Asbestos makers say vested groups maligning them

June 19th, 2009 - 10:54 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sanjay Singh
Hyderabad, June 19 (IANS) Fearing a ban on asbestos-based products, their manufacturers Friday said vested groups were painting asbestos as a harmful substance, and hinted that the steel industry has a role to play.

“We suspect there are vested interests. They are all out to malign our industry. The steel industry is one which is going to benefit if we are out of the business,” said Abhaya Shankar, a senior member of the Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers Association (ACPMA).

Shankar said the Rs.4,000-crore industry used a white fibre, which is not a health hazard, to make asbestos, used as roofing for low-cost houses and to manufacture pipes for water supply, sewage and drainage, packing material, and brake linings in automobiles.

“This is a proven fact. Various inspections and studies by government agencies and the health record of employees working in our industry are ample testimony to this,” he stated.

Asbestos fibre - brown and blue - causes lung cancer and the product and its mining is banned in several countries, including India.

Asbestos sheets are made with fly ash, cement, waste generated by cotton mills and white asbestos fibre. “By using fly ash, we are in another way contributing to the betterment of the environment,” Shankar said.

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