Jun 8, 2023

In a major breakthrough for the Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA/ Australian and global trade union campaign to warn the region on asbestos and eliminate asbestos related diseases in Asia, the Cambodian Government has this week announced it will stop asbestos use in 2025.

Members of the Building and Wood Workers Trade Union in Cambodia campaigning against asbestos. Photo: BWTUC/Facebook

Since 2015 APHEDA and its partners in Cambodia including Building and Wood Workers Trade Union Federation (BWTUC), the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MOLVT) and the joint NGO and trade union network CAMBAN, have been warning of the health impacts of exposure to this deadly fibre. The awareness campaign has focused on policy makers and construction workers and other workers from affected industries with thousands attending workplace information sessions and many others attending national workshops, tripartite dialogue, and days of action. The network has called for an end to asbestos use and of importing asbestos and asbestos containing materials as soon as possible. APHEDA with support of Australian Government Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA), has also provided laboratory equipment and training to the Ministry of Commerce to enable Cambodia for the first time to detect asbestos in materials without having to send samples internationally.

APHEDA, with assistance from ILO and the Australian Governments Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) , has supported the MOLVT and 10 other Ministries to develop and publish National Asbestos Profiles in 2019 and 2022 to map current use of asbestos and asbestos containing materials in the country in preparation for further action by the government to protect workers, consumers who buy asbestos containing materials, and the environment that is affected by the hazardous waste.

Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA Executive Officer Kate Lee said: “We strongly welcome this significant announcement by the Royal Government of Cambodia signalling an end to asbestos use in Cambodia in 2025. The tragic legacy of asbestos use in Australia that is still killing 4000 people a year, 20 years after it was banned, is a stark warning to countries in the region still using this deadly product, especially when so many locally manufactured safer alternatives are available. We look forward along with our international partners, in assisting the government to move forward to achieve this important step to help protect Cambodian workers and consumers from exposure and eliminating asbestos related diseases in Cambodia.”

APHEDA’s Asbestos Not Here Not Anywhere campaign is supported in Cambodia through APHEDA’s Cambodia Country office by Australian Aid, The Australian Embassy in Cambodia, ASEA, Australian trade unions, Solidarity Centre USA/USAID, IBAS (International Ban Asbestos Secretariat) and individual donations. APHEDA , also works closely with the ILO and Building Workers International on asbestos awareness and action in Cambodia and recognises the support of employer groups EuroCham and the Cambodian Engineers Association in this important health and safety campaign.

Read the news report from Khmernote.com here.


The Asbestos. Not Here. Not Anywhere project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP), Australian trade unions, and members of Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA.

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