Asbestos has been banned in many leading industrialised countries of the world. Sadly this scourge is still accepted at the import terminals of Pakistan and India as well.

Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally-occurring minerals that are resistant to heat and corrosion. Asbestos is used in products, such as insulation for pipes (steam lines for example), floor tiles, building materials, and vehicles’ brakes and clutches.

Heavy exposures tend to occur in the construction industry and in ship repair, particularly during the removal of asbestos due to renovation, repairs, or demolition.

Workers are likely to be exposed during the manufacture of asbestos products (such as textiles, friction products, insulation, and other building materials) and during brake and clutch repair work of automobiles.

Our shipbreaking industry needs to be heavily regulated for chemical exposure while stripping down ships. Workers need to be informed to protect themselves from the fumes and dust particles in their work environment.

Asbestos workers have an increased chance of getting two major types of cancer: cancer of the lung tissue and mesothelioma, a cancer of the thin membrane that surrounds the lungs and other internal organs.

These diseases do not develop immediately following exposure to asbestos, but signs appear only after a number of years.

I request lawmakers to legislate on the lines used in the US and Europe. They should help protect the unwary and uneducated worker of this country.

ASAD JANJUA Peshawar

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