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June 19, 2018

Call to ban asbestos use and import, – a reply from Chrysotile Asbestos Cement Manufacturers Association

Call to ban asbestos use and import, – a reply from Chrysotile
Asbestos Cement Manufacturers Association

Anton Edema, the coordinator of Chrysotile Asbestos Cement
Manufacturers Association of Sri Lanka in a letter referring a to the
article “Call to Ban asbestos use and Import” (Sunday Observer Feb 1)
says:

“It is regrettable to note a respectable Toxicologist without facts
or proper statistics pertain to Sri Lanka (or even India) voicing a
non-existing problem. Asbestos is a group of natural fibrous minerals
composed of silicates that exhibit particularly interesting
physiochemical properties such as flexibility and resistance to
traction, heat and chemical reactions. Because of these properties,
asbestos is used commercially and incorporated into numerous products
such as cement, asphalt, brake pads, etc. Asbestos fibres are divided in
to two large mineralogical groups: amphiboles (crocidolite, amosite,
tremolite, actiolite and anthophyllite, etc) and serpentines (which
include only CHRYSOTILE variety). Blue and Amphiboles are banned.

“Chrysotile asbestos fibre (composed mainly of magnesium and silica)
is the only variety of asbestos mined and produced now and is a great
reinforcing agent apart from having unquestionable technical
characteristics. Chrysotile variety of asbestos carries no measurable
risk to human health at exposure levels below 1 fibre / ml. This is
according to numerous epidemiological studies, some of them covering
periods of over 30 years.

“Chrysotile Asbestos in general environment; Fine fibres, invisible
to the eye, are present in the air and water in almost every region of
the globe. Hence all of us may be inhaling and also ingesting them
through drinking water every day. Some studies have shown that every
individual breathes in between 10,000 and 15,000 asbestos fibres each
day and drinks water containing between 200,000 to 2,000,000 fibres per
litre. Even developed nations such as USA and Canada have NOT banned
most of the asbestos containing materials (ACMs). USA still allows 28
ACMs.

“For more than 60 years Sri Lanka has imported Chrysotile asbestos
mainly from Canada and Russia for the use in asbestos cement roofing
sheets. It has done so following the strict control measures concerning
Safety in the use of chrysotile asbestos. During this time there has not
been a single proven case of adverse health impacts in Sri Lanka which
suggests that the risks from Chrysotile asbestos exposure are negligible
for workforce in asbestos cement industry as well as general public.”

Source article: 

Call to ban asbestos use and import, – a reply from Chrysotile Asbestos Cement Manufacturers Association