Prof. Ravindra Fernando claims that there are "no adverse health effects from the use of white Chrysotile asbestos roofing tiles in the country." Although cited as an expert by the Sri Lankan Minister of Science, Fernando's conclusions are at best terrible science and at worst an attempt to collude with asbestos industry insiders in his country. The quasi state-endorsed claims are a tragic reminder of the corporate conspiracy to cover the killer effects of asbestos that occurred decades earlier in the United States and much of the western world.
In a letter to the newspaper Dr. Aseni Wickramatillake, a health industry consultant wrote a rebuttal to Professor Fernando's article. Dr. Wickramatillake wrote that Fernando's "views go contrary to studies in the United States by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as well as internationally by the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the Internationals Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). all these institutions document that chrysotile asbestos is indeed carcinogenic and OSHA even states, as have scientists in the past, that there is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos."
Fernando also claims that chrysotile asbestos fibers don't remain in the lungs as long as amphibole asbestos fibers. While this is typically true, it is also extremely misleading because chrysotile fibers are far more likely to make its way to the pleura or lining of the lungs. The spread to the lining of the lungs and abdomen is the key distinguishing feature of mesothelioma – a particularly asgressive form of asbestos related cancer.
There ae now approximately 1.8 million homes in Sri Lanka with asbestos roofing sheets and the trend is that more and more houses are being built with the asbestos sheets rather than the clay tile from which they used to be constructed. As the asbestos industry goes through a resurgence in Sri Lanka, it's likely that the Sri Lankan citizens will continue be fed lies about the safety of asbestos products. To read Fernando's misinformed article click here and click here to read a rebuttal from a more educated Sri Lankan citizen.
The Paul Law Firm advocates for victims of asbestos-related diseases. If you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma, call the Paul Law Firm. With over 2.5 billion dollars collected for victims of asbestos exposure, we have the knowledge and the experience to fight for you. We also understand that fighting doesn't just happen in the courtroom. It also happens in a lab where we are fighting for a cure. Check out the Mesothelioma Research Foundation of America here.
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