Cabinet lifts ban on usage of white asbestos for state institutions
Posted on December 20th, 2017

The Cabinet decided to lift the ban on the use of white asbestos for state institutions but will continue the full ban on blue asbestos with effect from January 1, 2018.

Government had taken a policy decision to limit import of raw material required to manufacture asbestos on September 06, 2016 which is to be implemented with effect from January 01, 2018.

Government had paid its attention on various clarifications made by the construction field and specialists.

Few members of the cabinet pointed out the difficulties faced by house constructers with this limitation as 80% of imports are done for manufacturing roofing material.

There was a long discussion on difficulty of providing substitute products to the market within a limited time.

Accordingly, the cabinet has decided to suspend its decision to ban production, use and importation of material to manufacture asbestos in Sri Lanka with effect from January 01, 2018.

The Cabinet of Ministers had previously approved a proposal to control the import and use of asbestos from January 01, 2018 and to prepare an operational programme to prohibit the asbestos related productions by the year 2024, earlier this year.

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

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.

About 80% of asbestos imported to Sri Lanka are used for roofing sheet production.

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