The dangers of asbestos have been well-known for quite some time. Made popular for its strength and ability to insulate against heat and flame, asbestos is a dangerous carcinogen that has caused many deaths. It’s the cause of a number of serious diseases, including the rare and fatal form of cancer known as mesothelioma.
Now, the World Health Organization (WHO) finalized a study that has come to a startling conclusion: the costs of treating asbestos-related diseases is four times as high as the cost of producing the toxic material. In response to their findings, WHO is calling for a global ban on both the production of asbestos and its use.
The research results were revealed at a meeting of the Asia Pacific Cancer Leaders’ Summit in Brisbane, Australia, where the use of asbestos has affected the population dearly. Australia, with a high incidence of mesothelioma, has completely banned asbestos use.
For the rest of the world, asbestos is still used in a variety of construction and industrial uses, including the the U.S., where although it is no longer produced, it’s still used in some applications.
According to one of the study’s authors, Dr. Ahmad Qureshi of Monash University in Malaysia, “If you spend one dollar to buy asbestos, you are spending four dollars to treat and compensate the condition caused by this,” one of the study’s authors, Dr. Ahmad Qureshi of Monash University in Malaysia, said.
His conclusions were drawn from a number of sources, including data from the United States Geological Survey.
“In 2003 they have told that about 2.11 million metric tons of asbestos was used, and the cost was about $2 billion roughly,” Qureshi continued. “To treat, compensate, and people who get the disease – how much there’s a loss of income to them – including the cost of asbestos, the total is about $11.9 billion.
“In developing countries, the issue is that people don’t even have knowledge about the harms caused by this asbestos.”
The global economic costs of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases don’t even touch on the emotional impact that they have on those who are diagnosed and their families.