The United States nearly doubled the country’s asbestos import amount from 2019 to 2020.
The U.S. imported approximately 300 tons of the deadly mineral in 2020, according to the U.S. Geological Survey Mineral Commodity Summaries. This report is an annual account of the country’s imports and deports of several minerals, including asbestos.
The U.S. imports the mineral for the chlor-alkali industry. Asbestos is no longer used in construction of houses, offices, automobiles, and military aircraft and ships like it was during the 20th century.
Asbestos is the only cause of mesothelioma. Its continued existence in the U.S. accounts for around 3,000 deaths each year.
How Much Asbestos Does the U.S. Import?
The U.S. imports several hundred tons of asbestos each year. The 300 tons in 2020 is a steep increase from 2019, when the country imported 172.
Numbers from the past years are:
- 2018 — 681 metric tons
- 2017 — 332 metric tons
- 2016 — 747 metric tons
- 2015 — 325 metric tons
- 2014 — 406 metric tons
- 2013 — 775 metric tons
According to the Geological Survey report, most of the asbestos comes from Brazil (86%). Russia (14%) accounts for the rest.
Slow Decline for Asbestos in Manufacturing
The 300 tons imported in 2020 is a rise from 2019 but still a decrease from past years. The amount is slowly decreasing.
During the 1970s, the U.S. consumed around 800,000 tons of asbestos. The country consumes all of the imported amount and doesn’t mine anymore for asbestos. All mining of the substance stopped in 2002.
Sources & Author
- Mineral Commodity Summaries 2021. U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved from: https://pubs.usgs.gov/periodicals/mcs2021/mcs2021.pdf. Accessed: 02/09/2021.