Bangladesh National Meeting on Asbestos 

Dhaka Reporters Unity, Dhaka, August 6, 2011
Report by Repon Chowdhury



The Bangladesh Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Foundation (OSHE) organized a National Consultation Meeting on the “Asbestos Time Bomb in Bangladesh” at the DRU Extension Hall, Dhaka Reporters Unity on August 6, 2011.

Objective of the programme:

  • To sensitize the participants on multiple effects of asbestos exposure on human health and local environment.
  • To disseminate findings of the recent research of the OSHE on asbestos situation and some hotspots in Bangladesh.
  • To obtain necessary recommendations from the participants on ways to strengthen the ban asbestos movement in Bangladesh.


40 participants from different national trade unions, health rights NGOs, professional associations, human rights organizations, university academics and media professionals attended said event at the DRU.

Activity Summary:

At the opening session, Vice Chairman of OSHE, Dr. S.M. Morshed delivered a welcome speech.

Mr Abdul Mukit Khan, Acting President of the Bangladesh Free Trade Union Congress (BFTUC) spoke at the opening session as guest of honor. Mr Khan said “Trade Unions and other social partners around the world are fighting together against this killing fiber to ban. Time to act more decisively on this issue in Bangladesh with more collaborative actions.”


From left: Mrs Farida Khanom, Programme Director of OSHE, Dr SM Morshed, Vice Chairman of OSHE (Session Moderator), Mr Mahomood Manon, Research Team Member, OSHE

After the opening, there was a session on programme orientation and self introduction of participants.

Technical session 1 was on “What is asbestos? Effects on health and recommendations of the WHO and ILO on asbestos,” conducted by Mrs Farida Khanom, Programme Director of OSHE, followed by a question and answer session. A short sensitization video on asbestos produced by A-Ban was shown during the session to help participants clearly understand the matters under discussion.

The second technical session was the presentation of the findings of the” Asbestos Time Bomb in Bangladesh: A field Assessment Report” by Mr Mahmud Menon, research team member of OSHE. The presentation highlighted the present scenario of asbestos consumption and usages in Bangladesh. It was pointed out, that most of the asbestos consumed is imported from abroad and goes to the local market for multiple uses. Available statistics show that, Bangladesh imports a substantial quantity of raw asbestos from the Canada every year. It was also highlighted in the presentation that almost every single family in Bangladesh uses some quantity of asbestoses in their home. The electric ceiling fans used in homes contain asbestos: the fans contain asbestos products which are made in an area adjacent to the Buriganga River, Dhaka. In Bangladesh, asbestos is still not properly regulated as hazardous waste. The presentation, also discussed the different types of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials used in Bangladesh, some key production hotspots, conditions of workers health etc. Two special case studies on asbestos hotspots in Bangladesh were presented in the session together with recommendations of the study report.1

Commenting on the day's events, Repon Chowdhry, General Secretary of the OSHE, said:

“The OSHE's research on asbestos, as documented in the new report, has highlighted the need for concerted action to be taken throughout Bangladesh on asbestos issues. To this end, the multi-stakeholders who participated in the August 6 event delineated a range of strategies and plans that could be implemented to progress our aims to protect public and occupational health in Bangladesh from the asbestos hazard.”

August 18, 2011





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