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Environmental Health Risk Assessment of Asbestos-Containing Materials in the Brewing Industry in Ghana

This paper assessed asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in the brewery industry to determine and document the presence or otherwise of presumed or known ACMs. The study also elicited views on ACMs presence in the workplace using simple random and purposive method within the field survey design construct. Out of 38 bulk samples taken in the Northern sector (BFN, Kumasi), 14 (39%) confirmed presence of asbestos. In the southern sector (BFS, Accra), 51% of bulk samples (N=101) taken also confirmed presence of ACMs fibers. Identified ACMs were of the amosite and chrysotile types and found mainly as insulation materials. Airsamples did not indicate concentrations of asbestiform fibers. ACMs with higher material assessment scores (MAS) ≥ 12 and risk priority action scores (PAS) ≥ 14, per the existing thresholds in the industry, were of the highest health concerns. There was significant evidence (p>0.02) to confirm established premise that the level of awareness of ACM’s presence in the workplace was low. Duty holders and workers were not sufficiently aware of their work environment and rights to warrant institutionalization of effective asbestos control programmes (ACP). To mitigate and cope with risk, the paper concludes that, given this peculiar situation in the workplace and the long latency period for asbestos related diseases, effective asbestos control and abatement programmes (ACP) need to be implemented to imbibe in workers a culture of strict adherence to the policies and programmes. This is needful to diffuse the idea that asbestos related diseases will be largely restricted to the developing economies in the next few decades.

Author(s): Edward Kweku Nunoo, Anthony Panin and Bernice Essien

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