People who are exposed to asbestos in mines or factories not only risk contracting respiratory diseases but they also take the fibre home with them and unintentionally expose the family via their clothes. Children also use mines as a play area, and are contracting Asbestosis at a young age, additionally children often fall or injure themselves. Finally, the health implications often leave financial burdens on families since affected workers usually are not compensated.
Why do people still use it if it is dangerous?
The fibre is known to have properties that make it durable and fire resistant. It is known as the poor mans roofing since it is easily produced and traded making it easy for the minority world to use it as roofing for their slums. Some governments also see it as essential for development since it is cheaply made and distributed and ‘essential’ for housing.
What can be done about it?
Currently there are close to 60 countries that have banned asbestos use thanks to increased awareness of its health implications. There are many lobby groups against asbestos mines and factories in the asbestos hot spots. There is an array of networks that are often comprised of health officials, unionists environmentalists who we can lend our support to by
• Signing petitions
• Blogging about the issues (let 3things know what you think by commenting below)
• And spreading the word!
A list of some of the prominent networks, blogs and news sites are mentioned below
• Ban Asbestos India
• BanAsbestosBihar (BAB)
• Asian Ban Asbestos Network (A-BAN)
Additionally for those who can read French or just like a challenge (or you can check out the international page) to you can support Andeva, a NGO that supports victims of asbestos poisoning and has had success with many court cases against companies.
Speaking up and sharing your thoughts DOES make make a difference since these networks are built on online petitions and blogs. So check out those coalitions and show your support for the campaign against asbestos use by sharing your thoughts below.
Obviously this only touches the surface of the issues so you can delve into it deeper by checking out these other websites
Tehelka - News story/info on consumption
Toxic trade - News story
Global Ban Abestos Network- Blog and info
Interview with Ban Asbestos Network Korea - Info updates
Image: 365/201; Protesting Snowman on Capitol Square Lawn by On Task all rights reserved
Feature image: That's Right by Riekhavoc all rights reserved