Worldwide, it is estimated that each year 125 million people are exposed to asbestos at work. Every year more than 107,000 people throughout the world die from asbestos-related diseases such as cancer of the peritoneum or pleura (mesothelioma), lung cancer caused by asbestos and asbestosis. Even though processing or storing asbestos has been forbidden in the Netherlands since 1993, people are still being exposed to it. One of the reasons for this is that asbestos used in the past is still present, in old buildings for example. We can divide exposure to asbestos into two categories: work-related exposure and environment-related exposure.
The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has determined four potential future scenarios concerning the number of people in the Netherlands who could develop mesothelioma or lung cancer caused by asbestos. The number of people who will get mesothelioma has already peaked. In total, between 2017 and 2050 there will be between 9,000 and 12,200 new cases. The number of new cases of work-related lung cancer caused by asbestos expected to occur between 2017 and 2050, is estimated to be 5,300 to 10,200, depending on the scenario.
Twenty-five years after its use was banned, the effects on health of exposure to asbestos are still evident. Up to 2050 another 15,800 people in the Netherlands will be diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases, and die from them.