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.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

International Mesothelioma Interest Group General Policy Statement on Asbestos

From Archives: iMig general policy statement on asbestos
20 February 2019
The International Mesothelioma Interest Group (iMig) is a community of physicians, basic researchers,
clinician/scientists, care providers, and social advocates that is engaged in understanding the underlying
genetics, molecular mechanisms, proteomics, and epidemiologic factors associated with mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive and nearly universally fatal cancer specifically caused by asbestos. 
The goal of those involved with iMig is to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos, to improve the survival and quality of life of mesothelioma sufferers through the development of new treatment strategies, enhancements to the efficacy of current therapeutic options, definitions of best practices, and supportive services. 
Asbestos will unfortunately continue as a scourge in our lifetimes because 1) millions of tons of asbestos were mined worldwide;1 2) it was widely introduced into our environments over several decades;1 3) asbestos does not naturally detoxify; 2 4) it is mutagenic with evidence suggesting no minimal threshold dose;3 5) there is growing evidence that the newest wave of mesothelioma incidence is being driven by exposure to environmental asbestos;4 6) the incidence of asbestos-related mortality is increasing;5 and 7) the latency period between first exposure and development of mesothelioma is considerable.
Asbestos is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a Group 1 human
carcinogen. In their words: “All forms of asbestos(chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, tremolite, actinolite and anthophyllite) are carcinogenic to humans (Group1).”
iMig would like to re-state the position of the World Health Organization (WHO):
1. There is no evidence for a safe threshold for the carcinogenic effect of asbestos,
2. The most efficient way to eliminate asbestos-related diseases is to stop using all forms of asbestos, and
3. All forms of asbestos, including chrysotile, are carcinogenic to humans. 7
iMig supports the call made by the WHO and the International Labor Organization (ILO) to stop the use of all types of asbestos. It is intolerable that asbestos causes 255,000 deaths worldwide annually, 98.6% of which are cancer deaths, including 37,000 mesothelioma deaths 5 – and every one of these deaths would be preventable in the absence of asbestos exposure.
A growing number of countries – sixty-six at the latest count - have banned asbestos entirely, 8 but that is only about one third of all countries. Unless more countries impose a total ban on asbestos, the number of deaths will continue to rise.
The WHO and the ILO are joined in their call to ban asbestos by the following bodies: International Commission on Occupational Health, The International Trade Union Confederation, The Union for International Control of Cancer, The International Social Security Association, Societies of Epidemiology, Collegium Ramazzini, as well as the International Mesothelioma Interest Group. 9,10
iMig asserts that there is no safe use of asbestos and urges all stakeholders to resist any new use of
asbestos and to work towards a total worldwide ban. 
1. Virta RL. Worldwide asbestos supply and consumption trends from 1900 through 2003: Circular 1298; 2006. Available at:
2. Spasiano D, F.Pirozzi F. Treatments of asbestos containing wastes. Journal of Environmental Management 2017; 204(Pt 1):82-91.
3. Huang SXL, Jaurand M-C, David W. Kamp DW, Whysner J, Hei TK. Role of mutagenicity in asbestos fiber-induced carcinogenicity and
other diseases. J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev. 2011; 14:179-245.
4. International Mesothelioma Interest Group. Available at: (accessed 18 Dec 2018).
5. Furuya S, Chimed-Ochir O, Takahashi K, David A, Takala J. Global Asbestos Disaster. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018; 15(5): 1000.
6. Reid A, de Klerk NH, Magnani C, Ferrante D, Berry G, Musk AW, Merler E. Mesothelioma risk after 40 years since first exposure to
asbestos: a pooled analysis. Thorax. 2014; 69:843-850.
8. Kazan-Allan L. Current asbestos bans. International Ban Asbestos Secretariat; Oct 23, 2018. Available at: (accessed 15 Jan 2019).
10. Kazan-Allan L. Asbestos Policies of Major International Agencies. International Ban Asbestos Secretariat; May 25, 2018. Available at:

Monday, October 9, 2023

U.S. Geological Survey provides several substitutes for asbestos

Asbestos is poisonous for Brazilian citizens and for the citizens of some 70 countries but Indian ministries of commerce and chemicals continues to permit it's import disregarding it's lethal consequences for the present and future generations of Indians.
Notably, "asbestos production in Brazil is permitted for export purposes only", reveals the Mineral Commodity Summaries of January 2023, U.S. Geological Survey. Till recently, Canada too had similar policy of double standards wherein it had no home use asbestos policy but it exported it to India with the complicity of Indian law makers and regulators. Such policies are an exercise in racism. India continues to procure Brazilian asbestos besides Russian and Chinese asbestos. 

Disregarding the incontrovertible scientific and medical evidence, Government of India has informed the Parliament in 2022 that there was no proposal to prohibit the use of asbestos in the country. It ignores it's own notification under Section 25(1) of the Mines Act, 1952, which recognises the diseases that can be caused by asbestos. These include asbestosis and cancer of the lung or the peritoneum or pleura (i.e., mesothelioma). 

Almost all of the asbestos produced worldwide is of chrysotile variety, the white asbestos.  Unmindful of the recommendations of World Health Organization (WHO), the global demand for asbestos is likely continue for the foreseeable future, particularly for use in cement pipe, roofing sheets, and other construction materials in Asia. This trend is reported in the Mineral Commodity Summaries of U.S. Geological Survey. 

The WHO recommends it's elimination because all forms of asbestos cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, cancer of the larynx and ovary and asbestosis (fibrosis of the lungs).

The US survey states that the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil enacted a national ban on asbestos in November 2017. With the exception of an approximately 2-week pause because of a legal challenge in 2021, the only asbestos producer in the country has operated its mine continuously since November 2020 under the authority of a State law that permits the extraction and processing of asbestos in the State of Goias for export purposes only.

U.S. Geological Survey records several substitutes for asbestos, including calcium silicate, carbon fiber, cellulose fiber, ceramic fiber, glass fiber, steel fiber, wollastonite, and several organic fibers, such as aramid, polyethylene, polypropylene, and polytetrafluoroethylene. Several non-fibrous minerals or rocks, such as perlite, serpentine, silica, and talc, are also considered to be possible asbestos substitutes for products in which the reinforcement properties of fibers are not required. Membrane cells and mercury cells are alternatives to asbestos diaphragms used in the chloralkali industry.

There is a compelling logic for India to adopt these substitutes to safeguard the life of all the present and future citizens including presidents, prime ministers, chief ministers, ministers, judges, soldiers, traders, consumers and doctors. 

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