Following our story last week of the use of asbestos products in cars, it appears that the asbestos products are still worryingly being used in many countries throughout Asia.
A report in local media last year showed that asbestos sheets are being used in Vietnam, with grave concerns for workers’ health. And though many countries have strictly prohibited the use of white asbestos, Vietnam has now postponed the prohibition until 2030. Contrary to global trends, Vietnam’s asbestos consumption actually increased 32% between 2000-2004, consuming around 65,000 tonnes a year and there are currently more than 40 factories in Vietnam still making asbestos roofing.
And Vietnam is not alone. Russia and Kazakhstan also continue to mine and export asbestos, and China is one of the world’s largest producers and consumers of asbestos. India is not far behind, with asbestos being known as the ‘poor man’s roof’.
Used in fire-resistant products, brake linings, fibro cement and insulation, white asbestos is one of the most dangerous occupational carcinogens. Causing around 50% of occupational cancer deaths, an estimated 100,000 people die from diseases caused by white asbestos every year.
Hopefully we will see a change in this trend soon, and the beginning of a ban of asbestos products across all of Asia. As licensed asbestos removalists in Australia, we see the upheaval that asbestos can cause, even 30 years after the ban: construction jobs halted and renovations on hold until sites can be decontaminated. Even if Asia put a ban in place today, they will be feeling the fallout for decades to come.