In early March 2018, Dr Ken Takahashi, Director of ADRI and WHO consultant, played a leading role at the workshop for developing a National Action Plan for the elimination of asbestos-related diseases in Laos. Dr Takahashi brought to the table his vast experience to advocate to policy makers for an asbestos ban.
The multi-sectoral workshop was organized by the Lao Ministry of Health, supported by the World Health Organization and Union Aid Abroad -APHEDA. Laos is currently one of the highest per capita consumers of asbestos and the workshop discussed implementing a National Action Plan to implement a ban of chrysotile asbestos.
Chrysotile asbestos is being used widely in Laos in the building industry, alarmingly the amount of imported asbestos has been increasing year to year and it has reached over 8000 tons in 2013.
At the workshop, Dr Takahashi shared research and his experiences with asbestos bans and the prevention of asbestos-related diseases. At the conclusion of the two-day meeting, Dr Takahashi said, “Controlled use is not possible, we need to ban the use of chrysotile asbestos and take preventive measures to minimise exposure during the transition period. This will stop countries from repeating the same patterns of exposure and prevent future burden of asbestos-related diseases.”
ADRI is anticipating future work with other countries throughout South Asia.
Dr Takahashi’s visit to Laos was covered in leading international publication asbestos.com, see: https://www.asbestos.com/news/2018/03/19/asbestos-bans-southeast-asia/.