Over the next 6 months, Ukrainian producers should stop using asbestos. Such transitional period for producers was determined by the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine. The reason for this was Order No. 339 issued by the Ministry of Health “On Approval of State Sanitary Norms and Rules “On Safety and Protection of Workers from the Harmful Effects of Asbestos and Asbestos-made Products”. This was reported by Oksana Syvak, Deputy Minister on public health and European integration, during a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
Oleksii Shumilo, head of Kharkiv city NGO “EcoPravo-Kharkiv” drew attention to certain contradictions in the Ukrainian legislation. He noted that in May the law “On Assessment of Environmental Impact” was signed. “This law allows the production of asbestos and forsees it’s use, […] although the order of the Ministry of Health prohibits the use of asbestos in production. Here we have some inconsistency”, – added Mr. Shumilo.
Ukraine fully purchases asbestos in Russia and Kazakhstan. “Therefore, saying that all production in Ukraine will fail is false. We just have to replace one substance with another”, – said Oksana Syvak.
The Deputy Minister stressed that the order of the Ministry of Health does not prohibit the import of asbestos. Neither it requires the closure of enterprises that produce products from it. “The Ministry of Health only introduces European mechanisms in order to reduce health problems and mortality levels caused by exposure to absestos”, said Oksana Syvak.
Oleksii Shumilo stressed that the level of citizens’ understanding of the harmful effects of asbestos is very low. “The association with the EU is another step to completely prohibit the use of asbestos in all its forms”, – he said. The EU introduced ban on the use of asbestos on January 1, 2005.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 100,000 people die annually from health problems caused by harmful effects of asbestos.