Fiji holds first Asbestos Symposium

21 Dec 2017 by under News
699px Fiji in Oceania special marker  mini map  rivers.svg  100x100 Fiji holds first Asbestos Symposium

Credit: TUBS/ Wikimedia Commons

This week the South Pacific island nation of Fiji held its first Asbestos Symposium thanks to an organized effort from its government to raise awareness about the carcinogen.   

According to a local news source, the symposium aimed “to raise awareness and understanding of stakeholders in Fiji on asbestos and its impacts on health, and the legal instruments and initiatives at global, regional and national levels to regulate asbestos.”

In a Fiji Times article, Ken Takahashi, director for the Asbestos Disease Research Institute at the University of Sydney, notes a lack of awareness of the potential dangers of asbestos, highlighted by this being the first large-scale asbestos-related symposium in the country. Takahashi spoke at the symposium on the need to identify the extent of the asbestos issue in Fiji. “Once you know the sources, you will know the people who might be exposed and then you are able to target a certain section of the population who may be at risk of developing the disease and from that, you may be able to find asbestos-related diseases,” he said to the news source.

Asbestos is a group of silicate minerals that was used—and is still used in some places—in a variety of construction and manufacturing processes. It is often found in building insulation, pipe wrapping, roof tiles, etc. More than 60 countries have banned asbestos due to its link to the development of cancer, including lung cancer and mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that affect the lining of internal organs. The Asbestos Symposium also included a discussion on a draft of the “Roadmap for the elimination of asbestos in Fiji,” opening the door to the potential for a ban in the country.

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