan
Issue of Publication
Environmental Health Perspectives
Page last reviewed: May 8, 2020Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division