View Full Version : Al Jazeera English: India: Toxic Trade

25.01.12, 06:06

More than 50 countries have banned asbestos products but India cannot get enough. It imports the mineral from Canada, risking a future health crisis.

Asbestos products have a deadly reputation.

Inhaling asbestos fibres can lead to a slow and painful death.

Doesn't that sound nice?? Check it out, my own country is exporting death to another country. That's right. Exporting death to protect the profits of a handful of companies and the jobs relating to the mining of it. And believe it or not but agents within a Canadian ministry are strongly pushing exports of the asbestos fiber. It has even has gone on to argue over a challenge at the World Trade Organization that a proposed ban by the French on asbestos imports would be an illegal trade practice. Imagine that. Add to that that some people try to put a good face on the asbestos industry and say that it is safe. It might be safe if industry workers that handle the product are fitted with the correct gear to handle it. But in India and other developing nations that still use the product where little information or education is given over the health risks, it's not a very safe industry at all as you will see if you watch the full length of the video (approx. 25 mins.)

The link to the AJE article is found here:

India: Toxic Trade - 101 East - Al Jazeera English (http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/101east/2012/01/201211710224787475.html)


28.01.12, 17:45
my own country is exporting death to another country.

your country is not responsible for india or any other country in the world, so if india wants to import it (or have different safety standards), thats their business

asbestos is simply a mineral that comes in various forms, has various usage and may be toxic in certain situations (dust overdose, continuous exposure to a sufficient amount of particles/fibers,...) - it most certainly cannot be so arbitrarily equated with 'death'

according to a new study backed by the teaching unions and cited by the Today programme report, three-quarters of our schools contain asbestos - and almost none of it is being properly 'managed' as the law dictates.

It sounds horrific, as though hundreds of thousands of children and their teachers are being daily put at risk by exposure to a substance as deadly as anthrax.

Yet the truth is that this is just the latest in a series of attempts to whip up mass hysteria over the dangers of asbestos in schools, which are, in reality, all but non-existent.

No one would deny that asbestos, which has been used as a heat retardant and binding agent for centuries, can cause serious health problems. The fibres of some types of asbestos have been linked to various forms of cancer. But too often the scare stories are based on fiction, not fact.

It is true that most older school buildings contain asbestos products of one kind or another, such as asbestos cement roof slates or ceiling tiles.

But almost all of these products contain relatively harmless white asbestos, encapsulated in cement or other materials, from which it is virtually impossible to extract even a single dangerous fibre.

The dangers from such products are so vanishingly small - as many scientific studies have shown - that, in the cautious words of a report by the HSE itself, they are 'insignificant'. The risks of their causing lung cancer are 'arguably zero'.

This is why the HSE correctly advises school authorities to leave asbestos products in place and intact wherever they are serving a useful purpose - such as minimising the risk of fire or providing effective roofing.


White asbestos (chrysotile) constitutes 98% of world production for its commercial use. Indian asbestos cement sheet and pipe manufacturers import all their requirements of chrysotile fibres from Canada, Brazil, Russia, Zimbabwe and Kazakistan for production of AC sheets and pipes. India imports only 20% of world production from above countries. Asbestos is also mined in India, but quantity and quality-wise it is of no relevance to our asbestos cement production. It is generally found in large concentrations in the natural bedrock of the earth crust.

The bias against the use of asbestos in few countries is due to the adverse Western media coverage relating to altogether different types and usages of asbestos in the past in those countries i.e. sprayed-on asbestos and friable low-density asbestos insulation used under uncontrolled conditions at that time due to lack of adequate scientific knowledge. For example usage of amphibole (blue) variety in such applications. Though these particular usages have since been discontinued in the West, the claims relating to the past keep appearing in the media resulting in general confusion. In India Asbestos Fibre was never used as sprayed insulation.


note: didn't watch the video so i won't comment on that