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Asbestos Variant Safe, Government Claims

July 30, 2013

A Public Health Ministry committee on Monday said it could find no solid evidence that chrysotile, a common form of asbestos, was harmful to human health

The finding contradicts an international body of scientific evidence linking exposure to the mineral with various forms of cancer and pleural abnormalities.

The cabinet ordered the ministry to investigate the health impacts of chrysotile in 2011 after the National Economic and Social Development Board proposed the substance be banned in Thailand.

Deputy permanent secretary Charnwit Tharathep, who led the study, yesterday said his committee had found insufficient evidence to suggest exposure to chrysotile posed health risks.

Chrysotile is commonly used in brake linings, clutch systems and heat-resistant household appliances such as toasters, irons and ovens.

"We can't amend the law [to ban chrysotile] without pointing to clear evidence [of negative health impacts] in Thailand," he said. 

"We will certainly ban chrysotile if we can find solid evidence of the substance's impacts on people's health."

The committee will report its findings to the cabinet next month.

The World Health Organisation's website states that "all types" of asbestos can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, cancer of the larynx and ovaries, and asbestosis.

About 50 countries have banned all types of asbestos.

Bangkok Post


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