Stop using white-asbestos in Vietnam

Posted at: WEDnesday - 20/06/2018 12:56 - post name: Cộng tác viên

Participants at the workshop

Participants at the workshop

On May 30, 2018 in Ha Noi, the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA) has organized consultation workshop on the draft plan of “Scheme to end using white asbestos in the production of asbestos roofing from 2023” prepared by Ministry of Construction, chaired by Vice President of VUSTA, Dr. Phan Tung Mau.

Attending the workshop were representatives from the Ministry of Science and Technology; Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs; Ministry of Industry and Trade; Vietnam General Confederation of Labor; leading experts in the fields of occupational safety, health care; international organizations and mass media agencies.


Asbestos, especially white asbestos is being widely used in the production of fiber cement sheets running with an average capacity of 70.000 tons per year. Vietnam has consumed 1,750,000 tons of this toxic mineral from 1990 to 2014.



Mr. Nguyen An Luong – Honorary President of  Vietnam Occupational Safety and Health Association

According to Mr. Nguyen An Luong, Honorary president of Vietnam Occupational Safety and Health Association, the draft plan to stop using white asbestos in manufacturing roofing sheets from 2023 has been well prepared with major and essential contents. However, the draft should be thoroughly reviewed to ensure scientific, accurate and comprehensive elements because the draft has still not covered all issues and some information and data is inaccurate, lacks of objectivity and does not reflect the real situation. Examples: the draft only refers to contents and information from only one workshop organized by Ministry of Construction in December 2014 while there were several similar workshops organized by many other agencies such as Committee on Science, Technology and Environment at the National Assembly, by Ministry of Industry and Trade, Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs. VUSTA itself has organized three workshops on this topic with many scientific reports.

Mr. Nguyen An Luong recommended that the draft should be added comments and opinions from ministries, sectors and socio-political organizations and scientists to ensure cover all issues relating to white asbestos to make the draft become more comprehensive.


Mr. Pham Nguyen Ha, VN Ban’s member delivered his report

At the conference, Mr. Pham Nguyen Ha, a member of the VN BAN expressed his opinions that it is necessary to immediately stop importing white asbestos and producing corrugated asbestos cement roofing and other asbestos-based building materials in Vietnam by 2020. Additionally, Mr. Ha also suggested the draft should add a part “overview policy” in banning the use of white asbestos from 2001 to date. Mr. Ha explained further that if we last the current policy for more three years (till 2023), it means that we continue to import 90,000 tons of cancer-causing substance to Vietnam and we must confront of and deal with heavy medical burden.

At the workshop, participants agreed that white asbestos is considered as a useful input material for more than 3,000 products by its desirable physical properties, as of high elasticity and tensile strength, resistance to fire, heat, and electricity, etc. This fiber has been very widely used in the industry of manufacture of fibro cement products, electrical insulation materials, and in the field of industrial automation, aerospace engineering, ship building industry, pharmaceuticals, petroleum… However, workshop participants were concerned about white asbestos can cause cancer by inhaling or swallowing microscopic asbestos fibers thus all agreed that asbestos is extremely harmful to human health and it is urgent to propose solutions to eliminate the use of asbestos-containing materials from communities.


Dr. Phan Tung Mau – Vide President of VUSTA closing the workshop

At the end of the workshop, Dr. Phan Tung Mau – Vide President of VUSTA highly appreciated valuable contributions from scientists and managers for the draft plan and confirmed that VUSTA will gather all opinions and recommendations to send drafting board to fine tune the draft plan before submitting Government for approval.

Author: PV
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