Sri Lanka to take new steps over use of asbestos

Sri Lanka to take new steps over use of asbestos

Sri Lanka to take new steps over use of asbestos

Written by Staff Writer

09 Sep, 2016 | 12:34 pm

Sri Lanka’s cabinet has decided to control the importation and use of asbestos from January 1,  2018 with a plan of prohibiting the manufacture of asbestos-related products by 2024, a top government minister said.

All varieties of asbestos including white asbestos used in Sri Lanka have been found to be carcinogenic by the World Health Organization,” Cabinet spokesman, Minister Gayantha Karunathilake told reporters at the Cabinet press briefing on Wednesday.

The import of blue asbestos, already identified as cancerous by the WHO has been banned in the Island since 1987” Karunathilake said.

Asbestos is used in the manufacture of roof tiles, cement, pipes, and break-pads of vehicles, papers and ropes.

According to the WHO, all types of asbestos cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, cancer of the larynx and ovary.

Exposure to asbestos occurs through inhalation of fibers in the air around living and working spaces. WHO says around 125 million people in the world are exposed to asbestos at the workplace.

The government said the move to control the use of asbestos is aimed at minimising its impact on health and the environment, and to shift consumers to more beneficial substitutes.

About 80 percent of asbestos imported to Sri Lanka are used for the manufacture of roofing sheets.

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