Study on Use of Environmentally Friendly Alternative Fiber Materials for Asbestos Roofing Sheets in Sri Lanka
8 Pages Posted: 14 May 2019
Date Written: February 28, 2019
International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS), 2011, reveals that all forms of asbestos pose a health hazard. According to WHO, 107,000 people die each year from asbestos related lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis mainly due to occupational exposure. As such more than 50 countries have banned the use of asbestos fiber. Therefore, it is highly justifiable that Sri Lanka should ban the use of this product and should go for an alternative product to safeguard the future of the country.
While keeping with the policy of IPCS, Sri Lanka banned blue asbestos in 1997 and allowed white asbestos to be used mainly for the production of roofing sheets. Recently, the Sri Lankan government had taken a decision to gradually reduce the import of asbestos fiber from year 2018 and to totally ban the use of asbestos in 2020. Many products that once contained asbestos are now being manufactured with natural and synthetic fibers.
The objective of this study is to find out an environmentally friendly alternative fiber material available in Sri Lanka for manufacturing of non-asbestos roofing sheets. During the study, asbestos fiber was replaced by alternative cellulose fiber materials found in Sri Lanka such as rice husk, paper pulp, coir fiber and coconut charcoal.
Breaking load, apparent density, water absorption, water permeability, visual inspection & weights of the sheets were tested for all fiber types & compared with both asbestos fiber and non –asbestos fiber standards to check the feasibility of the use of alternative asbestos fiber.
Both parameters of water permeability and visual inspection were complied with International Organization for Standardization, ISO 10904: 2011 as well as Bureau of Indian Standards, IS 14871: 2000 for all fiber types. The results of water absorption of all fiber types showed less than 25% of the dry mass and complied with Sri Lanka Standard Institution, SLS 9-2: 2001 for asbestos corrugated sheet. The weight of non-asbestos sheets was within the limit between 14 kg to 18 kg for the sheet size (1.0×0.9) m × 8.5 mm which is reasonably an acceptable weight for a roofing sheet. Test results of density of all fiber types are well within the limit of Sri Lanka Standard Institution, SLS 9-2: 2001. The breaking load of rice husk sample was 694 N/m which is compatible with International Organization for Standardization, ISO 10904: 2011 standard. The breaking load of four samples out of five samples also complied with both ISO 10904: 2011 & IS 14871: 2000.
Based on the results obtained and comparing with standards, rice husk could be considered as the best alternative fiber material in the production of roofing sheets. Paper pulp sample also marginally complied with both ISO 10904: 2011 & IS 14871: 2000.
Keywords: Asbestos fiber, Breaking load, Rice husk, Coconut charcoal, Coir fiber and Paper pulp
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