Skip to main content

Financial MNC identifies Jaiprakash Associates among top world cos using asbestos, allegedly causing cancer

By Ashok Shrimali*
In its latest research report, “Asbestos: Assessing Exposure of Certain MSCI World Index Sectors”, Citi, the American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Manhattan, New York City, has identified eight Indian companies as consuming asbestos, a product which it says “is strongly associated with disease including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis, caused by exposure to asbestos fibers.”
Pointing out that India’s asbestos cement industry accounts for 10 per cent of worldwide asbestos consumption, it says, major listed mining companies using the product are -- in Russia (Uralasbest) and Brazil (Eternit). It adds, “Jaiprakesh and a number of smaller listed Indian companies are involved in asbestos products – mainly chrysotile in asbestos cement; and Geely (HK) in the auto sector.”
The Citi analysis says, “The Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers' Association of India (ACPMA) has a detailed website that promotes the use of chrysotile asbestos-based products. ACPMA distinguishes between the amphibole group which includes crocidolite (blue) and amosite (brown) asbestos, and the serpentine group which contains chrysotile (white) asbestos. Crocidolite tends to be regarded as the most dangerous form of asbestos.”
Pointing towards the need for analysis, Citi explains, this has been carried out “in response to interest from some Asset Owners.” It adds, “We have assessed the exposure of certain MSCI World Index sectors to current asbestos mining or production, or manufacture of products that contain asbestos. Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) index is designed to measure equity market performance in global emerging markets.”
Citi further says, “ACPMA claims that only chrysotile asbestos is now mined, and that in today’s well controlled and regulated industrial plants using only chrysotile asbestos, asbestos diseases do not occur. It also claims that chrysotile-cement is safe in use. However, many countries have banned all these forms of asbestos.” It adds, “There are a number of listed Indian companies involved in asbestos products, and most are members of ACPMA.”
The Citi analysis says, the “largest of the companies it has identified is Jaiprakash Associates Limited (JAL) an India-based diversified infrastructure conglomerate. Its businesses include: engineering and construction, power (including hydropower), cement, fertilizer, real estate, expressways, hospitality, and sports and education. The company’s FY13 annual report refers to holdings in UP Asbestos Ltd, and to sales and stocks of asbestos sheets.”
The analysis further says, “Visaka Industries lists asbestos cement as one of its businesses in its August 2013 investor update. The company’s website reports that the company is the second largest cement sheet manufacturer in India, with seven factories spread across the country, producing about 650,000 tons of corrugated cement sheets per year. It also reports that its non-asbestos fiber board and panel division was established in 2009 to cater to the needs of modern construction designs, and has a capacity of 30,000 tons of sheets per year.”
Coming to the type of use the product can be put to, the Citi says, “Asbestos has insulating and fireproofing properties. It has been used in insulation (buildings, ships, industrial plant), automotive parts (eg brakes), floor, ceiling and roofing materials, asbestos cement for building applications, and fire resistant textiles. Asbestos is strongly associated with disease including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis, caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. Crocidolite (blue) asbestos tends to be regarded as the most dangerous form of asbestos.”
Pointing out that asbestos use has been significantly reduced in recent decades, it says, “It has been banned in some developed countries, and heavily regulated in others. Arguments for continued use of chrysotile (white) asbestos include weighing up cost vs damage, possible risks with alternative products, and that focus should be on innovating to improve safety given asbestos’ useful properties. A small volume of chrysotile asbestos is still used in the US.”
Coming to the places it is uses, it says, “Asbestos products including asbestos-cement continue to be widely used in some developing countries, with significant use reported in China, India, Russia, Brazil and other Asian countries. In 2012, the main asbestos mining countries were Brazil, China, Kazakhstan and Russia. US asbestos mining ceased in 2002, though imports of chrysotile from Brazil continue. Canada ceased asbestos mining in 2011.”
The analysis adds, “Over the past three decades, asbestos production (mining) and consumption (eg manufactured products) have fallen from approaching 5 million tonnes per annum to around 2 mtpa. Mine production has virtually ceased in many countries, leaving four major producers. Over the same period, asbestos use has shifted from developed to developing countries – largely chrysotile (white) asbestos used in asbestos cement.”
Giving an overview of asbestos, Citi says, it “has insulating and fireproofing properties. It has been used in insulation, automotive parts (eg brake liners, gaskets), building products, asbestos cement and fire resistant textiles.” Pointing out that “asbestos is strongly associated with disease caused by exposure to asbestos fibers”, it adds, “In 2012, major asbestos mining countries were Russia, China, Brazil and Kazakhstan.” As for India, it just produces one per cent of world asbestos production.”
Giving the reason for the report, Citi says, “This report aims to identify listed companies that are currently involved in asbestos mining or production, or manufacture of products that contain asbestos – ie companies that are currently “introducing” asbestos into “the system”. We focused this initial study on sectors most likely to include asbestos products, where asbestos may represent a significant proportion of product value: construction materials, metals & mining, building products, and construction & engineering sectors.”
---
*A Gujarat-based social activist

Comments

john smith said…
We hear about asbestos testing and wonder why it is so important? You will even find some writers and bloggers try to convince you there are no dangers related to asbestos exposure Asbestos testing

TRENDING

JP advised RSS to give up Hindu Rashtra, disband itself: Ex-IAS officer tells Modi

Counterview Desk
Major MG Devasahayam IAS (Retd), chairman, People-First, in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of Jayprakash Narain’s (JP’s) death anniversary (October 11) has wondered whether he remembers “a patriot called Jayaprakash Narayan”. Recalling what JP thought on issues such as communalism, freedom, democracy, Hindutva etc., Devasahayam says, Modi has been been doing “the very opposite of the principles and values for which JP lived and died.”

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

UP chief secretary, DGP have 'surrendered' to political diktat: 92 retired IAS, IPS officials

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, 92 retired IAS, IFS and IPS bureaucrats, commenting on “blatant violations of the rule law” following the Hathras incident, have blamed that the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police for abjectly failing to exercise control over a “highly compromised” administration the state.

Hathras reflects Manu's mindset dominates: 'Women are false, it's in their nature to seduce'

By Parijat Ghosh, Dibyendu Chaudhuri*
The woman died and then we woke up to protest. She was alive for two weeks after the heinous incident. Many of us even didn’t notice what had happened at Hathras, how she fought during the next 15 days. Those who noticed, many of them were not sure what actually had happened. So much so, we as a nation were more busy in finding out who among the Bollywood actresses were taking drugs, who smoked weed, who had ‘inappropriate’ or more than one relationship, what kind of private conversations they had in their chat boxes and what not!

Gujarat literati flutter: State Akademi autonomy curb a Sahitya Parishad poll issue?

By Dankesh Oza*
The 115-year-old Gujarati Sahitya Parishad is in election mode. More than 3,000 life members of the Parishad are set to elect its 52nd president and 40 plus central working committee (CWC) members, which in turn will elect its executive and two vice presidents, six secretaries and a treasurer for the coming three years (from 2021 to 2023).

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur*
Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Atrocities against Dalits: Why don't MPs, MLAs from the community ever speak up?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
In Gujarat, a young Dalit activist lawyer Devji Maheshwari, belonging to the Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation (BAMSCEF) was killed in Surat, allegedly by a goon who was warning him against his Facebook posts not to speak up against Brahmanism. Facts have come to light suggesting there are other issues also which led to the murder, mostly related to land disputes, many a time ignored by activists.

Degrading conditions amidst Covid-19: Toxic ship at Alang, Gujarat, 'endangers' migrants

Counterview Desk
Evironmental activist Dr Gopal Krishna, who edits the ToxicsWatch journal, in an open letter to the chairman, Ship Breaking Scrap Committee, Union Ministry of Shipping, with copies to the joint secretary, Union Ministry of Shipping and other Government of India ministries* has said that there exists “threat to Indian maritime environment and security from viral diseases like Covid-19 from ballast water and toxic substances.”

Agricultural reform? Small farmers will be more vulnerable, corporates to 'fix' price

By Dibyendu Chaudhuri*
Agriculture employs 42% of the total work force whereas it contributes only 16% to the country’s GDP. The average annual growth rate in agriculture has remained static to 2.9% since the last six years. This means that the post-green revolution conventional agriculture has reached its peak. Responsiveness of soil fertility to fertiliser application, an indicator of stagnancy in agriculture, shows declining trend since 1970. The worst sufferer has been the small and marginal farmers who constitute 86% of total farmers.