The Vietnam National Roofsheet Association opposes the “death” of AC roof sheet

(VN Finance) – The VNRA has sent an official document to the Ministry of Construction to comment on the “Roadmap to cease the use of chrysotile in AC roof sheet production by 2023”.

According to the VNRA, the letter from the WHO and ILO to the Prime Minister in 5 August 2014 is just a recommendation; however, this recommendation is not in accordance with the opinion to use diferentiate approach in the Resolution of the World Health Assembly (WHA) and ILO Convention No.162 in 1986 on the safety in the use of asbestos. The VNRA also said that many international organizations have also given recommendation on many issues to the Government but all recommendations are only for reference for policy-making.

As for countries and territories that have not banned the use of chrysotile, the VNRA affirms that there are currently 139 countries and territories with more than 6 billion people allowing the use of chrysotile and chrysotile-containing products such as the USA, Russia, China, India, Canada, Mexico and Southeast Asian countries.

“Taking health protection as a reason to impose a ban on chrysotile and AC roof sheet prodution by 2023 as presented by the Ministry of Construction in the Proposal is inaccucated and subjective” stated by the Official Document of the VNRA.

The VNRA pointed about that there have been no case of death or mesothelioma during 55 years of producing AC roof sheet in Vietnam.

Moreover, in 20,000 cases of pneumoconiosis recorded by the Ministry of Health, there are only three cases of while the rest are silicosis from industries such as cement production and coal mining.

“We need to compare to between the rate of diseases and the death caused by substances from industries such as tobacco and peptides and those by chrysotile, which one is causing more economic burden for health production? The Ministry should compare and consider to develop fair and reasonable policy” questioned by the VNRA.

“What is the burden on the budget for health care?” What is the burden on the health care budget when comparing the incidence of disease, causing annual deaths of substances and chemicals in industries such as tobacco and pesticides? The ministry needs to make comparisons and considerations to make fair and reasonable policies, “the Classification Association asked.

Being mentioned in the recommendation does not equal as being banned

As for the recommendations of the IARC, the VNRA said that it is necessary to consider working conditions, contact environment, toxic substance concentration in working environment, duration of exposure, preventive measures, management competence, being mentioned in the recommendation does not equal as being banned.

“More than 100 substances listed in the same group with chrysotile are allowed to use and produce” – revealed by the VNRA.

The VNRA also finds that the legal basis of the project and the plan to stop the use of white asbestos to stop the production of asbestos roofing from 2023 is inadequate and infeasible.

Many questions are posed by the VNRA such as which policies will support the enterprises to transfer to non-chrysotile roof sheet production? How about the content and amount of support? Where is the financial source? When is the policy completed?

In addition, the VNRA also poses the problem on whether chrysotile used in many other sector will be prohibited or not? If chrysotile is hazardous, why only ban it in AC roof sheet production, is it far? If chrysotile is banned in all product, what is the substitute solution? What are the roadmap and resources?

Moreover, if a ban is imposed domestic production, what should be the solution to prevent the import from China and Thailand? Who will be responsible for that? If the restriction will impact any trade agreement?

In Vietnam, the majority of chrysotile is used in AC roof sheet production industry; there are more than 40 AC roof sheet producers with the total design capacity over 100 million m2/year.

Many chrysotile containing products such as fire resistant clothes, brake pads, heat resistant materials are imported to Vietnam from China, Thailand, India and even countries which ban domestic use of chrysotile such as Korea and Japan.