Collaborative research, participatory solutions: research on asbestos in Kuruman, South Africa

Int J Occup Environ Health. 2004 Apr-Jun;10(2):226-32. doi: 10.1179/oeh.2004.10.2.226.


The 1998 South African National Asbestos Summit proposed a post-apartheid asbestos policy for the country. In the areas of environmental rehabilitation, health care, and compensation, it envisioned connecting asbestos mitigation to participatory development. In 2001, the Asbestos Collaborative, an international and interdisciplinary team, conducted follow-up research on the recommendations of the 1998 Summit, researching environmental, health, and compensation issues through consultation of documents and interviews with officials in urban areas and with people in Kuruman, a former crocidolite-mining site with high rates of asbestos-related disease. In Kuruman, local opinion supported the recommendations of the Asbestos Summit, insisting that policies to mitigate the problem of asbestos must also address poverty. In the wake of the 2001 research, a new organization, the Asbestos Interest Group (AIG), has been founded to facilitate grassroots participation in asbestos issues. One success of the AIG has been the settlement of a lawsuit by former workers against the former mining company in Kuruman.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asbestos*
  • Asbestosis / economics
  • Asbestosis / prevention & control*
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / trends
  • Consumer Advocacy / trends
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Humans
  • Mining*
  • Occupational Exposure / economics
  • Occupational Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Public Policy
  • Qualitative Research
  • Research / organization & administration*
  • South Africa
  • Voluntary Health Agencies / organization & administration*
  • Workers' Compensation / organization & administration


  • Asbestos