Prices of products such as roof tiles and brake pads are likely to rise.
Photo above of a typical asbestos roof house.
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Asbestos ban could affect prices by Nanchanok Wongsamuth
Makers of products containing asbestos are threatening to raise prices if the government bans asbestos imports.
The National Economic and Social Advisory Council has recommended banning imports and sales in Thailand of asbestos, which has been linked to health problems including cancer.
Thailand has imported asbestos for 30 years, and manufacturers say it is still necessary for the industrial sector to use the product until Thai researchers provide medical proof of a cancer link.
While asbestos is used in 114 countries, it is banned in 48 countries, mostly in Europe. Countries including the US, Canada, Brazil, China, Indonesia and Malaysia allow its use in some products.
Uran Kleosakul, marketing director of Oranvanich Co, the producer of Oran roof tiles, said that 70% of all roof tiles were made of asbestos. A ban of the mineral would affect around 570,000 households or 2 million people, most of which are low to middle income earners.
"If [asbestos] is banned, we will stop production since it will be cheaper than having to pay for damage [caused by low quality non-asbestos tiles], which are two times weaker than non-asbestos tiles," he said.
Thailand last year imported 69,000 tonnes of asbestos from Russia and Canada. Prices are currently around US$400 per tonne compared with $300 three to four years ago due to increased demand in China, Brazil and Russia.
In Thailand, about 90% of the asbestos sold goes into roof tiles and cement pipes. The rest goes into the production of brakes and clutches, vinyl floor tiles, gaskets and heat-insulating materials.
Suwit Panyasewanamit, managing director of Polytex Industry Co, a distributor of motor brakes, said the company would raise prices if asbestos is banned, as 70-80% of it is used in making brake pads.
(Source: Bangkok Post, INDUSTRY, Asbestos ban could affect prices, 21/01/2011, Nanchanok Wongsamuth, link)
asbestos - a mineral with fibers (magnesium silicate) "used for fireproofing, electrical insulation, building materials, brake linings, and chemical filters, the small fibres can cause cancer when lodged in the lungs" (See Wikipedia)
ban - an official statement ordering people not to do, sell or use something การห้าม
NESDB (National Economic and Social Development Board or "Sa-pa-pat") - Thai government planning agency for economic development, creates five year plans with an agenda of: 1. Alleviation of Poverty and Income Distribution problems, 2. Enhancing Thailand’s Competitiveness, 3. Promoting Social Capital Development, 4. Promoting Sustainable Development (See Wikipedia)
linked - connected เชื่อมโยง
sector - a part of the economy ภาคเศรษฐกิจของประเทศ (public sector = government, private sector = all businesses, household sector = families and consumers, banking sector,...) (See Wikipedia)
industrial sector - all the companies that manufacture and produce goods and products
provide - to give someone something that they want or need
proof - some fact or argument that shows the truth of something
link - to connect เชื่อม
banned - officially not allowed to do something ถูกห้าม, ห้ามอย่างเป็นทางการ ถูกตัดสิทธิ
producer - a person who makes the practical and financial arrangements needed to make a film, play, television or radio programme ผู้อำนวยการสร้างภาพยนต์, ผู้ผลิต
mineral - a valuable or useful chemical substance which is formed naturally in the ground แร่
households - families or groups of people living together (economics treats this as a unit that makes decisions)
income - money that people receive from work or some other source, used for household consumption and savings
demand - the desire or need for goods or services by households and businesses
clutch - the pedal in front of the driver in a car that is pressed to change the gear of the car (See Wikipedia)
vinyl - a shiny and tough and flexible plastic; used especially for floor coverings
gasket - a sealing device used between two parts to prevent leakage (See Wikipedia)
insulating - protecting the inside from the outside (usually from outside heat) การป้องกัน (ความร้อน)
brake pads - the two pads in a brake that come together to slow and stop a car's forward motion (See Wikipedia)
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