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.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Exposing humans to Asbestos, human rights violation

Exposing any human being to asbestos is a blatant case of human rights violation becasue it causes preventable but incurable diseases like Asbestosis, Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer.

An epedemic of asbestos diseases in EU, UK, US, Australia, Japan and several other countries has set the aalarm bell ringing. But Indian government would have its citizens- both workers and consumers of asbestos products-believe that Indians are immune to asbestos disease as if this killer fiber becomes automatically non-poisonous and non-carcinogenic as soon as it enters Indian borders.

So far 50 countries have banned all kinds of asbestos including chrysotile (white asbestos) variety.

Indeed, "The widespread use of asbestos in India is a matter of global concern. It is a silent killer and its use in water-pipes and roofing material is being phased out. It can lead to a rare form of mesolithelioma cancer, and is linked to lung cancer. Asbestos fibres are so light that they remain suspended in the air and are easily inhaled.

The International Labour Organisation has estimated that asbestos kills one lakh people worldwide every year. A study in India has shown that more than 6000 workers are affected by asbestosis (an incurable lung ailment)." (Special Article, 30 May, 2008, Y P Gupta, THe Statesman) It is noteworthy that the US Senate has passed the Ban Asbestos America Act 2007. While "The Supreme Court has ruled that an asbestos worker's right to health and medicare during service and after retirement is a fundamental right under the Constitution" but this right has been violated by the Indian government by making asbestos products artificially cheaper. Russians and Canadians are dumping their asbestos raw material in India with the active promotion by the Union Commerece Ministry.

The ILO Resolution of 14th June 2006 calls for elimination asbestos since no "safe" and "controlled" use of asbestos and asbestos products is possible. The WTO Appellate Body in the Canada vs European Comunitiy also upheld the right of France to ban asbestos since no safe use is possible. Unmindful of this in India, Asbestos consumption is rising at an alarming rate causing estimated 30 deaths every day. And given the fact that asbestos studies in National Institute of Occupational Health, the only agency authorised to certify incuarable asbestos diseases is admittedly funded by asbestos industry, the number Indian asbestos victims would continue to rise without discrimination to the class of people.

Asbestos is a ticking Time Bomb.

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