'CANCER RISK'

MCA wants ageing asbestos roofing on Mwala Hospital replaced

Asbestos has been outlawed in many countries including the USA

In Summary

• The roofing which is said to contain cancer-causing properties by health experts. 

• Kisila said the majority of government offices had already complied by replacing the condemned roofing materials

Asbestos roofing on a government building in Machakos county
UNSAFE: Asbestos roofing on a government building in Machakos county
Image: KNA

An Machakos MCA has urged the county government to immediately replace the ageing asbestos roofing on Mwala Level 4 Hospital to avert health risks. 

Mwala/Makutano ward rep Brian said it had taken the county government so long to replace the asbestos roofing, said to contain cancer-causing properties.

The use of asbestos has been outlawed in the world after research found out that it is linked with the spread of certain types of cancer,” Kisila said on Sunday in Mwala.

Kisila said the majority of government offices had already complied by replacing the condemned roofing materials with more environmentally friendly ones.

The MCA said the same should now be replicated in all other public buildings in the county.

Kisila also wants the hospital’s mortuary completed so that residents do not send bodies to Machakos Level 5 Hospital mortuary

Last year, former Machakos county National Environmental Management Authority director Titus Simiyu downplayed the health risks associated with the roofs. 

Simiyu told those intending to do away with the materials to shelve such plans for the time being.

“If the asbestos is not rotting on the buildings, then they are safe. But the moment they are removed they start breaking and become more hazardous,” he warned.

According to the American National Cancer Institute, asbestos is the name given to six minerals that occur naturally in the environment as bundles of fibres that can be separated into thin, durable threads for use in commercial and industrial applications.

The fibres are resistant to heat, fire, and chemicals and do not conduct electricity making it a perfect choice for a wide variety of industrial uses.

Asbestos has been classified as a known human carcinogen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

According to IARC, there is sufficient evidence that asbestos causes mesothelioma (a relatively rare cancer of the thin membranes that line the chest and abdomen), and cancers of the lung, larynx, and ovary.

(edited by O. Owino)