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Revista de la Facultad de Medicina

Print version ISSN 0120-0011


VILLAMIZAR, Guillermo Antonio  and  NAVARRO-VARGAS, José Ricardo. Asbestos in Colombia: Industry versus science and health. [online]. 2019, vol.67, n.4, pp.709-713. ISSN 0120-0011.

The usefulness of an industrial product must be measured both in economic profitability and product safety terms, and the social benefit it represents. In the case of asbestos, due to its harmful effects on human health, its use, handling and production has been banned in high-income countries thanks to the efforts carried out by their oversight bodies. Worldwide, the industrial use of this mineral has been associated with high morbidity and mortality rates, hence the importance of denouncing the health effects of asbestos.

Asbestos is a term used to refer to six naturally occurring silicate minerals that are used in the manufacture of building materials, such as asbestos-cement, and automotive components, including brake linings and brake pads; however, it has been proven that inhaling asbestos microscopic fibers can lead to the development of lung diseases (pneumoconiosis) and cancer. In many cases, these diseases are caused by a short occupational or environmental exposure to it, but their clinical manifestation occurs several years after the first time of exposure.

The main objective of this paper is to reflect on the hazards related to the use of asbestos and to influence public health policies addressing this problem in Colombia, so that by means of the newly adopted law banning the use of this mineral in our country, significant progress is made in aspects such as the identification and the monitoring of people who were exposed to it, and the handling, removal and final disposal of materials containing asbestos.

Keywords : Asbestos; Pneumoconiosis; Occupational Medicine (MeSH).

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