A cross-country comparative overview of the asbestos situation in ten Asian countries

Int J Occup Environ Health. Jul-Sep 2003;9(3):244-8. doi: 10.1179/oeh.2003.9.3.244.


Information about asbestos issues at the national level was compiled for ten Asian countries (China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam) regarding 1) bans and consumption levels; 2) occupational exposure limits (OELs) and medical follow-up schemes; and 3) statistics and compensation status of asbestosis and mesothelioma victims. Only Singapore and recently Japan have adopted a total ban an asbestos. China, a major producer of chrysotile, showed an increasing consumption trend, which was typical of the less industrialized countries. Considerable differences between countries existed in OELs (0.1 to 5.0 fibers/mL) and medical follow-up of exposed workers. National statistics for asbestosis and mesothelioma were available for only the industrialized countries, where reported cases as well as compensated cases were relatively few. There is need to improve the quality and quantity of information, but the available information attests to unfavorable conditions in the less industrialized countries. Hence the experience of industrialized countries regarding asbestos and its use should be utilized to the fullest to improve the situation worldwide.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Asbestos / adverse effects*
  • Asbestosis / epidemiology*
  • Asbestosis / etiology*
  • Carcinogens / adverse effects*
  • Commerce
  • Humans
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Public Policy*
  • Reference Values


  • Carcinogens
  • Asbestos