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January 21, 2018

Solons want to ban asbestos

Lawmakers sought a total ban on the the importation, manufacture, processing, use and distribution of the “dangerous and disease-causing” asbestos and asbestos-containing products.

Akbayan party-list Reps. Walden Bello and Ibarra Gutierrez III lamented that despite the issuance of a resolution seeking to totally ban asbestos in the Philippines during the 11th National Occupational Safety and Health Congress in October 2008, the use of the harmful substance continues.

In filing House Bill 4437, they expressed concern that Philippines is considered as the fourth largest importer of asbestos at $76.32 million annually.

“The current policy is one of control by regulation of the use and disposal of asbestos products. There is a ban on crocidolite or blue asbestos and amosite or brown asbestos while the use of chrysolite or white asbestos is not banned and permitted in high density products as fire proofing, clothing, roofing felts or related products, asbestos cement roofing and flat sheet, friction materials, high temperature textile products etc.,” Bello said.

Bello noted that the “alarming” exposure to asbestos even in very minute amounts could lead to asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

House Bill 4437 provides the implementation of the ban on the importation, manufacturing, processing, use or distribution of asbestos and asbestos-containing products whether for commercial or non-commercial purposes “not later than two years from the effectivity” of the proposed Act.

The proposed Asbestos Ban Act of 2014 tasks the Secretary of Health, in consultation with the Secretary of Trade and Industry and the Secretary of Labor and Employment, to establish a public education and safety program aimed primarily at increasing awareness of the dangers posed by asbestos-containing products and contaminants in homes and workplaces and asbestos-related diseases.

An inter-agency technical advisory council attached to the Department of Health (DOH) shall also be created to assist the agency in preparing, conducting and reporting the public education and safety program, the bill said.

HB 4436 provides that any person who violates the provisions of the Act shall be punished by a penalty of six months to two years imprisonment or a fine of not than P100,000 nor more than P1 million or both at the discretion of the court.

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Solons want to ban asbestos