It is estimated that 55 countries around the world have banned the use of asbestos. Others have imposed strict regulations and safety protocols on the use and eradication of the mineral. Still, at last count there were 193 independent countries on the planet, leaving 138 that have not imposed an all-out ban on asbestos. This means, independent or not, many countries still produce, consume, and export asbestos and use is growing at a rapid pace in developing countries. In fact, many developing countries now depend on asbestos, despite all of the known dangers.


The International Labor Organization (ILO)—a specialized agency of the United Nations, estimates that 100,000 workers die each year from asbestos-related diseases.


According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), millions more will die in future epidemics of asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma, as asbestos use continues to grow. This is especially true in the following “Top” countries for asbestos production, consumption, and exports.


Top 5 Asbestos Producers


  1. Russia (1,017)*
  2. China (280)
  3. Brazil (255)
  4. Kazakhstan (230)
  5. Canada (180)


*Asbestos Production in Thousands of Metric Tons


Top 5 Asbestos Consumers


  1. China (626)*
  2. India (302)
  3. Russia (280)
  4. Kazakhstan (109)
  5. Brazil (94)


*Asbestos Consumption in Thousands of Metric Tons


Top 5 Asbestos Exporters


  1. Russia (657)*
  2. Kazakhstan (216)
  3. Brazil (178)
  4. Canada (176)
  5. China (14)


*Asbestos Exports in Thousands of Metric Tons

Asia now accounts for 64 percent of the world’s asbestos use. Around three-quarters of Russia lies in Asia and the rest lies in Europe, where most uses have been banned.




National Geographic


New York Times (NYT) Health


Rand McNally


The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists