Asbestos Regulations, Chile 




Published in the Official Journal, 13 January 2001






N° 656 /

SANTIAGO, 12 September 2000


IN VIEW OF: the arrangements set out in articles 2°, 3°, 82, 90, and Chapter X of the Health Code, as approved by Ministry of Health decree N° 725 of 1967; Ministry of Foreign Affairs decree N° 1.907 of 1998, which promulgates Convention 162 of the International Labour Office, on the safe use of asbestos; articles 1°, 4° and 6° of decree law N° 2.763 of 1979; and with reference to the powers conferred on me by articles 24 and 32 N° 8 of the Constitution, and



- That it is the Ministry of Health’s duty to adopt measures necessary to avoid the exposure of people to disease-causing agents, in accordance with its obligation to safeguard public health.

- That asbestos is a mineral known to be harmful to health when it is inhaled in the form of fibres, and can cause serious diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesotheliomas, all of these being highly lethal diseases.

- That workers who handle this substance or work in environments contaminated with these fibres are at the greatest risk of contracting the said diseases.

- That ILO Convention 162 has been promulgated in Chile, and that articles 10 and 11 of the Convention recommend the total or partial ban of the use of asbestos when this is necessary to protect workers’ health and when it is technically possible to do so, and

- That the technology necessary to substitute asbestos in the manufacture of asbestos cement sheets and other construction materials is available in our country,





ARTICLE 1º.- The production, import, distribution, sale and use of crocidolite (blue asbestos) and any material or product that contains it is banned.

ARTICLE 2º.- The production, import, distribution and sale of building materials that contain any type of asbestos is banned.

ARTICLE 3º.- The production, import, distribution and sale of chrysotile, actinolite, amosite, antofilite, tremolite and any other type of asbestos, or mixture of them, for any purpose or product that is not a building material, is banned with the exceptions set out in article 5º.

ARTICLE 4º.- For the purposes of the implementation of this regulation, it is understood that:

a) Asbestos is the fibrous form of the mineral silicates belonging to the serpentine (chrysotile - white asbestos) and amphibole (actinolite; amosite - brown asbestos, cummingtonite-grunerite; antofilite; crocidolite - blue asbestos; tremolite) groups of metamorphic rocks. Also included is any asbestos mineral not here specified and any mixture that contains one or more of these minerals.

b) Friable Asbestos is exposed asbestos, for example in lagging and panels, in a crumbling condition.

C) Asbestos fibres are asbestos particles in suspension in the air and deposited asbestos particles that could become air-borne.

ARTICLE 5º.- Without prejudice to article 3º of this regulation, the health authority will be able to authorise the use of asbestos for the manufacture of products that are not construction materials, on the understanding that the interested parties believe there is no technically or economically feasible alternative that would permit the substitution of asbestos by another material.

To obtain such authorisation, the manufacturer must submit technical reports which describe the product to be manufactured, the types of asbestos that will be used, the measures necessary to control the risks to workers’ health, the way in which industrial waste will be disposed of, the dust control systems necessary, and the technical justification as to why it is not possible to substitute asbestos with some other fibre.

In order to import these materials, the interested party must obtain prior authorisation from the health authorities and present details of the type and quantity of asbestos to be imported, the place and conditions of storage, the conditions under which the material will be handled, the arrangements for waste disposal and the safety measures to be adopted to protect workers.

ARTICLE 6º.- The manufacture of products and the import of asbestos referred to in article 5 can only occur if strict health and safety measures are followed in the workplace and only after the competent Health Service has verified that health risks to workers have been controlled and given its express authorisation to proceed.

ARTICLE 7.- Where asbestos stocks are stored for trade or manufacture, in accordance with the preceding norms, the holder of the authorisation must give a six monthly report to the appropriate Health Service on the quantities being moved in or out of stock and the suppliers and destination of the stock.

ARTICLE 8º.- The storage of asbestos, as a primary material, must be organised in a way that ensures that no asbestos fibres will be dispersed into the workplace environment above the maximum limits permitted by the current regulations. Likewise, dust filter systems must be efficient enough to pick up at least 99% of dust in areas where asbestos is being handled.

ARTICLE 9º.- Where buildings containing friable asbestos are to be demolished and there exists the risk of dispersing asbestos dust, the demolition company concerned must have the express permission of the competent Health Authority before proceeding with the work. It will also have to establish the measures it will adopt to protect the health of workers and the neighbouring population. This procedure must also be followed if asbestos is discovered in the course of demolition work.

ARTICLE 10º.- Enforcement of these regulations will be the responsibility of the Health Services and, in the metropolitan region, the Environmental Health Service.

Breaches of these regulations will be penalised in accordance with Chapter X of the Public Health Code.

ARTICLE 11º.- This regulation will come into force 180 days after its publication in the Official Journal, and on that same date, any other norms, resolutions or measures that are incompatible or contrary to the current Supreme Decree will no longer be valid.


















January 31, 2001



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