Labour Euro MPs lead initiative to remove asbestos from the EU

Date published: 14 March 2013

Labour Euro MPs have been successful in getting a new initiative on removing asbestos from public buildings in the EU overwhelmingly accepted by the European Parliament by a large majority (558 votes in favour - 51 against).

The report called for the removal of asbestos from all public buildings and buildings requiring public access by 2028, an EU-wide model for screening and registration of asbestos, and a roadmap for its removal.

Local Labour Euro MP, Arlene McCarthy said: "Around 4,000 people die every year in the UK due to asbestos related illnesses, making it the county's single greatest cause of work-related death.”

“In my own region I have heard first hand from the victims of asbestos related diseases about the devastating impact it has on theirs and their families lives.”

"We are calling for the EU to work for a global ban on asbestos. Dumping asbestos on developing countries is a scandal, so we are also calling for the EU to use its weight as the world's largest economy in international forums such as the WTO to put an end to this.”

"Governments must now recognise the dangers of white asbestos (chrysotile) as well as blue and brown asbestos," she said.

The vote was passed overwhelmingly by MEPs on Wednesday 13 March, with only a few extreme eurosceptic politicians in the EFD Group of UKIP and its allies voting against the measure.

Arlene added: "UKIP are isolated in their view that white asbestos is 'harmless', as there is strong consensus from scientists to the contrary. This is not a pro or anti Europe issue, it's about the number of people dying in the UK from asbestos-related diseases.”

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