Govt approves controlling use and import of asbestos from 2018

Sep 08, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s cabinet has approved controlling the use and import of asbestos from January 2018 by adopting more beneficial substitutes and to prepare a operational programme to prohibit asbestos related production by 2024.

“Since 1987 importation of blue asbestos (Crocidolite) has been prohibited as it was identified as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization (WHO), and at present all kinds of asbestos including white asbestos (Chrysotile) have been identified as carcinogens,” the latest statement on cabinet decisions said.

Accordingly, a proposal made by the President Maithripala Sirisena, in his capacity as the Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment, to control the use and import of asbestos and to prohibit the asbestos related productions by 2024 with the view of improving the health of public, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Asbestos is used for many products including roofing sheets, floor tiles, cement pipes, brake pads of vehicles, paper and ropes.

About 80 percent of asbestos imported to Sri Lanka is used for roofing sheet production, the statement said.