Asbestos Threatens Swazi Orphanage

The threat of mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos is ever present, especially in the financially threatened country of Swaziland, Africa. Currently, one Canadian entrepreneur is trying to render aid to the impoverished people of this country where the rate of HIV infections continues to skyrocket and where there are more than a total of 120,000 orphaned children. The Canadian man brought several hundred children to the abandoned town of Bulembu where mining operations used to take place in an effort to give them proper homes. The entrepreneur's work has already done good things. Children that have been abandoned and those that would have otherwise died have found a refuge in the town's orphanage. One child care manager said that he found a child lying in a refuse bag with an umbilical still attached. Today Bulembu's orphanage is where he lives. There are also plans to make use of the once-abandoned town's hectares of surrounding forestry. The timber mill that resides in Bulembu is currently being run five days a week in a plan to make the town more self-reliant and increase the number of orphaned residents living here from 1,200 to 2,000 in the near future. The one thing that isn't being talked about is the potential threat that the town's former industry could pose to the children living here. The mining operations that used to take place in Bulembu were centered on obtaining asbestos tailings from the nearby mountain. The man who bought the hectares of land surrounding Bulembu says that he isn't worried about the silent killer looming in the town's nearby former mines and mountains. The type of asbestos that poses a threat to the nearby people is chrysotile, which is a green variety that typically has stiffer fibers, making them more difficult to become airborne. The worry is caused by the fact that the World Health Organization has no set “safe” exposure levels for asbestos and even small amounts of exposure can lead to related diseases and illnesses such as asbestosis and mesothelioma. The residents are not terribly concerned because they believe that this type of asbestos is less dangerous for them. Other individuals, such as those that run asbestos relief programs, find the fact that the asbestos dump is placed in the center of the town as shocking. They claim that while the residents may be aware of the dangers of asbestos, they do not fully understand what health conditions it can bring. Reference: Previous: Asbestos Found in Florida Building Next: Michigan Man Charged with Asbestos Violations