Asbestos Is A Carcinogen

Updated: Nov 15 2003, 05:30am hrs
With reference to the news report Asbestos cement products are safe (Nov 5), there is a concrete evidence which suggests that asbestos cement is as harmful as the cancer-causing fibre. The Chrysotile Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers Association (CACPMA) claim that raw asbestos would not come into any direct human contact during manufacture of sheets in any factory in India, and that the raw material is being fed into the system with its packing intact, is an exercise in sophistry. The demarcation between asbestos and asbestos cement products is a myth. The industry will have citizens believe that it can control wind erosion of asbestos fibres present in the cement through technology.
The Union minister of Health has stated in the Rajya Sabha on 18 August 2003, Studies by the National Institute of Occupational Health, Ahmedabad, have shown than long-term exposure to any type of asbestos can lead to development of asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. The World Health Organisation says all forms of asbestos are carcinogenic. Worldwide there is a trend towards use of asbestos-free products. Japan has banned it. Canada the worlds second biggest exporter of white asbestos (chrysotile), a class one carcinogen has acknowledged that it is promoting occupational and environmental racism. The Indian Association of Occupational Health has sought a ban on use of all forms of asbestos. Occupational health experts also called for banning the material at a meeting of the Bureau of Indian Standards called by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs in February 2003.
The Financial Express should investigate and publish a full-page report on the dangers of white asbestos in public interest.
Gopal Krishna

CCI Appointment
This refers to the news report Judge may be CCI chief (Nov 6). This government has been rapped on the knuckles by the judiciary and even the chief election commissioner more than any other in its span of office.
Subrata Datta

Skewed Sex Ratio
This refers to the falling male-female ratio in India which has even led to the purchase of brides in several states. Since many go for a third child in want of a son, the Union government may want to enforce family planning after the second child, through legislation. All governmental facilities may be withdrawn from those who have a third child.
Madhu Agrawal

Corrigendum
With reference to the edit page article Are reserves insurance enough (Nov 13), author Renu Kohli was erroneously credited as being associated with ICRIER. The error is regretted.