Support for Asian Asbestos Ban 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



Trade unionists affiliated with the Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) held a conference on asbestos in Indonesia on August 2-4, 2010. The South East Asia Regional Conference on Asbestos provided opportunities for international experts and regional activists to address trade unionists and for in-depth discussions to take place on ways to progress the ban asbestos agenda in Asia (see Conference Agenda). Experts on asbestos issues taking part in this event included BWI personnel Fiona Murie and Apolinar Tolentino, trade unionist Deb Vallance from Australia and ban asbestos campaigners Sugio Furuya and Yeyong Choi, respectively from Japan and Korea. Subjects such as the availability of asbestos-free substitutes, health surveillance and asbestos mapping were discussed.1

Commenting on the Jakarta meeting, Apolinar Tolentino Jr., the newly appointed Regional Representative of the BWI Asia Pacific Region, said:

“Since the 1980s, the BWI has advocated that the use of asbestos be banned throughout the world. The fact that consumption is nowadays expanding in some Asian countries is a fact that cannot be ignored. While industrialized countries, international agencies and independent scientists condemn asbestos as a human carcinogen, some governments in developing countries actively support its use. To progress the ban asbestos agenda in Asia, the BWI is working with its affiliates and other bodies representing civil society, such as asbestos victims support groups and ban asbestos campaigners, to develop strategies and initiatives to raise awareness of the asbestos hazard. The meeting in Jakarta marked a significant step forward in this campaign.”

At the conclusion of the conference, a statement calling on Canada to end the mining and export of chrysotile asbestos and condemning plans by the Quebec Government for a multimillion dollar loan to asbestos industry stakeholders was adopted (see Asia Regional Conference Statement).


August 20, 2010


1 Southeast Asia Conference on Ban Asbestos Campaign
See also:
Unions call on Canada to stop dumping asbestos in Asia

Sindicatos piden a Canadá que deje de exportar asbesto a Asia

Les syndicats demandent au Canada de cesser d'exporter de l'amiante en Asie

Unions call on Canada to stop dumping asbestos in Asia



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