AS­BESTOS: TOXIC TRUTH

Many people could un­know­ingly be in­hal­ing this men­ace

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CHRISSIE WRITES: I watch the many jog­gers, walk­ers and cy­clists us­ing Vic­to­ria Road and its walk­ways. I can­not help but see the irony of these people do­ing their oblig­a­tory 10 000 steps a day, deter­mined to ex­pand their lungs and get their heartrate up, only to be com­pletely un­done by in­hal­ing co­pi­ous amounts of as­bestos and sil­ica dust.

I see these ex­er­cise ad­dicts pass­ing the many

1920s and 1930s build­ings in dif­fer­ent stages of de­mo­li­tion, all of them har­bour­ing lethal forms of white, brown and blue as­bestos.

There is a mis­con­cep­tion that as­bestos-re­lated can­cers are con­fined to the people who work with it. One sad story is that of a woman in the UK who con­tracted as­besto­sis, the cause of which was traced back to her days as a young teacher. Once a week she would push draw­ing pins into the class­room wall to dis­play her pupils’ crayon draw­ings.

As­bestos does not only af­fect the lungs, but can also cause mouth, stom­ach and colon can­cers. This poi­son also finds its way into stormwa­ter drains, sew­ers, drink­ing wa­ter and on to our beaches

Check your in­surance pol­icy, as most do not cover as­bestos-re­lated dam­age and its con­se­quent health is­sues.

How many times have you seen men look­ing like they’re walk­ing about in a space suit on a build­ing site? How many as­bestos no­tices have you seen out­side build­ing sites? My guess is most of you haven’t seen one.

Do not as­sume your neigh­bour’s de­vel­op­ment has fol­lowed proper pro­ce­dures; in all like­li­hood it hasn’t… in or­der to cut costs.

After be­ing kept awake re­cently for a few nights by large trucks pump­ing in the street, I fi­nally went out­side to ask the work­ers what the prob­lem was. I was told the sewage was back­ing up into a neigh­bour­ing prop­erty as the pipes were blocked with builders’ sand.

Many older builders har­bour lethal forms of as­bestos.

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