Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry launches review of asbestos status in Kingdom

Ministry launches review of asbestos status in Kingdom

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Labour minister Ith Sam Heng (left) and Yuka Ujita, ILO technical specialist on occupational safety and health, during a virtual meeting on asbestos and the dangers it poses on Tuesday. LABOUR MINISTRY

Ministry launches review of asbestos status in Kingdom

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training plans to collaborate with two outside organisations to raise public awareness in Cambodia about the dangers of asbestos, an industrial material widely used throughout the world for various applications such as insulating buildings – though its use was largely banned in most developed nations due to the deadly affects it can have on anyone who breathes its fibres into their lungs.

The two groups working with the ministry are Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA and the UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Labour minister Ith Sam Heng announced the collaboration on August 31, saying team members from all three participating organisations would meet and begin compiling information on the current use of asbestos in Cambodia.

“Because there is no definite consensus as yet internationally as to whether asbestos should be banned completely, our team has a very important role to gather all information on asbestos and answer questions like: How useful is it? What are the alternatives? What are the dangers of using it?” Sam Heng said.

“In some countries, [where asbestos is still used] they use it very carefully, and even the storage is very specialized ... No one actually touches it, all of it is handled mechanically. So this is an issue we must be careful about,” he added.

According to a report on asbestos by APHEDA – which is an organisation that campaigns for a total ban on asbestos use globally – it is a mineral substance that can be used to make products that are especially tough, hard and cheap but exposure to it can lead to diseases such as lung cancer.

The report notes that it is often called a hidden killer because it takes years for those exposed to asbestos to develop the cancer that will eventually kill them despite the fact that it only takes very brief exposure to the material to set the process in motion by breathing in loose asbestos fibres.

In countries where its use is still permitted, asbestos-containing products include fibrous cement and other construction materials, thermal and sound insulation systems, fire extinguishers, insulation, floor tiles, plastics, textiles, abrasive materials, brake pads and packaging materials.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro