|Bùi Thị An delivers her presentation on chrysotile usage in Việt Nam. — VNA/VNS Photo Khoa Thư|
HÀ NỘI — Several scientists and epidemiologists participated in the “Information exchange on the usage of chrysotile” conference, hosted by the Hà Nội Union of Science and Technology Associations (HUSTA) on Friday.
Speaking at the conference, Bùi Thị An, deputy head of HUSTA, stressed upon the significance of accurate asbestos-related information in public health protection and national sustainable development.
Chrysotile, like other forms of asbestos, is a hazardous substance widely used in the fibro cement sheet industry in Việt Nam.
Several research projects have indicated that chrysotile causes asbestosis, mesothelioma and cancer of the lungs, larynx and ovaries.
According to Nguyễn Văn Sơn, deputy head of the National Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health, asbestos exposure is the leading cause of death from occupational cancer. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure, which means any exposure to asbestos can result in asbestos-related disease.
“With annual consumption of 60 to 70 tonnes of asbestos, since the establishment of the first fibro cement sheet factory in 1963, it is estimated to have two million tonnes of asbestos used in Việt Nam,” Sơn said.
Despite its impact on human health, there is no official research or report on asbestos-related diseases in Việt Nam. All information cited in the conference was from research issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and other international agencies.
According to WHO, until July, 2017, 124 countries had banned the use of asbestos.
In 1998, Việt Nam officially adopted a legal ban on brown and blue asbestos and placed chrysotile under strict control. In 2001, the Prime Minister issued a regulation to ban the use of chrysotile in 2004. However, this ban has not yet been enforced.
On this occasion, Đỗ Quốc Quang, a specialist of the Institute of Technology under the Ministry of Science and Technology, presented an asbestos-free corrugated roofing sheet. He emphasised the superiority of this product over fibro cement sheet since it was environment and health-friendly.
The conference, besides providing information of chrysotile and other types of asbestos, aims to advocate for a ban on chrysotile usage for health reasons. — VNS