Asbestos risk serious, says architects’ group

Published by rudy Date posted on October 24, 2001

An influential sector of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) described the health risks posed by asbestos “a very serious matter,” and thus called for an equally serious discussion on the issue among their fellow architects.

Architect Virgilio Andres Jr., director of UAP District A4 which covers the Diliman, New Manila, Hilaga and Elliptical chapters, said, “The growing concern over the re-entry of asbestos into the country merits a second look, especially as it concerns the health risks our thousands of construction workers are exposed to.”

Andres said his fellow architects must have full information about the health hazards of asbestos to several people. These include workers in factories using asbestos as component, builders in construction sites and consumers who would have daily contact with asbestos-filled walls, ceilings, etc.

“The issue should be settled first before we even recommend the use of these materials,” he added.

For his part, Architect Virgilio Regala, president of the UAP Elliptical chapter, said it has become imperative for architects to fully appreciate the health implication of the use of asbestos by construction workers and the consequent exposure of consumers to products containing this harmful substance.

“If the reports are true that the effects of asbestos manifest only after 20 years, then there is no other time than now to discuss its possible adverse effects – when we can still do something to prevent its re-entry into the country,” Regala said.

The architects called for a forum to discuss this “very serious matter.”

The UAP’s statement came on the heels of the urgent call of former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Perfecto Yasay Jr. rallying civil society, business and government to work on the implementation of a determined government ban against asbestos, a known cancer-causing mineral.

Asbestos is used as a binder in the manufacture of certain building materials like roofing and siding, walls and ceiling, pipes and boilers.

Yasay cited earlier studies establishing the ill-effects of asbestos on a person’s health, which led several countries to ban the carcinogenic substance. –

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