Asbestos pushed in Asia as product for the poor

Associated Press
In this Nov. 22, 2013 photo, an old farmer holds a stick in his hand as he sits on farmland near the broken down walls of what was to be an asbestos manufacturing plant in Vaishali village, in the north Indian state of Bihar. Villagers, protesting the plant's construction, fearing asbestos fibers could blow across their wheat, rice and potato fields and into their tiny mud-and-thatch homes, pulled down the factory. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

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The executives mingled over tea and sugar cookies, and the chatter was upbeat. Their industry, they said at the conference in the Indian capital, saves lives and brings roofs, walls and pipes to some of the world's poorest people.

The industry's wonder product, though, is one whose very name evokes the opposite: asbestos. A largely outlawed scourge to the developed world, it is still going strong in the developing one, and killing tens of thousands of people each year. (AP)

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