EEG discusses health issues related to asbestos as up to 100,000 deaths reported annually worldwide due to asbestos-related diseases

Published December 1st, 2009 - 01:34 GMT

Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) has revisited issues related to the use of asbestos - and focused on the safe removal and handling of asbestos containing materials in buildings during its 11th community lecture for the year at the Emarat Atrium Building, Dubai. Organised with the theme "The Risks of Asbestos Usage," the seminar provided a detailed discussion on safe working procedures in dealing with asbestos containing materials.

Habiba Al Marashi, Chairperson, EEG, said, "The vast majority of people remain misinformed about the health and safety issues related to asbestos, which is why we have organised another seminar about this important topic. Studies have shown that asbestos-related diseases have caused up to 100,000 deaths annually worldwide, which is certainly a daunting figure. It is our goal to educate the public and provide them with the right information so they are aware of their responsibilities and the correct approach in dealing with asbestos in our society."

"In 2006, the UAE Government banned the manufacture and import of asbestos boards and the use of asbestos boards in public and private buildings due to the variety of diseases including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma, a fatal form of cancer, which were all caused by asbestos. In spite of this, there are still a lot of buildings in the UAE that contain asbestos before the law was enforced. Some construction companies also continue to use this material to save costs, without taking into consideration its harmful effects on health and environment,” added Al Marashi. 

Keynote speaker Charles Kinniburgh, CEO of Angus Group, an internationally leading asbestos consultancy and specialist in asbestos consultation provided an introduction about asbestos and the variety of its uses and properties. Kinniburgh likewise outlined the associated risks and problems being faced by the UAE as a result of the use of asbestos in the country.

Charles Kinniburgh said: "Safe work procedures must be followed at all times when handling asbestos containing materials, especially when removing asbestos from buildings. The tools and equipment designed to collect asbestos must be used to prevent the risk of exposure, which has extremely hazardous effects to human health. The most important thing to remember is that asbestos can be safely removed from buildings without risk to the public as long as proper guidelines are followed”.

This is the first time since 1992 that EEG has conducted 11 community lectures in a year. The community lecture is EEG’s free public service on pressing environmental issues and concerns. It is attended by people from different backgrounds and orientations but having a common concern for the environment.


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