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  1. #1
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    Thailand's love of asbestos

    This may be well known to a lot/most of you, but I recently found out that Thailand is one of the biggest makers/users of asbestos.

    Now, I am sure Mr. Socal will be along soon to tell me to shut up and deal with it, but this is kinda bad, i think.

    Thailand's Asbestos Liars


    To a seasoned observer of the global asbestos scene it comes as no surprise that asbestos vested interests in Thailand are liars. The asbestos business worldwide is based on lies: lies told to governments, customers, workers and the public. But steps taken by the Thai lobbyists have put these individuals in a class of their own. Where other vested interests may have tried to spin the truth to their own advantage, these industry stakeholders engaged in out and out, bald-faced lies. As the industry's deceptions have been revealed, support for a national asbestos ban has grown. The formation in February 2012 of the Thailand Ban Asbestos Network marked the end of industry dominance of the national asbestos debate.1

    In recent years, asbestos stakeholders have been distressed by the increasingly outspoken statements of international agencies such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the hazardous nature of all types of asbestos. It is not good public relations to have the substance at the heart of your industry categorized as a killer. Even though the ILO and WHO have adopted pro-ban positions, industry lobbyists continued to allege that these bastions of occupational and public health supported “the safe use of chrysotile asbestos.” In Thailand, they have taken this lie to the next level. On the front of tee shirts produced by Oranit, a company which manufactures asbestos-cement roof tiles, is the Oranit logo and the slogan (in Thai): “A toothpick is more dangerous than Asbestos.”





    On the back of the tee shirt it says:
    “Only Chrysotile can be digested and not accumulate in the body. 85% of the world's population still need it. WHO certifies that it is safer than substitutes. USA accepts that TOOTHPICKS are more dangerous. GOOD and CHEAP.”





    The tee shirts were problematic for WHO officials in Bangkok who have been working with social partners to raise awareness of the asbestos hazard in a country which, according to the most recent data, uses nearly 80,000 tonnes/year. Generally speaking the WHO does not respond to misleading statements and distortions made by vested interests but it is no coincidence that on April 28, 2012, International Workers' Memorial Day (IWMD), WHO Thailand included a statement on the asbestos hazard in its message:

    “One in every three deaths from occupational cancer [worldwide] is estimated to be caused by asbestos. Each year around 107,000 people die from asbestos related cancers, mesothelioma and asbestosis (fibrosis of the lung) as a result of exposure to asbestos at work. All forms of asbestos and products containing asbestos, including non-friable or 'high density' chrysotile asbestos, are considered by WHO as hazardous for human health.Asbestos products have the potential to deteriorate and pose a risk to the community and especially to workers carrying out alterations, maintenance and demolition….

    In collaboration with the International Labor Organization, intergovernmental organizations and civil society, WHO is actively working towards the elimination of asbestos-related diseases. The most effective way to eliminate asbestos related diseases is to stop the use of all types of asbestos.”2


    A video uploaded by the WHO to youtube to commemorate IWMD reiterated these sentiments saying: "All forms of asbestos are harmful to human health including all forms of chrysotile asbestos… Eliminating all forms of asbestos will eliminate all forms of asbestos-related diseases."3

    There is more bad news for Thai asbestos vested interests. Despite an impasse on progress towards the implementation of asbestos ban legislation, there is every indication that the legal instruments required to enforce the ban will be adopted by the end of this year. A “Call for an Asbestos Ban for Worker Safety,” was issued last month by the Alliance of Worker Councils, while an upcoming one-day conference in the capital entitled “Thai Worker Safety by No Asbestos Policy,” will provide the opportunity for Thai experts from the civil service, academia, trade union movement and medical community to inform delegates and collaborate on future initiatives to ensure that asbestos is finally banned in Thailand.

  2. #2
    euston has flown

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    Well asbestos does involve his two vested interests Canada and Thailand so you might be right about socal.

    We have quite a bit of asbestos sheeting in bits of the house and whilst I am not too concern as long as its left well alone, I did want it tested because blue and brown asbestos have been used to make sheeting in the past.

    Spoke to the manufacturer who told us that it was white asbestos, but we should not worry because they took all of the dangerious stuff out before using it...... I ended up setting to the uk for testing as I was unable to find any local labs, the chaps in her uk told me its white asbestos and also in passing mentioned that in the uk at leased it's people who work in the construction industry, who are dying from exposure to asbestos in the buildings they are refurbishing rather than people working in the asbestos industry that make up the majority of the asbestos deaths in the uk.

    It's something worth worrying about and as you point out people in this country seem blissfully unaware of e risks they are taking. Given how I have seen builder knock back the Lao khow I do wonder if their livers will let them live long enough for the asbestos to do its work.

    A word for the wise vermiculite, as in the suff you get for the garden. It's associated with asbestos and often mined from asbestos mines. It can be contaminated.... So it's not something you necessarily want to mess with when it's dry
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  3. #3
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    It was all news to me as I didn't even know what the stuff looked like until recently, then I realised it is bloody everywhere. The Thai people I asked had absolutely no idea about it being dangerous.

    It came to light for me when they started knocking up a beer garden at my condo and a mate said that is asbestos, and I was shocked (6 years here and I didn't know). The thing was I walked by blissfully ignorant earlier (with my kid) when they were cutting it all up for the construction.

    How often is it used in construction of large condos and offices, and given the 'colour' etc, is all this anything to be concerned about?

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hazz View Post
    A word for the wise vermiculite, as in the suff you get for the garden. It's associated with asbestos and often mined from asbestos mines. It can be contaminated.... So it's not something you necessarily want to mess with when it's dry
    Thanks for the heads up on vermiculite. I had no idea.

    Just last week, I went into the garden shop and asked for a bag of vermiculite. Good they didn't have any!

    (Instead they sold me a bag of coconut shell ground to small granules. I had never seen it before and apparently neither had my housekeeper. She put the bag in the kitchen cupboard with the staples. )

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chico the Fox
    There is more bad news for Thai asbestos vest
    Quote Originally Posted by Chico the Fox
    On the front of tee shirts produced by Oranit,
    what sizes do they make?

  6. #6
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    Smart Board is what I think a lot of them sell nowadays

    http://www.onestockhome.com/upload/i...estockhome.pdf


    It doesn't contain asbestos.

  7. #7
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    It is difficult to tell what has asbestos in or not

    I would assume any old roofing cement sheets have; the new ones, I am not sure

    from this, Oranit loves the stuff

    http://en.nationalhealth.or.th/node/206

    so avoid their products like the plague
    Last edited by DrAndy; 02-02-2013 at 08:54 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrAndy View Post
    It is difficult to tell what has asbestos in or not

    I would assume any old roofing cement sheets have; the new ones, I am not sure

    from this, Oranit loves the stuff

    Roof Tile Business to Change Technologies for Asbestos-free Image | NHCO - National Health Commission Office of Thailand

    so avoid their products like the plague
    From Mr. Uran Kleosakul, marketing manager of Oran Vanich Tile Co. Ltd.:

    "The State should play fair by presenting scientific facts so that consumers can understand that materials used in domestic production are not the same as ones used in abroad."

    Sounds very much like the old "You no Thai. You no know Thailand" rule

  9. #9
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    Thailand: Update Ban Asbestos Campaign

    "in 2010 proposed a national ban on asbestos be adopted. On April 20, 2011, the Government accepted this recommendation but since then no measures have been adopted to reduce the import or use of asbestos; in fact, during this time, the amount of asbestos imported to Thailand has increased."




    So, it seems there are big meetings etc about this and seemingly some progress, but it would appear that big business, in this case perhaps mainly Oranit, are working to block it.

    I found a facebook group about this but it seems inactive. Is there anywhere else raising the awareness of this?

  10. #10
    euston has flown

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    Thing is that Siam cement produce a lot of asbestos cement products which are asbestos free, using alternative fibres. An asbestos ban would allow them to cement their comepetive advantage over Their competitors. When considers that a major share holder in this company, represents someone we are not allowed to talk about... If he were ever to be educated about the risks of asbestos and the advantages to getting rid of it... It would be gone.

    Another product that can contain a lot of asbestos is vynal tiles, and unfortunately Thais still make some new titles with the stuff. Not too much of a problem as its all bound up in the matrix. The problem is with the black bitchemen glue the used to use to glue it down, it contains asbestos too and will release it as its removed from the concreate. We left it in place and seal it into the concreate.

  11. #11
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    Anywhere you come across broken asbestos products get some spray paint or PVC glue and paint the broken areas without disturbing anything.This will stop any fibres becoming airborne.

    The problem with asbestos fibres is that when they fracture they do lengthwise and not horizontally.This means that they keep reducing in thickness and can then reach further into your lungs.Also when they break they don't break cleanly but rather jagged and so they get caught in tissue matter a lot like a fish hook would and this makes it nigh on impossible for body to rid itself of the fibres.
    You're fat,Ill fro you in the river

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by hazz
    Siam cement produce a lot of asbestos cement products which are asbestos free
    sounds reasonable

  13. #13
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    I just got back from lunch and saw a few guys ripping up some asbestos flooring next to the street. To be fair there was no dust at all, and judging by others comments it might not have even been harmful, but I suspect it probably was.

    The only harm comes from long-term exposure (?), mainly from working environments I guess, so the main people that need to worry are the guys that seem to give the least thought about it.

  14. #14
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    I am not sure if you need to be exposed long-term, but if you get fibres in your lungs then that could be dangerous

    I suppose the more you are exposed the more likely that is to happen

  15. #15
    Valve Master
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    I know a lady whose husband is suffering from mesothelioma right now. It's very painful....he lives on painkillers.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chico the Fox View Post
    I just got back from lunch and saw a few guys ripping up some asbestos flooring next to the street. To be fair there was no dust at all, and judging by others comments it might not have even been harmful, but I suspect it probably was.

    The only harm comes from long-term exposure (?), mainly from working environments I guess, so the main people that need to worry are the guys that seem to give the least thought about it.
    Sorry mate but any exposure is potentially harmful(lethal).The wives of workers at the Blue Sky mine in OZ were dying from asbestosis and meso from exposure to asbestos just from washing their husbands clothes.

    Any time asbestos is discovered on on a building site here the area is immediately cordoned off and the hygienists are called in.Anyone who is suspected of possible inhalation is sent for a lung function test so that they can be monitored over the coming years.

    Ther are massive compensation claims being made against James Hardie,the main producer of asbestos products in OZ. So much so that James Hardie packed up their business and moved to the Netherlands to escape further law suits.There was a public outcry and the government stepped in to make sure that Hardies can be held accountable.

    Mark Seymour of Hunters and Collectors fame wrote a song about a guy I played football with who died a couple of years ago from mesothelioma.Tony medina was an asbestos removalist and later worked for C.F.M.E.U(construction union) and was a campaigner for people affected by asbestos exposure.

    Don't be fooled,do not fuck with this stuff.

  17. #17
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    http://www.google.co.th/url?sa=t&rct...41867550,d.bmk


    Seems that there is zero tax on asbestos imports but all other substitute products are taxed at around 5%. If this paper is right then we are soon to see a huge amount of mesothelioma and asbestosis cases. Fuck, if true, there will soon be a big wake up call.

  18. #18
    euston has flown

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    Well you see these Thai elites are very sneaky, you see whilst somef them make huge sums out of selling asbestos, others are working hard making money ensuring that there won't be huge amounts of cancer by selling lots of cheap alcohol to the workers so they can drink themselves to death first.

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