In 1986 India placed a moratorium on new asbestos mining but never banned its use, despite of two Supreme Court orders. Today, the asbestos industry in India is worth $2Billion, with huge profits being made by those still importing the product to sell to poor Indian people. Industry executives at the New Delhi asbestos conference claimed the health risks are overstated. They described their business as a form of social welfare for thousands of impoverished Indians still living in insubstantial, mud and thatch huts.
Asbestos cement sheeting is sold to poor residents for 600 rupees (£6.00), while non- asbestos alternatives are available for 800 rupees. The health costs to the nation are surely worth a lot more?