Asbestos in India

The situation in India

While over 40 countries have implemented the ban of asbestos, in India, the use of this product in increasing at a yearly rate of 9% (Castleman & Joshi, 2007). According to research, of the 125, 000 million metric tons of asbestos used in India, 100,000 million tons are imported, while the remaining 25,000 is mined in the country (Joshi, 2002).
Perhaps the most alarming factor to come in conjunction with this growth is the inadequacy in handling this dangerous material.   The average of airborne asbestos fibers has consistently been found to be higher than the limits prescribed (Castleman & Joshi, 2007) and occupational health and safety efforts are scant across the country (Joshi, 2002). In fact Castleman and Joshi (2007) suggest that the problem spreads beyond un-involvement and lack of resources, and reports the formation of associations (ACPMA – Absetos Cement Manufacturers Association) that propagate claims that asbestos usage is harmless, especially under controlled conditions.. This association is said to be collaborating with the Chyrsotile Institute in Montreal (Castleman & Joshi, 2007).
Even the Supreme Court of India showed itself to be ineffective in helping asbestos workers’ situation: 10 years after the case was brought to court, “less than 30 had been compensated for occupational disease from asbestos, out of an estimated workforce of 100,000 people exposed to asbestos in India” (Murlidhar & Kanhere, 2005). Other Indian political representatives such as the Minister for Environment and Forests have also encouraged the industry by saying that since “no scientific study establishing that the use of white asbestos causing lung cancer is available, it is not considered as desirable to ban the use of white asbestos” (Castleman & Joshi, 2007).
One study by Ramanathan and Subramanian (2001) has found that those most affected by asbestos are women who work in the milling and processing plants, and not men, who are mostly...