Environmental Health in Israel | 2014

Asbestos is a fibrous material that is a human carcinogen (Group 1). Exposure to asbestos affects immune function and causes various respiratory diseases, such as lung cancer, pleural disorders and mesothelioma‎. In children, asbestos exposure has been linked to self-reported respiratory symptoms such as cough. In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) added cancer of the larynx and ovaries to the list of diseases linked to exposure to asbestos. In recent years, IARC has compiled reports on mesothelioma in individuals not occupationally exposed to asbestos, including patients whose families do not include asbestos workers. Co-exposure to asbestos and smoking produces a synergetic effect in the risk of lung cancer. Current Regulations Regulations requiring periodic medical examinations for individuals working with asbestos dust, talc, and silicon dioxide were instituted in 1964. The 1984 Occupational Hygiene and Health of Public and Workers Exposed to Hazardous Dust Regulations included specification of prohibited and permitted substances, as well as obligations regarding occupational and environmental monitoring. The Prevention of Asbestos Hazards and Harmful Dust Law was enacted in 2011. As in other developed countries, the law prohibits new use of asbestos and thus limits environmental exposure to asbestos. The law requires the gradual phase out of friable asbestos from public buildings and industry by 2021. The law also requires proper maintenance of asbestos cement in Asbestos Chapter 9 - 63 - Asbestos

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