Asbestos - Not Here Not Anywhere

In Australia, asbestos is totally banned. It was a long, hard fight against a powerful industry, but we got there. However, in other parts of the world asbestos continues to do its deadly damage.

Australian unionists know what it takes to struggle and win asbestos bans. We also know we have to be vigilant. Despite import bans, asbestos is still getting into Australia — in construction materials, in mechanical parts, in school science kits. Recently, asbestos traces were even found in children’s crayons. We know the fight for victims is ongoing.

Widespread and killing in South East Asia

Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of raw asbestos are imported across South East Asia, where they are used to make building products, roof-tiles, machine parts and specialist fabrics for clothing.

The workers in the factories are exposed, as are the communities surrounding the factories and the workers’ families. The cost in human life is incalculable.

In Vietnam, there is progress towards a ban, but the work ahead to organise for eradication is extensive. In Cambodia, as construction sites pop up all over the place, lowly paid building and construction workers are exposed to asbestos dust from cheap cladding. In Indonesia, 26 factories, each with more than 100 workers, are producing products with asbestos. The industry in Indonesia directly exposes over 7,000 workers.

These workers, and their communities, are largely unaware of the damage caused by exposure to asbestos.

The Union movement — your union— is stepping up to eradicate the Asbestos killer overseas

The World Health Organisation says that the only way to see an end to asbestos-related disease is to see asbestos eradicated globally.

Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA is building a movement of people in Australia to support movements in South East Asia to work towards asbestos bans and eradication.

In Vietnam, we are continuing the support VN-BAN, a local network of organisations joining forces to see asbestos eradicated. Despite the concerted efforts of the powerful asbestos lobby, we now have government support for a ban by 2020.

In Cambodia, we are looking to scale up our involvement in campaigns and organising around asbestos. We are also looking for opportunities to support local unions and movements in Burma, Laos and wherever asbestos is used and people are exposed.

And right now, in Indonesia, we are supporting a new partner, LION. LION’s vision is for all Indonesians to be able to work without fear of injury or illness from their jobs, because workplace health and safety hazards are understood and recognised by all.


Join APHEDA. Your contributions make a big difference and APHEDA members are ready and willing to take action to support global asbestos bans.

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