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Ukraine Bans Asbestos
IPEN Participating Organization MAMA-86 organized a press briefing with Ukraine’s Ministry of Health today in Kiev entitled: “Health without compromises – Ukraine’s Ministry of Health prohibits the use of asbestos and products containing it” to announce that Ukraine had formally banned asbestos. The event was addressed by Oksana Syvak, Deputy Minister for Public Health and European Integration, Olga Tsyguleva, Coordinator of the Program on Chemical Safety for MAMA-86, and Oleksil Shumilo, Head of Kharkiv City NGO “EcoPravo-Kharkiv.”
During the briefing, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health confirmed that the asbestos prohibition adopted by the Ministry of Health on March 29, 2017 (MOH Ukraine number 339: On safety and protection of workers from the harmful effects of asbestos and materials and products containing asbestos) and approved this month by relevant ministries and government departments had now come into force.
The new regulations, which ban the use of all types of asbestos including chrysotile (white) asbestos, were achieved in the face of fierce opposition from domestic and foreign asbestos lobbyists. This is no surprise given that amongst Ukraine’s neighbors are two countries which account for around 65% of global asbestos output. Between 2009 and 2015, Ukraine imported an average of ~42,200 tonnes of asbestos a year. There is no doubt that this ban will adversely impact the financial prospects of asbestos mining companies; however, perhaps of even greater import is the strategic significance of Ukraine’s action. After all, if Ukraine can ban asbestos, so too can other asbestos-using countries in the region such as Uzbekistan, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
See a video of the press briefing here
Find more information about the press brieifng and background about the health impacts of asbestos on MAMA-86's page: АНОНС! (24 June)
See the Ukraine Crisis Media Center's webpage for more details about the ban (English).