Brazil’s Asbestos Ban Will Impact US Imports

Asbestos Exposure & Bans

Written by Matt Mauney

Reading Time: 3 mins
Publication Date: 12/04/2017
Fact Checked
Our fact-checking process begins with a thorough review of all sources to ensure they are high quality. Then we cross-check the facts with original medical or scientific reports published by those sources, or we validate the facts with reputable news organizations, medical and scientific experts and other health experts. Each page includes all sources for full transparency.
Reviewed is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource

The Mesothelioma Center at has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.

Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.

More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.

About The Mesothelioma Center at

  • Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
  • Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
  • A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
  • 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
Learn More About Us


"My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family."
Mesothelioma patient’s daughter
  • Google Review Rating
  • BBB Review Rating

How to Cite’s Article


Mauney, M. (2020, October 16). Brazil’s Asbestos Ban Will Impact US Imports. Retrieved March 23, 2023, from


Mauney, Matt. "Brazil’s Asbestos Ban Will Impact US Imports.", 16 Oct 2020,


Mauney, Matt. "Brazil’s Asbestos Ban Will Impact US Imports." Last modified October 16, 2020.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

In a landmark decision, Brazil severed ties with asbestos.

The world’s third-largest producer of chrysotile asbestos, also known as white asbestos, ruled last week to ban the production, distribution and use of the toxic mineral.

Brazil’s Supreme Court on Nov. 29 voted 7 to 2 on the measure to ban the substance responsible for deadly mesothelioma and other diseases.

The vote makes Brazil the most populous country to ban asbestos, according to the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS). China, India and the United States — countries with populations that surpass the South American nation — still use chrysotile in some capacity.

According a 2017 study from the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Geological Survey reported the U.S. imported 340 metric tons of raw chrysotile asbestos last year. Roughly 95 percent came from Brazil, with the remaining 5 percent imported from Russia.

In a blog from the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), its co-founder, Linda Reinstein, wrote: “Since 2013, the USA has spent an estimated $4 million buying tons of asbestos from Brazil to be used by chloralkali industry.”

The industry, which uses durable and fireproof asbestos diaphragms in its chlorine manufacturing process, is responsible for nearly all imports.

A total of 62 countries have banned asbestos, according to IBAS. The U.S. remains one of the few industrialized countries without a ban or phase-out plan in place. Of the 10 most populous countries in the world, only Brazil and Japan have passed comprehensive legislation to ban asbestos.

Roughly 10,000 Americans die each year from preventable asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

“This decision will have a global impact on the market. It will create a domino effect,” Fernanda Giannasi, advisor to Brazil’s Association of the Asbestos-Exposed, told BBC Brazil. “If an asbestos-producing country like Brazil is capable of making such a decision, why wouldn’t it be followed by those countries that buy asbestos?”

US May See Spike in Russian Asbestos

With Brazil’s ban, anti-asbestos advocates fear the U.S. may turn to Russia for its asbestos needs.

Russia is the long-standing world leader in asbestos mine production, with 1.1 million metric tons each year — more than 50 percent of the world total. It is also the world’s second-largest consumer, trailing only China.

More than 438,000 Russians depend on asbestos factories and mines for their livelihood, according to the New York Times.

More Countries Moving to Ban Asbestos

Four nations have vowed to ban asbestos in the past 12 months.

Once considered the world leader in asbestos production, Canada remains on track to ban the toxic mineral by 2018. Asbestos is the leading cause of occupational deaths in Canada.

In June, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine announced the country had adopted a ban on the use of all types of asbestos. However, the Ukrainian government has since backtracked on that promise, saying it may delay the implementation of the ban following political and economic pressure from the asbestos industry.

On Nov 27, Svetlana Bolokan — head of Moldova’s Department for Management of Waste and Chemicals — announced the country intends to ban the sale and import of chrysotile asbestos and asbestos-containing products by 2019.

Moldova had previously pledged to phase out asbestos-containing materials by 2020.

Brazil’s ban is monumental because asbestos is still a large part of the Brazilian economy. Reinstein, according to her blog, says the decision reaffirms there is no safe or controlled use of asbestos.

Roughly 125 million people are exposed to asbestos at the workplace, according to the World Health Organization. Scientific evidence has concluded all forms of asbestos are carcinogenic to humans.

paper with magnifying glass
Free Mesothelioma Resources
Get Access to Free Resources for Patients & Loved Ones