Asbestos to figure in dangerous chemicals' list

Published: Tuesday 15 April 2003

it has been proposed to include all forms of asbestos, the pesticide dinitro-ortho-cresol (dnoc) and pesticide formulation Granox tbc/Spinox t in a list of toxic chemicals that would be subject to trade controls. This recommendation was made by the Interim Chemical Review Committee (icrc) of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (pic) Procedure for certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, at its fourth meeting from March 3 to 7. The venue of the meet was Rome, Italy.

The chemicals' inclusion to the Rotterdam Convention entails trade curbs on them. The pic procedure requires the exporting countries to provide importers with information on potential health and environmental effects of the substances.

A press release of the Rotterdam Convention secretariat says that icrc's decision was triggered by a clampdown on the three chemicals in some countries. While Australia and Chile imposed a ban on asbestos, Peru took similar action in the case of dnoc and the eu placed curbs on both chemicals. The committee decided on the inclusion of Granox tbc/Spinox t-- a mixture of benomyl, thiram and carbofuran -- following a probe by the Senegal government into deaths in the country. The fatalities were reportedly caused as peanut farmers used the pesticide in a powdered form for seed treatment.

The recent move is likely to impact the us $200 million Indian asbestos industry, which mainly deals in the Chrysoltile (white asbestos) variety. Out of an estimated 1,25,000 metric tonnes (mt) of asbestos used in India, 1,00,000 mt is imported. Most of these consignments come from Russia and Canada. A recent meeting convened by the Bureau of Indian Standards to probe the various possibilities of banning white asbestos in India was a complete washout.

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