Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out

The Indian Perspective - OHCOW


									   The Indian Perspective

         Dr. Tushar Kant Joshi
Director, Centre for Occupational and
    Environmental Health- India
             Deadly fibre
An asbestos mine near Udaipur, Rajasthan
•The second-most populous country with more than 1.2 billion
people, India’s extensive use of asbestos will likely have a
significant impact on the future health of the country’s
population. Experts predict a pattern similar to what
developed in the United States over the past 50 years: a
dramatic rise in the number of cases of asbestos-related

• India no longer mines asbestos, but it is the top importer of
Canadian asbestos. About 20 years ago, India handled 500,000
tons of asbestos cement roofing. Today, that number is closer
to four million tons.
    Current use of Asbestos in India
•Insulation Millboards
•Compressed Fibre Jointing
•Roof Panelling sheets
•Low Friction Bearing Materials
•Automotive Brake lining, Clutch Facings.
• Automotive/Industrial Roll Linings.
• Friction sheets
                                         Asbestos Units in India

        S. No.               State/Uts                No. Of Units                  No. of workers
   1             Andhra Pradesh                 7                         1389

   2             Assam                          2                         45

   3             Delhi                          6                         231

   4             Gujarat                        13                        739

   5             Haryana                        19                        1300

   6             Jharkhand                      2                         153

   7             Karnataka                      2                         370

   S             Kerala                         1                         200

   9             Madhya Pradesh                 11                        610

   10            Orissa                         1                         477

   11            Rajasthan                      5                         61

   12            Tamil Nadu                     S                         1677

   13            Uttar Pradesh                  11                        711

   14            West Bengal                    9                         1200

   15            Maharashtra                    24                        1338

Source: Environment Impact Assessment Guidance Manual for Asbestos Based Industries. Ministry of Environment and
                                       Forests, Govt. of India, New Delhi
According to the authentic information provided in India
Parliament the supreme body to frame constitution and rules, the
asbestos use in India has been increasing.
The quantum of Chrysotile Asbestos consumed in the country during
each of the last three years and the current year is as under

                          Indian Asbestos Consumption

         S. N.        Year         Consumption of Asbestos

         1            2008         3,00,000 tones

         2            2009         3,60,000 tones

         3            2010         4,00,000 tones

         4            2011         4,15,000 tones (approx)

        Source: Government of India, Ministry of Chemical and Fertilizers
             The Health Impact

Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive mortality
data and compensation records to show the scale of
health devastation due to asbestos exposure.

This lack of data is evident from the fact that
despite over 50 years of use and a consumption of
over 7 million tones of asbestos in the last few
decades, the Employees State Insurance Corporation
of India shows only 51 cases of compensation to
workers suffering from asbestosis, a lung disease
caused by asbestos exposure.
• Only 222 cases of mesothelioma, a rare form
  of cancer caused by asbestos in the protective
  lining of inner organs, has been registered at
  the Indian Cancer Registry, Gujarat Cancer and
  Research Institute and Tata Memorial Trust
• Despite the fact that Asbestos is dangerous,
  the Asbestos industry has been on an
  expansion spree and increasing their capacity
  and production in India. False information is
  spread about the safety and controlled use of
  Asbestos whereas it has been cited by
  agencies like WHO and ILO that safe use of
  Asbestos is not possible and there is no safe
  exposure limit. The only way to prevent
  Asbestos related disorders is to stop using
Shipbreakers at Alang, Gujarat, are constantly exposed to
asbestos poisoning

Incidence and Distribution of Mesothelioma cases in India
                    ( year 2006-2008)

                                                   Total number of cases
               STATES                              reported
    1          Bangalore                           1
    2          Bhopal                              1
    3          Chennai                             4
    4          Delhi                               0
    5          Assam                               2
    6          Gujarat                             3
    7          Kolkata                             1
               Total                               12
   Ref: National Cancer Registration Program ( Indian Council of Medical Research) : 2006-2008
  The White Asbestos (Ban on Use and Import)
                  Bill, 2009
• A private member bill to provide for a total ban on use and import
of white asbestos in the country and to promote the use of safer
and cheaper alternative to white asbestos and for matters

• Efforts to ban asbestos nationally have gone nowhere. The White
Asbestos (Ban on Use and Import) Bill, 2009 — introduced in the
Rajya Sabha (Indian Upper House of Parliament) by Hon’ble
Member of Parliament — drew flak from another influential
Member of Parliament, an industrialist and chairman of the
Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology,
Environment, and Forests. The bill is pending in the Upper House,
but observers give it little chance of passage.
   The Environment (Protection) Act
• The Environment (Protection) Act was enacted in
  1986 with the objective of providing for the
  protection and improvement of the environment.
  It empowers the Central Government to establish
  authorities [under section 3(3)] charged with the
  mandate of preventing environmental pollution
  in all its forms and to tackle specific
  environmental problems that are peculiar to
  different parts of the country. The Act was last
  amended in 1991.
• The Ministry of Labour and Employment, Govt. of
  India is the nodal ministry for labour protection
  and safety in India and has announced a new
  “National policy on Safety, Health and
  Environment at Work Place” in India in 2009. For
  prevention and control of asbestos exposure in
  manufacturing industry, The Factories Act, 1948,
  and the rules made there under have provisions
  and standards mandatory in nature. For mining of
  asbestos there is an Indian Mines Act 1952, and
  the rules that prescribes standards as well as the
  list of diseases attributable to asbestos exposure
• There are two other acts which address
  workplace asbestos exposure; The Port and
  Dock Workers Act, 1986 and Building and
  Other Construction Workers (Regulation of
  Employment and Conditions of Service) Act,
  The Employee Compensation Act,
• For workers employed in unorganized sector
  and falling victims to occupational injuries
  and diseases. The two technical agencies of
  the Union Ministry of Labour at Mumbai, and
  in Dhanbad, along with state department of
  labour are responsible for enforcing the
  labour safety regulations.
          Indian Mines Act 1952
• The Union Government today approved the
  introduction of a Bill in the Parliament to
  amend the Mines Act, 1952 (35 of 1952). The
  Bill proposes to amend and consolidate the
  law relating to regulation of condition of work
  and welfare of persons employed in mines and
  for the matter connected therewith or
  incidental thereto.
• The Mines Act, 1952 provide for the health,
  safety and well being of persons employed in
  mines. The Act regulate the working
  conditions and environment in mines with a
  view to making work more humane and to
  provide for measures to prevent accidents and
  occupational diseases and contain provision of
  some basic amenities to mine workers. It also
  prescribes a system of inspection of mines for
  enforcement of the legislation
         The Factories Act, 1948
• The Factories Act, 1948' was made applicable
  in the country mainly to regulate health,
  safety, welfare and working conditions of
  Industrial workers. It has been amended from
  time to time, but the major amendments
  were enacted in 1976 and in 1987, wherein
  emphasis has been laid on safety in general
  and chemical safety in particular. To
  strengthen safety in chemical factories.
• To look after welfare of female workers, Lady
  Inspector of Factories has also been appointed under
  the Factories Act, 1948. All Inspectors have been
  declared as Assistant Public Prosecutors for purpose
  of Factories Act
• To measure and monitor the ill effects of chemicals,
  cotton dust, Asbestos dust and Silica dust etc.,
  Industrial Hygiene Laboratory has been established
  under the Chief Inspector of Factories. It is headed
  by Dy. Director of occupational health and consists of
  Medical Inspectors of Factories, Certifying Surgeons
  and other technical staff.
              Gaps and drawbacks in
• No scientific/baseline data for the country regarding the burden of
  asbestos related diseases.
• Lack of will and commitment on the part of authorities.
• Lack of awareness among the stakeholders regarding the use of the
  asbestos, particularly good work practices, prevention and control
  measures, Use of Personal Protective Equipment, Disposal of asbestos
  Containing Waste and other issues.
• No capacity building or training has been undertaken by the respective
  central and state agencies to train the stakeholders to reduce and
  control risks arising out of asbestos use that can prevent morbidity and
  mortality substantially.
• No strict implementation of laws and Acts given by Supreme Court and
  MOEF, India.

To top