The Government said that asbestos is used for many products in Sri Lanka, including roofing sheets, floor tiles, cement pipes, brake pads of vehicles, papers, and ropes.
About 80% of asbestos imported to Sri Lanka are used for roofing sheet production.
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.
A proposal made by President Maithripala Sirisena, in his capacity as the Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment, to control the use and import of asbestos from 2018 by adopting more beneficial substitutes was approved by cabinet.
Cabinet also approved a proposal to prepare an operational programme to prohibit asbestos related productions by 2024 with the view of improving the health of the public, the Government said today. (Colombo Gazette)