Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers Association has said that the chrysotile variety used in India is safe for roofing and piping.

Asbestos cement is the most -deal roofing sheets for warehouse, factory or low-cost housing, a spokesperson for the association said here.

COURT RULING

The asbestos industry had received a big boost when the Punjab High Court ruled in its favour, refusing to ban its application and use in the country, he added.

The order was delivered on February 6, 2012, by the High Court of Punjab Haryana in the Gobind Thukral and others Vs Union of India in Writ no. 21166 of 2011.

Earlier in January 2011, the Supreme Court also had refused to ban manufacturing and use of asbestos products.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found in almost two-thirds of the earth’s crust. Depending on the region, every individual breathes in about 10,000 to 15,000 asbestos fibres each day.

There is no risk in living or working under chrysotile asbestos cement roof as the fibers are bonded and completely locked-in with cement, the spokesperson said.

These products have been in use in the country for over 75 years now. They are practically ageless and maintenance-free whereas metal sheets corrode and deteriorate with age and exposure.

They are also easy-to-install, strong and durable, apart from being cost-effective for weaker sections of society.

Russia, China, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, Ukraine and other emerging nations are among largest users of asbestos cement products, the spokesperson added.

As regards claims linking materials containing asbestos with cause health hazards, he clarified that various studies by official agencies of the Government have proven otherwise.

Issues reported in the West in the past on extensive and uncontrolled usage at that time of the blue and brown varieties of asbestos, production and usage of which has since been banned all over the world.

vinson.kurian@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on May 23, 2013)
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