“India should bury asbestos, not people”

Press Release – Ban Asbestos Network India

“India should bury asbestos, not people”

Medical Scientists Adopt & Endorse New Delhi Declaration Seeking Elimination
of Chrysotile (White) Asbestos

New Delhi/24 March 2011: Sounding the alarm bells for Indians, Dr Alec
Farquhar, Managing Director, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario
Workers, Canada said, “We now have around 500 asbestos cancer cases every
year in Ontario from a population of 13 million. If you (India) continue on
your current path, you will multiply our death count by 100 times. That
would be 50, 000 Indian workers dying every year from asbestos. In Ontario,
we learned that safe use of asbestos is impossible. I urge you from the
bottom of my hear, please do not make the same mistake as we made in Canada.
Stop using asbestos and use a safe alternative.”

Deeply disturbed by the state of affairs in India with regard to asbestos
consumption, Professor Elihu D Richter MD MPH, Hebrew University-Hadassah
School of Medicine, Israel said, “All form of asbestos kill. India should
bury asbestos, not people. Here is a case for examining whether those
countries which export asbestos to India are committing a crime against
humanity, because they are engaging in willful neglect. India should not
repeat the mistakes of going back some 70 years which will kill tens of
thousands of workers and their families.” Richter called on experts in human
rights to reframe the carcinogen as a human rights violation to ban

“No matter what mis-information comes of Canada or the Indian asbestos
industry about Chrysotile, there is no question that science has shown that
Chrysotile causes asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. This is the
conclusion of World Health Organisation. The International Agency for
Research on Cancer, and other organizations that have no bisases except for
protecting people’s health,” said Prof. Arthur L Frank,PhD, Department of
Environmental and Occupational Health, Drexel University School of Public
Health, US.

Why does Canada apply strict measures domestically to protect the health of
Canadians handling asbestos and yet exports asbestos to developing countries
such as India, where the capacity to implement and monitor the application
of similar precautionary measures is inadequate?, asked Dr. T.K. Joshi,
Fellow, Collegium Ramazzini, Italy, an independent, international academy
founded in 1982 by Irving J. Selikoff, Cesare Maltoni and other eminent
scientists. The academy comprises of 180 internationally renowned experts in
the fields of occupational and environmental health. The mission of the
Collegium Ramazzini is to advance the study of occupational and
environmental health issues and to be a bridge between the world of
scientific discovery and the social and political centers which must act on
the discoveries of science to protect public health.

Prof (Dr) Qamar Rahman, fellow of National Academy of Sciences, Dean,
Integral University, Lucknow & former Deputy Director, Industrial Toxicology
Research Centre, Lucknow asserted, “This is high time that Government of
India should ban the use of asbestos in India. It has been proven
scientifically that asbestos based articles such as roof ceilings, storage
tanks will release fibers. The asbestos fibers will be the cause of exposure
to our coming generations.”

“It is well known around the world that asbestos is hazardous to human
health, and that there is no such thing as “safe use” of asbestos, just like
there is no “safe cigarette”. The government of India would do better to aim
for growth through development of safe industries, and to lower the prices
of substitutes, rather than promote use of this hazardous substance,” opined
Dr Yael Stein, MD, Unit of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Hebrew
University, Israel.

Lyle Hargrove, Chairperson, Occupational Clinics for Ontario Workers, Canada
said, “I believe that it is real Black mark on my Canada for exporting
ASBESTOS to India. We have cities devastated by Asbestos Manufacturing in
the sixties and 70s. Workers were dying from Asbestos diseases and others
were Sick including people that work in the plants, their family was getting
sick as well. I demand that Canada quit exprting Asbestos to India and quit
mining in Quebec. Asbestos is too dangerous to work with and I believe there
is no safe level.”

New Delhi Declaration Seeking Elimination of all forms of asbestos including
chrysotile from India was adopted and endorsed by eminent scientists and
doctors on 24th March, 2011 at a Round Table which happened immediately
after the conclusion of International Conference on “Emerging Trends in
Preventing Occupational Respiratory Diseases and Cancers in Workplace”. The
Declaration is attached.

The delegates at the Round Table took stock of the Ban Asbestos Movement in
Bihar, reference to asbestos in the Union Budget, land allot for asbestos
plants in Bihar, promotion of asbestos in Tamil Nadu and Odisha and other
states, the regressive proposal by Indian Bureau of Mines at the behest of
chrysotile asbestos miners to lift the existing ban on asbestos mining in
India and the and Ban White Asbestos Bill.

These delegates shared their considered views and gave their valuable hand
written notes so that it can be used in a credible way while strongly
recommending the need for immediate ban on asbestos to Government of India,
State Governments and the relevant ministries.

The conference was organised by Centre for Occupational Health, New Delhi
supported by Union Ministry of Labour & Employment, ESI, DGMS and DGFASL in
collaboration with Drexel University, US at Maulana Azad Medical College,
New Delhi from 22-24 March. The conference was deeply concerned about
asbestos related diseases and the alarming rise of asbestos in India.

The Round Table was organized by Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI), which
has been working for asbestos free India. BANI has been campaigning for a
asbestos free India and is assisting the Asbestos Mukti Andolan in Bihar.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, Convener, Ban Asbestos Network of India
(BANI)/Asbestos Mukti Andolan, Bihar Mb: 09818089660, 07739308480
Email:krishna2777@gmail.com <mailto:Email%3Akrishna2777@gmail.com> ,
Blog:banasbestosindia.blogspot.com <http://banasbestosindia.blogspot.com/>

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