Make India Asbestos Free

Make India Asbestos Free
For Asbestos Free India

Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) works for Asbestos Free India since 2002. Occupational Health India and ToxicsWatch Alliance are its members that includes occupational health doctors, researchers and activists. BANI demands criminal liability for companies and medico-legal remedy for victims. It works with trade unions, human rights, environmental and public health groups. For Details:krishna1715@gmail.com, oshindia@yahoo.in, toxicswatchallaince@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Exposing Workers to Asbestos Fibers is Human Rights Violation

Press Release

Ban asbestos completely else lift ban on its mining, says Ministry of Mines

Civil Society demands ban on mining, manufacturing and use of asbestos

New Delhi 28/4/2010: Union Ministry of Mines held a meeting today in the Shashtri Bhavan on the possibility of lifting the current technical ban on mining chrysotile asbestos, amidst Kerela Human Rights Commission’s order banning use of asbestos in schools and a pending case in the National Human Rights Commission in the same matter.

Occupational and environmental groups present at the meeting called for complete ban on asbestos of all kinds because asbestos fibers cause incurable diseases like cancer and sought Mines Ministry’s support in getting a ban imposed on import chrysotile asbestos. The draft guidelines prepared by Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), Union Ministry of Mines on possibility of safe mining of chrysotile asbestos drew severe criticism. Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI), an alliance of public health, occupational health, human rights and environment researchers and activists argued, “it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that no safe and controlled mining, production and use of asbestos and its products possible.”

Ms Shanta Sheela Nair, Secretary, Union Ministry of Mines supported BANI’s position but argued, “Asbestos should be banned completely if not then why mining of asbestos within India should be not be allowed as well.”

Under manifest pressure from the “mine owners of Chrysotile Asbestos Mines” from Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand, the Ministry seems to be acting like a rubber stamp for the asbestos mining industry’s proposal to lift the ban on mining of asbestos although Supreme Court has held that “The development of the carcinogenic risk due to asbestos or any other carcinogenic agent, does not require continuous exposure. The cancer risk does not cease when the exposure to the carcinogenic agent ceases, but rather the individual carries the increased risk for the remaining years of life. The exposure to asbestos and the resultant long tragic chain of adverse medical, legal and societal consequences, reminds the legal and social responsibility of the employer or producer not to endanger the workmen or the community or the society. He or it is not absolved of the inherent responsibility to the exposed workmen or the society at large. They have the responsibility-legal, moral and social to provide protective measures to the workmen and to the public or all those who are exposed to the harmful consequences of their products. Mere adoption of regulations for the enforcement has no real meaning and efficiency without professional, industrial and governmental resources and legal and moral determination to implement such regulations.” Occupational and environmental groups demand that Ministry of Mines must come out with a status paper on asbestos victims in India’s asbestos mines and the action it has taken to provide compensation and medical remedy to them.

Notably, BIS Standard mentioned in the proposed guidelines in this regard is mere paper work with no teeth to act. There is reference to how “No person shall be allowed to enter or remain in any work place which contains airborne asbestos dust at any time, exceeding the TLV (threshold limit value) of 1 fibre per cc, perceptible through standard monitoring procedures” and “No person shall enter or remain in any place which contains airborne asbestos dust at any time exceeding the limit of 1 fibre per cc in the working atmosphere, as observed in standard monitoring, unless such person is wearing approved type respiratory equipment to prevent the inhalation of such dust.” The fact is that WHO’s conclusions and recommendations for protection of human health in Environmental Health Criteria 203 for Chrysotile Asbestos concludes, “No threshold has been identified for carcinogenic risks”. Also it says, “The impact of chrysotile/serpentine presence and degradation on the environment and lower life forms is difficult to gauge. Observed perturbations are many but their long-term impact is virtually unknown.” In such grave circumstances, it is blind lust for profit at cost alone that makes people propose standards when there is no level at which it is deemed safe.

BANI drew the attention of the Ministry towards the resolution of International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted by the 95th Session of the International Labour Conference, in June 2006, which stated that “all forms of asbestos, including chrysotile, are classified as known human carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a classification restated by the International Programme on Chemical Safety (a joint Programme of the International Labour Organization, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme)”. The resolution noted that “an estimated 100,000 workers die every year from diseases caused by exposure to asbestos and resolved that “the elimination of the future use of asbestos and the identification and proper management of asbestos currently in place are the most effective means to protect workers from asbestos exposure and to prevent future asbestos-related diseases and deaths”. This shows that the proposed guidelines by the chrysotile mining ministry is blind to the global trend, domestic occupational health conditions and the preventable deaths that occurs due to asbestos mining and its subsequent uses.

Notwithstanding the fact that the current legal position with regard to asbestos is that there is ban on the import/export of waste asbestos (dust & fibers) under the Hazardous Waste (Management, Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2008, the proposed guidelines misleadingly says, “Asbestos containing residue is covered under the Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989. Accordingly, hazardous waste may be transported, treated and disposed of as per Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989”. The meeting was attended by representatives of Ministry of Labour and Environment besides representatives from Central Pollution Control Board, National Institute of Occupational Health, Mining and Geology Department, Rajasthan, Mining and Geology Department, Andhra Pradesh, Mining and Geology Department, Jharkhand, Directorate General of Mines Safety, National Institute of Miners’ Health, Campaign for Prevention of Silicosis & PRASAR.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, convener, Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI)
Mb: 9818089660, E-mail:krishna2777@gmail.com, Web: www.toxicswatch.com
Blog: banasbestosindia.blogspot.com

DRAFT GUIDELINES PREPARED BY IBM FOR CARRYING OUT THE CHRYSOTILE ASBESTOS MINING

Notwithstanding any Rule contained under Mineral Conservation & Development Rules, 1988, the following guidelines are issued to the mine owners of Chrysotile Asbestos Mines, for pollution control and scientific development of these mines:
Every mine owner, who undertakes the Chrysotile Asbestos mining shall take adequate steps during mining, material handling & transport and processing of asbestos ore so as to eliminate or minimize the asbestos dust concentration in the working environment.

Procedure for sampling should be adopted as per BIS Standard 11450. The air sampling may be done with Sampler Model XX5700000 or equivalent with ester cellulose filter of appropriate (0.8-1.2┬Ám) pore size. Low volume Vaccum / Pressure Pump Model XX5600002 with filter holder MAWP 025 AC (Millipore US Corp. US or equivalent) should be used for drawing the air sample at a uniform rate. For assessment / measurement of asbestos fibres, a Phase Contrast Microscope capable of 400X magnification should be used (Labrox Germeny or equivalent). Once the DGMS approves the necessary equipments for sampling of asbestos dust, the approved equipment must be used.

No person shall be allowed to enter or remain in any work place which contains airborne asbestos dust at any time, exceeding the TLV (threshold limit value) of 1 fibre per cc, perceptible through standard monitoring procedures.

No person shall enter or remain in any place which contains airborne asbestos dust at any time exceeding the limit of 1 fibre per cc in the working atmosphere, as observed in standard monitoring, unless such person is wearing approved type respiratory equipment to prevent the inhalation of such dust.

For the above purpose air quality monitoring has to be done for every quarter at all the mine working faces, transport road ways, milling plants and the tailing and waste dumps, sampling of which to be done through an approved apparatus and analyzed as per standard methods. The quarterly reports on such monitoring shall be submitted within a fortnight of the previous quarter to the respective Regional Controller of Mines and Controller of Mines (Zonal office of Indian Bureau of Mines).

Dust generated by drilling operations shall be controlled by either wet drilling or by employing approved extraction equipment mounted on the drill.

Dust emission from blasting shall be minimized by wetting of the face with water immediately before the blast, and multiple small blasts rather than one large blast, should be practiced.

To reduce throw of the dust, control blasting techniques with proper spacing burden and stemming along with the delay elements and with deck loading or Air Decking, wherever possible, shall be adopted.

In Underground mines, to reduce damage to fiber during the drilling & blasting operation and thus releasing as airborne dust, where ever possible, the blasting face should be provided with an initial free face or pre-splitting with dummy holes, within the non-asbestos mineralized zone. After this free face is developed, blasting within the asbestos mineralized zone shall be carried out, as far as possible, with low-density explosives.

All roadways shall be regularly watered and wetted to reduce the creation of air borne asbestos dust.

The transport trucks used for transport of asbestos ore or its tailings shall never be overloaded and should be properly wetted and completely covered with suitable means.

For the underground mines, a well designed ventilation system shall be provided and operated throughout the working of the mine and also during the blasting time as per standard prescribed in MMR, 1962. Persons should not be allowed to be inside the mine while there is a stoppage of ventilation system. An uninterrupted power supply should be provided to the ventilation fan.

The exhaust air coming out from the underground workings, through the Evasee fitted on the surface, should be allowed to pass through wet scrubbers, before the air is released to the outside atmosphere.

The effluent water released from the mine as well as from the processing plants should be properly treated to remove the sediments before their final discharge.

The Asbestos milling operations should be mechanized, using mechanized transport equipment like elevators, screw conveyors, belt conveyors etc and for crushing and liberation of asbestos fibres using mechanical equipments like Crushers, Fibrizers, Disintegrators, Pulverizes, Edge-runners etc. and for separation of fibre using mechanized equipment like Vibro-screens, Gyro-centric screen, Trammels Cyclones etc.

Material transfer from one operation to the other including Bagging and other operations, are to be pneumatically conveyed through ducts. The transfer points shall be completely enclosed and connected to dust extraction system which shall be pneumatically conveyed and discharged in water precipitator tanks.

All the ore processing operations should be in closed circuit, with proper enclosures like exhaust hoods, so as not to allow the dust generated to escape in to the outside atmosphere. These enclosures shall be cleaned periodically with water and compressed air emulsions and such discharge water shall be disposed off properly.

Provisions shall be made at all dust generating points of the mill to collect the dust laden air, which shall be filtered through high efficiency bag filters.

The external walls of the ore processing plant shall be provided with exhaust fans, for pneumatically conveying the fine dust particles to water precipitators for reduction of dust released from various operations/units.

The tailings discharged from the screen are transported outside the plant by conveyor, preferably by screw conveyors. These tailing dumps as well as the waste dumps shall be suitably rehabilitated with an inert cover over laid by sufficiently thick soil cover, for developing suitable vegetation.

To prevent the spread of air borne fiber dust to outside environment, thick green barriers shall be developed, surrounding the mine area, processing plant and the waste/tailing dumps.

Asbestos containing residue is covered under the Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989. Accordingly, hazardous waste may be transported, treated and disposed of as per Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Other Deadly White Dust: Russia, China, India and the Campaign to Ban Asbestos

Excerpts Melody Kemp

In parts of Asia, carrying 500 grams of one white powder can draw a death sentence, but importing 1,000 tons of another lethal white dust is both legal and profitable.

Asbestos, a known carcinogen banned in much of the world, is a common and dangerous building block in much of Asia’s development and construction boom. This other white powder causes 100,000 occupational deaths per year, according to Medical News Today.

While images of kids with heroin-loaded needles stuck in their arms spark public outrage, clouds of asbestos fibers in factories and on construction sites often draw official shrugs and denials. Illicit drug use does not rank among the top ten causes of death in young adults, according to a 2009 global study of adolescent health by the Murdoch Children’s Research Center in Melbourne in 2009. But in some Asian nations including China, asbestos is in the top ten causes of occupational disease in laborers, some of whom were exposed as working children. The numbers are generally thought to be higher since much of Asia's data rely on a highly mobile workforce with a high turnover rate.

Like a sleeping bear, asbestos can be deadly when disturbed, and all along the mining, manufacturing, installation, cutting, and deconstruction processes, the mineral is turned into air-borne fibers that lodge in the lungs and cause fatal respiratory diseases, including mesothelioma.

Across much of Asia, white asbestos, also known as chrysotile, is widely used to make asbestos-cement construction material such as roofing tiles, wall panels, and expansion joints, as fire proofing, lagging, foundry gloves and overalls and in brake linings and gaskets in buses and trucks. As modernization and economic development take hold, people trade their insect-filled, flammable grass roofs and woven bamboo walls for asbestos cement materials.

A few years ago at a state-owned roof tile factory in Vietnam, young male workers clad only in shorts carried bags labeled “Asbestos-Kazakhstan.” The air was thick with white dust huffing up like steam from lava. Visiting occupational health and safety experts held their breath as long as they could; some smothered their faces in dust masks. The workers did not have that luxury. Their only protection was handkerchiefs tied bandit-style over their mouths and noses as they climbed the sides of the hoppers.

“I know it’s dangerous,” said the manager spreading his hands and shrugging, “but it’s also cheap, and people only want to buy cheap tiles.”

Drugs or Dust

“It's just a PR campaign when they say that asbestos can kill,” Uralasbest's Viktor Ivanov told AFP in 2007, when he headed the Chrysotile Association, an industry group based in the Russian town of Asbest. The website for Uralasbest, the Ural Asbestos Mining & Ore Dressing Company, calls the company the world's “oldest and largest manufacturer and supplier of chrysotile.” In 2005 the Russian firm produced about a quarter of the world's chrysotile asbestos and exported it to 35 countries (pdf): 53 percent outside the Commonwealth of Independent States (to China, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand, etc.), and 13 percent within the CIS nations that had been part of the former Soviet Union (Armenia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, etc.). Its website vigorously contests critical claims about the dangers of asbestos and calls for eliminating its use (link).

Uralasbest’s factory

Vietnam cannot agree with Uralasbest’s contentions. A rising tide of workers ill with asbestos lung disease arising from situations like the one described above, has led the government to collaborate with the Australian trade union aid agency APHEDA, to develop a coordinated approach to dealing with asbestos.

Very little asbestos ends up in the West. More than 60 countries have partially or completely banned asbestos, including the United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea. The EU nations and others have completely banned both brown amphibole and white chrysotile asbestos, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified all types as a human carcinogen. Although some studies have found that chrysotile's small fiber size makes it less virulent than brown amphibole, the WHO is unequivocal: “no threshold has been established for the carcinogenic risk of chrysotile.”(pdf)

But asbestos merchants, disputing World Health Organization (WHO) data and overwhelming scientific evidence, claim that chrysotile is safe. Uralasbest's website decries “the wave of anti-asbestos psychose [sic] [that] was spread over Western Europe.” “Today’s asbestos industry is totally harmless,” Tatiana Kochetova of the Asbest-based Institute for Asbestos Projects told the Russian Journal. “There hasn’t been one case of asbestos-caused disease here for many years. Locally produced asbestos does not cause any harm.”

Researchers Jock McCulloch and Geoffrey Tweedale documented rates of malignancies dropping in Asbest only after the introduction of dust control technologies (and the dispersal of ill workers). Those same safety measures that, in any case, mitigate rather than eliminate risk are largely lacking in the countries to which Russian asbestos is exported. (McCulloch J and Tweedale G 2008 Defending the Indefensible: The Global Asbestos Industry and its Fight for Survival. OUP.)

Russia's Exports

Asbest is a classic monogorod, or single-industry town in Bazhenouskoye in north of Kazakhstan, along the eastern slope of the Ural ridge. The open-pit mine covers 90 sq. km. and stretches 11.5 km long, 1.8 km wide and almost 300 meters deep. There, some 10,000 workers turn out more than 500,000 tons of chrysotile asbestos annually.

In 2009, Uralasbest was forecasting production of 450,000 tons, “a significant portion of the world market,” and its FY 2006 revenues were $192 million, according to Rye, Man & Gor Securities (pdf). Russia produced 925,000 tons of asbestos in 2008, according to the US Geological Survey, almost half the estimated world production of about 2 million tons a year, and worth $900 million.

Once state-ownd, Uralasbest is now privatized. More than half of Uralasbest share capital is owned through a Russian regional bank (Urals Bank for Reconstruction and Development). Stroyexport, another Russian company, owns 14 percent, and two South Africa-registered companies -- Petrov & Co and Mavrol Management -- own 21 percent. The top managers control about 30 percent of the company (pdf). In 2007 Uralasbest entered into a joint venture with Swiss Minmet Financing Company to recover magnesium from its asbestos mine tailings. This move was meant as a hedge against the global decline in construction.

Perhaps more threatening to Uralasbest's economic future than recession is the growing awareness that asbestos is toxic, and alternatives are available. In 2000, citing Canada's high level support for its industry as a model, Russian asbestos industry officials sought Vladimir Putin’s assistance in countering "asbestphobia."

Russian corporations also looked to Canada's -- and Kazakh's -- marketing efforts in newly rich Asian nations. That strategy has produced rich results according to the World Asbestos Reports, and the WHO confirms that some countries have reduced restrictions and increased production and use of chrysotile.

China

In the grainy black and white Chinese government film1, a man walked unsteadily toward the cameras, his chest skewed to one side. He looked to be in great pain. An unidentified person in clinical clothing turned the man around indicating a tumour the size of a small backpack pushing it’s way though the skin over the man’s shoulder blades. He died shortly after, and the film unswervingly follows the post mortem, the man only a few minutes ago painfully alive, now dead on the gurney with an open chest. The cause of death the voice over intoned was mesothelioma from inhaling crocidolite fibres. The man was a farmer in Sichuan province. The film shot in 1984 recorded hillsides where friable crocidolite, (commonly known as blue asbestos), had been exposed after erosion and landslips. The huge areas of virgin forests in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces provided timber and land for agricultural use but exposed substantial reserves of crocidolite below. The villagers used it to make bricks and stoves, mixing it with clay. A local tradition had new brides given a basin with asbestos to whitewash the walls of the kitchen for the newlyweds.

The area is dry and windy. The crocidolite, so dense the film’s researchers noted that the soil looked blue, was blown into the faces of farmers and road builders who had mortality rates of thirty plus percent. The narrator added that the asbestos was vital to China’s defence industries. Submarines, tanks, battle ships all used large amounts of asbestos. Doubtless the Department of Defence in China is little different from its cohorts around the world and close mouthed about asbestos mortality and morbidity.

The research reported in the film won several awards for science and technology research in 1990 . And yet in 2010 China remains the world’s second largest producer of asbestos and the world’s largest user (link).

Traded along the Silk Road to China, it was relatively unknown as an industrial product until 60 years ago and the Great Leap Forward, which accelerated China’s industrialization before famine sent the economy into reverse. In 2006 ChinaMining.org reported that “China now has more than 160 asbestos mines and asbestos-manufactured products enterprises, most of which are small. Asbestos mines in western China have been developing rapidly and now become (sic) the main base of asbestos production in China. China's asbestos production is chiefly concentrated in Xinjiang, Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan. These provinces (regions) contribute about 2/3 of China's total asbestos production.”

In 1995, Chinese dissident Harry Wu surreptitiously visited and photographed China's largest asbestos mine, in a prison camp in mountainous Sichuan province. "I told the prisoners that they have been given the death sentence," Wu told USA Today at the time.

China reportedly has abandoned forced labour asbestos mining, but production is unceasing. In 1997 China's total asbestos production was 437,000 tons, ranking third in the world. Gansu, Xinjiang and Qinghai are amongst the three most important producers of asbestos, yielding 56.45% of China's total. Sichuan Jilin, Guangdong, Qinghai and Shijiazhuang are also notable suppliers. The extent of the current supply of Chinese asbestos is to be seen at Alibaba.com. Over two thousand products are available from 15 major suppliers some of which boast ISO 9000 and 1400 certification (link).

China has open cut and underground asbestos mines. Unlike the infamous coal mines, accidents are less well reported. But it is the daily inhalation of fibres at work and in the surrounding environment that causes the painful life shortening diseases.

One such open cut mine is the Shimiankuang Asbestos Mine found at a giddying 3,200 meters on the border of Qinghai Province and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Western China. (See location)

One visitor wrote, “though the asbestos is certainly deadly for most of the workers, many of whom seem not to be wearing masks of any kind, it may not be dangerous for the visitor to just drive through. However, if the idea concerns you, you may want to avoid this route. Asbestos is ….also the chemical basis of the nephrite jade in the Kunlun Mountains, the source of most of the jade in China for 3,000 years.” (wikimapia.com).

There is no doubt that China is conducting detailed and collaborative research on asbestos diseases. Journals such as Industrial Health (Cai Zhang et al 2001) and the Annals of occupational hygiene (Li et al 2002) are littered with studies. But the pragmatic and developmentalist Chinese government considers worker deaths as secondary to economic and export development and shows no signs of diminishing production. They are, however, reported to be doing intensive investigation on substitutes, and do at least attempt to record morbidity and mortality, something that India is less diligent in doing.

India Imports

In 2008 India – along with Pakistan, Canada and Russia – rejected the banning of chrysotile asbestos mandated under the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent (PIC). PIC lists chemicals that require exchange of information on health hazards prior to trade.

India, which imported 360,000 tons of asbestos in 2006, claimed that evidence of chrysotile's lethality was not conclusive, and that it was awaiting the results of a major health study before joining the convention, according to Madhumitta Dutta of the Corporate Accountability Desk, a member of Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI).

However, “India failed to inform the international community ... that the [health] study was funded in part by the asbestos industry,” charged Dutta. “Still worse, the study was kept under wraps, and is not accessible to public health specialists or labor groups.”

Gopal Krishna, a convenor and founder of BANI, condemned his country's rejection of PIC. “There is a political consensus in India to promote asbestos at any human cost,” he wrote in India Together in 2006.

Underlying that consensus are the close links between the asbestos industry and some prominent Indian politicians. “With asbestos firms being owned by politicians or the state itself, the government seems to be following a classic ostrich policy,” Krishna wrote. “The reality is that the country's most powerful parliamentarians bless the asbestos industry.”

They include Buddhadev Bhattacharya, the chief minister of Bengal’s Communist government, who gave Utkal Asbestos Ltd. an Environment Excellence Award which it used in its advertising. Rebranding itself in 2006, the company dropped the word asbestos from its name. Now called UAL Industries Ltd., it is a major producer of fiber cement corrugated sheets and accessories under the brand Konark, and its website boasts that it “has left no stone unturned to achieve its motive of becoming the leading player in Eastern India.”

UAL factory

Visaka Industries’ chairman, G. Vivekanand, is the son of G. Venkataswamy, a member of Parliament, deputy leader of the Indian Congress Parliamentary Party, and a former Union Textile Minister. Vivekanand put out a fact sheet claiming that chrysotile is safe, and blamed Western media coverage of past events for generating unfounded fear.

Indian media reported that Congress Party chief Sonia Gandhi encouraged Visaka industries to set up in her constituency Rae Bareli, and saw the plants as a way to boost employment and electability. The plans were fast tracked, breaking records for passage through the Departments of Environment and Forests. Visaka annually produces 600,000 tons of asbestos sheets, mostly used in roofing. One of its main marketing targets is India's rural population, 80 to 85 percent of which now live under thatched roofs, the company website notes.

In October 2009 Visaka Industries announced it is setting up a 100,000-ton capacity asbestos cement sheet plant at Sambalpur in Orissa at an estimated cost of $8.6 million “to meet the rural demand.” It is also ramping up the capacity of its Pune plant from 65,000 to 100,000 tons per annum, according Vivekanand.

In 2007 an Indian news channel showed workers hand-mixing asbestos into rice, while a voice-over intoned that chrysotile is safe enough to use as a husking agent. The rice was later sold as premium basmati.

Dying to Work

“I have seen young men suffering from the cancers caused by this material [asbestos],” says a guard at an asbestos cement sheet factory in Guangdong, China. “The bosses don’t care, and the government intimidates us [who are] working for safety. They say we are sabotaging China’s development. Sometimes I get very frightened and cannot sleep thinking I will be arrested. I may get the disease, as the air is full of dust. I hope that someone would help me if that happened. I can’t quit. Where would I go? I have no skills and jobs are hard to find.”

The participants at the Phom Penh meeting had no suggestions.

This worker's story is echoed throughout Asia. In China alone, the official incidence of industrial lung diseases is around 100,000 per year. Experts familiar with Beijing's official statistics would multiply that figure by three or four to get close to the real toll. The irony perhaps enigma of China is that it has done more research and medical trials than any other country in Asia. It knows more about the effects on it own people than any other using nation. And yet it continues to mine, export and use it domestically.

This article was written for The Asia-Pacific Journal.

Melody Kemp is a freelance writer who worked in labour and development for many years and is a member of the Society for Environmental Journalism (US). She now lives in South-East Asia. Contact musi@magma.ca.

Recommended citation: Melody Kemp, "The Other Deadly White Dust: Russia, China, India and the Campaign to Ban Asbestos," The Asia-Pacific Journal, 13-1-10, March 2, 2010.

Notes

1 A copy of the film was given to the reporter in Hong Kong by a Chinese labour activist.

Friday, April 2, 2010

China Continues Heavy Use of Asbestos

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