In another instance of double standards, most automobile companies manufacturing in India for India fit their vehicles with parts containing asbestos, in the absence of specific guidelines against doing so, while they honour bans on the material in other countries even in vehicles made in India but meant for export.

Environmental protection agencies across the world have been campaigning for a ban on usage of asbestos in auto parts as it carries the risk of both technicians and commuters contracting fatal diseases.

The after-sales auto component market, especially brakes, clutches and brake linings, moreover, have a large proportion of asbestos.

Bishwanath Sinha, joint secretary in the ministry, says “there are no peer reviewed study reports on the subject commissioned by concerned administrative ministry or its subordinate organisation, in the government of India, based on which a tangible course of action may be taken on merit”. In other words, since there is no scientific study on the issue in India, the use of asbestos in automobile parts cannot be banned.

Studies abroad have linked exposure to asbestos with mesothelioma, a form of cancer, and the material is banned in many countries around the world.


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