EU Asbestos Ban on Track Despite Canadian WTO Challenge

The European Commission is pressing ahead with plans for an EU-wide ban on white asbestos (chrysotile) - the only type of asbestos still allowed in the Union - despite a Canadian challenge before the World Trade Organization (WTO) to France's prohibition on the substance.

A late October meeting between officials from the Commission and the 15 EU member states showed that there was widespread support for the principle of introducing a ban with very limited exemptions, according to a participant.

The discussion was held in the light of advice from a scientific committee that alternatives to chrysotile were likely to be less dangerous to human health. Spain, Greece, and Portugal continue to oppose a ban but do not have enough votes together to block the planned directive.

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