India’s Asbestos Time Bomb
On September 25, at simultaneous events in Amsterdam at the IMIG meeting and in India, the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat’s latest publication, India’s Asbestos Time Bomb, was presented to the world. We are pleased and proud to announce that copies are available for reading and in downloadable .pdf format on the WorldAsbestosReport.org web site at no cost. Our firm has sponsored the presentation of complimentary copies to all IMIG attendees and has been given exclusive North American rights to publish this volume online. We encourage people to read this volume. As you will see from even a brief review, this is an excellent work that cost a great deal to prepare. I am sure that IBAS would welcome contributions of any amount to help defray those costs and to support similar work in the future. Information on direct contributions can be found on the IBAS web site. For those in the United States who would prefer to make contributions in dollars, they can be sent to The Kazan, McClain, Abrams, Fernandez, Lyons, Greenwood, Oberman, Satterley & Bosl Foundation, Inc,, which will collect such contributions and forward them intact to IBAS.
This work contains articles placing India’s asbestos debate into its appropriate political context, both with respect to Indian government complicity in the asbestos scandal and with respect to the discussion about the true hazards of chrysotile asbestos. There are articles discussing the extent of exposure in India, the problems related to the ship-breaking industry, as previously discussed at length in another IBAS publication, Killing the Future, also available on WorldAsbestosReport.org in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Bangla. There are articles dealing with the hazards of asbestos cement roofing materials used in the construction of homes for India’s poor, the problems inherent in attempting to monitor asbestos exposure in a society like India, the extent of asbestos-related disease in India and the degree to which it has been unreported, the frustrating struggles of Indian workers and unions to obtain fair and efficient compensation for asbestos victims, and the scandalous history of western multinational corporations like Turner & Newall which have done massive asbestos business in India, leaving behind a legacy of death and disease.
This book is a credit to its authors and the organizations with which they work. It is a demonstration of courage and perseverance against appalling odds that this work could be done and done so well. It is also a credit to India’s great democratic traditions; one can only hope that the Indian government will be strong and responsive enough to deal with these problems for the benefit of all its citizens.