Russian Ambassador says: Chrysotile asbestos not harmful

Russian made Chrysotile asbestos is not harmful to humans, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Sri Lanka and Maldives, Yury B. Materiy told Ceylon Today last afternoon….that it was in retaliation to Sri Lanka banning the import of Chrysotile asbestos from that country.

Materiy pointed out that not only Russian scientists, but also Sri Lankan scientists had pointed out that chrysotile asbestos is good and was not considered to be harmful.

Handing over a case study on chrysotile asbestos, done by Emeritus Professor of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Ravindra Fernando, the top diplomat said that the professor himself says it is not harmful or hazardous to health.

Professor Fernando notes , that Sri Lanka only uses the white chrysotile asbestos for roofing sheets and all around the world they use the same and it is has not been found to be a hazardous to health.

He points out that the blue and brown asbestos, under the poor worker safety conditions of the 20th century, led to the understanding that asbestos dust inhalation from these forms , over prolonged periods of time, can cause serious health concerns.

As a result brown and blue asbestos are banned globally but white chrysotile asbestos is used in over 140 countries including the USA, India and China. However, he noted that the Sri Lankan Government banned all asbestos and chrysotile was also on the list.

He also pointed out, “no bartering took place because I was told that all asbestos was to be banned by Sri Lanka in 2024. In that case how can we hold asbestos for tea?” he quipped.

“So, here again I see that totally misunderstood reports were being circulated in the media stating we banned tea because asbestos was banned.”

On the tea ban, the diplomat pointed out that a beetle being found amongst tea packs was something that should have been avoided. “The beetle can spread in no time and it is dangerous and we will have to spend millions of dollars to combat that insect if it spreads in Russia.” He noted it’s the duty of the importers to know how important it is to see that the containers are fumigated and kept insect free.

Sri Lanka was told by the Russians that they found a beetle amongst the tea packs imported by Russia, therefore Russia did not buy tea at the last auction held on 18 and 19 December.

Russia buys nearly 23% of Sri Lanka’s tea exports. The ban was lifted within a week, after series of discussions were held between the two countries. (SRM)

Courtesy : Ceylon Today

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