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Asbestos is banned in most industrialised countries. Yet it is still the biggest occupational killer worldwide: the International Labour Organisation estimates asbestos causes 100,000 deaths globally every year through occupational exposure alone.

This is truly a global epidemic with a preventable cause. There is scientific consensus based on conclusive proof that all types of asbestos are hazardous for human health. The International Agency for Cancer Research classifies asbestos as a proven human carcinogen.

Over 90% of the asbestos mined and sold in the world is chrysotile asbestos. The most common use for asbestos worldwide is in the manufacture of asbestos-cement construction materials such as slates, roofing materials and pipes. Almost all municipal buildings, housing for economically poorer people in developing countries and economies in transition are constructed with use of corrugated asbestos-cement, as it is cheap and easily accessible.

WECF works with partners to highlight the dangers of asbestos and to work towards a worldwide ban on asbestos and the inclusion of chrysotile asbestos in the Annex III list of prior informed consent of the Rotterdam Convention.

To promote  the full and effective implementation of the Rotterdam Convention, WECF is a member of the ROCA (Rotterdam Convention Alliance) an Alliance of Environmental, Labour and Health organizations around the world.

Have a look at our publications, events and activities by scrolling down the page ...




Participation at COP7 of the Rotterdam Convention and ExCOPs, with ROCA delegation:


Workshops on asbestos and related diseases in FYR Macedonia, Russia, and Kazakhstan

Participation at COP6 Rotterdam Convention and ExCOPS, with ROCA delegation
Download the ROCA position paper here.

Organisation of Asbestos Side Event at COP6 Rotterdam Convention

Participation at demonstration of asbestos victims groups during COP6

WECF co-organised the International Expert Conference on Asbestos in Kiev, and demands phase-out of asbestos production and use in Ukraine

Participation at ADAO side event at Rio+20 Peoples Summit, Brazil


Participation at COP5 of Rotterdam Convention with ROCA delegation                     Link: COP5 - Geneva 2011and Report on the COP5                                      Organisation of Cancer Culprit Awards


WECF co-organised the 1st CSO Moscow asbestos conference in October 2010   Article on Moscow Conference October 2010

Side event during Conference in Astana: Green Mechanisms and Green Decision in Mining: Move to Green and Sustainable Economy, Sept 28, 2010

Side Event during CSD 18, UN Headquarters New York, May 6, 2010
Parma – 2010 – Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health of the WHO Europe

CEHAPE award: en français  
CEHAPE award: in english

More information on CEHAPE Parma Process:

Astana – 2010 - Asia and Pacific Region Ministerial Conference in Astana
WECF organized a side event about uranium and asbestos mining

Bali - 2010 - UNEP Governing Council and Global Ministers for the Environment Forum.
WECF chaired the major groups and organized side event on environmental health and harm from continuous use of chrysotile asbestos.

First ever conference on chrysotile asbestos and health in Kazakhstan

Asbestos in Eastern Europe and the Rotterdam Convention

Conflict at Rotterdam Convention meeting in Rome

WECF at Conference on Asbestos and POPS in Kazakhstan

As early as 2005 WECF supported a Campaign to ban Asbestos



Kazakhstan is one of the biggest producers and consumers of asbestos.
A training manual was developed and seven trainings were conducted and a high-level international expert conference took place in Astana 

Kazakhstan is open to debate on Asbestos

The project, financed by the European Union, is in its last stage. 

Asbestos in Kazakhstan: project results


In this project tests on chrysotile asbestos will be conducted in seven cities and seven trainings will be conducted. For the preparation of the international conference COP5 of the Rotterdam convention a conference is planned in spring 2011. Part of this project was a high-level conference in Moscow in October 2010. You can find more information on the project "Asbestos in Kyrgyzstan" on the project page


The goal of this project is the reduction of dangerous chemicals, like asbestos and pesticides. There will be trainings and demonstration sites with non-chemical solutions.  The project is financed by SAICM, the duration is 24 months starting in January 2011.

RUSSIA, KAZAKHSTAN & UKRAINE:  Russia, Kazakhstan and the Ukraine – 2008
More information can also be found here


22.12.2008 | Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Canada, Chrysotile and Cancer: Health Canada’s Asbestos International Expert Panel Report

23.09.2010 | Jim Morris
Exporting an Epidemic: A Global Asbestos Crisis

02.08.2010 | TVE and BBC World News
TVE and BBC World News made movie on asbestos.