All forms of asbestos are proven human carcinogens. All forms of asbestos cause malignant mesothelioma, lung, laryngeal, and ovarian cancers, and may cause gastrointestinal and other cancers. No exposure to asbestos is without risk. Asbestos cancer victims die painful lingering deaths. These deaths are almost entirely preventable. When evidence of the carcinogenicity of asbestos became incontrovertible, concerned parties, including the Collegium Ramazzini, called for a universal ban on the mining, manufacture, and use of asbestos in all countries around the world (J Occup Environ Med. 1999;41:830-832). Asbestos is now banned in 52 countries, and safer products have replaced many materials that once were made with asbestos. Nonetheless, a large number of countries still use, import, and export asbestos and asbestos-containing products. And in many countries that have banned other forms of asbestos, the so-called "controlled use" of chrysotile asbestos is exempted from the ban, an exemption that has no basis in medical science but rather reflects the political and economic influence of the asbestos mining and manufacturing industry. All countries of the world have an obligation to their citizens to join in the international endeavor to ban all forms of asbestos. An international ban on asbestos is urgently needed.