UN expert urges FG to ban importation, use of asbestos


Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Mrs Nana Mede
Mr Urs Wagner, Senior International Environmental Expert in the United Nations, has called on the Federal Government to ban the importation of asbestos into Nigeria to curb toxic threats to human health.
He made the call at a two-day National Stakeholders Training Workshop on the “Environmental Sound Management of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)” in Abuja on Tuesday.
The workshop was organised by the Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the World Bank.
Wagner, also an Asbestos Management Expert, regretted that asbestos commonly used as roofing sheets in Nigeria contained PCBs which were detrimental to human health.
According to him, some potential damage related to long term exposure to PCBs include damage of liver and kidney, negative effects on the thyroid hormones, reproductive system, impaired immune function and possible carcinogenic effects.
He said that constant exposure to PCBs could also cause cancer, delayed fertilisation in pregnant women, harm wild life and affect growth in children.
According to him, capacitors, corrosive paints, switches, transformers, and spilled oil among others also contain elements of PCBs.
He explained that most of the exposed victims of PCBs were not aware of the dangers.
Wagner, however, called for increased awareness and media partnership to sensitise members of the public on possible dangers of PCBs.
“PCB is a man made synthetic substance. It is one of the 21 Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP) under the Stockholm Convention which require immediate international action.
“Asbestos can be deadly for those who inhale fiber from it over a certain period. There is scientific evidence proven that asbestos is a threat to human beings,” he said.
In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Mrs Nana Mede, described PCBs as a class of organic compounds which were toxic and highly persistent in the environment.
Mede was represented by the Deputy Director, Department …Read More

Source:: PM Newspaper