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Vietnam’s Asbestos Frontline 2019

Mar 28, 2019

A letter by civil society groups sent recently to leading politicians addressed false statements and misinformation propagated at a 2018 pro-asbestos workshop in Vietnam’s National Assembly. The text accused organizations including the International Chrysotile Association, the Vietnam Roofing Association and others of: spreading “false and incorrect information and data about the harmful effects of white asbestos” and “creating confusion and misunderstanding about the situation and the scientific basis for… [banning] white asbestos”. Asbestos vested interests are desperate to forestall the implementation of a Prime Ministerial Order banning chrysotile asbestos roofing material by 2023 and are marshalling political and economic allies to force a government U-turn. [Read full article]

Southeast Asia Ban Asbestos Conference 2018

Sep 20, 2018

Just weeks after the South Asia Asbestos Strategy Meeting took place in Sri Lanka, 100+ delegates from Vietnam and ten other countries – eight of which are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – met at the second annual conference of the Southeast Asia Ban Asbestos Network in Hanoi, Vietnam to progress plans for achieving regional asbestos prohibitions. The conference, broadcast live on GTV multimedia channels, took place on September 13 and 14, 2018 and raised the profile of the struggle to ban asbestos in Vietnam via widespread TV coverage, newspaper articles and social media posts. Speakers lambasted the government’s continued failure to ban asbestos, blaming pressure from local and foreign vested interests. [Read full article]

Vietnam Labor Supports Ban!

Jul 25, 2017

In a press release dated July 21, 2017, the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour declared support for prohibitions on the use of asbestos by 2020. This position was adopted in the wake of a Hanoi meeting which provided the opportunity for Australian, Canadian, Japanese and Vietnamese experts to discuss the multi-faceted hazards posed by the continuing use of asbestos in Vietnam with national stakeholders, including representatives of the asbestos-cement roofing industry. Unfortunately, the participation of industry delegates was obstructive as they claimed there was “no proof chrysotile asbestos causes cancer…,” a claim which has been rejected by global experts and independent scientists. [Read full article]

Vietnam Asbestos Offensive

Nov 25, 2015

A workshop entitled “Using Chrysotile Safe (sic) and Under Control” was held in Hanoi, Vietnam on November 18, 2015. The title is a poorly translated adaptation of discredited asbestos industry rhetoric extolling the “safe use of asbestos.” The pro-asbestos stance of the speakers at the event organized by the Roofing Sheet Association was challenged by civil society representatives who have been mobilizing support for a Vietnam asbestos ban over recent years. Commenting on the failure of the lobbyists to convince delegates that asbestos could be used safely in Vietnam or elsewhere, Dr. Tuan Tran said: “the speakers’ motivation and lack of credence were obvious.” [Read full article]

“An Asbestos Free Mekong”

May 1, 2010

Following the establishment of the Vietnam–Australia Awareness and Diseases Prevention Project, delegates at a Hanoi seminar considered ways to protect occupational health in a country which continues to use vast quantities of asbestos. "In 2008, the output of asbestos production reached nearly 100 million square meters of tiles and in 2009 that output was 75 million square meters." According to a government expert: "in some enterprises, the dust volume is 11 [times] higher than standards." As a result of unsafe working conditions, there is a high incidence of chronic diseases amongst workers in asbestos-using factories in Vietnam. [Read full article]

Vietnam Initiative on Asbestos

Feb 11, 2010

On February 9, 2010, an asbestos project was launched in Hanoi by the National Institute of Labour Protection (NILP), part of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour, in collaboration with the Australian Council of Trade Unions' international humanitarian agency, Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA, and the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union. Within the NILP, a National Resource Center on Asbestos is being set up to conduct health monitoring of asbestos-exposed workforces, investigate non-asbestos roofing materials and produce training material. Vietnam is currently the 8th largest user of asbestos worldwide and the 5th largest user in Asia. [Read full article]

Major Breakthrough in Vietnam

Sep 18, 2008

Although Vietnamese spokesmen confirmed in 2004 that their Government was committed to banning asbestos, commercial pressures from asbestos stakeholders have forestalled the implementation of national prohibitions on the use of chrysotile (white) asbestos. Despite, the far-reaching influence of vested interests, a well-attended workshop on asbestos was held in Hanoi on August 12, 2008. Research presented on the feasibility of producing asbestos-free roofing materials in Vietnam was categorized as a "major breakthrough" by one observer. [Read full article]

Progress on Asbestos Transition in Vietnam

Apr 4, 2008

On March 11, 2008, a bilateral seminar was held in Hanoi during which technicians from Vietnam and Japan discussed progress on replacing asbestos in cement roofing tiles with safer alternatives. Vietnamese scientists told an audience composed of civil servants, scientists and business people about techniques to produce polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) fiber-cement roofing tiles. Responding to questions about the economics of production, one of the experts admitted that currently asbestos-free tiles cost 20-30% more than the asbestos ones but that economies of scale could eventually bring the costs down. [Read full article]