India Abroad: Experts fear Indian states may lift ban on asbestos mining

Fri, Jan 8, 2010


Experts fear Indian states may lift ban on asbestos mining

Jan 8 2010



Dr Barry Castleman, a World Bank and World Health Organization consultant, has just returned from a four-week visit to India where he urged Kerala’s Labor Minister P K Gurudasan to ban the use of asbestos as exposure to the fiber causes lung cancer.

The author of an authoritative book Asbestos: Medical and Legal Aspects, Castleman is well known in India as an activist who has been seeking a global ban on asbestos for years. In 2007, he even filed his expert opinion in the Supreme Court of India. In a telephone interview December 28, Castleman said he has the support of Dr M K Pandhe, president of the Center of Indian Trade Unions, among India’s most powerful trade bodies. On Pandhe’s advice, Castleman is now writing a report for the Kerala industry minister suggesting that since there is only one state-owned asbestos company in Kerala, it could be converted to some other fiber-based cement plant. “I should be able to submit that report very soon and I have also offered to introduce the minister to people from South Africa and elsewhere who have similarly converted their asbestos-based plants to alternative fibers like acrylic. could pave the way for a potentially huge market in India,” he said. (page 1) (page 2)

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