An estimated 1.3 million employees in the construction and general industry are at risk. No doubt, we are exposed to a certain level of asbestos material all the time. Asbestos, in the finished form, does not pose any health hazard. Remodelling, repair, maintenance, demolition, sale and transport combined with rough handling all can release these deadly fibres into water or air2. Inhalation of these fibres for a continuous period could be extremely dangerous. . Chrysotile, a fibrous mineral which neither burns nor rots, flexible with maximum tensile strength, extremely useful, lightweight, can create a formidable surface mixed with cementing materials, could be used as high temperature seals and gaskets, known over 2000 years, first mined in Russia, Italy and Canada. Old products, unlike today’s improved technological ones, crumbled easily under pressure and released more harmful fibres. All these fibres are non-inflammable
Asbestos is a highly emotive topic with two shrill schools of thought, one saying that asbestos should be banned. another arguing that asbestos of today would not be a killer. European Union (EU)3 and the United Kingdom (UK)4 both argue that asbestos is carcinogenic and targets multiple organs of the dust inhaler. According to their rules all types of asbestos are harmful and there is no safe level of exposure and the weight of evidence to support this is incontrovertible and historical. It is impossible to control the exposure to asbestos in workplace and hence, alternative products must be used. Asbestos should be discarded as a harmful object and should be banned, to protect public health. This risk-based approach depends on the fact that there is no identified lower exposure limit to which workers can be safely exposed.5 In spite of the overwhelming medical reports, there is little scientific research evidence to back this viewpoint and the entire exercise seems to be more of a public emotional grandstand. Asbestos is heat resistant and is used in a wide variety of industrial and domestic appliances and this makes it particularly difficult to avoid it completely. It is a mineral fibre used in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and it is also a fire-retardant. The necessity of completely stopping the usage too is questioned by many scientists.
The Canadian Chrysotile Institute