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.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chrysotile asbestos in the PIC list of the UN treaty?

India should support inclusion of Chrysotile asbestos in the UN list of hazardous chemicals


Dr Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister

Subject: Seeking listing of Chrysotile asbestos in the PIC list of the UN treaty & urgent intervention to stop wide spread use of cancer causing Chrysotile asbestos products


With due respect I wish to seek your urgent intervention in the matter of a serious unprecedented environmental and occupational health crisis with regard to unnoticed asbestos epidemic in our country. It is high time you took note of exposures of workers and consumers and give directions for swift remedial measures. This exposure of asbestos of all kinds including chrysotile asbestos defies regulatory control efforts in any country. Please take steps to prevent preventable but incurable asbestos diseases like ling cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma.

The editorial titled Asbestos mortality: a Canadian export (October 21, 2008), Canadian Medical Association Journal notes, “Next week, a handful of Canadian bureaucrats will fly to Rome for the 4th Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention, a treaty governing trade in substances that harm human health and the environment. Their mission? If past experience provides an accurate guide, they will be there, on behalf of the Government of Canada, to protect this country’s asbestos industry, even if that means contributing to asbestos-related illnesses and deaths in the developing world. That is a harsh indictment, but Canada is the only Western democracy to have consistently opposed international efforts to regulate the global trade in asbestos. And the government of Canada has done so with shameful political manipulation of science. Years ago, Australia, Chile and the European Union proposed adding chrysotile (the predominant asbestos fibre used today) to the list of substances governed by the Rotterdam Convention. The convention requires the exporting government to notify the importing government before a dangerous substance is shipped in their direction, so that the importing government can exercise informed consent about whether to receive the substance.”

Russian government’s role in protecting its asbestos industry is equally alarming. Russia is the largest supplier and Canada is the second largest supplier of chrysotile asbestos to India.

I wish to inform you that in the light of asbestos disease epidemic world over due to ongoing asbestos exposure, environmental, labour and human rights organisations have called upon the government to support the inclusion of Chrysotile Asbestos in the list of UN's Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade at the next conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention will be held from October 27 to 31, 2008 in Rome.

Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI), an alliance of scientists, doctors, public health researchers, trade unions, activists and civil society groups is working since April 2002 to persuade the Governments to give up its consistent and continued pro-asbestos industry bias and lack of concern for the asbestos-injured who die one of the most painful deaths imaginable.

Therefore, we
1.Request you to ensure that Chrysotile asbestos is listed in the PIC list of UN’s Rotterdam Convention
2.Urge you to an end to the use of the of all kinds of asbestos products that is being used and encountered daily,
3.Ensure medical check of workers who handle asbestos products and work towards a just transition of workers with compensation to the affected workers
4.Prepare a Register of asbestos handlers and victims and award a compensation of at least Rs 10 lakh for the asbestos victims
5. Appeal to you to identify public buildings such as in railways and in defence forces, courts, schools, legislatures and decontaminate them of asbestos
6. Seek directions to make Indians safe from asbestos exposure by banning asbestos with immediate effect.

1 comment:

geovani said...

Asbestos dust can be inhaled while drilling, cutting a pipe, repairing, renovating or demolishing a building and its effects are far-reaching, affecting everyone from the person mining it to the ultimate consumer. Clinical reports show that asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer can show up even 25 to 40 years after exposure to asbestos.

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