The days of overcoming difficulties with the poor
Vietnam National Roofsheet Association support people in areas affected by natural disasters, floods with AC roof sheets.
The industry of fibro cement products has flourished in many countries around the world. More than 60 percent of Brazilians, Russians, Chinese, Indians… are still using fibro-cement water tanks and roof sheets. Particularly, AC roof sheets are almost the only option of people in rural and coastal areas in Asian countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia which have similar economic and climate conditions to Vietnam.
Vietnam recorded more than 40 factories of AC roof sheet with a total design capacity of 105 million sqm per year. AC roof sheet is favored because of low price, good insulation, high strength and no warping with climate changes; no rust by sea steam and hoarfrost; no corrosion by kitchen fumes or acids from animal and poultry manure.
Especially, when a disaster comes, agencies and organizations will mobilize AC roof sheet to rescue the families of the victims, help them to rebuild their houses and have a shelter under the rain and sun.
However, in the past 10 years, AC roof sheet enterprises have met difficulties with negative information of carcinogen of chrysotile. Notably, the campaign advocating for the ban of chrysotile is associated with the flattering of PVA synthetic although no factory has successfully produced PVA-containing roof sheet.
Many health experts in the field of occupational diseases analyzed: According to WHO statistics, Vietnam had 60,000 people died from pollution and 79,000 people died from drinking alcohol in 2016. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recorded 10,710 deaths of lung cancer in Vietnam in 2018, mainly from smoking, drinking, obesity and inactivity and improper use of fuel. However, many of them have not been banned or used controllably. Meanwhile, authorities have not had any conclusive scientific evidence for the harmful effects of chrysotile during the last 20 years because no mesothelioma patients have been discovered due to the exposure to chrysotile. The proposal for the ban on chrysotile is implemented only on the basis of “WHO recommendations”.
The questions to the burden of trillions VND
The cost of replacement, dismantlement and destruction of millions of AC roof sheets can be over hundreds of billion.
In the face of survival, a variety of petitions of businesses have been sent to the Party, National Assembly and Government agencies to stop the ban because the irrelevance with the provisions of the Law on Investment, scientific basis and reality. Overseeing this issue, the Committee on Science, Technology and Environment of the National Assembly organized a field survey, conducted explanations, seminars and conferences. However, there has been no convincing answer for experts, businesses and workers.
A series of questions are still “hanging” such as: Why is chrysotile banned while thousands of other toxic substances are still in use? Why are the researches with no case of cancer not recognized in Vietnam? Why is it only proposed to ban chrysotile in AC roof sheet, not in brake pads for elevators, cars, motorbikes, fireproof clothing and thousands of other insulating devices? How to apply substitute products when all 3 factories producing PVA-containing roof sheet failed? Is there a similar product with the same price and quality for the replacement of AC roof sheet? How to mobilize the compensation costs for businesses, workers if the factories close? Who will pay more than VND 300 billion to replace the entire AC roof sheet? What budget to recall millions sqm of dismantled AC roof sheet?
In August, the Committee on Science, Technology and Environment of National Assembly issued Official Dispatch No. 1441 announcing the direction of Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan to require ministries and relevant agencies to conduct honest researches to prove whether there are the dangers of chrysotile on the health of workers and consumers. The recommendations and criticisms related to chrysotile should be evaluated scientifically, so that people can understand the nature and avoid excessive propaganda which causes the confusion. The Chairwomen of the National Assembly also directed the evaluation of the practical application results of the scientific research projects on substitute products.