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Make India Asbestos Free
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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

Monday, June 13, 2011

USA’s Asbestos Disease Awareness Group Writes To Bihar CM

Press Release

USA’s Asbestos Disease Awareness Group Writes To Bihar CM

UK Group Urges Bihar Govt to Stop Asbestos Plants in Bhojpur


13/6/2011 New Delhi/Patna: Taking cognizance of the struggle against asbestos plants in Bhojpur and Muzaffarpur, Bihar, California (US) based Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) has written a letter to Bihar Chief Minister dated 6th June, 2011, it has urged Bihar Government to stop the three asbestos plants in Bhojpur district.

ADAO works to give voice to the victims of asbestos related incurable diseases. It refers to “Two asbestos plants have recently been established in Bihiya, Bhojpur, Bihar by the Tamil Nadu based company, Ramco Industries Ltd. and the third has just been established at Giddha, Koilwar Block, Bhojpur, Bihar by Tamil Nadu based Nibhi Industries Pvt. Ltd.” ADAO Letter is attached.

Linda Reinstein, a victim of Mesothelioma disease and Executive Director, ADAO wrote, “we urge you to stop the three asbestos plants that have been established in Bhojpur in light of the deadly health impacts associated with asbestos. Despite the impassioned and well-reasoned protests of the people of Bihar against the construction of such a plant in Marwan bloc in Muzaffarpur district in the village of Chainpur-Vishunpur, asbestos still poses a danger to the people of Bihar.”

In a separate statement titled Asbestos: Killer Dust Preventing Asbestos Exposure to Eliminate Deadly Diseases, ADAO said, “Decades of science have proven that ALL six types of asbestos fibers – chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, and actinolite – are carcinogenic. This lethal mineral has only been banned in 55 countries and the United States and Canada are not among them.” Asbestos Free Bihar Campaign is aimed against chrysotile variety of asbestos which is also called white asbestos. Many countries still use, import, and export asbestos and asbestos-containing products and Chrysotile accounts for more than 95% of all the asbestos used globally. More than 90 percent of the asbestos used worldwide today is used in the manufacture of asbestos-cement sheets and pipes.” ADAO Statement is attached

Asbestos knows no boundaries; asbestos fibers do not discriminate because of age, race, social class, or gender. The profile of victims of asbestos-related disease was once a blue-collar worker, but as ADAO has observed, there is a new patient profile emerging. It is becoming more and more common to find women in their 50s who are diagnosed with mesothelioma. Asbestos-related diseases are frequently misdiagnosed because symptoms can be mistaken for pneumonia or bronchitis. Victims are likely to present symptoms and complaints similar to many other common respiratory diseases; the proper diagnosis and treatment are often delayed. Due to the latency period of 10–50 years, both malignant and nonmalignant diseases are under reported, and the challenges in treating asbestos-related diseases are only exacerbated. Most patients die within 6–12 months after diagnosis. No exposure to asbestos is without risk. Asbestos cancer victims die painful, lingering deaths and each death is almost entirely preventable.

ADAO observes, “More than 30 years ago, the International Agency for Research on Cancer declared asbestos to be a human carcinogen. The World Health Organization, International Labor Organization, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Surgeon General all agree: asbestos is a human carcinogen and there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. ALL forms of asbestos cause malignant mesothelioma, lung, laryngeal, and ovarian cancers, and may cause gastrointestinal and other cancers. The WHO states that 107,000 workers die annually from asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. This is a nearly a 20% increase in workers deaths compared to the 2006 statistic. In addition, more than 1.5 million years are lost due to premature morbidity and disability from asbestos exposure – all from a virtually invisible, yet absolutely lethal asbestos fiber.”

ADAO has informed Bihar’s coalition government that “Despite the (asbestos) industry’s disingenuous assertions, EVERY form of asbestos -- including chrysotile -- are proven human carcinogens. The nearly invisible asbestos fibers can be 700 times smaller than human hair, odorless, tasteless, indestructible fibers, and remain suspended in the air for seconds…or days.”

Both the letter and the statement is co-signed by Richard A. Lemen, Ph.D., Assistant Surgeon General, United States Public Health Service (Ret.) and Arthur L. Frank, MD, PhD., Professor, Chair, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Drexel University, School of Public Health. They draw the attention of Bihar Government towards the landmark 200-page report entitled, “Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now” released in May 2010 by the United States President's Cancer Panel (PCP). The panel reported “Construction workers were found to be 11 times more likely to develop mesothelioma, due to asbestos exposures at the site” and that, “The public is becoming increasingly aware of the unacceptable burden of cancer resulting from environmental and occupational exposures that could have been prevented through appropriate national action.”

The statement issued to express solidarity with the Asbestos Free Campaign reminds the Bihar Government that the United States Surgeon General had issued a warning in agreement with the World Health Organization’s “Elimination of Asbestos-Related Diseases.”

Due to the latency period of 10–50 years, both malignant and nonmalignant diseases are under reported, and the challenges in treating asbestos-related diseases are only exacerbated. Most patients die within 6–12 months after diagnosis. No exposure to asbestos is without risk. Asbestos cancer victims die painful, lingering deaths and each death is almost entirely preventable.

Despite all that is known about the dangers of asbestos, annual world production remains at over 2 million tons. Russia is now the leading producer of asbestos worldwide, followed by China, Brazil, Kazakhstan, and Canada. In 2008, these countries accounted for 96% of the world production of asbestos (USGS 2008). A reported 43 percent of asbestos mined in Canada is exported to India.

ADAO has congratulated the people of Bihar for their efforts, and encourage the people of India to continue their fight against asbestos production in their nation through their educational programs.

On 8th June, 2011 International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS) which is campaigning for a global asbestos ban and justice for all asbestos victims also wrote to Bihar Chief Minister persuading him to abandon asbestos promotion policy in the state and urged him to ask fellow Parliamentarians in Bihar to ask the Indian Government to take similar actions. IBAS letter is attached.

Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) and Asbestos Mukti Abhiyan, Bhojpur appreciates the support of ADAO and IBAS for the asbestos free Bihar campaign.

For Details
: Linda Reinstein, President, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), US, E-mail: Linda@AsbestosDiseaseAwareness.org, Web: www.adao.us
Laurie Kazan-Allen, International Ban Asbestos Secretariat, England, Web:www.ibasecretariat.org, email: ibas@lkaz.demon.co.uk,
Gopal Krishna, Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI)/Asbestos Mukti Abhiyan, Bhojpur, E-mail: krishna2777@gmail.com Blog: banasbestosindia.blogspot.com
Web: www.toxicswatch.com, Mb: 09818089660, 07739308480

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