Asbestos is a toxicant but used in Pakistan

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Asbestos produces acute health hazards. This mineral belongs to hydrous magnesium silicates which are essential components of Serpentine and Amphibole group. This group includes a variety of minerals like Chrysotile, Tremolite, Anthophyllite, Amosite, Crocidite and Actinolite. Chrysotile has the largest fibres amongst the asbestos minerals and that’s why it is important for 95% of commercially used asbestos. Developed countries have already banned its use, but the developing world is still facing the threat from this fatal dust (microfibres of asbestos). Asbestos fibres enter into the air when it releases from their source rocks. Lack of awareness about the occupational health and safety on part of miners and owners, as well as the economic constraints are main reasons for its continued use in Pakistan.
The long term exposure to asbestos also causes a serious problem in human beings. It was also found that almost 90% of patients suffering from various lung diseases were exposed to air-borne asbestos fibre somewhere, sometime in their life. Internationally, the scenario regarding use of asbestos has changed greatly. Sadly its extraction and use in Pakistan, without proper safety measures, is still continuing.
MUHAMMAD UZAIR
Islamabad