September Conference in India 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen




Deliberate confusion is being sown by vested interests about the health hazards associated with asbestos use. To address these and other critical issues, The Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health is organizing an International Conference on asbestos on 12th September 2004 at the Auditorium in Ahilya Bai College of Nursing, Lok Nayak Hospital, New Delhi, near Delhi Gate. Stakeholders as well as experts from US, Japan, Canada, academia, and scientific institutions would be participating. Asbestos is a major public health hazard and its use should stop in India immediately.

The Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health at Lok Nayak Hospital has opposed the continued use of chrysotile asbestos in India since leading international scientists and international organizations such as the Collegium Ramazzini have appealed to ban the use of all forms of asbestos. The International Labour Organization has adopted a specific standard on asbestos (Convention No. 162) and the Supreme Court of India expressed grave concern on the way asbestos is being handled and used.

The debate over the pathogenicity of different fiber types is a long-standing one that has intensified recently as more countries have adopted policies banning the production, use, and sale of all forms of asbestos. This threat to the profitability of chrysotile producers has triggered aggressive strategies to promote the image of chrysotile asbestos as a safe substance. The picture in India with regard to asbestos use and exposure remains grim and alarming. Asbestos exposure may cause a "Disaster in Slow Motion" but is not visible as no records are maintained and enforcement remains on paper.


September 3, 2004



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