The EcoWaste Alliance (EcoWaste) and the Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said Thursday, January 3, that there is an urgent need to improve policy on the manufacture and use of asbestos and pathogen-containing materials to protect public health. 6.
In a joint statement, EcoWaste and TUCP said the Chemical Control Order (CCO) for asbestos “needs to be seriously strengthened” to protect the public from the unrestricted import of raw asbestos and materials or products containing the substance.
According to the groups, the most common illnesses resulting from exposure to asbestos are asbestosis or some form of lung disease, lung and ovarian cancer, scarring of the lining of the lung, and mesothelioma or a tumor in the linings of the lungs, abdomen, or heart.
“We no longer see labels on asbestos-containing products. And we don’t see warning signs that warn people and protect communities from the risks of exposure to asbestos dust in demolitions and asbestos disposal operations,” said Raymond Mendoza, president of TUCP.
“The time for compliance with and enforcement of the CCO is over. We fear that many workers and their families have already been exposed, and its effects will only become apparent after a few years.”
Meanwhile, Toni Dizon, a chemical safety campaigner with the EcoWaste Coalition, said CCO could be boosted by extending bans to all forms of asbestos, phasing out asbestos-containing products, and promoting commercial use of safer alternatives to these carcinogens.
“All stakeholders, including workers, communities and local governments, must be involved in raising citizens’ awareness of this public health issue and in conducting sustainable monitoring and control of asbestos exposure,” Dizon said.
The CCO on asbestos was issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on January 6, 2000.
All forms of asbestos are prohibited for toys, low-density chemicals, corrugated commercial paper, and untreated textiles among other things.
Furthermore, it also indicates that asbestos- and asbestos-containing materials should be labeled in products for structures, construction, demolition, disposal and packaging.
DENR also requires all manufacturers to register with the Environmental Management Office, obtain import authorization, and file annual reports, among other things, to ensure compliance with CCO.
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