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, June 10, 2011

Stop Asbestos Plants in Bhojpur: Laurie Kazan-Allen

International Ban Asbestos Secretariat
Campaigning for a global asbestos ban and justice for all asbestos victims!
P.O. Box 93, Stanmore HA7 4GR England

Shri Nitish Kumar
Chief Minister of Bihar State,
Patna, India

Expansion of Asbestos Production in Bihar State

June 8, 2011

Dear Sir:

It has come to our attention that plans are currently being progressed in the Indian State of Bihar regarding the expansion of the asbestos industrial sector. We understand that factories which manufacture asbestos-cement products have already been built in Bihiya, and Giddha, Bhojpur and that companies from the asbestos industry have indicated their intention to construct additional facilities in Bihar in the near future.
The cumulative consumption of asbestos in India exceeds 7 million tonnes. The use of 6 million tonnes of asbestos in Great Britain has caused the country’s worst epidemic of occupational disease and death. This year, more than 3,500 people will die from asbestos-related illnesses including asbestosis, mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer in the UK. These diseases are the result of hazardous asbestos exposures at work, at home and from environmental sources. There can be no doubt at all that the asbestos epidemic which is now being seen in Britain and other industrialized countries will occur in India. For the people who have already been exposed to asbestos, it is too late; but steps can be taken to protect others from contracting these debilitating and deadly diseases.

Worldwide the asbestos epidemic is causing more than 100,000 deaths per year from occupational exposures; when you include the number of deaths caused by other exposures, the toll paid by humanity for the profiteering by asbestos stakeholders is almost too high to contemplate. Industry lobbying groups say that chrysotile asbestos – the only type of asbestos still used and the one which is at the heart of the asbestos production in your State – can be used safely under “controlled conditions”. The fact that such conditions have not been achieved in any country – neither in the developed nor developing world – is a fact they choose to omit from the commercial propaganda.

Even if the “controlled use of asbestos” was possible, and no reputable international organization or independent scientist believes it is, there is no control whatsoever on how asbestos products are used once they have left the factory. There are numerous photos of asbestos misuse in India which can be viewed on the internet. Indeed two of our own publications, Killing the Future – Asbestos Use in Asia and India’s Asbestos Time Bomb – contain multiple images which depict the hazardous conditions in which asbestos-containing products are used in India.

Recognizing the hazards of using asbestos, all the major international agencies have adopted policies calling for asbestos to be banned. I urge you and your colleagues to study the independent evidence which is so readily available so that you may take proactive action and shut-down the polluting sites planned for your State. When it comes to asbestos, prevention is the only cure. If you act decisively and rule that that polluting industries such as the asbestos industry are not welcome in Bihar and mandate that asbestos-processing industrial units are not part of the Bihar State economic policy, you will not only be doing a great service to future generations in Bihar but also be setting an example for other Indian States. I would also urge that you and your fellow Parliamentarians in Bihar lobby the Indian Government to take similar actions.


Laurie Kazan-Allen

Laurie Kazan-Allen (Mrs.)
Coordinator: International Ban Asbestos Secretariat


Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson, National Advisory Council
Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, Government of India
Mr Lal Krishna Advani, Member of Parliament, former Deputy Prime Minister
Mr Jairam Ramesh, Union Environment & Forests Minister
Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, Union Health Minister
Mr Anand Sharma, Union Commerce Minister
Mr Pranab Mukherjee, Union Finance Minister
Dr Murali Manohar Joshi, Chairman, Public Accounts Committee,
Parliament of India
Mrs Sushma Swaraj, Leader of the Opposition, Lok Sabha, Parliament of India
Mr Arun Jaitli, Leader of Opposition, Rajya Sabha, Parliament of India
Dr C P Thakur, Member, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Chemicals &
Fertilizers and Member, Parliamentary Consultative Committee for Ministry of
Health & Family Welfare
Mr Sushil Kumar Modi, Deputy Chief Minister, Government of Bihar
Dr (Mrs) Pratima S. Verma, District Magistrate, Bhojpur, Bihar


Chronology of National Asbestos Bans1

Compiled by Laurie Kazan-Allen

(Revised May 4, 2011)

Date Event
1972 Denmark bans the use of asbestos for insulation.
1976 Sweden adopts guidelines recommending a ban on crocidolite (legislation to enforce the crocidolite ban was implemented in 1982).
1980 Denmark bans the use of asbestos with exemptions for some asbestos-cement products.
1982 Sweden enforces from July 1 the first of a series of bans on various uses of asbestos (including chrysotile).
1983 Iceland introduces ban (with exceptions) on all types of asbestos (updated in 1996).
1984 Norway introduces ban (with exceptions) on all types of asbestos (revised 1991).
Israel introduces its first ban on the use of asbestos including amosite, chrysotile, crocidolite, anthophyllite, tremolite, actinolite, and any mixture that contains one or more of these fibers in Work Safety Regulations; as a result of additional restrictions introduced by the 1990s, a de facto ban exists (2010).
1985 Denmark extends its asbestos ban to include additional asbestos-cement products with further restrictions introduced on asbestos-cement products (such as ventilation pipes and roofing) in 1986, 1987 and 1988
1988 Hungary bans amphiboles.
1989 Switzerland bans crocidolite, amosite and chrysotile (some exceptions).
Singapore bans raw asbestos by the Poisons Act.
1990 Austria introduces ban on chrysotile (some exceptions).
1991 The Netherlands introduces the first of a series of bans (with exceptions) on various uses of chrysotile.
1992 Finland introduces ban (with exceptions) on chrysotile (came into force 1993).
Italy introduces ban on chrysotile (some exceptions until 1994).
1993 Germany introduces ban (with minor exemptions) on chrysotile, amosite and crocidolite having been banned previously. The sole derogation remaining is for chrysotile-containing diaphragms for chlorine-alkali electrolysis in already existing installations. These will be banned as of 2011.
Croatia bans crocidolite and amosite.
1994 Brunei implements administrative rules on asbestos.
1995 Japan bans crocidolite and amosite.
Kuwait bans all types of asbestos.
1996 France introduces ban (with exceptions) on chrysotile.
Slovenia bans production of asbestos-cement products.
Bahrain bans asbestos by Ministerial Order No. / 1996: For Banning , importing, manufacturing, and circulaton of asbestos materials and products containing asbestos
1997 Poland bans asbestos.
Monaco prohibits the use of asbestos in all building materials.
1998 Belgium introduces ban (with exceptions) on chrysotile.
Saudi Arabia bans asbestos in pursuance of the Council of Ministers Decision No. 162, 1998.
Lithuania issues first law restricting asbestos use; ban expected by 2004.
1999 UK bans chrysotile (with minor exemptions).
2000 Ireland bans chrysotile (with exceptions).
2000/2001 Brazil – the four most industrialized states,representing 70% of the national asbestos market, ban asbestos as well as many towns and cities.
Sao Paulo State implements an immediate ban.
2001 Latvia bans asbestos (exemption for asbestos products already installed; however, they must be labelled).
Chile bans asbestos by means of Decree No. 656 issued by the Ministry of Health.
Argentina bans chrysotile; amphiboles were banned in 2000.
Oman bans the use of amosite and crocidolite.
2002 Spain and Luxembourg ban chrysotile, crocidolite and amosite having been banned under earlier EU directives.
Slovak Republic expects to adopt EU asbestos restrictions banning all asbestos.
New Zealand imposes ban on import of raw asbestos (import of asbestos-containing materials and second-hand asbestos products not included).
Uruguay bans the fabricating and import of all asbestos.
Malaysia reported to be close to banning chrysotile (as of 2010 this has not happened).
2003 Australia bans the import, use and sale of products containing chrysotile, amosite and crocidolite having been banned previously.
China bans asbestos for friction materials in the automobile industry: GB 12876-1999: Road Vehicle Braking Systems - Structure, Performance and Test Methods.

2004 Honduras introduces an asbestos ban with some exceptions. In Executive Agreement Decree 0-32, the Ministry of Health bans the use of products containing chrysotile, anthophyllite, actinolite, amosite and crocidolite. The same decree also prohibits the import, manufacture, distribution, marketing, transport, storage and use of asbestos-containing products. There is an exemption for thermal or electrical insulation for electric appliances, electronic equipment and personal fire protection equipment.
South Africa announces on June 21, 2004, a phase-out of chrysotile use over the next 3 to 5 years.
Japan bans the new use of chrysotile in building and friction materials as of October 1, 2004; this accounts for over 90% of Japanese chrysotile consumption.
2005 Bulgaria banned the import, production and use of all asbestos fibers and types of asbestos-containing products as of January 1, 2005.
Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Portugal and Slovakia to prohibit the new use of chrysotile, other forms of asbestos having been banned previously, under EU deadline.2
Japan: Japanese Minister Hidehisa Otsuji announces a total asbestos ban in Japan within 3 years.
Egypt: Egyptian Minister of Foreign Trade and Industry prohibits the import and manufacture of all types of asbestos and asbestos materials.
Jordan: The Minister of Health in Jordan imposed an immediate ban on the use of amosite and crocidolite on August 16, 2005; a grace period of one year was allowed for the phasing out of the use of tremolite, chrysotile, anthophyllite and actinolite in friction products, brake linings and clutch pads. After August 16, 2006, all forms of asbestos will be banned for all uses.
China: the import and export of amphibole asbestos, including amosite and crocidolite, is banned.
2006 Croatia bans asbestos as of January 1, 2006. Six weeks later, the Ministry of Health was forced to reverse its position with the result that the manufacture of asbestos-containing products for export was permitted again.
2007 New Caledonia bans the production, import and sale of asbestos.
Republic of Korea (South Korea): In February 2007, the Labor Ministry announced that a national asbestos ban will take effect in 2009.
2008 South Africa announced the implementation of Regulations for the Prohibition of the Use, Manufacturing, Import and Export of Asbestos and Asbestos-containing Materials on March 28.
Oman bans the use of chrysotile having previously banned other types of asbestos.
Taiwan bans the use of asbestos in construction materials by the Toxic Substances Management Act.
2009 Republic of Korea (South Korea) bans the use of all types of asbestos.
Algeria bans the use of all types of asbestos and products containing asbestos by Exectuive Decree No. 09-321 published in the Official Journal of the Republic of Algeria on October 14, 2009.
2010 Qatar has "strictly prohibited" the import of asbestos.
Taiwan prohibits most uses of asbestos (its use in construction materials having been banned earlier) and announces that a comprehensive ban would be implemented within ten years.
Mozambique approves (August 24) a comprehensive ban on the production, use, import, export and trade in asbestos and asbestos containing products.
Mongolia banned the import of all types of asbestos including chrysotile (in accordance with order number 192, issued by the Government on July 14). The enforcement of this legislation is not without problems.
Turkey bans the use of all types of asbestos by national regulation as of December 31, 2010 with the implementation of legislation issued in the Official Gazette on August 29, 2010.
2011 China: as of June 1, the use of all types of asbestos, including chrysotile, is banned in siding and wall construction materials under Chinese national standard GB50574-2010; this is likely to decrease demand for asbestos-cement flat sheet products generally used in permanent constructions.
Israel: on March 28, 2011, Parliament approved the Prevention of Asbestos Hazards Law which regularizes the de facto ban already in existence by prohibiting new uses of asbestos and mandating the phasing-out of friable asbestos in public buildings, industrial facilities and Israel Defense Forces vehicles and equipment. A protocol is being established to ensure that asbestos-cement products contained in public buildings are identified, marked and managed. A new licensing regime will regulate the asbestos removal industry.
Thailand: in April, the Thai Cabinet approved a resolution proposed by the National Health Commission to ban the use of asbestos. Imports of asbestos will be illegal from 2011 and the sale of all asbestos products will be banned from 2012!
1 This is not a comprehensive list of ban events; we expand and amend the entries as new information becomes available. While we make every attempt to verify that the information is accurate we are often reliant on a single, to our knowledge, trustworthy source within a given country for updates.
2 Commission Directive 1999/77/EC of July 26, 1999 set the deadline for the prohibition of chrysotile use, with one minor derogation, as January 1, 2005.
Note. According to information received from the International Labor Organization, the use of asbestos has been banned in Gabon and the Seychelles.

Current Asbestos Bans and Restrictions
compiled by Laurie Kazan-Allen

(Revised Jan 6, 2011)
National Asbestos Bans:1
Algeria Czech Republic* Iceland Malta* Saudi Arabia
Argentina Denmark Ireland Mongolia5
Australia Egypt Israel3
Mozambique Slovakia*
Austria Estonia* Italy Netherlands Slovenia
Bahrain Finland Japan New Caledonia South Africa
Belgium France Jordan4
Norway Spain
Brunei Gabon Korea (South) Oman Sweden
Bulgaria Germany Kuwait Poland Switzerland
Chile Greece* Latvia Portugal* Turkey
Honduras Lithuania* Qatar United Kingdom
Cyprus* Hungary* Luxembourg Romania Uruguay
Note. Singapore and Taiwan have been removed from the ban list (Oct 2010). Although no further use of asbestos is anticipated in these two countries we have no hard evidence that comprehensive formal bans exist in either Singapore or Taiwan.
1 Exemptions for minor uses are permitted in some countries listed; however, all countries listed must have banned the use of all types of asbestos. Additionally, we seek to ensure that all general use of asbestos, i.e. in construction, insulation, textiles, etc., has been expressly prohibited. The exemptions usually encountered are for specialist seals and gaskets; in a few countries there is an interim period where asbestos brake pads are permitted.
2 Croatia banned asbestos as of January 1, 2006. Six weeks later, the Ministry of Economy, under political and commercial pressure, forced the Ministry of Health to reverse its position with the result that the manufacture of asbestos-containing products for export was permitted again.
3 As the result of a series of restrictions on the use of asbestos introduced from the 1980s onwards, a de facto ban on asbestos exists in Israel.
4 An immediate ban on amosite and crocidolite was imposed on August 16, 2005; a grace period of one year was allowed for the phasing out of the use of tremolite, chrysotile, anthophyllite and actinolite in friction products, brake linings and clutch pads. After August 16, 2006, all forms of asbestos were to be banned for all uses.
5 Although an order banning the import of all types of asbestos including chrysotile was adopted in July 2010, the enforcement of this legislation is not without problems.
* January 1, 2005 was the deadline for prohibiting the new use of chrysotile, other forms of asbestos having been banned previously, in all 25 Member States of the European Union; compliance with this directive has not been verified in countries with an asterisk (*). As of May 2009 there are 27 Member States, with Romania and Bulgaria joining the EU in 2007.


For Details: Laurie Kazan-Allen, International Ban Asbestos Secretariat,
P.O. Box 93, Stanmore HA7 4GR England, website:,
email:,, Phone: + 44 (0) 208 958 38 87/
Gopal Krishna, Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI), Mb: 9818089660, E-mail:,
Blog:, Web:

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