Asbestos production worldwide
Russia and China produce the largest volumes of asbestos in the world, totaling 1.1 million metric tons and 400,000 metric tons, respectively, in 2016. Globally, asbestos mine production has fallen from 2.2 million metric tons in 2007 to two million metric tons in 2016.
This mineral is found naturally in the environment and contains silicon and oxygen. It occurs in different colors such as blue, brown, and white, and is usually found as a fibrous material. Asbestos was widely used in many industries as it was able to resist heat, fire, and chemicals, among other useful properties. More recently, the carcinogenic properties of asbestos has been realized and in the 1980s and 1990s, trade and use of the substance were banned in many countries. Prior to its ban, asbestos was used for strengthening cement and plastics and for various uses in building and construction. Exposure to asbestos can occur in many settings and occurs when products with asbestos are disturbed, releasing fibers into the air. Accumulation of these fibers in the lungs can impact breathing and lead to serious health problems.