Ukraine Asbestos Ban: 2022 Update
Even as Russian troops continued their military build-up on the border of Ukraine last year (2021), inside the country the battle over chrysotile (white) asbestos a carcinogenic substance which the Verkhovna Rada [Ukraine Parliament] pledged to ban in line with requirements for joining the European Union continued to rage.1 Under immense pressure from asbestos stakeholders, domestic and foreign,2 a debate over draft asbestos prohibitions scheduled by the Parliamentary Committee of Health on December 15, 2021 was cancelled with no advance warning; on the morning of the planned debate the issue was excluded from the agenda which was uploaded to the Committees website.
Seemingly limitless resources are being expended to retain the status quo with pro-asbestos infomercials, masquerading as news articles, warning Ukrainians of the dire consequences to the national economy and their own safety should the ban be enacted. The propaganda campaign claimed that under the proposed regulations, it would be mandatory to remove all asbestos-cement roofing (slate) from domestic properties. Although this is untrue, the threat fired up public concern as many Ukrainians live in homes with this toxic roofing.3
Reinforcing the media onslaught, a glossy new pro-asbestos website in Ukrainian Stop the Slate Ban4 appeared online rehashing the industrys mantra supporting the safe use policy of chrysotile, contrary to advice from international agencies supporting an end to the use of all types of asbestos.5 Up until January 21, 2022, the Facebook page Asbestos for Ukraine had uploaded links in 2022 to five articles providing information about the benefits of chrysotile and the dangers of substitute materials.6 During 2021, there was a number of similar articles linked to this site, the aim of which is to provide detailed and reliable information on the safety of chrysotile asbestos in Ukraine and around the world.
The latest ruse by the asbestos industry was the erection this month of a pro-asbestos poster close to Kyivs government quarter where the Parliament, Cabinet of Ministers and Parliamentary Committees are located (see below).7
It is worth pointing out that the sponsors of the Facebook page: Asbestos for Ukraine, the website: Stop Slate Ban and the new poster have chosen to remain anonymous. Unsuspecting members of the public will almost certainly be misled into thinking that these are independent sources of information; the truth is that they are deadly instruments of deception wielded by asbestos lobbyists to preserve corporate profits.
In a 2022 interview, Mikhail Radutsky, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on National Health, Medical Assistance and Medical Insurance, condemned vested interests who had been spreading misinformation in Ukraine over a range of topics including the proposed chrysotile asbestos ban. According to Radutsky:
Fake news is even spreading that people will have to rip slate off roofs because it contains asbestos. The draft legislation does not provide for this. People who work at factories that produce something from asbestos will also not be left without work, because almost all Ukrainian factories have switched to asbestos-free technology. This bill must go to the Verkhovna Rada [Parliament]. I hope that the people's deputies will be smart enough to accept it on the second reading, and not read the fake news that is now being spread against it.8
We will continue to report developments in Ukraines asbestos war and remain at the disposal of concerned Ukrainians who wish to access truthful and reliable information about the chrysotile asbestos hazard.9 The future is asbestos-free!
January 26, 2022.
1 Kazan-Allen, L. The Fight for Ukraine Sovereignty over its Asbestos Policy. September 20, 2021.
2 Украина планирует отказаться от использования асбеста в строительстве [Ukraine plans to stop using asbestos in construction]. December 6, 2021.
3 Запрет асбеста: что думают об этом специалисты отрасли [Asbestos ban: what industry experts think about it]. December 28, 2021.
79% опитаних українців не підтримують чи не визначились із питанням заборони шиферу в Україні – соцопитування [79% of Ukrainians polled do not support or did not decide on the ban on slate in Ukraine - opinion poll]. December 9, 2021.
4 In many countries, the word slate is used to refer to tiles made of asbestos-cement. In Ukraine, the majority of asbestos consumed is for the manufacture of asbestos-cement roofing tiles.
7 The English translation of the caption was: Stop Slate Ban.
8 Strashkulich, A. Mikhail Radutsky, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Health, Medical Assistance and Medical Insurance Rada may legalize medical cannabis this year. January 6, 2022.
9 IBAS. News Digest Ukraine.