The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has been researching the global asbestos trade since 2009. As you are likely well aware, asbestos is the cancer-causing mineral that is a leading cause of mesothelioma, a devastating form of cancer. While asbestos is restricted in most industrialized nations, it is still distributed and somewhat aggressively marketed in developing countries.
In conjunction with BBC’s International News Services, the ICIJ launched an advanced documentation campaign in Brazil, Canada, China, India, Mexico, Russia and the United States to research and distribute information about the asbestos industry. In a new article published through “Dangers in the Dust: Inside the Global Asbestos Trade,” the project’s website, reporters addressed head-on the widespread use of asbestos in Indian construction and manufacturing today.
Sheets of asbestos are cost-effective for use in construction, and entire dusty factories in India are dedicated to producing this highly demanded, yet lethal time bomb of a product. Experts believe the foundation has been laid for an emerging epidemic for illnesses related to asbestos exposure, including mesothelioma and lung cancer, throughout India. The government is aware of these dangers, but it is against politicians’ best interest to interfere with a trade that provides needed materials and jobs in India’s rapidly growing economy. India now maintains the second largest asbestos market worldwide, behind China. Products containing asbestos bear no warning labels, and the lobbyists and activists fighting for change have had little success because the asbestos market legitimately serves the livelihoods of tens of thousands of residents, many of them poor.
Meanwhile, asbestos has been strictly limited or banned in 52 developed nations— its use is completely banned in the European Union. Believe it or not, the mineral is still utilized legally in the United States for the manufacture of designated products including car brakes and gun parts. For more information about asbestos exposure in consumer products and workplaces, and the ways mesothelioma develops via asbestos exposure, consider contacting a qualified mesothelioma law firm.