アスベスト ノ ケンコウ ヒガイ ノ ジョウキョウ ト ソノ タイオウ
Current status of asbestos- associated health hazards and countermeasures
Saito, Yoshiro Division of Occupational Physicians, Tokushima Prefecture Medical Association
According to the report made in 2005 by Kubota Corporation about the situation of asbestosrelated diseases, health hazards due to asbestos have been observed not only in workers of the Kubota’s plant but also in people living around the plant. As a result of this report, it has been widely acknowledged in Japan that asbestos-related health hazards pertain not only to labor accidents and occupational health problems but also to environmental pollutions.
The amount of asbestos imported to Japan reached a peak（350,000 tons）in 1974. During the 26-year period around 1974, more than 200,000 tons of asbestos were imported every year．The use of asbestos has been restricted in Japan since 1975．In 2006, the amount of asbestos used in this country is almost zero. However, considering the report that lung cancer and mesothelioma due to asbestos develop after an incubation time of 20-50 years and that disposal or dismantling of industrial products and buildings made of asbestos will reach a peak in the year about 2020, it is expected that large amounts of asbestos（several hundred times greater than the amount of asbestos imported each year in the past）are yielded from dismantling and disposal, resulting in massive onset of lung cancer and mesothelioma around that year.
Issues we now face are（: 1）resolving health hazards caused by the exposure to asbestos in the past ; and（2）preventing onset of asbestos-related health hazards in the future．It is desirable that a close network is organized to deal with asbestos-related issues by the central government （Tokushima District Bureau of Labor, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare）, local government （Tokushima Prefecture）and medical providers.
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