Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry to examine asbestos

Ministry to examine asbestos

A meeting launching a working group on National Asbetos profiles was conducted yesterday in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied
A meeting launching a working group on National Asbetos profiles was conducted yesterday in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Ministry to examine asbestos

The Ministry of Labour yesterday announced the formation of a new working group tasked with gathering data on the precise prevalence of asbestos and its adverse effects in the Kingdom.

Minister Ith Sam Heng yesterday said the group will compile data in order to prepare a national action plan and an effective prevention program on the risks of asbestos.

Dr Leng Tong, director of the ministry’s Department of Occupational Safety and Health, said the group will gather information on asbestos products imported to the Kingdom and how many workers fall ill due to asbestos.

It will also receive training from other countries, such as Australia, which has banned the use of asbestos.

Asbestos causes asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer, with construction workers facing higher risks. There are an estimated 200,000 construction workers in Cambodia, but how many have been exposed to asbestos is not yet known.

“In the future, we’ll have to [ban] it for the safety of the workers,” Tong said. The ministry in 2015 was already working on a study that it had planned to take to the government to ask for an asbestos ban. However, Tong said the study was small and there were limited resources.

Sam Heng yesterday said the ILO, WHO and civil society would also be involved.

UN data show that Cambodia imported some 29 tonnes of “fabricated asbestos fibres” and “mixtures with a basis of asbestos” in 2015, while much more enters as part of pre-fabricated construction materials.

Sok Kin, leader of the Building and Wood Workers Trade Union Federation of Cambodia, said his union was one of the three in the working group. He said construction workers handling asbestos often don’t even have access to masks or gloves.

“I hope the government will ban the import and will stop using asbestos, like other countries,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • All Covid restrictions for inbound travellers lifted

    Cambodia has apparently taken the final step towards full reopening of the country without Covid-19 restrictions by removing all requirements for inbound travellers, who until now had to show health certificates indicating that they have tested Covid-19 negative in the past 72 hours as well as

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Cambodia stands firm on 5PC: No invite for Myanmar to ASEAN Summit this year

    Cambodia has not invited Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, chairman of Myanmar’s ruling State Administration Council (SAC), to the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit and related meetings scheduled for next month in Phnom Penh. The government will instead invite a non-political representative from Myanmar

  • Mushrooming borey projects and home financing – a cause for concern?

    A spurt in housing developments is typically a sign of a growing economy but underneath all that might lay some anxiety of credit growth as developers offer financing to buyers at higher rates, an activity the central bank identifies as ‘shadow banking’ Earlier this year,

  • Thai Senate delegates in Cambodia to discuss anti-graft co-op

    A delegation from Thailand's Senate was in Phnom Penh on September 28 to meet their Cambodian counterparts to discuss strategies for fighting corruption and enhancing cooperation. The Thai delegates were from its Senate’s Committee on Studying and Inspecting Corruption, Misconduct and Strengthening Good Governance. They

  • Scholarship winner tells secrets to success

    Chhim Chaknineath was awarded the Chevening Scholarship for one year of postgraduate study in the UK for the academic year 2022-2023 along with a group of 10 other outstanding students who applied. She spent more than a year researching and studying – as well as consulting with