To our friends in India .. a warning.
November 8, 2011 4:39am CST
Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals exploited commercially for their desirable physical properties. They all have in common their asbestiform habit, long, (1:20) thin fibrous crystals. The most commonly found building materials that contain asbestos are asbestos cement products. It is known to cause mesothelioma and lung cancer, both inevitably fatal, long-term illnesses. For the 56 countries reporting mesothelioma data, there were approximately 174,300 such deaths during 1994-2008. When the authors of the report that tells us this extrapolated this finding to the 33 countries not reporting mesothelioma data, they estimated 38,900 additional cases may have occurred in these countries during that same 15-year period. Estimates of asbestos-related lung cancer numbers are also based on the mesothelioma figure, so these deaths are likely to have been significantly underestimated too. Asbestos related products are now banned throughout most of the West, but we nevertheless export large quantities of asbestos to places like India, where it is used primarily in the building industry, thus exposing millions of Indians to the dangers. I grew up in houses with asbestos products and suffered no ill effects, and it is clear that it is far from everyone who will be affected, but the numbers of deaths are large. You really should be questioning your government’s policies in this matter. Lash
9 Nov 11
I was shocked to see what is happening in India with asbestos. I was stunned that people are still being lied to about its health risks despite so many people having been killed by this dreadful stuff. One saltspoon full is enough to kill a person. I might take 20 years but it will kill. It is not a maybe or a case of causing trouble for business, it is documented and it is an awful way to die. The asbestos sheeting can be relatively safe if it is never disturbed. It is the dust getting into the lungs that kills. So it is dangerous to make, dangerous to install and dangerous to remove. But I cannot believe that Western countries are selling this product to India when it has removed it from all its own buildings because it kills. Surely that is murder. To knowingly sell a deadly product to someone and lie about its dangers. The factory manager interviewed last night stated that there were no health risks. That is a blatant lie because his own workers are dying. He said there was no illness but they interviewed men who worked for him and they are dying. The problem is they are too poor to do anything. I know the West has committed some nasty crimes in the past but this silent killing is just plain evil.