Doctors sound warning over asbestos

Doctors are urging people currently removing asbestos from their buildings to do it with care.
Removing asbestos requires proper clothing to avoid contamination. The New Times / Courtesy
Removing asbestos requires proper clothing to avoid contamination. The New Times / Courtesy

Doctors are urging people currently removing asbestos from their buildings to do it with care.

If poorly disposed off, asbestos fibre can be a dangerous indoor air pollutant and hazardous to human and animal health.

Asbestos has been used in a range of building materials to make them more rigid and fire resistant. It has also been used in household products like ironing boards and oven gloves.

Speaking to The New Times yesterday, Dr. Theobald Hategekimana, the Director General of Kigali Teaching Hospital (CHUK) said the more one is exposed to asbestos, the greater the chance for developing lung cancer.

“We have been engaged in sensitisation campaigns to ensure that Rwandans know the kind of diseases induced by asbestos. The most common diseases that are triggered by inhaling asbestos fibres are asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer,” he said.

“If you choose to remove asbestos materials yourself, make sure you’re wearing the correct personal protective gear. This includes a dust mask approved for asbestos and a disposable overall”.

He mentioned that they have not yet received cases of asbestos-related diseases among the people due to the fact that they may not be having the capacity to detect people suffering from such diseases, adding that fibres and dust are potentially dangerous if inhaled in high concentrations over a period of time.

The stern warning from medics follows the ongoing campaign to remove asbestos roofing from various public and private buildings containing asbestos roofing materials by the Asbestos Eradication Project.

frank.kanyesigye@newtimes.co.rw

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