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.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Ban Asbestos America Act passed unanimously

Press Release

New Delhi: Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) appreciates the U.S. Senate for passing Ban Asbestos in America Act. The bill was passed on October 04, 2007. US Senate unanimously passed Senator Patty Murray's bill to ban all forms of asbestos, bringing the legislation closer to enactment than at any point since Murray launched her effort to protect families and workers six years ago to reach this historic milestone.

Stories of the toll asbestos takes on people are yet to hit the headlines in India as has been the case in US, Europe, Australia and Japan. 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. Asbestos is a proven human carcinogen (a substance which can cause cancer). No safe level can be proposed for asbestos cement pipes because a threshold is not known to exist. Currently mining of all kinds of asbestos is banned in India. Trade in asbestos waste is also banned. Besides all other forms of asbestos other than Chrysotile asbestos (White Asbestos) is prohibited in India.

BANI is dedicated to serving as the voice of asbestos victims, who are totally disregarded by Indian political parties of all colours both in the states and at national level unlike US and Europe. The countries that have banned asbestos include Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom (including England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), Uruguay and others.

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 Ban Asbestos in America Act, 2007 is an effort to ban all production and use of asbestos in America, launch public education campaigns to raise awareness about its dangers and expand research and treatment of diseases caused by asbestos. "This is a historic day in the fight to protect Americans. Workers and their families deserve a future free of deadly asbestos exposure, and I'm not stopping until this bill is signed into law," Murray said. "I’m very pleased that Senators from both sides of the aisle came together to unanimously support my bill. I especially want to thank Senator Johnny Isakson for his bipartisan leadership in moving this bill forward. I also want to commend Senator Barbara Boxer who championed this bill from the start and led its quick passage through her Environment and Public Works Committee."

“This bill is the culmination of months of bipartisan work to find common ground on this important issue, and I extremely pleased the Senate acted so quickly to approve it,” Isakson said. “For the few areas where asbestos is still used in the United States, this bill provides a reasonable transition so that Americans can rid themselves of asbestos once and for all.”

BANI appeals to the United Progressive Alliance government to take cognizance of all asbestos victims and their families, and act as a future protector of generations to come, helping to ensure a safer environment for us all. "We look forward to the day when asbestos disease will no longer needlessly claim lives in India and the concerned industry will be held accountable for not preventing incurable but preventable cancers."

The occurrence of asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis, is growing out of control. Studies estimate that during the next decade, in India victims will die of an asbestos related disease at the rate of 30 deaths per day.
Because of this bill, US is poised to join the more than 40 nations that have banned asbestos because it is deadly. This bill was long overdue. With this US would ban asbestos, invest in research and treatment, and launch a public education campaign. Indian government is yet to take lessons from these nations to safeguard its citizens.

For details: BANI, Web:, Mb: 9818089660,

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