Bihar government has been issued a notice by the Environment ministry for giving permission for setting up 12 plants for manufacturing asbestos laden cement roofing sheets, in the Muzaffarnagar district. These plants that are based on Chrysotile (white asbestos) pose huge public health risk. White asbestos in any form could be carcinogenic and occupational and non-occupational exposure is associated with mesothelioma and other malignancies.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a report saying that about 125 million people are exposed to asbestos risk across the world. About 54 countries have banned the use of asbestos. In India the use of asbestos has been banned in Kerala. Mining of asbestos has been banned in India however no restrictions have been laid on its manufacturing.
Ahmedabad based National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) has been asked to study the environmental and health impacts of asbestos on the workers and those living in the vicinity. The reports are yet to be submitted.