Cadernos de Saúde Pública
Print version ISSN 0102-311X
MENDES, René. Asbestos and disease: state-of-the-art review and a rationale for urgent change in current Brazilian policy. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2001, vol.17, n.1, pp. 07-29. ISSN 0102-311X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2001000100002.
This paper is a state-of-the-art review of scientific knowledge on both the health effects of asbestos fiber inhalation and possibilities for safe and sustainable prevention, from an ethical, political, and technological point of view. The author provides scientific background and arguments from the ongoing discussion in Brazil concerning the need to redefine current asbestos policy, in order to establish a more advanced and appropriate policy whose priority is the protection of life, human health, and the environment. The first part deals with several technological and economic aspects of asbestos-chrysotile. In the second part, the author presents and discusses a bibliographic review of the construction of scientific knowledge on the health effects of asbestos fibers, first within an international perspective, and then (in the third part), from a Brazilian view. The fourth part analyzes the current debate on the fibrogenicity and carcinogenicity of asbestos-chrysotile. Some current responses from the international community towards the asbestos-chrysotile ban are also discussed. Finally, the author discusses the historical inadequacy of Brazilian asbestos policy and the urgent need to revise it to include a ban on asbestos-chrysotile in this country.
Keywords : Asbestos; Asbestosis; Pleural Mesothelioma; Lung Neoplasms; Occupational Health.