Ex­po­sure to chem­i­cals, grow­ing con­cerns

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

Thirty-five per­cent of over­all dis­eases bur­dened were caused by ex­po­sure to chem­i­cals ac­cord­ing to World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion.

The rapid in­dus­trial and com­mer­cial ac­com­pa­nied by en­hanced trade across the coun­try re­sult the chem­i­cal be­ing im­ported into the coun­try.

Ex­po­sure to chem­i­cals oc­curs mostly in work places as well as through food, wa­ter and air from en­vi­ron­ment and chem­i­cal con­tain­ing prod­ucts, not only in the in­dus­tries.

Ben­zene is one of the chem­i­cal con­tained in daily used ma­te­ri­als. It is a col­or­less, flammable liq­uid with a sweet odor.

Ben­zene can be ab­sorbed through the skin dur­ing con­tact with a source like gaso­line, fumes, au­to­mo­bile ex­haust, and waste wa­ter from in­dus­tries.

Cig­a­rette smok­ing and sec­ond­hand smoke are the ma­jor source of ex­po­sure to ben­zene.

Ac­cord­ing to Strate­gic Ap­proach to In­ter­na­tional Chem­i­cals Man­age­ment (SAICM), the petrol con­tains four per­cent of ben­zene.

Peo­ple spend­ing more time in­doors such as chil­dren, women and el­derly are likely to have higher ex­po­sure to ben­zene.

Long term ex­po­sure to ben­zene harms the bone mar­rows which will re­sults to get ane­mia. In­flam­ma­tion of eye, skin ir­ri­ta­tion, vom­it­ing, and ir­ri­ta­tion of stom­ach, dizzi­ness and in­creas­ing the heart rate are few of symp­toms of ill­ness caused by ex­po­sure to ben­zene.

Ac­cord­ing to the health, the chil­dren and preg­nant women are more ven­er­a­ble to ex­po­sure to huge amount of both nat­u­ral and man-made ori­gin of chem­i­cals.

Dis­cour­ag­ing in­doors use of gaso­line heat­ing and avoid­ing smok­ing in­side build­ings and in closed room are the few of ways to re­duce the ex­po­sure to ben­zene.

Im­ple­men­ta­tion of leg­is­la­tion, fo­cus­ing on en­vi­ron­ment and proper san­i­ta­tion are few mea­sures to bring down the car­cino­gen.

To re­duce the num­ber of deaths and ill­ness from haz­ardous of chem­i­cal con­tam­i­nat­ing to air, wa­ter and soil pol­lu­tion is one of the fo­cuses of projects with SDG goals of 2030.

Food, wa­ter and air from en­vi­ron­ment and chem­i­cal con­temn­ing prod­ucts should prop­erly man­age.

Chem­i­cals are use­ful in many ways con­tribut­ing the im­prove­ment of qual­ity of life, health and well-be­ing.

As per the Food and Agri­cul­ture Or­ga­ni­za­tion ( FAO) re­port on the pro­gram on pre­ven­tion and on dis­posal of ob­so­lete pes­ti­cides , Bhutan has a suc­cess story as pes­ti­cides stocks in Bhutan was iden­ti­fied in 1990. The 50% of the ob­so­lete pes­ti­cides stock, which amounted to 34 MT was re-pack­aged by the Dan­ish haz­ardous spe­cial­ist as per the in­ter­na­tional re­quire­ments and stored un­der UN ap­proved con­tain­ers. The other dis­posal op­er­a­tion funded by the Swiss Devel­op­ment Co­op­er­a­tion ended in 2006.

As the im­port of pes­ti­cides has health haz­ards and dis­posal of ob­so­lete pes­ti­cides in­curred huge ex­pense, go­ing or­ganic and re­duc­ing in the im­port of pes­ti­cides will im­prove the health of our peo­ple in the long run.

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