There ia an urgent need for developer SM Development Corporation (SMDC) to dispose properly the dangerous asbestos containing materials stripped from the multi-story iconic Philamlife building that they own in Ermita, Manila because it endangers the safety and health of construction workers anh kod other people around the project.
We are appealing to the SMDC to immediately dispose the asbestos containing materials (ACMs) stripped down over the past months from the under-renovation Philamlife building and now stored in one of its rooms.
We urged them to treat and dispose these toxic materials because the longer these cancerous asbestos stays in the building the more it poses direct danger and firsthand and secondary exposures to construction workers and to more people around the building and in nearby hospitals, banks, restaurants, hotels and other offices.
A large amount of ceiling boards and wall insulation materials containing asbestos are now stored inside the Philamlife building after these were taken down since the building undergoes preliminary demolition in August this year to for a new commercial and high-rise condominium.
The SMDC and its contractors are now under investigation both by the Manila City government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) allegedly over breaches on abatement standards and removal protocols on asbestos materials.
Completed in 1961, the Philamlife building served as the insurance company headquarters until it was bought by SMDC in 2012. The structure is also famous for its Philamlife Theater, a 780-seater auditorium designed by famous architects and known as a premium place for musical concerts in the country.
According to the Chemical Control Order (CCO) for Asbestos issued by the DENR in 2000, prior notice must be made to the department before and after the removal of asbestos materials. The CCO also provides the standard protocols in treatment, removal, sealing and packing, labelling, hauling, transport, and on-site disposal of asbestos containing materials.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) considers all forms of asbestos are carcinogenic to humans. Exposure to asbestos, including chrysotile, causes cancer of the lung, larynx, and ovaries, and also mesothelioma (a cancer of the pleural and peritoneal linings). Asbestos exposure is also responsible for other diseases such as asbestosis (fibrosis of the lungs), and plaques, thickening and effusion in the pleura.
They estimate about 125 million people in the world are exposed to asbestos at the workplace. Approximately half of the deaths from occupational cancer are estimated to be caused by asbestos. In addition, it is estimated that several thousand deaths annually can be attributed to exposure to asbestos in the home.