Joint Declaration from the International Building Trade
Union Federations, made at the Global Asbestos Congress, Tokyo, November
The International Federation of Building and Wood Workers (IFBWW), the
World Federation of Building Workers (WFBW) and the International Union
of Building and Wood Workers (UITBB) are committed to actively promote
the global ban of all forms of asbestos from the construction industry
and from all other industrial sectors, and to promote the effective regulation
of work with in-situ asbestos in demolition, conversion, renovation and
maintenance works by law.
All forms of asbestos, including chrysotile, are classified
as known human carcinogens by the International Agency for Research
on Cancer and by the International Programme for Chemical Safety.
90% of chrysotile asbestos is used in asbestos cement materials.
100, 000 workers die every year from diseases caused by exposure
It has taken three decades of protracted efforts and the emergence
of suitable alternatives for a comprehensive ban on the manufacture
and use of asbestos and asbestos-containing products to be adopted in
a number of countries. Furthermore that these countries now permit the
handling of in situ asbestos only during asbestos removal, demolition,
renovation and maintenance work carried out under strictly controlled
The IFBWW, the UITBB and the WFBW call upon the governments and social
partners of all countries to:
Take immediate steps to ban all mining, manufacture, recycling
and use of all forms of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials as
soon as possible.
Undertake and support all measures intended to eliminate asbestos
and asbestos- containing products from the economic cycle and to replace
asbestos with less harmful products.
Make the protection of workers against asbestos exposure a priority.
Ratify and implement the provisions of ILO Convention 162 (1986),
Safety in the Use of Asbestos, and to implement the provisions of its
accompanying Recommendation 172 as a minimum standard not to be fallen
Ensure proper compensation to the victims of asbestos related
The IFBWW, the UITBB and the WFBW further call upon the International
Labour Organisation to:
Adopt a clear health-based position in favour of the elimination
of the use of all forms of asbestos and asbestos containing materials.
Continue to encourage Member States to ratify and implement the
provisions of Convention 162 (1986), Safety in the Use of Asbestos,
and to implement the provisions of its accompanying Recommendation 172,
as a minimum standard not to be fallen below.
Make an explicit statement clarifying to all member States that
Convention 162 does not provide a justification for, or endorsement
of, the continued use of asbestos.
Resolve to promote the elimination of the use of all forms of
asbestos and asbestos-containing materials in all Member States.
Assist Member States by drawing up national action programmes
for the management, control and elimination of asbestos from the working
and social environment.