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Air Pollution Control (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2013 published in Gazette today to ban all asbestos

     The Government will introduce the Air Pollution Control (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2013 into the Legislative Council to ban the use of all types of asbestos to better protect public health.

     "The Amendment Bill expands the existing control regime, which currently bans the import and sale of the more hazardous blue asbestos (crocidolite) and brown asbestos (amosite) and controls activities involving asbestos-containing materials, to include the banning of the import, transhipment, supply and use of all types of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials. It will also make related amendments to the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Asbestos) Regulation to prohibit the use of all types of asbestos in industrial undertakings," a spokesperson for the Environmental Protection Department said.

     Asbestos was widely used in friction, fireproofing, insulation and building materials before the mid-1980s because of its very high tensile strength and good heat and chemical resistance properties. It is, however, a confirmed human carcinogen. Inhalation of asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. A total ban of asbestos will further reduce the health risks and improve the environment.

     Under the Amendment Bill, any person who imports, tranships, supplies or uses asbestos or asbestos-containing materials commits an offence and will be liable to a fine of up to $200,000 and imprisonment for up to six months upon conviction.

     The bill, which is published in the Gazette today (September 27), will be introduced into the Legislative Council on October 23.

Ends/Friday, September 27, 2013
Issued at HKT 12:00


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