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The EFBWW calls on the Commission to elaborate an ambitious strategy to eradicate asbestos in Europe
Too little has been done for too long to deal with asbestos – this must change if EU policy makers take the demands seriously that were put forward by local and regional government representatives, victim support groups, trade unions and other stakeholders on 24 June 2015 during a joint conference of the Committee of the regions (CoR) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). Currently, asbestos related diseases continue to claim an approximate 47,000 lives per year according to latest data, this is twice the number of traffic related deaths in Europe. Children and teachers in schools, Do-it-yourself workers, and professional construction and maintenance workers are among those most at risk from asbestos infested buildings.
Tackling the challenge posed by asbestos requires a comprehensive policy approach, which depends on political will on the part of EU policy makers, especially in the European Commission. One priority lies in combining renovation measures for energy performance and deep renovation with asbestos removal. Much of the European building stock dating to the heydays of asbestos use is reaching an age where it requires renovation, this is not just a chance to improve their energy performance as envisioned by the European Commission as part of the Energy Union, but also a prime opportunity to remove remaining asbestos to protect future generations from harm.
The European Parliament already proposed such measures in its resolution on “Asbestos related occupational health threats and prospects for abolishing all existing asbestos” (2012/2065(INI)) which calls on the Commission to integrate asbestos removal with other policy areas such as energy efficiency, and the European Economic and Social Committee recently published its opinion on “Freeing the EU from asbestos” (CCMI 130, which recommends similar measures.
The EFBWW calls on the Commission to act now (see letter). A comprehensive EU strategy would affect a number of policy areas including for example occupational health and safety, public health, workers’ skills and qualifications, market surveillance, research and development and waste management, accordingly we propose the establishment of a working group composed of all relevant Commission services to prepare and carry out an ambitious strategy that should result in the eradication of asbestos in Europe.

Related pages about:
Asbestos campaign
EU Legislation Safety-Health
Health and Safety