Call For National Ban On Asbestos Production, Usage

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) demands that the government initiate steps towards a national ban on asbestos production and usage. We totally oppose the proposed setting up of an asbestos cement sheets and accessories unit by Sahyadri Ind Ltd. near Narsimharaopalem village in Veerulapadu mandal of Krishna district.

We say this because asbestos is an extremely dangerous mineral. It is single-handedly responsible for lakhs of deaths over the past century and continues to take a toll even in countries that have completely stopped its use, like Australia. Workers employed in the asbestos processing sector and millions of construction workers exposed to asbestos during maintenance, renovation and demolition activities are vulnerable to fatal cancerous diseases like ‘mesothelioma’ and ‘asbestosis’.

Realising the dangers of its use, 54 nations have banned the production and usage of asbestos. Faced with dwindling markets in the developed world, the global asbestos industry is focusing on markets like India. The increasing use of this toxin in our society even when safer alternatives are available is a cause for tremendous concern.

The history of the asbestos industry is one of causing death, disease and devastation not just to workers but also to surrounding environment. The fundamental reality about asbestos is that it kills. It is a proven human carcinogen. This happens despite the best controls and safeguards. There is scientific consensus that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos use has wrecked havoc in the industrialised world and it continues to kill in India. While calling for a world-wide ban on asbestos use, the World Health Organisation said in 2006: “All forms of asbestos have been shown to be deadly. Safe use of asbestos has proven impossible anywhere in the world.”

HRF calls upon the people of Narsimharaopalem as well as Jujjur, Alluru and several other areas in Veerulapadu mandal to oppose the setting up of the asbestos cement manufacturing plant. We call upon the government to take steps to ban asbestos use by passing suitable legislation in Parliament without further delay.

VS Krishna
(HRF State general secretary)

P Amar
(HRF Krishna dist. Convener)


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