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The Tale of Asbestos in Sweden 1972-1986: The Pathway to a Near-Total Ban
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Sciences, Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Sciences, Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
2017 (English)In: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, ISSN 1661-7827, E-ISSN 1660-4601, Vol. 14, no 11, article id E1433Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper provides a narrative of the national intervention strategy in Sweden aimed to restrict the industrial use of asbestos. For many years, asbestos was imported for widespread industrial use, resulting in large amounts throughout Swedish society. In 1972, the whistle was blown in a Communist Party parliamentary motion describing asbestos as a health hazard and requesting action to prohibit its use. Although the motion was rejected, it initiated the extensive charting of asbestos sources on a tripartite basis, involving government agencies, and employer and trade-union organizations. Restrictive asbestos management practices were enforced from July 1982. The year 1985 saw the Government Asbestos Commission review, covering use-determining factors, international regulations, and assessments of cancer risks. The relative risks of chrysotile and amphibole were considered internationally (by the IARC), since chrysotile (a Canadian export) was regarded as unharmful in Canada at that time. Prohibiting asbestos use resulted in its virtual disappearance as an import to Sweden from the early 1980s. However, asbestos has undergone a transition from an occupational to a public-health hazard (although some work-related hazards, such as handling and disposal, remain). The transition reflects the public's exposure to existing stocks, in homes, workplaces, etc. Mesothelioma incidence has come to be regarded as an indicator of prevention effectiveness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 14, no 11, article id E1433
Keywords [en]
asbestos, asbestosis, disease prevention, lung cancer, mesothelioma, occupational hazard, public-health hazard
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-335514DOI: 10.3390/ijerph14111433ISI: 000416545200149PubMedID: 29165392OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-335514DiVA, id: diva2:1163274
Available from: 2017-12-06 Created: 2017-12-06 Last updated: 2018-03-09Bibliographically approved

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Westerholm, PeterSvartengren, Magnus

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