Chrysotile asbestos is a natural occurring mineral that is found in almost 2/3rd of the earth’s crust. It is a renewable resource that exists in abundance.
Despite its unique qualities, this cement has become a victim of competitive cement industry controversies. It is said that materials containing asbestos cause health hazards. Damage and deterioration can lead to structural and health issues, so proper maintenance of asbestos cement building materials is a primary concern, during demolition of the building, appropriate disposal is necessary. For asbestos-cement, visible emission can easily be controlled by keeping the material adequately wet so that dust does not form. When repairing or replacing, simply spray down the material first, keep the material wet during any abrasive procedures, or use high efficiency particle arresting (HEPA) equipment.
According to EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), Chrysotile cement poses no risk to human health below 1 fiber per cc. exposure level and can be deemed hazardous only in a friable state or when it is crumbled, pulverized, or reduced to a powder by hand pressure. Depending upon the region and industrial activity, every individual breathes about 10,000-15,000 asbestos fibers each day.
Asbestos Products Manufactures Association, New Delhi refutes the false propaganda and biased news content. They consider the false propositions as baseless and driven by vested interests against a substance not only safe for the environment but also an economical roofing solution for millions of poor Indians. The Supreme Court also refused to ban the use of asbestos, in view of the overall benefits of the mineral.
Vivek Ajmera from Guwahati came out in support and shared his experience. He mentioned that factories follow strict safety standard and pointed out that if asbestos is harmful then many other substances are harmful too. Tobacco, he says is way more harmful than asbestos. He also says that the railways have been using asbestos sheets for years and his father has been working at the asbestos roofing industry for almost 60 years and till date he hasn’t heard of any health related instances.
Several studies by the Government of India & State pollution control board show that there is no excess risk with the asbestos usage. Asbestos-cement products were developed in an era of ingenuity for creating building materials. No hazard is created when asbestos cement is disposed appropriately.