Asbestos Cement Products Are Safe: Mfrs Body

New Delhi, November 4 | Updated: Nov 5 2003, 05:30am hrs
The Rs 1,000-crore asbestos cement products (ACP) industry, which is embroiled over the last few years in a debate on the alleged health hazards of asbestos, is organising a seminar between November 10-11 to appraise the government and reiterate the demarcation between asbestos and ACPs.

The Chrysotile Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers Association (CACPMA) will present new studies that apparently reveal that ACPs in India use safe white fibres, as opposed to the globally banned blue fibre. Speakers from Canada, the UK and the US, who have conducted studies on white asbestos fibre, will attend the conference .

We invite anyone to come and check our production and products to conduct tests for carcinogenic substances. Asbestos cement products in India have only 8 per cent of asbestos fibre, whereas in the US ACPs used in insulation material have 70 per cent, yet it is not banned there, CACPMA chairman G Vivekanand told FE.

The conference will also appraise the ministry of commerce and industry and ministry of environment and forests of recent international developments.

The corrugate galvanised iron (CGI) sheets lobby is in direct support of banning white asbestos in India, according to him. It is a ready-made reason for them to up prices of steel if they can get a ban on white asbestos fibre.

Asbestos is imported from Canada, Brazil, Russia and Zimbabwe mainly, and attracts a customs duty of 20 per cent.

While the industry has said it produces ACPs in a controlled environment, criticism from the West and local NGOs is that no state-of-the-art technology can mitigate the carcinogenic nature of a microscopic particle.