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  1. #1
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    Cool Asbestos use in Thai building materials

    An article in yesterday's Bangkok Post (full item here: http://www.bangkokpost.com/life/prop...ave-on-the-way ) had a focus on "Thousands of Thais are likely to fall ill with asbestos-related illnesses in the next few years - the legacy of decades of widespread use of the industrial mineral."

    A topic I'm keep an interest in, my first job late 1970s was at a power station, one of my supervisors Roy Hales died of asbestosis/mesothelioma and became a test-case in NZ for compensation, since then ex-employees have been offered free testing/health checks.

    Some highlights from the article if you don't want to read it in full:

    • Use of asbestos has been banned in 47 developed nations after exposure to the mineral, used widely in the construction industry, resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths.
    • But the mineral is still legally in use by manufacturers and builders here.
    • Pichaya Pakthongsuk, a medical lecturer at Prince of Songkla University, estimates up to 1,200 Thais with mesothelioma are likely to emerge every year before long.
    • In Thailand, about 90% of the asbestos sold goes into roof tiles and cement pipes.
    • Demolition or other forms of disturbance to buildings containing asbestos could spread the substance into the air, extending the risk to passers-by and residents as well.


    The house I've been doing some work on here was built in 1972, roof of the original structure is in corrugated 'fibre' which based on above is likely to contain asbestos. House extension have been done with corrugated iron.

    Just thought this may be of interest to those of you who are renovating existing houses, or even building new ones as from above it seems a high chance those new roof tiles could contain asbestos. The demolition side of things is particularly hazardous as the old stuff will crumble/flake.

  2. #2
    ENT
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    I've been assiduously warning all and sundry in my area of the evils of asbestos and the message is slow to sink in.
    Glad to see the Bk Post article.

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    This issue has concerned me for some time.
    We had some work done on our roof recently, and when I looked at some of the sections of the roof which had been temporarily removed, they certainly looked like they contained asbestos. This is not an old roof, and I have seen similar panels for sale in builders supply shops.
    I first became concerned a while ago, when I saw piles of builders rubble flytipped at the side of the road, and saw what appeared to be pieces and sheets of asbestos in it.
    This is obviously not a scientific assessment, I may be wrong, and I hope I am. But I do know what asbestos looks like, and I know that it can be a killer.
    All a bit doom and gloom, I know, and all we can do is be careful out there.

  4. #4
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    how does it look like ? I did some work on my roof a while ago, but all I could see was tiles, sealant tapes and paper foil

  5. #5
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    This is a typical asbestos roof.



    As long as they are sitting there and look ok it is not too dangerous. It is the dust that is a problem as you inhale it and the fibres wreak havoc in your lungs.

    So the main risk is for the builders and when it is torn down, because then a lot of dust is created.

    I would not touch an asbestos roof as long as it is ok. But the roof in the picture looks already a lot rotten and may cause some risk. But not as much as tearing it down.

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    Real scarey that asbestos. Friend from schooldays in the late sixties worked as a carpenter in New Zealand. As I recall was employed wrecking old houses in the Waikato in NZ and died in his in his early thirties from asbestos poinsoning.

    Another case was of a fellow who in his late teens helped clear out an old drycleaning factory for a month. Lots of pipes wrapped with some form of asbestos fabric ( possibly to keep the heat in). It was the only place he ever came into contact with asbestos in his life. Took ill in his 60s and died from from asbestos poisioning 2 years later. Forty years afterwards. So it must be a slow reaction fot some poor people.
    HAWKEYE

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    when i first leftschool i worked as a thermal insulation apprentice enginner / lagger / then we used to mix raw aspo / 1cwt bags / by hand in big oil drums full of water to get a mix like bread doe /we called it compo / then put it on the hot pipes by hand ,dust all over the place .. then one year we had are pay rise /national / they gave us 25pc rise woooow what the fks going on ... thats when all the shit came out about aspo .. my dad was working as a docker at the time and told me a story about a ship in london that was unloading cargo from canada and some one had left a document on the ship in canada saying how bad this shit is , but the powers to be didnt want joe blogs to know fk all .... thats when a lot of american insurance companys sold they aspo policys to lloyds of london / hence the collapes of lloyds years later when they had to pay out / had some friends die from this and its a bad bad death it can take you in 3months or 30 yrs / if i see any aspo i always steer clear of the shit , it only takes one speck of dust to get you ... .......

  8. #8
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genghis61 View Post
    The demolition side of things is particularly hazardous as the old stuff will crumble/flake.
    From OSHA,……..

    Sheeting: Walls, barriers, ceilings, and floors should be lined with two layers of plastic sheeting having a thickness of at least 6 mil.

    Link: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10868

    And

    Main page: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/

    You have to be licensed in the states (I think all) to remove this stuff. I have been taught to use personal protective equipment (face masks) and water when removing asbestos (keep the dust down). If anyone of you guys are having work done around your house you might consider moving the family away for a while, if they are removing asbestos.
    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

  9. #9
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    I started working life spraying industrial coatings/fireproofing so was often working in same areas as the pipe laggers. NZ had a very slack attitude to all workplace safety (what's that?) until early 1980s, I came back from Oz and a methanol plant in NZ managed by (spelling) Bechtel from USA. Suddenly everything was safety-safety, first time I'd had fully-functional breathing apparatus, site clearances, safety inspections and certificates, osh checks and so on, and pride taken in a safe workplace - rewards for eg 'how many days since last lost-time accident'. It was a huge step from when I'd left about 2 years earlier.
    Now any asbestos related disposal is done by licensed operators, treating it like the hazardous thing it is.
    And the power station I worked at - didn't know, but googled and found it was totally shut down in 2007 - due to asbestos.
    Cheap shot I know - but here if the hazard was taken seriously during a demolition - they'd just send in the Myanmars/Kampucheans/Laotians. Sad, but likely true.

  10. #10
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    Are the Thais still using asbestos, or is this just talking about existing construction?

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    It may well be that the real ongoing danger is that huge numbers of people continue to collect rain water in large earthen jugs as it pours off these 'possibly asbestos-ridden' panels used as roofs throughout Thailand. The rain water as it pours from the roofs surely scours microscopic bits from these 'asbestos-laden' panels depositing them in the perceived 'clean' drinking rainwater. I remarked on this possibility in 1990 on my first visit to Thailand and up-country, and more recently regarding the ubiquitous aerated-'concrete' building blocks currently being used in construction (a manufacturer of the blocks replied on another site that no asbestos is apparently used). I lived for about a year in the Thai countryside and was amazed at the seemingly endless procession of coffins, at times 5 or 6 per day, to the local crematoriums. There may be a causal link to asbestos, but too, there is widespread use of pesticides for killing everything seen as non-marketable, including, amazingly, grass along irrigation canals which surely contaminates the cattle usually seen grazing there, and eventually the water and thus the crops. Just before moving back to the city, I watched a man on a sunny morning, in a plastic raincoat, spraying long jets of chemical from his hand-pumped backpack up into the tall fruit trees. The droplets of course fell back like rain onto his protected rain garb, and so too onto his unprotected head and face. The continual burning of plant cuttings, plastic, tires, and these broken roof panels leaves a low mist-like cloud hovering over the early-morning countryside where at 5AM nigh every household starts burning wood, plastic bags and bits to prepare breakfast. The countryside looks invitingly pastoral, and a possible safe retreat from the obvious pollution of cities, until you actually stay there for a time.

  12. #12
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    ^No doubt,….Thailand has some health and safety issues. I still can not believe some of the construction sites I see. An OSHA/MSHA inspector couldn’t write citations fast enough.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobR View Post
    Are the Thais still using asbestos, or is this just talking about existing construction?
    Yes, available now from your local building merchant:

    International organisations, including the World Heath Organisation (WHO), support a ban on asbestos use. But the mineral is still legally in use by manufacturers and builders here.

    "Some companies have told me they would be willing to stop using asbestos if the government issues a regulation banning it,"

    Our water is collected from the corrugated iron section, pre-dates me by maybe 10yrs so before that could only have come off the old roof.

  14. #14
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    no ban yet, but . . .

    Health commission to seek govt ban on asbestos use, products
    By Pongphon Sarnsamak
    The Nation

    The National Health Commission (NHC) will today ask Cabinet to ban all use of asbestos and the extraction, manufacture and processing of asbestos products.

    The decision follows the discovery that thousands of workers are at risk in the workplace from the inhalation of asbestos fibre that can cause serious illness.

    The ban will also prohibit manufacturers from importing asbestos fibre and products for use by industries like textiles, friction products, insulation and other building materials, automotive brakes and clutches.

    Additionally, NHC will ask the Industry Ministry to issue its ministerial announcement to list asbestos fibre chrysotile as a "hazardous material type 4" this year, enforcing the ban on all manufacturers from using and importing asbestos.

    Under the ban, the government will give the private sector and state agencies two years to stop using asbestos and change to non-asbestos material.

    "Thailand must move to a non-asbestos organic society by the year 2012 [and] all asbestos must be totally banned in Thailand," NHC's secretary-general Dr Amphon Jindawattana said.

    Asbestos is now internationally recognised as a health hazard and is highly regulated. It is used in the manufacture of products like textiles, friction products, insulation and other building materials, automotive brakes and clutches

    Asbestos has been imported into Thailand at the rate of over 100,000 tonnes a year and has been widely used in the construction industry for 30 years. Up to 50 countries, including Japan and Singapore, have already banned it.

    Thailand remains among the world's top importers of the killer. Every year about 2 million tonnes of asbestos are mined. Russia is the largest producer followed by China and Kazakhstan.

    Asbestos exposure becomes a health concern when high concentrations of the fibre are inhaled to cause lung, abdomen and heart lining cancers. The symptoms often do not develop until long after exposure. People who become ill from it are often exposed on a day-to-day basis in a job where they work directly with the material, but they can also contract it from exposure to materials in their homes.

    The National Health Commission estimated that the number of Thai lung cancer patients caused by asbestos will rise to 1,295 cases a year.

    Somsri Suwanjaras of the Industry Ministry's hazardous substances control bureau said the ministry will ban the use and import of asbestos fibre.

    "[It] will cause severe impact on several sectors especially the aeroplane and truck brake industry as there are [as yet] no replacement materials," she said.

    Somsri said under the 1992 Factory Act's article 32, the ministry had not allowed asbestos manufacturers to extend their production.

    Moreover, the ministry has listed chrysotile asbestos as a "hazardous material type 3" for which prior permission is needed before it can be used by any business for production, importing, exporting or keeping in warehouses.

    However, the ministry will inform asbestos manufacturers and importers about the regulations controlling the use of asbestos in industry.

    To date two manufacturers who produce roof tiles have stopped using asbestos in their products.

  15. #15
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    and a price rise for roof tiles

    Ban of asbestos will raise roof tile prices
    Published on April 12, 2011

    Oran Vanich Roof Tile yesterday warned that the price of roofing tiles would rise if the government pressed ahead with a plan to discontinue the use of asbestos in the making of any products in the Kingdom.

    Moreover, the lifecycle of roof tiles that use other raw materials such as tissue paper, polyamide and other chemicals is only three years in a rainyseason climate such as Thailand's, compared with 70 years for tiling that uses asbestos, said managing director Uran Krealskul.

    The company's warning follows the government's proposed policy to ban the use of asbestos in all products, due to National Health Committee concerns about the associated cancer risk.

    Other makers such as SCG Group and Mahaphant Group have already changed their production and no longer use asbestos to produce their roofing tiles and others products, leaving only Oran Vanich Roof Tile and one other company to follow suit as regards rooftile manufacturing.

    Oran Vanich Roof Tile is a market leader in the roofingtile sector, posting revenue of Bt2.17 billion last year, 8 per cent above the Bt2.07 billion recorded in 2009.

    The company expects revenue growth of 10 per cent to Bt2.4 billion this year in a market valued at between Bt6 billion and Bt7 billion.

    "If the government maintains its policy to discontinue the use of asbestos in Thailand, we may shut down our roofingtile plant and diversify to produce other homeconstruction materials," Uran said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jingjoke
    It may well be that the real ongoing danger is that huge numbers of people continue to collect rain water in large earthen jugs as it pours off these 'possibly asbestos-ridden' panels used as roofs throughout Thailand. The rain water as it pours from the roofs surely scours microscopic bits from these 'asbestos-laden' panels depositing them in the perceived 'clean' drinking rainwater.
    there is no health hazard in drinking particles of asbestos

    however
    Although the evidence is less clear, there is some suggestion that cancers of the gastrointestinal tract may be associated with asbestos exposure.
    the problem is if they are inhaled into the lungs, they are very dangerous

    Asbestos related diseases are generally associated with exposure to high levels of asbestos over an extended period of time. Studies on workers in mines, factories and shipyards have shown that heavy exposures to asbestos can lead to three serious diseases:
    • asbestosis (scarring of lung tissue),
    • lung cancer , and
    • mesothelioma (a rare form of cancer affecting the lining of the lungs).
    These diseases may not appear for as much as 20-40 years after exposure to asbestos. Although the evidence is less clear, there is some suggestion that cancers of the gastrointestinal tract may be associated with asbestos exposure.
    Studies have also shown that smoking increases the risk of disease, with smokers exposed to high levels of asbestos having a much greater chance of developing lung cancer than nonsmokers.
    and

    Asbestos fibres are naturally occurring and result in a natural background present in our environment. This, combined with the widespread use of asbestos in products such as automotive brake linings, means that we are all exposed to very small amounts of asbestos in our daily lives. It is not this very low level of exposure that results in asbestos disease but the higher levels of occupational exposure that are of concern to most authorities. Studies have not shown any evidence of asbestos specific diseases in individuals who breathe asbestos in the outdoor air or who inhale asbestos as occupants of asbestos containing buildings. Regardless, proper measures for preventing or minimizing exposure to asbestos must always be in place.

  17. #17
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    I used to work in the asbestos cement manufacturing industry. It is OK if handled properly and, say, on a roof poses no threat when it is up there.
    Even removing a roof is of little consequence. But grinding or cutting needs to be done with care preferable in the presence of water.
    Biggest dangers are insulation and weaving, ie. medium length fibres, both of which have long gone.
    What do the house builders on TD think Conwood is made off?
    I do however think many people treat it in a cavalier way without taking the minimal precautions. Many Thai construction workers wear masks to prevent exposure to the sun so they are inadvertently doing the right thing if cutting and grinding asbestos cement.

    Great fun to throw a piece in a camp fire but stand back.
    Better to think inside the pub, than outside the box?
    I apologize if any offence was caused. unless it was intended.
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    Quote Originally Posted by VocalNeal View Post
    I used to work in the asbestos cement manufacturing industry. It is OK if handled properly and, say, on a roof poses no threat when it is up there.
    Even removing a roof is of little consequence. But grinding or cutting needs to be done with care preferable in the presence of water.
    Biggest dangers are insulation and weaving, ie. medium length fibres, both of which have long gone.
    What do the house builders on TD think Conwood is made off?
    I do however think many people treat it in a cavalier way without taking the minimal precautions. Many Thai construction workers wear masks to prevent exposure to the sun so they are inadvertently doing the right thing if cutting and grinding asbestos cement.

    Great fun to throw a piece in a camp fire but stand back.
    OK I give up what is Conwood made of as their FAQ says 100% asbestos free

    CONWOOD

    What is CONWOOD made of? [276]

    We use green technology from Switzerland to mix with Portland cement and Fibre-cellulose without asbestos (100% Asbestos Free) that is medically proved that cause the pollution and poor health.

  19. #19
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    the trouble with Thai building materials is that many products do not tell you what they are made of, and even lie about it

    the regs are not enforced properly

  20. #20
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    BWI and ABAN support the recent move by ban-asbestos activists in Thailand
    19 January 2012

    The BWI and ABAN support the recent move by ban-asbestos activists in Thailand to hold a National Programme on the Elimination of Asbestos Diseases (NPEAD) meeting following the success of a similar event in Malaysia last year.

    The meeting in Thailand, scheduled for February 17, will promote the involvement of trade unions and civil society organizations in the push towards an asbestos ban and hold government authorities accountable, building on the momentum of the NPEAD conference in Malaysia.

    At the Malaysian NPEAD conference, organised jointly by the BWI and Malaysian Trade Union Congress on December 13-14, trade unions, NGOs and government officials agreed to continue the fight towards banning asbestos by drafting a memorandum to Prime Minister Najib, requesting the relevant Ministries to establish an NPEAD as a platform and process that would lead to a legal ban of asbestos, and through the formation of a coalition in Malaysia – tentatively named BAM (Ban Asbestos Malaysia) – as the lead organisation within the proposed NPEAD.

    bwint.org

  21. #21
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    Call me cynical. but I've just had a asbestos roof replaces with an non asbestos replacement, f**king termites. One think I did notice whist looking round is that siam cement and its subsidiaries seem to be more into non asbestos products than most.

    On the basis that they are better tooled up to deal with an asbestos ban, the rather powerful lobbying power of this company. I can see an asbestos ban coming; if for no other reason than Siam Cement would gain further market share.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hazz
    On the basis that they are better tooled up to deal with an asbestos ban, the rather powerful lobbying power of this company. I can see an asbestos ban coming; if for no other reason than Siam Cement would gain further market share.
    You may be right. But an asbestos ban is a very good thing, no matter what the reason for it.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Takeovers
    But an asbestos ban is a very good thing
    absolutely .

    ask Sir James Hardy

  24. #24
    euston has flown

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    ^^I agree absolutly

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    I understand that there has never been a recorded death due to asbestos other than for people who work with asbestos of the families of people who work with asbestos.

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