Make India Asbestos Free

Make India Asbestos Free
For Asbestos Free India

Journal of Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI). Asbestos Free India campaign of BANI is inspired by trade union movement and right to health campaign. BANI has been working since 2000. It works with peoples movements, doctors, researchers and activists besides trade unions, human rights, environmental, consumer and public health groups. BANI demands criminal liability for companies and medico-legal remedy for victims.

Monday, September 10, 2007

White Asbestos, a Ticking Time Bomb

All forms of asbestos except Chrysotile Asbestos is banned in India. Mining of asbestos is also banned since no new lease for asbestos mining is allowed. The export and import of asbestos waste (dust and fiber) is also banned as per Hazardous Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 2003. But import of Chrysotile asbestos is still allowed despite ban in some 40 countries due to incurable but preventable cancer caused by this killer fiber in the name of its continued mythical “safe and controlled use”.
The word 'asbestos' in Greek means 'indestructible'. All types of asbestos tend to break into very tiny fibre, almost microscopic. In fact, some of them may be up to 700 times smaller than human hair. Because of their small size, once released into the air or water they may stay suspended for hours or even days. Because of its high durability and with tensile strength asbestos has been widely used in construction and insulation materials - it has been used in over 3,000 different products. After mining and milling (crushed/grinding), Asbestos is processed through various methods and used for making cement products, gasket sheet material, friction material, heat resistant textiles, some special applications like in paints, thermoplastics etc. In addition it is used for textiles, laminated products, tape, gland packing, packing ropes, brake lining and jointing used in core sector industries such as automobile, heavy equipment, petro-chemicals, nuclear power plants, fertilizers, thermal power plants, transportation, defense. Asbestos fibre is used in manufacture of asbestos cement roofs, pressure and non pressure pipes, sewage, irrigation and drainage system in urban and rural areas etc.
No accurate figures can be stated about the total number of asbestos victims in India as quantification has never been done despite ongoing global asbestos crisis. Nor has such attempt been made till date. Constraints of finance, technical know-how and competence regarding the environmental pollution control and to some extent, lack of preference of health in relation to financial gains are some of the important factors which influence the appropriate development of health and safety strategy. Other factors include migratory nature of workers and non maintenance of medical or other records by the factory owners for the migrant labourers which makes it difficult to track the exposure-related diseases.
This largest manmade epidemic of asbestos related diseases have become a reality and even reputed medical journals like British Medical Journal (January 31, 2004) have acknowledged it, Government of India should provide the names, addresses and photographs of the asbestos handlers including those who have been examined by the National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH), since it is the only agency authorized to certify asbestos victims. This will enable future generations too to ascertain for whether or not asbestos exposure was avoidable by preventing its use.
Asbestos is a proven human carcinogen (a substance which can cause cancer). No safe level can be proposed for asbestos products because a threshold is not known to exist. The greater the exposure, the greater the risk of developing lung disease (and cancer). The exposures of workers installing, maintaining and handling asbestos-cement products are quite high, and this exposure defies regulatory control efforts. Asbestos has however, one very dangerous quality, as it accumulates in the body; the microscopic fibers lodged in tissues can remain like little time bombs and cause cancer years later. Since asbestos exposure is cumulative, young people are in particular need of protection. The empirical research says "Adults have three or four decades to develop cancer after exposure". "The kids have six or seven. This means that a smaller dose of a carcinogen is as dangerous to the kids as a larger dose of it is to adults".
“Why is it that the concern of the countries which have banned asbestos not relevant to India?” While asbestos imports and use continues to grow in countries like India, its use has decreased significantly in the developed countries. Canada exports almost all of the asbestos (more than 96%) mined in the country, especially to Asia, including India, whereas asbestos use in Canada is almost non-existent. In the US, demand for asbestos has continued to decline. The developed world has responded to the asbestos health catastrophe with bans on the use of asbestos.
As this unfolds, the global asbestos industry is transferring its commercial activities to the third world. "Multinational asbestos corporations present a deplorable history of international exploitation. These firms have opened large and profitable internal and export markets in Brazil and elsewhere in South America, and in India, Thailand, Nigeria, Angola, Mexico, Uruguay, and Argentina."
Current Status in India
Dealing with “Impact of Hazardous Waste on Worker’s Health”, Supreme Court directed the government “to examine the matter and enumerate medical benefits which may be provided to the workers having regard to the occupational hazard as also keeping in view the question of health of the workers and the compensation which may have to be paid to them. The Committee while examining the recommendations, shall also keep in view the judgment of this Court in Consumer Education and Research Centre vs. Union of India (1995 (3) SCC 42).”
In the Consumer Education and Research Centre vs. Union of India matter, the Court directed Union and the State Governments are directed to review asbestos standards “every 10 years and also as and when the ILO gives directions in this behalf consistent with its recommendations or any convention; (5) the Union and all the State Governments are directed to consider inclusion of such of those small-scale factory or factories or industries to protect health hazards of all workers engaged in the manufacture of asbestos or its ancillary products; appropriate Inspector of Factories in particular of the State of Gujarat, is directed to send all the workers, examined by the ESI hospital concerned, for re-examination by the National Institute of Occupational Health to detect whether all or any of them is suffering from asbestosis. In case of the positive finding that all or any of them are suffering from occupational health hazards, each such worker shall be entitled to compensation in a sum of rupees one lakh payable by the factory or industry or establishment concerned within a period of three months from the date of certification by the National Institute of Occupational Health.” (pg 73, 74. 1995 (3) SCC 42)
Although the Court had directed Union and State Governments to take action consistent with ILO resolutions and Convention on Asbestos, the concerned Ministries have not even initiated any action in pursuance of ILO’s Resolution on Asbestos dated 14th June, 2006 stating “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 exposures and to prevent future asbestos-related disease and deaths” has not been acted upon. That even if the use of asbestos products is discontinued there are and there will be massive number of victims from past asbestos exposure as is being experienced globally in US, Europe, Australia, Japan and other countries, therefore, the compensation amount may be increased from the current Rs 1 lakh to at least Rs 10 lakh. There is an urgent necessity for the creation of NIOH like facility in each state to deal with the imminent unprecedented environmental and occupational health crisis from asbestos exposure with trade union representation on its Boards.
In pursuance of the directions from the Chairman, Court's Committee of Technical Experts, the Director, NIOH was asked for medical examination of Asbestos Handlers in June 2006. The NIOH in its recommendation said, “The directives of Supreme Court (1995) for asbestos exposed workers …should be strictly followed.” The same has not been done else 16 % of the workers certified as asbestos victims by NIOH would not been found exposed to asbestos.
Asbestos Crisis
An urgent intervention is needed in the matter of a serious unprecedented environmental, physical and occupational health and moral crisis with regard to unnoticed asbestos (killer fibre) epidemic in our country. It is high time concerned authorities took note of exposures of workers and citizen consumers. “The Asbestos War” an editorial in the International Journal of Environmental Health, Special Issue, 2003 is a revealing document. It says, after one hundred years, asbestos industry’s battle for Europe as its market had been lost. Following the collapse in Western demand for asbestos, producers have mounted a global campaign to protect remaining markets and develop new ones. A well-oiled propaganda machine reassures civil servants and consumers that asbestos can be used “safely under controlled conditions,” despite a vast amount of scientific and medical evidence, which proves otherwise.
Asbestos Hazards
In an editorial “Chrysotile in India: Truth Held Hostage” (Indian Journal of Community Medicine, January – March 2006) Sanjay Chaturvedi, Professor, University College of Medical Sciences and GTB Hospital, Delhi wrote, “Information showing asbestos-cancer relationship was available as early as the 1940s. During next 2 decades, enough epidemiological as well as experimental evidence was generated to prove this relationship. For half a century the asbestos industry, in collaboration with some of the leaders of occupational and respiratory medicine, was able to suppress most of the data. Meanwhile, millions of people were exposed to the carcinogen and hundreds of thousand died. The knowledge that asbestos causes cancer became public in the 80s, not because of scientific community but as a result of prolonged struggle and legal actions by ordinary people. For decades, certain privileged sections of the world order, including some scientists, were instrumental in the enormous release of a known carcinogen, just to keep their .profits. intact. Now we have a job on our hands - for a century - to combat the insult. Isn’t it a profound statement on our times, our polity and to an extent our science? This is just a punctuation in the whole story that ceases to conclude.”
Scientific Case Studies
In Uttar Pradesh a survey of U.P. Asbestos Limited, Mohanlalganj, Lucknow and Allied Nippn Pvt Ltd, Gaziabad, (U.P), the lung function impairment was found to be higher in subjects exposed for more than 11 years. This was the result of a Central Pollution Control Board sponsored project entitled "Human risk assessment studies in asbestos industries in India". This has been reported in the (2001-2002) Annual Report of Industrial Toxicological Research Centre, Lucknow. It has also been published in the 139th Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment, Forests, Science and Technology and presented to the parliament on 17th March, 2005.
Dr S R Kamat, a renowned lung specialist has been bitter at the "utter callousness of employers", the total lack of medical expertise and government inaction; all of which continued to put workers at risk of contracting asbestos-related diseases. In the 5 surveys done in the country, large number of the subjects showed asbestos lung diseases. All of them showed breathing problem, many had cough, some had sputum, chest pain finger clubbing and chest pain. Disability in such cases are permanent, progressive; means of compensation are meager. Dr Kamath, has observed number of asbestosis cases where patients who have not directly worked with asbestos had contracted the disease. "….patient was an industrialist's son, owner of an asbestos boxing plant...was exposed to the dust and diagnosed with asbestosis. In another case, the patient had an office in the first floor of a building which had asbestos boxing shed in the ground floor. The patient got exposed to asbestos fibres and dust through the AC ducts into the office...he was diagnosed with asbestosis too. A railway master was diagnosed with asbestosis due to the constant loading of asbestos in the rail wagons."
Dr Qamar Rahman one of the most renowned toxicologists of India formerly with Industrial Toxicology Research Centre (ITRC), Lucknow has revealed very shocking data on cellular and genetic mutations and about the plight of the asbestos mine workers especially women. She has informed the scientific and medical community about the occurrences of asbestos related diseases that include cases where women have died after 6-7 years of the first exposure as was reported by the government doctors.
Unmindful of the global ban on asbestos underway, on 6th September, 2007, the Supreme Court of India endorsed the use and reuse of asbestos in India. Unexamined in the media, workers in India work up to their knees in asbestos powder, breaking up asbestos cement roofs and pipes. In addition to cement, it is also used in brakes, clutch linings, and gaskets in motor cars, as well as insulation and fireproofing in buildings and warships. It is also used in electrical distribution systems, and domestic products such as ironing boards.
Stories of the toll asbestos takes on people are yet to hit the headlines in India as been the case in US, Europe, Australia and Japan. Indian homes are often built of asbestos cement roofs, and people cut their own windows and doorways. Research is showing asbestos epidemics across the globe even in countries where it is currently banned, as the consequence of past exposure.
While white asbestos mining is currently banned in India, its import, export or use in manufacturing is permitted. But recently, the Ministry of Mines has indicated that it may lift the mining ban. The recent UN statistics indicates that India imported roughly 306,000 MT of asbestos in 2006. Out of which 152, 820 MT was imported from Russia, 63, 980 MT from Canada, 48, 807 MT from Kazakhstan and 34, 953 MT from Brazil.
As per Indian Bureau of Mines during 2005-6, India imported 236492 MT of asbestos.
The reality is that the country's most powerful parliamentarians bless the asbestos industry. On 1 January 2006, production began at an asbestos-cement factory in Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh, in the constituency of Sonia Gandhi. The factory is of Visaka Industries, one of India's largest asbestos groups. The company also has asbestos-cement factories in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Karnataka. The Chairman of Visaka Industries, G Vivekanand, is the son of the G Venkataswamy, Member of Parliament, Deputy Leader of the Indian Congress Parliamentary Party and a former Union Textile Minister.
Visaka Industries has asbestos plants located even in Midnapore in West Bengal where CPI(M) is the ruling party for more than 25 years. Although Centre of Indian Trade Union and All India Trade Union Congress have called for ban on asbestos and have also written to the Prime Minister, the fact remains, that the CPI(M) has not gotten rid of it from their own backyard. The same is true of Kerela.
There are some states, for instance Assam, UP, and Tamil Nadu, where asbestos factory units are run by the state governments. Pulivendala, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy's constituency, has 14 mines. In September 2004, P Dayasankar, Director, A.P.'s State Mines and Geology Department was reported in the Business Standard to have predicted that the ban on mining may well be lifted. Taking the line that state and central health agencies were also in favour of lifting the ban, he said: "We have already represented the matter to the government of India for the appropriate decision. To my knowledge, the Centre is on the verge of taking a positive decision."
It is not difficult to notice why the entire political establishment wears blinkers when it comes to acknowledging the fact that currently over 40 countries including Europe have banned all forms of asbestos including chrysotile (white asbestos) due to health hazards. With asbestos firms being owned by politicians or the state itself, the government seems to be following a classic ostrich policy.
What else can explain the discredited claims of 'safe use' of asbestos by the industry and the virtually blasphemous statement to Parliament by the Minister of State for Environment saying, "No complaints have so far been received regarding its carcinogenic content and its hazard to health and environment?"
The manifest support the industry to enjoy from the left supported ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) led by Congress Party with deafening silence from the opposition parties seems illustrative of an unhealthy consensus. In the meantime, research from leading Indian institutes continues to contradict the Ministry's push to lift the ban but government's research too has been compromised.
The NIOH was established by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research, one of the oldest medical research bodies in the world presided over by the Union Health Minister. Most recently NIOH has taken money from Chrysotile Asbestos to do research on its hazards.
An in-depth study conducted by Industrial Toxicology Research Centre (ITRC), Lucknow in Beawer and Deovgarh Rajasthan observed higher fibre concentrations in the milling units. All the units belong to the unorganised sector where technology is poor and laws and regulations are simply not in force. The ITRC team observed prevalence of asbestosis in less than five years, which is very high and alarming. ITRC is a constituent laboratory of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), an autonomous body associated with the Union Ministry of Education. It is dedicated to provide health safeguards to industrial and agricultural workers through its rich knowledgebase, created painstakingly over the years.
The Ministry of Mines chooses to ignore such suggestions in the same way as it has ignored the plight of victims of white asbestos mines in Roro Hills, Chaibasa, Jharkhand abandoned by Hyderabad Asbestos Cement Products Limited (now known as Hyderabad Industries Limited). And the Ministry of Environment says it has not received any complaint so far.
The rationale to support the continued use of this killer fiber used in over 3,000 products is glaringly hollow. It continues to devastate workers and consumers, but the extent of the tragedy remains largely uncovered in India.
The first independent opinion poll to ascertain what people think about issues of environmental pollution in India was conducted by The Hansa Research Group during February 5 to 8, 2006 across 10 cities in India.
The findings of the poll reveal among other things: 80% of the respondents feel that the production of hazardous substances that are banned in the developed world, for example Asbestos, should also be banned in India.
Industry Scenario
Asbestos Cement industry: There are 18 asbestos cement factories located in different parts of the country. NIOH has carried out environmental epidemiological studies in four asbestos cement factories located in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Coimbatore and Mumbai. The prevalence of asbestosis in these factories varied from 3% to 5%. The levels of asbestos fibres were found to be higher than the permissible levels of 2 fibres/millilitre in two of the factories.
Asbestos Textile industry: Making of asbestos yarn and ropes is done mostly in the unorganised sector of industries with very poor safety measures. The average levels of air borne asbestos fibres varied from 216 to 418 fibres/ml. The permissible level is 2 fibres/ml. The prevalence of asbestosis was 9%. This relatively low prevalence of asbestosis despite high environmental levels was attributed to high labour turn over. Cases of asbestosis were observed in workers having less than 10 years exposure in contrast to the reported average duration of over 20 years.
Asbestos Mining and milling: In India, the mining and milling of asbestos is done in Cuddapah (Andhra Pradesh) and Devgarh (Rajasthan). Environmental and epidemiological studies in mining and milling units were carried out in both the places. In asbestos mines at both locations, the air borne fibre levels were within permissible limits. The average fibre levels in milling units varied from 45 fibres/ml to 244 fibres/ml of air. The overall prevalence of asbestosis in mining and milling units was 3% and 21% respectively.
Even as a campaign for banning asbestos in India is gaining ground, the situation in Parliament indicates just how much more informed engagement is necessary between government, civil society groups and the industry before the wheel begins to turn. No conclusive scientific evidence." That's the direction governance is coming from.
For its part, the asbestos industry has misled both the houses of parliament on three occasions. It is evening attempting to manipulate public opinion. An advertisement in a recent issue of India Today that says, "Chrysotile Asbestos is a magic mineral". This is misinformation. The Chrysotile Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers' Association (CACPMA), which has launched this misinformation campaign, is an association of 14 large manufacturing companies. The advertisements wrongly claim that, "In a country like India various types of roofing is used by the underprivileged, comprising 80 per cent of the population who cannot afford concrete constructions. The most economical roofing available for the poor is chrysotile asbestos cement sheet". Asbestos is presently being used in a large-scale manner in consumer products, particularly in products used in public utility service including roofing sheets, pipes for water supply, pipes for soil, rain water and ventilation and brake linings.
According to a paper entitled: Present Status of Asbestos Mining and Related Health Problems in India - A Survey by AL Ramanathan and V Subramanian which was published in the Industrial Health Journal, imported asbestos is widely used in India: "In India raw material asbestos is received from Canada without any warning... In India workers slice open the bags of Canadian asbestos with knives, then shaking the bags into troughs and mixing it with cement to make piping. Here the unprotected workers are completely covered in asbestos dust, where precautions are absolutely not in place." Similar is the situation with regard to imported asbestos from all countries.
Conclusion: The present pathetic situation demands the criminal prosecution of those responsible for asbestos exposures such as factory owners and company directors and also the planners and promoters of the product। Asbestos is a public health issue, which the Government has ignored for far too long. Although non-asbestos technology certainly exists in India, in fact in some factories the two technologies exist side-by-side, consumers will inevitably opt for the cheaper product: more demand will translate into higher sales which will generate more Asbestos Money that is being used to obtain political support.

presented at BWI's Regional Meeting in Kathmandu

1 comment:

mediavigil said...

The 9/11 Asbestos Poisoning: A Waiting Nightmare in NYC

author: Franklin's Focus + Henk Ruyssenaars e-mail:e-mail:

The 'inside job' of 9/11 and the WTC drama probably also had unknown millions of people poisoned by asbestos clouds: "Either this is the most horrific story I've ever heard in my life, or those people are completely crazy. It couldn't have happened." - Quote from The New York Times. - But it did...

Intro by Henk Ruyssenaars - Foreign correspondent

FPF - 4 September 2007 - A majority of the Americans - 52% - now understands the controlled demolition of the World Trade Center buildings in New York on 9/11 in 2001 was an 'inside job' by the US junta. But the massacre by the evildoers is much bigger than the three thousand people which the US junta killed that ominous day. Asbestos poisoning will kill many more: 9/11 is a bigger tragedy than many think. And worse than a lot of people can imagine or dare say.

On Febr. 22nd in 2005, Robert Scheer in the Los Angeles Times had an article* about the so called 'Tort reform', the illegal fabrication of laws in such a way that the Bush administration and it's ruling multinationals could severely limit the amount of the $billion damages that in the future could be collected by those harmed by asbestos exposure. The article was called "Of, by and for Big Business", and in 689 words Scheer explained how the people in the US permanently are screwed by the multinationals. The LA Times as the majority of the media will not complain much more: it has also been bought by 'them', the evildoers, and is thus silenced.

"It was well-known by the city of New York that the WTC was an asbestos bombshell. For years, the Port Authority treated the building like an aging dinosaur, attempting on several occasions to get permits to demolish the building for liability reasons, but being turned down due the known asbestos problem. Further, it was well-known the only reason the building was still standing until 9/11 was because it was too costly to disassemble the twin towers floor by floor since the Port Authority was prohibited legally from demolishing the buildings." But Larry Silverstein and the other criminals got richer."* Many have seen him on TV saying they 'pulled' WTC7, building #3.

The asbestos drama has a face though, as also is shown in Franklin's story below, because a week ago - according to a TV item in the New York Times* - called "Asbestos, Hidden in Plain Sight", the story is told about Libby, Montana. Reporter Hale: ''Libby, Montana" sets a high bar for itself. An opening voice-over, covering idyllic home-movie scenes of life in the West, proclaims: Either this is the most horrific story I've ever heard in my life, or those people are completely crazy. It couldn't have happened." But it did, like 9/11, and the people are suffering and dying.


"It is the tale of how an entire town in Montana was exposed to asbestos for decades without its knowledge, resulting at last count in an estimated 1,500 cases of lung abnormalities in a population of about 8,000, and of how W. R. Grace & Company knew the asbestos was there." - Like the complicit humanoids who were in charge in New York knew on 9/11 and thereafter during their cover-up, as Franklin writes. It really is too bad to be true, as he shows in his story:


Franklin's Focus: 9/3/07 - Most of my readers will immediately guess that I'm going to discuss the vast fallout of white powder that descended on most of Manhattan over a period of two or three weeks. That, dear reader, is exactly what I'm going to do, albeit in a highly abbreviated form.

Due to the extreme lightness of billowing, lethal, microscopic particles, blanketing Manhattan, they took days and probably weeks to completely settle down on open surfaces or to drift into apartments, stores, offices, taxis, subways, restaurants, bars and so forth. These microscopic particles are of such tiny size, they entered all structures or vehicles whether the windows were tightly closed or not.

Only extraordinary sealing could have kept these particles from entering almost all closed spaces. As for migrating into the subways and subway cars, they would have been carried into the stations and subway cars in vast numbers by the clothing of passengers who had been on the streets. Thusly transported by humans, these particles probably eventually contaminated nearly every surface within subway cars, taxis, and buses.

Those employees who worked in Manhattan on 9/11 and walked through the thick clouds of dust on that day, carried the particles home with them to contaminate their houses or apartments. In this way, their spouses and children and pets were also contaminated. With taxis and subway trains being contaminated by the clothing of passengers, the deadly particles traveled the rest of the city and even further to suburbs or wherever taxicabs, subways, and trains travel to.

In short, a huge number of New York City inhabitants were exposed to a variety of microscopic fibers, all of them belonging to the asbestos family. There are seven members in this family, all of them lethal. A single particle, if breathed in, can kill if it lodges in just the right spot. Since Manhattan was doubtlessly inundated with trillions of such deadly particles, tiny carriers of death that entered countless living, working, and traveling spaces used by the people of that city. It is, therefore, a near certainty that huge numbers of New Yorkers have been infected by members of a lethal family of microscopic barbed spears.


What is deeply disturbing is the fact that many of these tiny killers are now waiting silently in the bodies of thousands of New Yorkers, and they will likely kill their hosts. Unfortunately, the current ongoing cover-up will continue since these invisible killers will rarely be named as the cause of death. You see, the seven members of the asbestos family almost always kill anonymously because the media and even medicine in America have colluded to hide the truth.

Consider mesothelioma, a disease caused by asbestos fibers. This is a devastating cancer that inflicts a death far more painful and ugly than the worst cases of death by HIV. This condition is a ticking time bomb, and when it goes off, it can do so with surprising rapidity. Depending on the form it takes, a victim may die relatively soon or may linger through years of pain and suffering. Will the death certificate list asbestos as the cause? No, dear reader. Be advised that it will list mesothelioma as the cause of death, and corporate America's deadly secret will go on and on.


By the year 2030, as many as five million Americans will be facing a variety of ugly, prolonged, and devastating years of suffering before succumbing. And most of these ill fated Americans will go on believing they are dying purely from cancer rather than assigning blame to the agent that caused the cancer.

[Cancer specialists, oncologists at the Radboud University Medical Center in The Netherlands, confirm that at present - mostly due to the heavy pollution - one in two men, and one in three women dies of cancer. - HR]

The fallout of deadly particles in New York City was so massive, and rescue workers were so heavily contaminated, many deaths in New York will not wait that long. They will start dying relatively soon. The immediate family members who have been contaminated by them may take longer, maybe ten to twenty years. According to one scientist, as many
as ten percent of those who were heavily exposed to the most dense clouds of deadly dust on 9/11 will die. No matter how you guesstimate the end result, it will be an enormous tragedy.

Once the three WTC buildings were blown up, thusly creating vast clouds of powder high in the air and drifting over nearly all of Manhattan, experts at the Environmental Protection Agency instantly knew they were confronting a monumental health disaster. How did they know this? They knew because they had criminally allowed the builders of the three towers to use hundreds of tons of asbestos fibers to construct them.

One of the most heavily used asbestos fibers was chrysotile. It densely impregnated 8.5 million square feet of the floor tiling in the three buildings. Asbestos fibers were used in decorative finishes and in the structural steel of the towers. It was used in the lobbies and the elevator shafts and the drywall. It was massively used in the foundation concrete. To top it off, the interior walls were painted with an asbestos paint.


Here's a big clinker: asbestos fibers are scientifically classified as 'friable'. This means they invariably shed themselves loose from the products they are used in. They were almost certainly shedding at the time the buildings blew up. A catastrophic release of trillions of fibers occurred following the massive detonations of the three towers. One scientific estimate of the amount of microscopic deadly fibers expelled over Manhattan was one thousand tons! The figures become astronomical.

A massive use of asbestos saturated many of the materials used to build the towers. This was well known to the city officials of NYC. America's leading expert on asbestos and its carnage in America is Dr. Irving Selikoff, the man who is number one on the hate list of W. R. Grace and every other giant American corporation that produces and sells asbestos products in the US and to third world countries. Selikoff visited the WTC sites during construction and was appalled by the vast use of materials containing huge amounts of tremolite fiber, and the billowing clouds of construction-caused dust that was enveloping the workers. He subsequently declared at a conference that over 100 tons of fiber would ultimately be released into the air of NYC just during the construction. His warnings were ignored by NYC officials and by the EPA.

All those scientists familiar with asbestos fibers and the already high asbestos death toll in America and who saw the explosions of the towers on TV immediately got on the phone and began voicing warnings to NYC officials and the EPA.

Among these callers was America's finest and largest team of asbestos detection experts, a Montana group that possesses the biggest number of suitable testing machines in the US that are capable of detecting asbestos fiber. They instantly offered a large team of testing experts and a large number of hi-tech testing machines to serve Whitman and NYC officials. They wanted to immediately fly in private jets to NYC with teams of experts and the finest testing equipment available. They begged NYC officials and Whitman to be allowed to immediately fly to NYC and start testing and to start advising New Yorkers what to do.



Christine Todd Whitman, the head of the EPA, which is headquartered in NYC, was quickly on the scene. She and just about everybody at the EPA knew an epic crisis was immediately at hand. Whitman first assured the people of New York that the powder laden air at the disaster scene was not toxic or dangerous. She then immediately ordered that the very best hi-tech testing equipment available be used to decontaminate the EPA headquarters building in NYC!

As for the rest of NYC, she told the people of New York that they should seek guidance from NYC health officials. Since NYC health officials had been told by Whitman and the EPA that the white powder was harmless, the Health Department then told the residents of at least 15,000 Manhattan apartments, which were by then contaminated with white powder, to simply 'use a wet sponge' to clean up their apartments and not to worry.

Whitman and her EPA criminal associates ensconced themselves in the EPA building as soon as it had been decontaminated. Under orders from Whitman, employees began testing the disaster site for asbestos fibers in the air and on surfaces. One small catch, tho! She ordered that this be done only with outdated equipment that could not possibly detect asbestos fibers! In short, the whole testing process was a deliberate farce by Whitman and the EPA.

Why did she do this? I can only surmise she was running a cover-up, and it was necessary to use testing equipment that would come up with zero evidence of deadly fibers.


By the way, she has denied ever saying that the massive clouds of "dust" at the site were harmless. She made this denial in testimony before Congress. Haw! She made her assurances that the clouds of dust at the site were harmless while standing before a TV camera. I've seen the film clip. She lied to Congress, and was never nailed for doing so, when all they had to do was to produce the film during the hearings. So much for congressional hearings.

How is it that the vast mining of asbestos ores in the US still continues? How is it that a friable substance impregnates over 3,000 products in America? How is it that all the European nations have absolutely banned the use of any member of the asbestos family, but the US does not do so? How is possible that nearly the entire population of the town of Libby, Montana*, is now dying of asbestos caused diseases when the EPA knew long ago that those people were being murdered by the nearby W. R. Grace mining operation. Children, men, women, seniors --- almost every last one of them is dying. What we are seeing is run amok, predatory, corrupt, heartless corporate capitalism at its very worst.

Every member of Congress knows asbestos kills hundreds of thousands of Americans and is well on its way to killing millions. And yes, the DLC corporate controlled Dems surely know all about asbestos, how much is being mined, how many corporations use it in their products, and the fact that it is killings hundreds of thousands of Americans. Be aware that your vote for either wing of The Party has always helped protect asbestos mining and the deadly use of asbestos in thousands of products.

A neighbor lady just informed me that her father is dying of cancer. I asked what he had done for a living. She said he had been a mechanic, more specifically a brake man. Well, that surely is a deadly occupation. Brake linings are packed with asbestos fibers. In this case, the doctor informed the dying man that asbestos fibers from brake linings had condemned him to a slow, ugly death. As I see it, corporate America and its flunkies in Congress have murdered this man.


Here's something else for you to think about. How long have we known that asbestos is really bad stuff? Try guessing. Now hold on to your hat. Among the greatest engineers in the history of the world, we have to include the brilliant engineers of the Roman Empire. And guess what? It so happens they were very familiar with asbestos. They knew it has enormous tensile strength. They knew it was fireproof. And they knew it was waterproof. So why did such great engineers refuse to use it in their mind boggling, famous constructions? Believe it or not, they knew asbestos was deadly stuff and refused to touch it. Knowledge is great, but greed is greater.

I wish I could leave you with a long bibliography so you could further look into this mega-scandal, but very little has been written about it in books and almost nothing in the major media. Even the Net has been weak in this department. Most notably, the corporate major media have been lying for decades by telling Americans that asbestos was banned
years ago by the federal government. I kid you not. When asked in a poll, most Americans will say that the government banned asbestos a long time ago. I suppose these are the same guys who say Iraq was responsible for 9/11. Sigh. Jingoism and greed. We could do better without them.

I can, however, recommend one excellent book on this subject. The author is a superb practitioner of muckraking, and he has written a number of excellent books exposing corruption and scandal. His book on asbestos is a winner. It fills in the mere outline I've given you. He also includes a chapter on 9/11 that was very helpful to me in writing this piece.

'Fatal Deception: The Terrifying True Story of How Asbestos Is Killing America' by Michael Bowker, Touchstone Books, available in paperback. - Url.:






* 9/11 +ASBESTOS +CANCER - Google search - Url.: link to




* WARNING! 'GOVERNMENT'! - 9/11: WORLD TRADE CENTER REGISTRY - HEALTH CENTER - 'Clinical Guidelines for Adults Exposed to the World Trade Center Disaster' and 'Scientific Publications' - Url.:

* FOX NEWS - THE HIDDEN STORY - Carl Cameron Investigates: 9/11 & Israel Is Spying In And On The U.S.? - Information Clearing House - Url.:

* US 9/11 TERROR in a CNN Poll - Question: "Do you believe there is a U.S. government cover-up surrounding 9/11?" - 'Yes' - 89% - 'NO' - 11% - Url.:

* US SENATOR BOB GRAHAM, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence - [ link to

* THE 9/11 DRAMA WAS THE 'TRIGGER' USED BY THE PNAC GROUP - KILLING AMERICANS and others to further their inhuman goals: Anybody who reads this and after seeing the video - '9/11 revisited' - still believes the version from the 'PNAC pack' - the Washington cabal - is beyond all professional help. - Url.: link to

* SCHOLARS FOR 9/11 TRUTH - American and other scientists, diplomats, researchers etc.: What happened on 9/11? - What is happening to our world? - How can we improve our situation? - Url.:

* The Dutch author this far has lived and worked abroad - never in an English speaking country - for more than 4 decades for international media as an independent foreign correspondent, of which 10 years - also during Gulf War I - in the Arab World and the Middle East. Seeing worldwide that every bullet and every bomb breeds more terrorism!

* FPF-COPYRIGHT NOTICE - In accordance with Title 17 U. S. C. Section 107 - any copyrighted work in this message is distributed by the Foreign Press Foundation under fair use, without profit or payment, to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the information. Url.:

Editor: Henk Ruyssenaars
The Netherlands


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