Tuesday July 23, 2019

Sri Lankan asbestos producers resist proposed ban

Nov 12, 2015 17:39 PM GMT+0530 | 2 Comment(s)

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan manufacturers of asbestos roofing sheets have urged the government not to go ahead with a proposed generic ban on all asbestos-related products, saying they are not harmful if used with proper care.

The four manufacturers that have formed the Fibre Cement Product Manufacturers Association to raise awareness of asbestos said the material was used in many countries and that alternative roofing material was more costly. 

Anton Edema, co-ordinator of the association, said there was no scientific basis for a generic ban on asbestos products.

“We use only white asbestos which, if it enters the body, is not retained and is not harmful like blue or brown asbestos,” he told a news conference.

He said there were two basic types of asbestos; amphibole and serpentine.

“We use serpentine or white asbestos – called chrysotile – which lasts only a short while in the body.

“The other type, amphibole, is cancerous and lasts longer in the body if absorbed. We have asked the World Health Organisation to make a distinction between the two.”

Priyantha Jayasinghe, marketing manager, Rhino Roofing Products Ltd., part of the St Anthony’s group, said the proposed ban had led to the spread of myths about asbestos and cause alarm among consumers and users.
The Fibre Cement Product Manufacturers Association said in a statement that local consumers have trusted fibre cement sheets that contain a small amount of chrysotile for decades due to their long lasting, durable, easy to use, affordable and tropical weather resistant qualities.

“The products manufactured locally contain 70 percent cement, 22 percent water and only 8 percent chrysotile fibres,” it said.

“The blue and brown variants are not used in Sri Lanka at any of the manufacturing plants currently supplying roofing sheets and other fibre cement based products,” it said.

“Alternative products do not carry the same capabilities as roofing sheets do and come at a much higher cost.”

The association said more research in to safe manufacturing processes, usage and recycling practices, alleged health risks and the viability of alternative products in comparison with chrysotile based fibre cement products must be carried out before any arbitrary ban.
 (Colombo/November 12 2015)



  1. Noor Nizam November 13, 06:41 AM

    The Government should not turn back on it's decision to ban asbestos or asbestos products especially products like roofing sheets which is very commonly used in house and building construction work. These companies who are manufacturing asbestos roofing sheets are importing ship loads of asbestos fibers raw materials from Canada and Russia who do NOT care what happens to our innocent people.Evidence is now available, published by a renounced research institute in Canada of the dangers of using asbestos in developing countries.The Rideau Institute of Canada situated in Ottawa is in the forefront of challenging the Canadian government of this hoodwinking the world about this product and exporting asbestos to countries like Sri Lanka. Much evidence can be found in their research report on: http://www.rideauinstitute.ca/wp content/uploads/2011/01/exportingharmweb.pdf. President Maithripala Sirisena should NOT deter in his decision to ban asbestos in Sri Lanka by end 2017. The Moratuwa University has many alternate products of roofing sheets/materials/products produced on which the industry could work further to make them commercially viable.Noor Nizam. Peace and Political Activist and Political Communication Researcher.

  2. Mary Joe November 13, 01:50 AM

    Sri Lanka is a Tropical Country and use of Asbestos will bring cancer to the people.This company can find out the possibility to manufacture Water proof Wooden sheets instead.That will be a healthy way of living.

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