In 1997, in light of international developments with respect to asbestos, particularly after its banning in France, Quebec's ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (department of health and social services) set up a Comité aviseur sur l'amiante (asbestos advisory committee). The aim of this committee was to make recommendations about appropriate measures to inform the public and to protect public health in relation to the asbestos situation in Quebec. The advisory committee then created two sub-committees: the first to document asbestos exposure and the second to examine the epidemiology of asbestos-related diseases in Quebec. The sub-committee on exposure was mandated to assess the pertinence and the feasibility of assessing asbestos exposure in the general population, particularly in public buildings such as schools. The sub-committee on epidemiology was mandated to review epidemiological studies available in Quebec on mesothelioma, pulmonary cancers, and asbestosis; evaluate the trends of these diseases; compare data from Quebec to those of other regions; and summarize current scientific knowledge on the effects of asbestos on health. Each sub-committee produced a report, the summaries and recommendations of which are presented here.