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Geography of asbestos

Asbestos has long been far more dangerous in the Nordic countries than in the rest of Europe. Asbestos has gradually become equally dangerous in Europe (west of Russia), the United States and South Africa.

In the Nordic countries, the import, sale and use of asbestos was banned during the 1970s. The danger of cancer had then been known for a long time. But it took a long and persistent struggle from unions, doctors, union lawyers – and from individuals with health problems – to get through such asbestos bans.

Norway had far stricter rules on asbestos than the EU when the EEA agreement was negotiated in 1991-92. We were not required to weaken our asbestos ban, but were allowed, as a transitional arrangement, to uphold our asbestos rules, initially for four years. This transitional arrangement was then extended until it became redundant in 1999.

A quarter of a century later

From 1989, the EU developed, step by step, a law on asbestos that first in 1999 was in line with what was introduced in the Nordic countries a quarter of a century earlier. This long backlog was noticed by the Danes when in the 1980s they were not allowed to put the mark “Can lead to cancer” on building and insulation materials such as. . .

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