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Residents warned vs. exposure to asbestos

Manila, Philippines – Quezon City residents have been warned anew on the dangers posed by over exposure to asbestos-tainted construction materials prominently used for housing projects in the ’50s and ’60s.

First District Councilor Victor Ferrer Jr. issued the warning after a World Health Organization report revealed that asbestos-tainted materials can cause lung cancer, mesothelomia, cancer of the larynx and ovary and asbestosis (fibrosis of the lungs).

In the rounds he made in the city’s 142 barangays, Ferrer expressed alarm after he personally discovered that some old houses still have roofs made from asbestos.

“Certain improvements were made in the residences but some of the owners have failed to remove the asbestos roofs and change them to a safer roofing material,’’ Ferrer said.

Ferrer also supported the bid of toxic watchdog EcoWaste Coalition and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines in calling for the concerned agencies to take drastic actions to eliminate asbestos in consumer products in the local market.

In a joint statement, the EcoWaste Coalition and the TUCP called on the authorities to expand the prohibition on the manufacture, importation, distribution and sale of consumer products that can expose consumers and workers to asbestos, a group of cancer-causing fibrous materials.

The EcoWaste Coalition discovered a thermos flask banned in Spain for containing asbestos and being sold in the local market.

Ferrer said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources was also alerted as there were urgent calls for the revision of the Chemical Control Order for Asbestos.

The CCO revision would complement the global efforts of the WHO and the International Labor Organization efforts to totally eradicate asbestos-related diseases.