Asbestos Free Europe

The European Parliament has near-unanimously approved MEP Nikolaj Villumsen‘s proposals for #AsbestosFreeEurope.

“I insist that the green transition in Europe must ensure a safe working environment. Even a tiny exposure to asbestos can be deadly. We need to lower the threshold under the law. No one should die from going to work.”

For decades used in construction, asbestos has been banned in the EU since 2005 due to its risks to health. Millions of tonnes of asbestos remain in buildings across Europe posing a serious threat. Asbestos is a slow and silent killer. It can no longer be ignored. We need a European Strategy for the Removal of All Asbestos with clear timelines for its safe removal from all buildings, public health protection plans and better support for victims.

Workers, especially in the construction sector, are most vulnerable to asbestos-related illnesses. The current asbestos directive needs an update to be in line with science: lower exposure limits for workers to prevent a new wave of illnesses.

Victims and their families have been left abandoned. Asbestos-related illnesses should be recognised as occupational diseases. There should be minimum standards for the compensation of victims and their families.

As part of the renovation wave under the European Green Deal, there should be mandatory screening and subsequent removal of asbestos before renovation starts. Owners should receive EU support for the removal of asbestos and there must be an asbestos screening before renting or selling.

“It’s amazing that we have gathered a large majority in the Parliament to get rid of all the deadly asbestos in Europe. Today’s vote will definitely save lives,” Villumsen said after the vote.