Vietnam Initiative on Asbestos
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.
The initiative is being supported by a range of other Australian bodies and groups representing international labor.1 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 to help at-risk workers minimize their exposure.
Peter Jennings, Executive Officer of APHEDA believes it:
will assist the Vietnamese union movement to produce credible research to inform the ongoing policy debate in Vietnam between employers, the government and the unions. It will also provide practical and direct assistance to workers in the short term who are likely to be exposed to this deadly fiber.
According to data from the United States Geological Survey, in 2008 Vietnam used almost 50,000 tonnes of asbestos, making it the 8th largest user of asbestos worldwide and the 5th largest user in Asia, after China (565,419), India (348,538), Thailand (69,291) and Sri Lanka (58,109). The majority of the asbestos is used to make roofing tiles, a project commonly used on Vietnamese houses.
February 11, 2010
1 Press Release. Launch of the Vietnam-Australia Asbestos Awareness and Diseases Prevention Project. February 9, 2010. http://www.apheda.org.au/news/1265845311_11544.html