4. The Basis of Chrysotile Regulations
4.1 ILO Convention 162
Almost all countries in the world today subscribe to the controlled use approach to the regulation of asbestos, the principles of which are described in the ILO Convention 162, Safety in the Use of Asbestos. Convention 162 was unanimously endorsed by government, industry and union representatives in over 125 countries in July 1986. Since then, 21 countries have ratified the Convention, including Canada, in 1988.
4.2 The foundations of the controlled-use policy
The controlled-use approach is a science-based regulatory approach which is applied to a broad range of hazardous materials. The underlying principles dictate that only those materials and associated products whose inherent risks can be controlled to socially acceptable levels on a product lifecycle basis should be used. Those that cannot, should be prohibited. Consistent with the recommendations of recent scientific meetings convened by the World Health Organization (WHO), the regulatory trend today is towards a complete ban of the commercial forms of amphibole asbestos (e.g. crocidolite and amosite) and low-density friable insulation products, but continued use of chrysotile in high-density products such as chrysotile-cement, brake linings, gaskets, etc.
A permissible exposure limit (PEL) value of 1.0 f/ml or less was recommended by a WHO Group of Experts meetings in 1989. Application of basic engineering controls and work practices can easily ensure that this PEL can be respected during mining, milling, manufacturing, installation, repair, removal and waste disposal activities.
In addition, a comprehensive regulatory programme based on the principles of controlled-use must also include appropriate provisions and guidelines for labelling requirements, transportation, air monitoring, medical surveillance, and construction activities.