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Displaying list for Vietnam

Asbestos Profits Falling

May 3, 2024

During a meeting on April 26, 2024 of the Vietnam Roofing Association, officials of the trade association bemoaned the harsh economic climate in which they were operating, saying that increased costs of chrysotile asbestos fiber and other raw materials were impacting on their companies’ bottom lines. In the face of growing support for a national asbestos ban, the Association was progressing outreach educational work to shore up demand for asbestos-cement building materials, the use of which, speakers said, was “safe.” See: Hội nghị thường niên Hiệp hội Tấm lợp Việt Nam năm 2024 [Vietnam Roofing Association Annual Meeting 2024].

Revising the Occupational Diseases List

May 3, 2024

Proposals are being considered by the Vietnamese Government to add 35 occupational diseases to the social insurance list – amongst the new diseases under consideration are: occupational silicosis; occupational asbestos pneumoconiosis; occupational mesothelioma; occupational talc pulmonary dust disease and occupational asthma. The Ministry of Health has requested that the Department of Health Environment Management coordinate the consultation with relevant agencies in order to prepare revised guidelines for the diagnosis of occupational diseases. See: Đề xuất 35 bệnh nghề nghiệp được hưởng bảo hiểm xã hội [Proposing 35 occupational diseases entitled to social insurance].

Asbestos-Cement Roofing Decline

Apr 30, 2924

The article cited below contained an interview with Mr. Vo Quang Diem, Chairman of the Vietnam Roofing Association – a trade association representing the interests of manufacturers of roofing, including companies making products containing asbestos-cement (AC). Diem related the trials and tribulations of the Association’s members, including rising prices for raw materials, government uncertainties and fluctuating market conditions. Production of AC roofing was 18% down in 2023. Pressure is being put on the Prime Minister and the Government to rescind plans to phase out asbestos use to give certainty to industrialists so that they would invest in production facilities. See: Triển khai hiệu quả giải pháp ổn định thị trường phibro xi măng [Effectively deploy solution to stabilize the fibro cement market].

Precautionary Approach to Cancer

Mar 5, 2024

Cancer mortality is skyrocketing in Vietnam according to the article cited below. The best health outcome for cancer patients is obtained as a result of early diagnoses of disease. Amongst the 12 cohorts of people urged to take preventive action listed in the article were those who had a history of exposure to potentially carcinogenic substances, such as asbestos, benzene, arsenic, etc. For individuals “with a history of prolonged exposure, or working in toxic environments, exposed to the above chemicals,” annual check-ups were recommended. See: 12 đối tượng cần đi khám sàng lọc định kỳ ung thư [12 cohorts who need routine cancer screening].

Asbestosis: Causes and Symptoms

Jan 17, 2024

The causation of occupational pneumoconiosis was discussed in the Vietnamese article cited below which was uploaded on January 14. Among the cohorts of workers at high risk were: “people exposed to asbestos and toxic chemicals.” “Today,” wrote the author “the use of asbestos is increasing in many industries, so the number of people exposed to asbestos and the risk of disease are higher (production of tile, cement, refractory bricks, insulation, car brake pads, mining...).” Symptoms of the disease were: shortness of breath on exertion, later continuous shortness of breath, chest tightness, cough and expectoration. See: Làm nghề nào dễ mắc bệnh bụi phổi? [Which professions are prone to pneumoconiosis?].

Asbestos Hazard in Housing

Dec 18, 2023

The hazard posed by living with asbestos-containing material incorporated into Vietnamese homes was highlighted in the article cited below. The use of amphibole asbestos material was banned in Vietnam because of the risk to health; workplace and environmental exposures to amphibole asbestos can cause respiratory diseases and cancer. Products containing amphibole asbestos incorporated within buildings should be carefully removed. See: Nhận diện tác hại các hóa chất vượt chuẩn quy định Bộ Xây dựng [Identification of harmful effects of chemicals exceeding standards prescribed by the Ministry of Construction].

Asbestos Health Alert

Nov 28, 2023

During November, countries around the world mark Lung Cancer Month with initiatives to raise public awareness about lung cancer causation. The news article cited below warned that even Vietnamese citizens who did not smoke were at risk of contracting lung cancer. The text highlighted the dangers posed by working with asbestos, pointing out that occupational asbestos exposures could cause lung cancer as well as mesothelioma. The author also highlighted the risk to home renovators or DIY-ers who were exposed to asbestos during work in their homes. See: Những người này dù không hút thuốc cũng cực dễ bị ung thư phổi 'gõ cửa' [These people, even if they do not smoke, are extremely susceptible to lung cancer ‘knocking on the door’].

Protecting Workers from Toxic Exposures

Nov 27, 2023

On November 21, 2023, the Center for Disease Control of Ben Tre Province, in southern Vietnam organized a conference to improve the capacity to prevent occupational diseases. Asbestos was on the agenda as part of the discussion on the monitoring of workplaces using hazardous substances. Speakers explained mandatory requirements for occupational protections as well as the requirement to provide periodic health check-ups and medicals for at-risk workers. See: Hội Nghị Nâng Cao Năng Lực Phòng Chống Bệnh Nghề Nghiệp [Conference on capacity building for occupational disease prevention and control].

Asbestos Health Alert!

Nov 17, 2023

The article cited below contained a lengthy exposition regarding the health hazards posed by the continued use of asbestos in Vietnam. Explaining that there was a global consensus about the carcinogenic nature of all types of asbestos and that there was “no safe threshold for [exposures to] carcinogens,” the author bizarrely suggested that people concerned about toxic exposures: “use more ventilation… vacuum regularly… and avoid staying at construction sites or places with asbestos products for long periods of time. If necessary, wear a mask and take protective measures.” See: Bi kịch của amiăng: Chất gây ung thư cấp độ một, vẫn có thể được nhìn thấy ở trong ngôi nhà của bạn [The tragedy of asbestos: A first-degree carcinogen that can still be seen in your home].

Reducing Lung Cancer Risk

Oct 26, 2023

In Vietnam, medical professionals are working to reduce the number of deaths from lung cancer. The article cited below from a Vietnam news portal, warned that exposures to environmental factors such as asbestos, as well as a history of smoking, could cause lung cancer. Citizens were advised that to minimize their risk of lung cancer they should: stop smoking, avoid passive smoking and take action to prevent exposures to asbestos, arsenic, chromium, nickel and soot. Asbestos use remains legal in Vietnam with consumption between 2020 and 2022 averaging ~31,000 tonnes. See: Giảm nguy cơ ung thư phổi với 5 thói quen đơn giản sau [Reduce your risk of lung cancer with these 5 simple habits].

Asbestos-Free Green Technology

Oct 17, 2023

The article cited below was uploaded to a Vietnamese construction news portal on October 13, 2023. Although it didn’t say the text was contributed by the building products conglomerate Saint Gobain Vietnam, it certainly read as if it were. The author highlighted the increasing support by the Vietnam Government of green and sustainable technologies; the introduction of the asbestos-free product range – DURAflex fiber cement panels – by Saint Gobain, a manufacturer of asbestos-cement building material, promoted, it was claimed, Vietnam’s green building agenda. See: Vật liệu xanh – Giải pháp tối ưu cho sự phát triển bền vững [Green materials – The optimal solution for sustainable development].

Consumers Rejecting Asbestos Roofing

Oct 5, 2023

Results of a new survey undertaken in Vietnam – one of the world’s biggest asbestos consumers – show that the popularity of asbestos roofing is falling. In 2015, 58,000 tonnes of asbestos was imported; this figure fell to ~20,000 tonnes in 2019 with production of asbestos roofing decreasing from 118+ million square metres in 2015 to 28 million in 2019. The responses from people questioned suggest that the availability of safer, reasonably priced roofing material and the growing awareness of the asbestos hazard were behind the decline in consumer demand for asbestos roofing. See: Asbestos imports and roof sheet production drop 66% in Vietnam.

Builders’ Policies Bar Asbestos Claims

Sep 14, 2023

Decree No. 67/2023/ND-CP dated September 6, 2023 of the Vietnam Government mandated that the insurance liability limit for workers on construction sites be set at 100 million Vietnamese dong, or US$4162.00. There are multiple exclusions on these policies including claims related to exposure to asbestos or materials containing it. Although asbestos exemptions are not unusual, the fact that Vietnam is one of Asia’s largest asbestos consumers and that most asbestos is used in building materials is of serious concern for people working in the construction sector. See: Giới hạn trách nhiệm bảo hiểm bắt buộc với người lao động trên công trường là 100 triệu đồng/người/vụ [The limit of compulsory insurance liability for workers on a construction site is 100 million VND/person/case].

Preventing Occupational Diseases

Aug 23, 2023

The Department of Health of Hai Duong province in the North of Vietnam has launched a seven-year plan to reduce the incidence of occupationally-caused diseases, such as those experienced by people working with asbestos. The new measures, which are being introduced as the number of injured workers is rising, will include protocols for monitoring and supporting workers at risk of contracting asbestos and other occupationally-caused diseases. One of the aims of this new program is that 100% of labor establishments using asbestos will be supervised and monitored to ensure that they are operating according to regulations by 2025. See: Chăm sóc, nâng cao sức khỏe người lao động [Caring for and improving workers' health].

Asbestos Cancer Alert!

May 9, 2023

Although the Ministry of Health agrees that exposure to all types of asbestos, including chrysotile (white) asbestos, can be harmful to human health, asbestos-containing products are still being used in Vietnam by workers and the public who are, on the whole, unaware of the carcinogenic properties of asbestos. The use of these toxic materials banned in Germany, Australia, Member States of the European Union and many other developed countries remains legal in Vietnam. See: Nhiều người vẫn vô tư sử dụng một chất gây ung thư hàng ngày dù từng bị cấm ở Nhật Bản và Mỹ [Many people still carelessly use a carcinogen daily despite being banned in Japan and [restricted in] the United States].

Mesothelioma Alert

Apr 24, 2023

A medical commentary about the signature asbestos cancer mesothelioma was uploaded to a Vietnamese news portal on April 16, 2023. The text covered basic issues such as the nature, types, symptoms, causation and treatment of this aggressive cancer. Asbestos-containing products are still widely used in Vietnam; as a result, members of the public as well as workers experience occupational and non-occupational exposures that could prove fatal in years to come. See: Bạn biết gì về ung thư trung biểu mô – căn bệnh ung thư nguy hiểm nhất? [What do you know about mesothelioma – the deadliest cancer?].

Asbestos Health Warning!

Apr 3, 2023

On March 29, 2023, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health issued an alert over the asbestos hazard, warning that public complacency about the dangers to human health posed by occupational and environment asbestos exposures would almost certainly result in an increased incidence of cancer. Asbestos use is legal in Vietnam and construction, insulation and automotive products containing toxic fibers remain popular, despite the fact that the Ministry of Health confirmed that “all types of asbestos, including chrysotile, are … harmful to health.” See: Một chất gây ung thư từng bị cấm ở Nhật Bản và Hoa Kỳ, nhiều người không biết vẫn vô tư tiếp xúc hàng ngày [Many people are still carelessly exposing themselves daily to a carcinogen banned in Japan and at one time in the United States].

Govt Benefits for Asbestosis Sufferers

Mar 17, 2023

From April 1, 2023, Vietnamese citizens will be able to access government benefits for an additional 35 occupationally-caused diseases including asbestosis under Circular 02/2023/TT-BYT amending Circular 15/2016/TT-BYT regulating occupational diseases entitled to social insurance. Once employees receive an occupational disease diagnosis the advice is for them to limit toxic exposures and seek treatment, according to Ministry of Health protocols. Under the insurance regime, the injured are entitled to nursing, rehabilitation and a reassessment of their working capacity in light of their condition. See: 35 bệnh nghề nghiệp được hưởng BHXH [35 occupational diseases are entitled to social insurance].

Asbestos Controversy in Vietnam

Feb 28, 2023

A comprehensive article by Prof. Dr. Le Van Trinh, Chairman of the Vietnam Association of Science and Technology for Occupational Safety and Health and former member of the Presidium of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor, on a news portal explained the hazard posed by human exposures to asbestos. The wide range of topics discussed included: the properties and uses of asbestos; the hazards of asbestos exposures; the types of diseases caused by toxic exposures; the presence of asbestos in talc-based baby powder; types of litigation arising due to asbestos exposures and the nature and extent of Vietnam’s asbestos sector. See: Amiang, những bệnh do amiang gây ra và tình hình sử dụng ở Việt Nam hiện nay [Asbestos, diseases caused by asbestos and current use in Vietnam].

Raising Asbestos Awareness

Feb 27, 2023

On February 23, 2023, a well-attended workshop, Protecting Public Health and Creating a Safe Living Environment, was held in Bac Kan City, Vietnam. The event was organized by the Women's Union of Bac Kan Province in collaboration with APHEDA – Australia’s Union Aid Abroad – and the Vietnam Association for Occupational Safety and Health. In Bac Kan Province asbestos-cement roofing is ubiquitous and almost 90% of new roofing is made with asbestos. According to speakers at this meeting, this material poses a health risk to the workers who install it as well as to the people who live under it. See: Hội thảo: "Bảo vệ sức khỏe cộng đồng và môi trường sống an toàn [Workshop: “Protecting public health and safe living environment”].

Asbestos Health Alert

Feb 20, 2023

Although Vietnam had a policy calling for the removal of asbestos since 2014, no effective measures have been taken to achieve this objective. The fact that Vietnam imported 65,000 tons of asbestos every year exacerbated the population’s health burden due to the carcinogenic properties of asbestos. In addition to the hazards posed by new asbestos products being incorporated within the national infrastructure are the dangers posed by deteriorating asbestos material within the built and natural environment. Despite the ubiquity of these toxic products, there is a very low level of public awareness about the health hazards of human exposures to asbestos at work or at home. See: Hậu quả của việc tiếp xúc với amiăng không kém gì dioxin [The consequences of exposure to asbestos are no less than for dioxin].

Asbestos Alert!

Feb 17, 2023

An online article uploaded on February 15 to a Vietnamese news portal warned citizens of the multiple dangers posed by occupational asbestos exposures, pointing out that amongst those most at-risk were: welders, mechanics, bricklayers, welders, shipbuilders, carpenters, masons. plumbers, painters, demolition workers, drywallers, electricians, floor layers, furnace operators, enamellers, blacksmiths, insulators, glassmakers and maintenance workers. Citizens were advised that “reducing asbestos exposure is the best prevention.” See: Tìm hiểu về bệnh bụi phổi amiăng và cách phòng tránh [Learn about asbestosis and how to prevent it].

Asbestos Alert over Toxic Thermoses

Feb 16, 2023

A health alert was issued in Vietnam about the dangers posed by asbestos fibers contained in the linings of thermos flasks exported from China. As a result of research undertaken at the Institute of Research & Quality Control in Jiangsu Province, China, the Chinese government had previously warned consumers that the Chinese thermos flasks contained asbestos. Thermos use is quite high in Vietnam and good quality thermoses tend to be more expensive than Chinese exports. See: Mối nguy hại khôn lường từ bình giữ nhiệt có chứa amiăng của Trung Quốc [The incalculable danger from China's asbestos-containing thermos].

Addressing a Toxic Legacy

Feb 6, 2023

Accepting that it is not possible to completely control toxic exposures to asbestos at work and at home, the Government of Vietnam took steps to protect the population by banning the use of amphiboles (1998) and making plans to end the use of chrysotile (white) asbestos in building products. In 2020, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health identified 210 cases of mesothelioma; many cases went undetected and experts believe that that there could be 11,500 cases of mesothelioma by 2030, if action is not taken. See: Thông tin về Amiang và bệnh ung thư [Information about Asbestos and Cancer].

Understanding Pleural Cancer

Oct 31, 2022

An article by Vietnamese medical expert Dr. Nguyen Kinh Kha explained various types of pleural cancers, their symptoms, genesis of the diseases and various types of medical protocols used for diagnosing and treating patients. Under the section headed: What is lung cancer, the first cancer discussed was mesothelioma, the signature cancer associated with asbestos exposure. The first cause listed for mesothelioma was “long time direct exposure to asbestos,” a substance banned in 55+ countries around the world but still commonly used in Vietnam, especially amongst ethnic communities. See: Ung thư màng phổi: dấu hiệu, chẩn đoán và cách điều trị [Lung cancer: signs, diagnosis and treatment].

Poacher Turned Gamekeeper

Oct 31, 2022

In an ironic twist of fate, a conglomerate which had been a prolific user and promoter of asbestos building products in Europe, Latin America and around the world is now championing the use of sustainable and alternative technologies in Vietnam. For the eighth year, Saint-Gobain sponsored an award which recognized the work of property developers in Vietnam “dedicated to raising the standard of living for all walks of life, while satisfying extensive environmental friendliness criteria.” See: Saint-Gobain Việt Nam đồng hành cùng PropertyGuru Vietnam Property Awards lần thứ 8 [Saint-Gobain Vietnam accompanies the 8th PropertyGuru Vietnam Property Awards].

Ending Asbestos Use

Oct 8, 2022

In order to protect public and workers’ health, regulations are being put in place in Vietnam to strictly control and minimize the use of chrysotile (white) asbestos in building products, with a view to adopting a comprehensive ban by 2030. Throughout Asia, asbestos use is decreasing, with national bans in Japan and Korea. In China, the use of asbestos-cement boards decreased by more than 70% between 2006 and 2021. According to a government spokesperson: “In the future, our country [Vietnam] must innovate technology, use fibers that are safe for human health to replace chrysotile fibers…” See: Hướng đến phát triển vật liệu lợp “nói không” với amiăng trắng [Towards the development of roofing materials that “say no” to chrysotile].

Faster Asbestos Exports to Vietnam

Sep 3, 2022

On August 23, 2022, a new rail link was inaugurated that connected the Chinese city of Nanchang to Vietnam; as a result of this new service, the time for transport of cargo from China to Vietnam will be reduced from 20 days by sea and rail to 8 days by rail. The inaugural train on this service was used to forward 41 carriages of asbestos fiber to Vietnam that had been sent to the city of Xi'an in central China from Kazakhstan. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Kazakh asbestos exporters have been looking for new routes for cargoes which had formerly been transited via Russian ports. See: Trung Quốc khai trương chuyến tàu hàng từ Tây An sang Việt Nam [China opens freight train [link] from Xi'an to Vietnam].

Transitioning to Asbestos-Free Material

Jul 8, 2022

The article cited below about the use of green technology for construction of housing in Vietnam highlighted the long-term hazard posed by asbestos-containing building products which not only had “a direct effect on construction workers but also … a negative impact on the health of people living in the house after completion.” When inhaled, chrysotile (white) asbestos fibers “can cause serious diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis and lead to death.” Safer products are available such as PVA roofing sheets, corrugated iron sheets, plastic corrugated sheets and unbaked tiles which do not endanger health or the environment. See: Giải pháp sử dụng vật liệu an toàn cho sức khỏe khi xây nhà [Solutions to use safe materials for health when building houses].

Eradicating the Asbestos Hazard

Jun 8, 2022

A donation of US$40,000 from the NGO Habitat For Humanity International to the Phu Vang District People's Committee, Vietnam will be used to support the removal of asbestos roofing from 60 homes in the Thua Thien Hue province. The asbestos eradication program is part of ongoing efforts to improve living conditions and public health, and reduce the presence of asbestos in the Phu Vang district. See: HFHI tài trợ hơn 900 triệu đồng giúp cải thiện điều kiện sống, sức khỏe cho người dân Huế [HFHI sponsors more than 900 million VND to help improve living conditions and health for Hue people].

Clash of Ministries on Asbestos Policy

Jan 28, 2022

An attempt by Vietnam’s Ministry of Construction to rename the project currently titled “Roadmap for ending the use of chrysotile asbestos for the production of asbestos roofing by 2023” to “Strengthening the management and use of chrysotile [asbestos] in the production of building materials” has been condemned by the Ministry of Health’s Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health in Official Letter No. 16/SKNN&MT V/v on multiple grounds including the overwhelming need to protect the population from toxic exposures to chrysotile asbestos. See: Kiến nghị giữ nguyên tên Đề án “Lộ trình dừng sử dụng amiang trắng để sản xuất tấm lợp amiang” [Proposal to keep the name of the Project “Road to stop using chrysotile for the production of asbestos roofing sheets”].

Asbestos Alert!

Jan 19, 2022

An article on a Vietnamese news portal highlighted the deadly danger posed by the popularity of asbestos-cement roofing material, exposure to which can cause a variety of cancers and diseases. The majority of the asbestos fiber used in the manufacture of 80 million m2 of asbestos-cement roofing products in Vietnam every year comes from Russia. Medical and scientific experts are working in Vietnam to raise awareness of the availability of safer products and encourage consumers, especially lower income customers, to abandon toxic roofing. See: Chất Amiăng trong tấm lợp Fibro xi măng là “kẻ thù” gây hàng loạt ung thư nguy hiểm [Asbestos in Fibro-cement roofing is an “enemy” that causes a series of dangerous cancers].

Phasing out Asbestos Use

Jan 5, 2022

A case study from the Tri Le commune in Vietnam’s Que Phong district was discussed in the article cited below which also recapped the health warnings given at a December 2021 asbestos awareness conference. The experience of the Thi Phuc family was related as an example of how disadvantaged people in the country’s mountainous areas might better safeguard their families’ well-being by replacing toxic asbestos-cement roofing tiles with environmentally friendly alternatives such as iron roofing sheets. See: Quế Phong, Nghệ An: Bỏ tấm lợp Fibro xi măng có nguy cơ nhiễm amiăng sang lợp mái tôn [Que Phong, Nghe An: Replacing the use of toxic asbestos-cement roofing sheets with corrugated iron roofs].

Asbestos Alert in Vietnam

Jan 4, 2022

Vietnamese civil society groups in collaboration with Australian experts held a workshop on December 27, 2021 in the Que Phong district of Nghe An Province to raise awareness about the asbestos health hazard. The speakers detailed the consequences of occupational as well as environmental exposures to asbestos-containing roofing material, which remains a common choice for lower income families in some parts of the country. Calls for tax incentives to support the use of asbestos-free products were made. See: Tập huấn 'Nâng cao nhận thức về tác hại của amiăng đến sức khỏe đồng bào dân tộc thiểu số [Training on ‘Raising awareness about the harmful effects of asbestos on the health of ethnic minorities’].

Banning Asbestos Use in Vietnam

Nov 24, 2021

A commentary by Associate Professor Dr. Bui Thi An, Director of the Institute of Natural Resources, cited below, elucidated the efforts of civil society activists, trade unionists, medical and scientific experts and politicians to protect Vietnamese people from toxic exposures to asbestos. As per a request by the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Construction drafted a Roadmap to End the Use of Chrysotile Asbestos by 2023 and a National Action Plan to Eliminate Asbestos-Related Diseases. Unfortunately, it looks like asbestos vested interests were able to forestall implementation of these protocols and so prolong the use of asbestos-containing construction material in Vietnam for the foreseeable future. See: Quá trình vận động dừng sử dụng Amiăng trắng ở Việt Nam [Campaign to stop the use of chrysotile in Vietnam].

Asbestos Awareness Cooperative Project

Nov 17, 2021

On the morning of November 10, 2021 a signing ceremony took place, in Hanoi, of a Memorandum of Understanding by Australia’s Union Aid Abroad (APHEDA) and Vietnamese Groups: the Association for the Support of Mountainous Economic Development and the Human Rights Research Center in mountainous areas. The signatories pledged to cooperate on a project to raise awareness about the asbestos health hazard to ethnic minorities including people who live in the country’s mountainous region where asbestos roofing remains a popular choice for many householders. See: Lễ ký kết thỏa thuận hợp tác nâng cao nhận thức về mối nguy hại của amiăng [Signing ceremony of cooperation agreement to raise awareness about the dangers of asbestos].

Toxic Railway Imports into Vietnam

Oct 25, 2021

On October 24, 2021, an article was uploaded to a Vietnam news portal which raised the alert over the donation by Japan of 37 forty-year old railway carriages which could contain products made with asbestos. Although the Japanese carriages were more modern than the ones currently used in Vietnam, experts warned of environmental, health and economic issues posed by putting into service carriages known to be contaminated. If a specialist company in Vietnam were to remove the asbestos material, there is no service licensed to handle hazardous asbestos waste in Vietnam. See: Vụ 37 toa tàu Nhật Bản tặng, cần xem xét cẩn trọng vật liệu sản xuất [The case of 37 carriages donated by Japan, need to carefully consider production materials].

Alert over Asbestos Use in Vietnam

Oct 12, 2021

The article cited below appeared on October 9, 2021 on a Vietnamese website and warned of the dangers posed by the continued use of a class 1 carcinogen in Vietnam. With a latency period measured in decades and the widespread presence of asbestos-containing material throughout the country, workers and consumers remain at risk of toxic exposures on a daily basis. Diseases linked with exposure to asbestos include several types of cancer. See: Bị hơn 60 quốc gia cấm, loại “chất độc” gây ung thư mà WHO khuyến cáo hóa ra đang rình rập ngay trong những đồ vật quen thuộc nhà bạn [Banned by more than 60 countries, the “poison” that the WHO tells us causes cancer turns out to be lurking within familiar objects].

Progress in Banning Asbestos: Update

Oct 12, 2021

Despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in Vietnam, there has been substantial progress made by ban asbestos campaigners with a 50% drop in asbestos fiber imports in the last two years. The fall in imports has been due to increasing awareness of the asbestos hazard which has resulted from actions undertaken by the Vietnam OSH Association, the Institute for Resources, Environment and Community Development and their Vietnamese partners working in collaboration with the Australian organization Union Aid Abroad, the German Catholic Bishops’ Organization for Development Cooperation, the Asian Ban Asbestos Network and others. See: Vietnam Eliminating Asbestos Disease Campaign Update.

Asbestos Alert

Jun 1, 2021

Highlighting the asbestos hazard in Vietnam, the author of the article cited below stated: “Asbestos is a toxic and dangerous mineral. Asbestos in all natural forms, including chrysotile asbestos, is a substance with proven carcinogenic activity in animals and humans…” Explaining the uses and hazards of this class 1 carcinogen, the author warned about the need for toxic exposures to be prevented: “When asbestos-containing material is damaged, activities around it should be kept to a minimum. Take all precautions to avoid damage to the asbestos material.” See: Cách an toàn khi chung sống với vật liệu chứa amiăng [How to be safe when living with asbestos-containing materials].

Protecting Minors from the Asbestos Hazard

Mar 5, 2021

On March 15, 2021, Vietnamese Circular 09/2020 / TT-BLDTBXH updating the Labor Code on young workers will come into effect. The new guidelines – which are designed to protect people under 18 from detrimental exposures that could affect their physical, mental and personality development – bans minors from employment in hazardous workplaces, including those at which asbestos is handled or processed. See: 6 nơi làm việc gây hại cho sự phát triển của người dưới 18 tuổi [6 workplaces that are detrimental to the development of people under the age of 18].

Progress: Ending Investment in Asbestos

Feb 24, 2021

The text of a Decree adopted earlier this month (February 2021) by the Government of Vietnam can be accessed at the online link noted below. While the bulk of the text related to improving the quality of materials and practices for the construction industry, key provisions will adversely impact on the functioning of the country’s asbestos sector. The Prime Minister stipulated plans to transition from asbestos-based to asbestos-free technology, and encouraged the limitation of investment in the expansion of the asbestos industry. In addition, the Decree lowered permissible levels of occupational asbestos exposures. See: Nghị định 09/2021/NĐ-CP về quản lý vật liệu xây dựng [Decree 09/2021 / ND-CP on management of building materials].

Decree Introduces Asbestos Restrictions

Feb 23, 2021

An article from a Vietnamese website detailed the release by the Government of Decree 09/2021/ND-CP on the management of building materials. Under provisions which regulated the use and quality of construction materials, the Decree introduced new mandatory provisions phasing-out the use of chrysotile (white) asbestos for roofing and tightening occupational asbestos exposure levels. In addition, new measures will be implemented that could affect the asbestos industrial sector, such as controls on the reuse and dumping of toxic waste. The Prime Minister stipulated that a roadmap to limit new investment and prevent expansion of asbestos roofing manufacturing be developed. See: Quy định về chất lượng vật liệu xây dựng [Regulations on quality of building materials].

Progress: Asbestos Update

Feb 22, 2021

Decree No. 09/2021 / ND-CP On building materials management was issued on February 9, 2021 by the Government of Vietnam. The Decree encouraged “the use of fibers to replace asbestos in roofing production” and – by an order of the Prime Minister – stipulated that “a roadmap to limit new investment or expand asbestos roofing manufacturing facilities” be developed. As the vast majority of asbestos fiber imported to Vietnam is used for the manufacture of asbestos roofing, this decree is a clear indication of the Government’s intention to end asbestos use in the near future. See: Tăng cường quản lý chất lượng vật liệu xây dựng [Strengthen quality management of building materials].

Raising Asbestos Awareness

Nov 24, 2020

Efforts continue in Vietnam to address low levels of asbestos awareness via outreach projects and information sessions such as one held on November 20 in Bac Kan province, in the northeast of the country. The event was organized by the Institute of Natural Resources, Environment and Community Development in coordination with the Committee for Ethnic Minorities of Bac Kan province; it was entitled: Include Chrysotile [Asbestos] on the List of Hazardous Waste Materials and Require Warning Labels on Asbestos-containing Products. Having delineated the ubiquity and toxicity of asbestos-containing material, speakers proposed that delegates be proactive in preventing toxic exposures and not use or reuse any asbestos material. See: Đưa Amiăng trắng vào danh sách chất độc hại [Put chrysotile on the list of toxic substances].

Asbestos at Home!

Nov 13, 2020

An article documenting the prevalence of asbestos in everyday items highlighted the hazard posed to people in Vietnam of domestic exposures to products as diverse as roofing sheets, water pipes, cement, flooring, insulation, water tanks and thermos flasks. The author reviewed findings by the World Health Organization regarding the carcinogenicity of asbestos and reiterated the advice that “the most effective way to prevent these diseases is to stop using all forms of asbestos to prevent exposure.” See: Chất độc mà WHO xếp đầu danh sách những chất gây ung thư nội tạng, hóa ra luôn hiện diện ở những vật dụng quen thuộc trong ngôi nhà bạn [The poison that WHO ranks at the top of the list of carcinogens turns out to be always present in familiar objects in your home].

Mobilization on Asbestos Hazard

Nov 10, 2020

Work to protect people in Vietnam from the asbestos hazard continued this month with a workshop on November 6 in Lang Son city entitled: Include Chrysotile (Asbestos) on the List of Hazardous Waste Materials and Require Warning Labels on Asbestos-containing Products. The event was organized by the Institute of Natural Resources, Environment and Community Development in collaboration with the Committee for Ethnic Minorities of Lang Son province. Vietnam currently imports 60,000 tonnes of asbestos per year; the vast majority of asbestos roofing sheets made in Vietnam are used in mountainous areas inhabited by ethnic minorities. See: Vận động đưa Amiăng trắng vào danh sách chất thải độc hại [Advocacy to put chrysotile on the list of hazardous waste].

Deadly Asbestos Legacy

Sep 16, 2020

A recent feature article considers the nature of asbestos, its properties, uses and the dangers it continues to pose to people in Vietnam, a country where the consumption of chrysotile (white) asbestos remains legal. While acknowledging the serious consequences of exposure to the “silent killer” and the widespread failure to enforce health and safety protection for at-risk workers, the author highlighted multiple issues relating to the disposal of asbestos-contaminated waste and criticized current legislation and guidelines as too lax and confused to prevent toxic exposures. See: Cần loại bỏ có hệ thống và xử lý an toàn các sản phẩm chứa amiang [Products containing asbestos should be systematically disposed of and safely disposed of].

Calls for Asbestos Ban

Sep 14, 2020

In a recent statement, Prof. Dr. Le Van Trinh – Chairman of the Vietnam Association for Occupational Safety and Hygiene – warned about the serious health hazard posed by the laxity of the current regime dealing with the disposal of asbestos-containing waste. As a result of inadequate government policies, the production, use, demolition and dumping of billions of square meters of asbestos-containing roofing sheets have caused widespread environmental contamination. Vietnam is one of the world’s largest asbestos users, importing 60,000 tons of asbestos fiber per year, according to government data. See: Cần loại bỏ các sản phẩm có chứa amiăng [Products containing asbestos should be eliminated].

Vietnam’s Asbestos Legacy

Aug 13, 2020

A Vietnamese article uploaded on August 11, 2020 which contained a warning about the hazard posed by exposure to asbestos-cement material featured the tragic story of 49 year-old Ms Quang Ninh now suffering from the signature asbestos cancer, mesothelioma. According to Dr. Nguyen Duc Hoanh – Head of Surgery in the Cardiology and Chest Intervention Department of Uong Bi Hospital – pleural mesothelioma is a fatal disease with a long latency period. The best way to avoid contracting mesothelioma is to avoid contact with asbestos-containing materials at work and at home. When contact is unavoidable protective equipment must be used. See: Hạn chế tiếp xúc với các vật liệu chứa amiăng [Limit contact with asbestos-containing materials].

Asbestos Alert

Jul 31, 2020

A feature article in a Vietnam news outlet last Sunday (July 26, 2020), highlighted the occupational and public health hazard posed by exposure to asbestos in Vietnam, stating that: “The cancer rate of workers exposed to asbestos was 1.8 times higher than that of non-exposed workers.” Citing copious medical evidence and scientific findings about the human health hazard posed by asbestos exposures, the author of this article pointed out the risk posed to people living near asbestos-processing factories. Unfortunately, misinformation is also included in the text which alleged that asbestos when incorporated into asbestos-cement was not “harmful.” See: Nguy cơ chết người từ bụi khí amiăng [Deadly risk from asbestos].

Another type of asbestos-free brakes!

Jun 1, 2020

Environmentally friendly motorcycle brake pads using coffee grinds have been pioneered by an entrepreneur in Vietnam: Mr. Nguyen Thai Son – Director of Nam Khanh Brake Joint Stock Company. “Using this material not only recycles coffee grounds, but also helps create a unique aroma for each product,” he said. The Institute of Building Materials (Ministry of Construction) has certified this product asbestos-free. The company plans to promote sales in Vietnam and abroad targeting markets in Thailand and Cambodia. See: á phanh xe được làm từ ... bã cà phê [Brake pads made from ... coffee grounds].

Asbestos and Lung Cancer

May 21, 2020

A feature article in the May 10 Sunday issue of a popular Vietnamese online newspaper highlighted the lung cancer risk posed by asbestos exposures stating that: “People working in the construction and repair industry of cars are at the highest risk of asbestos exposure because this material has been used in buildings and automobile manufacturing industry.” In recent years, intense pressure has been brought to bear by asbestos lobbyists on the government to forestall efforts to implement restrictions and prohibitions on asbestos use in Vietnam (Vietnam’s Asbestos Frontline 2019). See: 7 nguy cơ gây ung thư phổi [7 risks for lung cancer].

Toxic Talc

Feb 13, 2020

An online article by a Vietnamese medical consultant discussed the controversy over the use of talcum powder in cosmetic products due to findings that the talc could contain asbestos fibers. Exposure to asbestos can cause various cancers including lung cancer and ovarian cancer. Having considered information from different sources and explained research findings, the author concluded that: “you should still be cautious about using products containing this ingredient. Ideally, you should avoid products containing talc containing asbestos.” See: Bạn có nên hạn chế dùng bột talc để phòng ngừa ung thư? [Should you limit the use of talcum powder to prevent cancer?].

Asbestos Outreach Workshop

Jan 10, 2020

On January 8, 2020 a workshop entitled “The Environment and Health: Toxicity of Chrysotile (Asbestos) in Fibro Cement Roofing” was held at the Institute of Natural Resources, Environment and Community Development in Hanoi. The objective of this event was to provide updated and independent information regarding the hazard posed by the use of asbestos – a substance not yet banned in Vietnam – to inform the national asbestos dialogue and help progress ongoing efforts to implement a national asbestos ban. Although Vietnam has developed a roadmap to cease asbestos use by 2023, lobbyists are trying to derail efforts to protect the population from avoidable toxic exposures. See: Bàn giải pháp ngừng sử dụng Amiăng trắng ở Việt Nam [Table of solutions to stop using chrysotile in Vietnam].

Asbestos Documentary: Top Prize

Dec 16, 2019

Last weekend, a documentary entitled: “Chrysotile causes cancer in humans” by VTV 1 – the first channel launched by Vietnam Television in 1970 – won the top award at the government backed 39th National Film and TV Awards for best TV/Film documentary. The film featured interviews with ban asbestos campaigners including leaders of the Vietnam Ban Asbestos Network as well as as with asbestos industry representatives. Following the broadcast, film-maker Mr Pham Xuan Hung had been attacked by the industry lobby which is pressurizing the government to forestall planned action on the asbestos hazard. See: Phim tài liệu khoa học: Amiang trắng và sự lựa chọn [Scientific documentary: White asbestos and the choice].

Chrysotile Asbestos: Killer Fiber

Dec 16, 2019

A feature article commenting on a report by Reuters into the toxic talc scandal over asbestos found in Johnson & Johnson baby powder included statements from Vietnamese experts indicting all asbestos, including chrysotile (white) asbestos, as carcinogenic. The experts interviewed were Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Hong Con from Hanoi University of Natural Sciences and Prof. Dr. Nguyen Ba Duc, former Director of K Hospital, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Cancer Society, who highlighted the hazard posed by the continuing use of asbestos-containing roofing sheets in Vietnam. See: Amiăng thuộc nhóm một các chất gây ung thư cho người [Asbestos belongs to a group of carcinogens for humans].

Asbestos Industry Attack

Oct 18, 2019

Asbestos vested interests, suffering from a fall in demand for their products, have embarked on a media offensive condemning the Vietnam Government’s plans to ban the use of asbestos-cement roofing. It is alleged that the government’s position was based on lies told to various agencies including the National Assembly's Committee for Science, Technology and Environment. Quotes from people working in asbestos-cement factories and consumers are cited in support of the calls by the industry for a U-turn on the asbestos ban. See: Không để thông tin thái quá về tấm lợp fibro xi măng gây hoang mang dư luận [Do not let outrageous information about fibro cement roofing sheets confuse public opinion].

Ban Asbestos Dialogue: Update

Oct 12, 2019

The introduction of a roadmap to phase-out asbestos use in Vietnam has led to an increase in lobbying to maintain the status quo, even though a drop in asbestos usage indicated a fall in consumer demand. The article referenced below rehashes complaints that alternative products were expensive and there was no data substantiating the existence of a national asbestos epidemic. Nevertheless, the author reported that the Ministry of Science and Technology (MST) had directed the Ministry of Industry and Trade to accelerate research into asbestos-free materials. The MST also planned to collaborate closely with other Ministries to find affordable and safer solutions. See: Thiếu thị trường cho sản phẩm vật liệu không amiăng [Lack of (current) market for non-asbestos products].

Vietnam’s “Cancer Village”

Oct 7 2019

An investigation by government authorities failed to establish the reason for the elevated incidence of cancer in Tho Vi village, Thanh Hoa province. The small hamlet of 1,700 people has now joined the list of top ten villages in the country with the most cancer patients. In some households, multiple family members have died. Having monitored the situation for a number of years local man Mr Tran Minh Han was firmly convinced that the cause of the cancer spike was asbestos-contaminated water; asbestos fibers from a nearby derelict quarry were believed to have gotten into the water and debris from the mine was often used in building projects by villagers. See: Nỗi ám ảnh amiăng của người dân “làng ung thư” (Kỳ 1) [Asbestos obsession of "cancer village" people (Part 1)].

Toxic Thermos Flasks: Made in China

Sep 30, 2019

Last week, new tests results were released in Vietnam documenting asbestos contamination of thermos flasks made in China. According to the Research and Quality Accreditation Institute in Jiangsu Province, China, the thermoses tested contained asbestos. Commenting on these results, Vietnamese asbestos expert Dr. Tran Tuan said: “Asbestos-related diseases are preventable, and the most effective way to prevent them is to stop using all forms of asbestos to prevent exposure.” The Chinese government issued a warning to consumers about the toxic products. See: Amiăng trong bình giữ nhiệt xuất xứ từ Trung Quốc có thể gây ung thư và phá hủy nội tạng [Asbestos in Chinese-made thermos can cause cancer and organ damage].

Asbestos Industry Offensive

Sep 23, 2019

An article which bemoaned the current commercial plight of the asbestos industry in Vietnam claimed that decreasing sales were due to unsubstantiated fears about the effects of human exposures to chrysotile (white) asbestos-containing cement roofing. According to the author of this biased text, no cases of mesothelioma have been recorded from occupational or environmental exposure to chrysotile fibers in cement roofing. Information provided by and demands for government action made by the Vietnam Roofing Association – a trade association representing asbestos vested interests – were detailed. See: Doanh nghiệp "thoi thóp" chờ quyết sách về Fibro ximăng [Business community waiting for a decision about Fibro cement].

Toxic Talc

Jul 26, 2019

An online article on a Vietnam news portal highlighted the hazard posed by using Johnson & Johnson’s asbestos-contaminated baby powder and included details of research conducted in the United States regarding the risk to consumers as well as the increase in litigation by users whose cancers were alleged to have been caused by daily use of the powder. The author questioned how such a trusted company could have failed to address the situation and warned consumers that it was their responsibility to carefully choose which brands to use. See: Trong sản phẩm Johnson Baby có chứa Amiăng – kẻ giết người thầm lặng [Johnson Baby product contains asbestos - silent killer].

Phasing Out Asbestos Roofs

Jul 19, 2019

Since the beginning of 2019, efforts to change roofing consumption preferences in rural and mountainous areas of Vietnam, such as Mai Chau, Hang Kia and Pa Co, from asbestos to alternative products have been ongoing, spear-headed by the Farmers’ Association, the Provincial Committee for Ethnic Minorities in Hang Kia and Pa Co areas and (Australia’s) Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA via seminars and outreach initiatives to raise awareness of the health risks posed by asbestos. The Vietnamese Government pledged to stop using chrysotile asbestos roofing sheets from 2023. See: Vào cuộc thay đổi hành vi ngừng sử dụng Amiăng trắng [Changing consumers’ preferences for chrysotile asbestos].

Asbestos Substitutes

Jul 8, 2019

An article highlighting the popularity of asbestos roofing in Vietnam’s rural areas examines efforts to spread awareness of the hazards posed by human exposures to asbestos – quoting WHO data and Vietnamese technical experts – and the increasing availability and price differential of safer alternatives such as non-toxic polymer plastic fiber materials. The serious health hazard posed by the ingestion of rainwater collected from asbestos-cement roofs is discussed. See: Vật liệu thay thế amiăng [Asbestos replacement materials].

Industry Propaganda Offensive

Jul 2, 2019

The Vietnam Roofing Association, an asbestos lobbying association, has engaged in a media blitz, bombarding news outlets with “proof” that: chrysotile asbestos can be used safely in Vietnam since once incorporated into a cement matrix asbestos fibers cannot be liberated and no one in the country has died from exposures to chrysotile (white) asbestos. The purpose of this initiative was to delay government plans to outlaw the production and use of chrysotile-containing roofing sheets by 2023 as per the country’s asbestos roadmap. Interviews with Vietnamese experts supporting the asbestos ban are featured in the following article. See: Amiăng trắng - hại hay không? [Is chrysotile harmful or not?].

Asbestos and Lung Cancer

Jun 26, 2019

A medical commentary on a Vietnam website stated that a third of all cancer deaths in the country were due to lung cancer; while the incidence of male lung cancer mortality was decreasing, the incidence for females was increasing. The symptoms, types and available treatments for different forms of lung cancer were discussed and the role of smoking and passive smoking in the causation of the disease were examined. The author wrote that: “Exposure to asbestos also increases the risk of lung cancer, especially among smokers (3 times higher risk than just smoking).” See: Ung thư phổi-Nguy cơ mắc bệnh cao [Lung cancer - High risk of disease].

Raising Asbestos Awareness

Jun 12, 2019

Efforts to protect Vietnamese citizens from toxic exposure to asbestos remain ongoing. Researchers have concluded that as 95% of asbestos-containing roofing sheets are currently being used by ethnic minority groups in mountainous areas, steps must be taken in these areas to raise awareness of the human health hazard posed by asbestos exposures and the existence of safer alternative products. Such an initiative has been launched by the IRECO Institute in collaboration with community groups in Hoa Binh and Son La Provinces in Northern Vietnam. See: Ngăn ngừa amiăng trắng vì sức khỏe cộng đồng [Preventing (exposure to) chrysotile for public health].

Occupational Asbestos Hazard

Jun 7, 2019

A Vietnamese e-magazine website featured an article on June 3, 2019 which highlighted the elevated risk of contracting asbestos-related cancers experienced by construction industry and automotive sector workers such as mechanics who were often exposed to asbestos at work. The battle to ban asbestos in Vietnam continues with civil society groups calling for the cessation of imports and use and pro-asbestos lobbyists from Vietnam and abroad opposing any and all changes to the status quo. See: 10 nghề nghiệp có nguy cơ bị ung thư cao [10 careers have a high risk of cancer].

Raising Asbestos Awareness

May 20, 2019

Speakers at a conference about “Asbestos and Community Health” which was held in Hanoi, Vietnam on May 16, 2019 highlighted the public health hazard posed by the country’s widespread and largely unregulated use of asbestos-containing products – especially roofing tiles and sheeting. The risk to ethnic minority populations living in remote mountainous areas was discussed. In 2018, the Prime Minister committed his Government to stop using asbestos roofing by 2023 and replace it with safer alternatives, some of which were discussed. See: Sớm loại bỏ amiăng trắng gây hại cho sức khỏe cộng đồng [Unregulated removal of chrysotile is harmful to public health].

Raising Asbestos Awareness

May 16, 2019

A workshop “Raising awareness of the harmful effects of chrysotile asbestos and asbestos-related diseases” was recently held in Cao Bang, a mountainous province in northeast Vietnam, home to many ethnic hill tribes; 95% of asbestos-containing roofing sheets are used in regions of Vietnam which are home to ethnic minorities. This event was a joint initiative of the Institute of Natural Resources, Environment and Community Development, the Action for Justice, Environment and Health Group and the Committee for Ethnic Minorities. On January 1, 2018, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc indicated that Vietnam would ban the use of this roofing by 2023. See: Cùng lên tiếng để bảo vệ sức khỏe cộng đồng [Together speak up to protect public health].

Asbestos Truth and Consequences

May 7, 2019

An article uploaded on May 1, 2019 discussed evidence given by Vietnamese medical experts about the deadly health hazards posed to workers and members of the public who are exposed to asbestos-containing products which remain widely used and popular especially amongst poorer citizens. The World Health Organization’s Chief Representative in Vietnam Kidong Park recently reaffirmed that asbestos is one of the most serious causes of occupational cancer and that Vietnam is still one of the world’s largest users. See: Amiăng: Bụi siêu nhỏ, sắc như thuỷ tinh hít vào sẽ “cắt” vào phổi gây tổn thương, ung thư [Asbestos: Super small dust, sharp as inhaled glass will “cut” into the lungs, causing damage and cancer].

Banning Asbestos in Vietnam

Apr 5, 2019

A feature uploaded to the online Australian publication Mirage News highlighted the work of Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA – in raising the profile of asbestos issues throughout Asia and working with grassroots groups to counter pro-asbestos disinformation, spread knowledge about safer alternatives and share independent, state-of-the-art information about scientific and medical research. The article discussed specific measures implemented in Vietnam to build support for government plans to ban the use of asbestos-cement roofing by 2023; 90% of asbestos consumed in Vietnam goes into the making of roofing sheets. See: Eradicating Asbestos in Vietnam.

Asbestos and Public Health

Jan 28, 2019

On January 22, 2019, delegates from communes in Mai Chau – a rural district of Hòa Bình Province in Northwest Vietnam – took part in activities to raise awareness about the public health asbestos hazard pursuant to plans for banning imports of chrysotile asbestos by 2023. The workshop was organized by the Provincial Farmers’ Association and Australia’s Union Aid Abroad; addressing the meeting were members of the local community as well as scientists from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Science and Technology and the Center for Communication Development. See: Truyền thông nâng cao nhận thức về amiăng trắng tới sức khỏe cộng đồng [Communication to raise the awareness of chrysotile (asbestos risk) to public health].

Asbestos Fight-Back

Nov 13, 2018

Efforts continue to derail plans to ban chrysotile asbestos roofing products in Vietnam by 2023, as shown by industry and government submissions to a November 3, 2018 asbestos hearing of the National Assembly Committee on Science, Technology and Environment. Standard industry rhetoric calling for more data to prove occupational asbestos exposures caused disease and death was wielded by vested interests. A spokeswoman for Vietnam Red Cross seemed to support objections to the ban asking why Vietnam was banning chrysotile asbestos when lead and mercury remained in use. See: Roadmap to cease the use of chrysotile – Many unresolved issues.

Vietnam Asbestos Ban

Oct 26, 2018

A report on the website of the World Health Organization (WHO) details discussions on asbestos which took place during a technical consultation meeting in Hanoi to progress work on a roadmap to end asbestos use. Participants at the October 12 event included personnel from Vietnam’s Ministry of Construction and Ministry of Health and the WHO. “Vietnam as a growing middle-income country, should,” Dr. Kidong Park, the WHO Representative to Vietnam, said “be able to afford providing its people, including the most vulnerable, with safe asbestos-free roofing for houses. It’s now a critical time to take actions in realizing this important decision to protect the health of the people.” See: Viet Nam takes big leap in fight vs asbestos.

Progressing Asbestos Bans in Asia

Sep 28, 2018

A media release issued today (September 28) by the Electrical Trades Union of Australia on behalf of an Australian delegation recently returned from a fact-finding trip to Asia commended the decision by the Vietnam Prime Minister to stop asbestos roof sheet production by 2023 at the latest and applauded the determination of Vietnam trade unions and grassroots groups for efforts to warn workers and consumers about the asbestos hazard and campaign for the adoption of a comprehensive national asbestos ban. See: Australian Delegation Commends Vietnam PM and Trade Unions’ Commitment to Achieving a Complete Asbestos Ban.

Asian Campaign to Ban Asbestos

Sep 17, 2018

In September 12-14, 2018, trade unionists, asbestos victims’ campaigners and doctors from eleven countries in Southeast Asia met in Hanoi, Vietnam to build momentum for a regional ban on asbestos. Also taking part in the sessions were experts from Australia, the World Health Organization and Vietnam ministries. During the conference, it was announced that Vietnam would ban the use of asbestos roofing sheet in 2023. Sponsors of the conference included; Australia’s Union Aid Abroad (APHEDA), the Asian Ban Asbestos Network, the Asia Monitor Resource Centre, the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat and Solidar Suisse. See: Photo from South East Asia Ban Asbestos Meeting and also Facebook Video .

Vietnam’s Asbestos Phase-Out

Aug 6, 2018

Pursuant to the order by the Prime Minister of Vietnam that the use of asbestos in manufactured construction materials be ended by 2023 at the latest, grassroots initiatives are being implemented by groups such as the “Center for Consulting, Transfer of Science and Technology, Environmental Protection for Ethnic Minorities in Mountainous Areas” of the Vietnam Academy of Ethnic Minorities to raise public awareness of the asbestos health hazard in more remote locales. Simultaneously, government support is being considered for the construction of asbestos-free homes for ethnic minorities. See: Cần sớm ngừng sử dụng amiăng [Asbestos use to stop soon].

Banning asbestos roofing!

Jun 4, 2018

On Wednesday, May 30, 2018, a workshop was held in Hanoi to consider the implementation of a roadmap to phase out the use of asbestos roof sheeting in Vietnam by 2023, as agreed last week by the Ministry of Construction. The session was conducted under the auspices of the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations. Taking part in the event were representatives from the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the General Confederation of Labor of Vietnam, international organizations and the Vietnam Ban Asbestos Network, as well as experts in occupational health and safety. See: Phải dừng sử dụng amiang trắng tại Việt Nam [White asbestos should be discontinued in Vietnam].

Fall in Asbestos Demand!

Apr 13, 2018

According to a report issued by the Vietnam Roof Sheeting Association, the consumption of asbestos roofing in Vietnam fell by up to 35% in 2017 as consumers sought safer alternatives. The Association acknowledged the growth in ban asbestos advocacy and increasing consumer support for alternative products. The cost advantage posed by asbestos sheeting has been neutralized by the availability of cheaper steel materials also suitable for poorer people. Total asbestos roofing production in 2017 was 55.8 million square meters, equal to 66% of that in 2016. See: Roofing for the poor: shifting consumption patterns (Eng. translation of: Tấm lợp cho người nghèo: Chuyển dịch xu hướng mới).

Asbestos Ban 2023

Jan 19, 2018

At the January 16, 2018 meeting of the Ministry of Construction, the Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc announced – in a speech broadcast on national TV – that the use of asbestos construction materials would be banned by 2023 at the latest. He said: “The Construction Ministry needs a roadmap to stop using white asbestos. I remember that at National Assembly meetings, scientist Ms Bui Thi An raised this matter several times and the Ministry of Construction always obstructed it. I discussed this with Minister Mr. Hong Ha and he said that banning white asbestos needs a roadmap developed by the Ministry of Construction. The use of white asbestos must be stopped by 2023 at the latest in the construction industry.”

Asbestos: Fake News!

Oct 9, 2017

The participation of David Bernstein in a Hanoi conference on October 6, 2017 was reported by a Vietnamese newspaper, along with his comments that “white asbestos is not cancerous like the blue and brown varieties.” Activists in Vietnam have exposed this report as false saying that Bernstein came to Vietnam some years ago and that the Hanoi asbestos meeting on October 6 affirmed “the harm of white Asbestos to human health…” See: Xem xét thận trọng, khách quan, khoa học, toàn diện về vấn đề Amiang trắng [An objective and scientific consideration of white Asbestos].

Progress: Asbestos Ban

Jul 24, 2017

Following meetings and discussions held last week in Hanoi about the deadly asbestos hazard, media reports have been published documenting increased government support for a national asbestos ban by 2020 to eliminate asbestos-related diseases. Simultaneously, industry-informed articles (see: Business anxiety before the proposed ban on white asbestos) have appeared, denying that any occupationally-linked cases of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma had been diagnosed, that smoking caused mesothelioma and that white asbestos was an essential resource for Vietnam. See: Tiến tới dừng sử dụng amiăng trắng tại Việt Nam [Towards stopping the use of white asbestos in Vietnam].

Tackling Asbestos Disease

Jul 21, 2017

Meetings in Hanoi took place on July 19 and 20, 2017 between international and local asbestos experts and government officials, representatives of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour, civil society campaigners from the Vietnam Ban Asbestos Network and other groups to consider the multifaceted nature of the asbestos challenges facing the country including the impact of hazardous exposures on human health, the availability of safer materials, and the problems regarding demolition and disposal of asbestos-containing materials. Technical and medical information presented by Canadian, Australian and Japanese speakers was warmly received. See: Photograph of discussion panel.

Asbestos Hazard

Jul 21, 2017

A July article in the Vietnamese media detailed the death of a British woman from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma. Susan MacGregor died in 2014, 14 months after she had been diagnosed, aged 58. As a child, she had hugged her father when he returned home wearing asbestos-covered work clothes. The article cites evidence from the World Health Organization and the Environmental Protection Agency confirming the deadly nature of human exposure to asbestos. See: Niềm vui đón bố đi làm về không ngờ là lý do khiến người phụ nữ bị ung thư mà chết 50 năm sau đó [The joy of going to work resulted in cancer death of a woman 50 years later].

Industry Offensive in Vietnam

Feb 8, 2017

A biased pro-asbestos feature was published in the Vietnamese press on January 30, 2017 that revealed the interference of foreign vested interests in the Vietnamese asbestos debate. Using examples provided by the Russian and Brazilian industry, the “infomercial” repeated propaganda claiming that the industrial processing of asbestos could be conducted under “safe and controlled conditions.” As part of an ongoing industry offensive targeting asbestos markets in Asia, Vietnamese national politicians were invited to Brazil by a “yellow union” (one linked to the asbestos industry) on a fact-finding trip. See: Nhà máy sản xuất tấm lợp fibro xi măng [Factory production of fibro cement roofing].

Raising Asbestos Awareness in Vietnam

Apr 11, 2016

Asbestos issues were part of a packed agenda for delegates attending activities in Hanoi last week (April 6-10, 2016), including a workshop on the subject of Ethics in Research, Policy Advocacy and Health-Related Policy Development organized by a consortium of Vietnamese civil society groups and non-governmental organizations. Canadian Professor emeritus Dr. Colin Soskolne presented epidemiological data documenting the asbestos hazard as well as information about the human health effects of exposures. Also featured on the agenda were presentations by Vietnamese medical and occupational health experts. See: Group Photo.

EU Supports Vietnam Asbestos Phase-Out

Dec 21, 2015

Since 2014, EU personnel have been working with officials and stakeholders to facilitate the transition in Vietnam to an asbestos-free technology. Outcomes of this collaboration were a report and a policy paper on the hazards of chrysotile asbestos; a national asbestos action plan has set a 2020 deadline for a total ban. Although research into developing asbestos-free alternatives has been ongoing since 2001 in Vietnam, strong resistance from an industry lobby has prevented a ban from being implemented. As part of the EU-Vietnam project, plans are progressing for three pilot operations for the production of asbestos substitutes. See: EU helps Vietnam phase out asbestos.

Asbestos Workshop in Vietnam

Nov 17, 2015

On Wednesday, November 18, 2015, a workshop entitled “Using Chrysotile Safely and Under Control” will be held at the Central Institute for Economic Management in Hanoi. The program features John Hoskins who is listed as “an independent consultant, Royal Society of Chemistry,” as well as speakers from Vietnam’s Ministry of Construction, the Vietnam Academy of Social Science and the Institute for Economic Management. The subject of Hoskins’ presentation is “Research on affect [sic] of chrysotile on human health.” In 2014, Vietnam used just under 10,000 tonnes of asbestos. See: Workshop Agenda.

Roadmap to Phase-out Asbestos Use

Sep 25, 2015

An asbestos workshop was held in Hanoi on September 22, 2015 by the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations, the Health Ministry’s Environment Health Management Department and the Vietnam Ban Asbestos Network during which speakers discussed various facets of the national asbestos policy and highlighted hazards posed by the continuation of consumption. The Government is now developing a roadmap for the phasing out of asbestos in roofing products by 2020. There are currently more than 40 factories throughout the country manufacturing asbestos roofing material. See: Asbestos in roof sheets still a threat to workers.

Ban Asbestos Progress in Asia

Sep 14, 2015

Delegates at the 2015 meeting of the Asian Ban Asbestos Network in Hanoi last week considered regional developments with a particular focus on recent asbestos bans introduced in Hong Kong and Nepal and the announcement by the President of Sri Lanka that the country would prohibit asbestos by 2018. There was a great deal of interest in the roadmap presented by a representative of the Vietnam Ministry of Health which aimed to end asbestos use in Vietnam by 2020. Work has been ongoing in Vietnam for over a decade into the development of asbestos-free technology. See: Vietnam: A-BAN takes stock of the asbestos campaign in the region.

Making Vietnam Asbestos-Free

Sep 11, 2015

Scores of international delegates, local activists and interested parties took part in a meeting in Hanoi this week which considered Vietnam’s progress towards an asbestos ban. In attendance were representatives from more than 20 countries including: China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Australia, USA and the UK. The sponsorship and organization for this event came from the Asian Ban Asbestos Network, the Asia Monitor Resource Center, the Vietnam Ban Asbestos Network and other civil society partners. See: Group picture of ABAN 2015 delegates.

Ban Asbestos Mobilization

Aug 17, 2015

A memorandum issued last week by APHEDA, an Australian Agency tasked with overseas humanitarian work, documents the mobilization of support for the ban asbestos campaign in Vietnam amongst government ministers, trade unions and civil society groups over the last five years, and highlights the importance of the Vietnam Ban Asbestos Network (VN Ban). Currently, a proposal by the Deputy Prime Minister for a 2020 national asbestos ban is being considered. During a time when the environmental rights movement is growing in Vietnam, the campaign to ban asbestos is gaining vital grassroots support. See: Stopping the Asbestos Death Trade in Vietnam.

Call for Action on Asbestos Hazard

Jan 30, 2015

An online editorial queried the continued failure by the Government of Vietnam to act on the human health hazard posed by the country’s continuing use of asbestos. In Vietnam, there are 70 factories in 23 areas which manufacture asbestos-cement products, mostly for domestic use. Over the last decade, Vietnam has been one of the world’s top ten consumers of asbestos, using 79,000 tonnes in 2012 to produce 80 million square meters of asbestos-cement sheeting. At a conference in Hanoi last week, delegates were told of the World Health Organization’s position supporting an end to asbestos use. See: Vietnam hesitates to ban white asbestos use.

Asbestos Use Continues in Vietnam!

Dec 19, 2014

Media reports from Hanoi indicate that the status quo regarding the use of chrysotile (asbestos) will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future after a meeting in the capital on December 17 which was addressed by pro-asbestos lobbyists from Latin America and the U.S. Urging the adoption of a national ban, health experts from the Vietnam Government cited data from international agencies substantiating the proven risks of exposure to all types of asbestos. Despite the known hazard, the Vice Minister of Construction Nguyen Tran Nam said there remained a lack of “convincing evidence.” See: Vietnam to stick to white asbestos, despite cancer concern.

Fight to Ban Asbestos Continues

Dec 9, 2014

On December 10, 2014, government officials and civil servants will hear presentations by asbestos apologists sent to Vietnam to reassure decision makers that chrysotile asbestos can be used safely under “controlled conditions.” The industry propaganda they will be parroting was soundly condemned at a workshop (see: workshop photo) held last month in Hanoi the purpose of which was to develop a roadmap to ban asbestos in Vietnam. At the November meeting a spokesman for the Ministry of Health confirmed that asbestos was a health hazard and that cases of asbestos cancer had been diagnosed in Vietnam. See: Ban on asbestos use in Vietnam is urgent.

Mesothelioma Incidence in Vietnam

Nov 4, 2014

The absence of data on asbestos cancers is often used as proof that this carcinogen can be used safely under controlled conditions. Vietnam is a major consuming country which, despite the development of alternative technologies, has not banned asbestos. Research reported at an asbestos cancer conference in October 2014, documented 148 cases of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma in Vietnam. The authors believe this figure is “likely to underestimate the true number of incident cases…” See: Estimating the incidence of malignant mesothelioma in Vietnam: a pilot descriptive population-based cancer registry study.

Petition For Asbestos Ban

Aug 12, 2014

On August 5, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) sent a letter to Vietnam authorities urging that action be taken to prohibit the use of asbestos in construction materials. WHO and ILO representatives highlighted the community health, economic and social security benefits of banning asbestos and urged Vietnam to develop a program to eliminate the use of asbestos. WHO and ILO offered to provide technical support for Vietnam to end asbestos-related diseases. See: WHO sends proposal to stop the use of asbestos to the Prime Minister.

Criticism of Vietnam Asbestos Policy

Jul 28, 2014

Opposition to Vietnam’s continued use of asbestos, a known carcinogen, is increasing daily. An article appeared today in the online English language VietNamNet.Bridge news outlet which highlighted the fact that the asbestos policy of Vietnam, a member of the World Health Organization (WHO), contradicts WHO advice and international trends. The article cited the opinion of Dr Le Van Trinh, Deputy Chair of the Vietnam Labor Safety Association who believes that “it is necessary to stop using asbestos in production and daily life as soon as possible.” See: Vietnam ignores scientists’ warnings about asbestos use.

Ban Asbestos Momentum Increasing

Jul 25, 2014

Vietnam’s Ministry of Health is backing plans to add asbestos to the country’s list of prohibited toxic chemicals. Asbestos is mostly used to produce asbestos-cement (AC) construction materials in Vietnam. Thirty-six AC manufacturers produce 100Mm2 of roofing sheets per year. Vietnam is one of Asia’s biggest asbestos users and the country’s asbestos industrial sector backed by foreign stakeholders is aggressively lobbying the government to allow consumption to continue even though a national program to devise asbestos-free technologies has been successful. See: Vietnam considers ban on asbestos in fibre cement boards.

Asbestos Health Warnings!

Jul 21, 2014

A seminar entitled “How Asbestos Affects Health” took place in Hanoi on July 17, 2014; the event was organized by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the World Health Organization (WHO). Having detailed the health consequences of human asbestos exposures, the Vietnamese guidelines to protect occupational health were explained by Ministry of Health officials. Despite WHO advice that the best way to prevent asbestos-related diseases was a total ban on its use, since 2000 Vietnam has imported, on average, 6,000 tons of asbestos per year, most of which is incorporated into asbestos-cement products. See: Asbestos may cause harmful health: WHO.

Experts Call for Asbestos Ban

Jul 4, 2014

At a meeting organized by the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations in Hanoi last week, experts called for asbestos to be banned due to the human health hazard posed by asbestos-containing products. Research by the Ministry of Health documented the deadly risk not only to workers but also to people living near asbestos processing facilities or under asbestos roofs. Replacing asbestos with safer products is possible as well as advisable said Dr Le Van Trinh, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Labour Safety Science and Technology Association. See: Asbestos use in construction a labour hazard: experts.