Georgia To Mark Asbestos
08 December, 2011
Georgia To Mark Asbestos

To control infesting import of cancerogenic asbestos-containing product Georgia should start by marking labels of the questioned product.   

Asbestos-containing goods and product prohibited in the developed world for its high carcinogenic effect is completely uncontrolled in Georgia. To protect Georgian consumers and increase their awareness of what kind of product they consume, the Union of Oil and Oil Product Importers and Consumers of Georgia (UOOPC) in cooperation with Scientific Medical Research Institute of Labor, Medicine and Ecology raised the issue

of marking the dangerous product-containing car parts and other materials used on construction site in big volumes in Georgia.

According to the data of World Health Organization (WHO) 125 million people are exposed to dangerous asbestos effect globe over and over 100 thousand people die each year due to diseases induced by asbestos, which makes more than 50% of job-induced-death statistics. The US and west EU disbursed about USD 280 million of compensations to asbestos-affected people.

Moreover, thousand lives may be taken by asbestos consumption in environment and everyday contact. Yet, despite asbestos has not been produced for the last 20 years in Georgia the country may suffer by large quantities of asbestos-containing import making roughly 100 tons per year only through car breaks infesting from China mainly, however significant part comes from Russia and Ukraine that still produce asbestos unlike the US and EU countries prohibiting asbestos production for more than 20 years already.

The risk group of asbestos-containing product includes car breaks, construction materials used for isolation, hermeticity, roofing, fire-and-acid-proof materials used in electricity, paper  production etc. In a word people face asbestos almost in everyday being while no security conditions are insured, and no official control is imposed on asbestos remnants’ safe allocation and utilization.

According to Vano Mtvralashvili, Head of the UOOPC, asbestos-containing car breaks are very dangerous as they affect both drivers and passengers. Moreover, the dust released during attrition lay in the ground and jeopardizes pedestrians’ health.

Initiators of the asbestos issue sent an open letter to the president of Georgia and chairperson of parliament with the request to prohibit asbestos import completely, also draft an informative document of national profile depicting situation in the country form asbestos consumption point of view, outline risk groups and diseases induced by asbestos.

However to address the asbestos problem initiators require to start by marking the asbestos import in order to enable consumer to choose.

“The point is the asbestos-containing car breaks are cheap about GEL1.65-2 while the asbestos-free breaks price start from GEL 20 and range to GEL 80-90. However exploitation period of asbestos-free breaks is 60-70 thousand kilometers while asbestos-containing ones expire after passing maximum 5-7 kilometers. Consumer has a right to know the difference from both technical and health-related risks points of view [asbestos is ranked among first category of cancerogenic substances] and opt between them. Therefore we’d be recommending marking the dangerous product as soon as possible,” Mtvralashvili told Georgian Journal.

However the issue is scarcely supposed to be solved through consumers’ choice as far as poor Georgian consumer is oriented on price rather than on quality. The issue cannot be settled without state regulation and official restrictions, sector pundits say. The WHO recommendations to all states are to create national strategies envisaging protection of consumers’ rights.

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