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January 28, 2022, 6:39 pm

Vietnam still of two minds about using asbestos

(10:53:14 AM 24/12/2014)
(Tinmoitruong.vn) - Scientists have proposed that watchdog agencies voice their opinion about the use of asbestos in Vietnam and urge the speeding up of the elimination of asbestos in buildings.


 Vietnam, asbestos

Asbestos usage is prohibited in many countries in the world, but it is still favored in Vietnam as a building material.


While scientists have tried to offer warnings about the danger asbestos can cause to human health, builders have argued that asbestos is cheap and safe.


Meanwhile, watchdog agencies still have not made a final decision about whether to impose a ban on asbestos of all kinds, as suggested by scientists.


Dr. Do Thi Van, director of the Non-government Organization Information Center, said the policies related to asbestos production and use remain unclear, and controversial.


In 1998, the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment and the Ministry of Construction released an inter-ministerial circular stipulating that amiang amphibole (blue and brown asbestos) was prohibited in Vietnam.


Meanwhile, the use of chrysotile, or white asbestos was allowed in Vietnam, provided that the users followed strict regulations.


In 2001, the Prime Minister, in Decision No 115, urged relevant branches to work out a plan to use alternative materials instead of asbestos used for fireproofing.


Vietnam will not increase asbestos production and will not license new asbestos-made roofing sheet workshops.


The Prime Minister has also decided that asbestos must not be used in making roofing sheets from 2004.


However, in 2004, a new government’s decision was released which said the government did not prohibit the use of asbestos of all kinds, but only prohibited the use of brown and blue asbestos.


Meanwhile, the government’s Decision No 121 in 2008 on approving a master plan on the development of the building material industry by 2020, stipulated that asbestos was permitted to be used in Vietnam until 2020.


However, Decision No 1469 dated August 22, 2014, says that white asbestos cannot be banned from 2020.


The decision says that the Ministry of Construction will devise a roadmap to eliminate asbestos from use only after 2020.


Scientists have pointed out that as the policies remain unclear, investors still cannot make decisions on whether and when they should begin making non-asbestos roofing materials.


Scientists have also repeatedly recommended that Vietnam should stop using asbestos as soon as possible.


Dr Gabit Ismailov from the World Health Organization noted that it would be not cheap to use asbestos, if counting the expenses of healthcare services for people and costs to pay for asbestos-related diseases.


Thien Nhien

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