A/R: Health Directorate holds lead-poisoning review and stakeholders meeting

Dr. Michael Rockson Adjei, the Ashanti Regional Deputy Director in charge of public Health has urge Ghanaians to stay away from the usage of metal lead which is a naturally occurring element found in the earth’s crust.

Dr Rockson indicated that it is a toxic element which can cause long-term health effects despite its benefits.

He explained that lead poisoning in children below the age of 5 years damages their brain at that tender age before maturity while adults also suffered from heart and other diseases.

This he said leads to long-standing problems affecting the nervous-system, cognitive and other physical damages.

In a three days workshop on Lead-poisoning review and stakeholders meeting organized by Ashanti Regional Health Directorate supported by UNICEF, Dr Michael Rockson Adjei explained that, the global challenge including Ghana is the largest electronic waste dumping ground. Most of this e-waste is shipped from other foriegn countries like USA and Japan.

He said, as a means of economic sustenance for Ghanaians who earn lower incomes, this e-waste is burnt at the dumping sites to recover metals for sale.

Besides Ghana’s unique situation as an e-waste hub, the country’s rapid development and industrialization as a lower middle-income country is also contributing to heavy metal pollution. Heavy metal pollution especially from lead, which was previously recognized as an occupational poison has moved beyond the workplace into air, water and soil due to its increased use.

Artisans in the informal automotive industries, particularly in Accra and Kumasi work in dangerous recycling operations breaking open battery cases, spilling acid and lead dust into the soil, and smelting the recovered lead in crude, open-air furnaces that emit toxic fumes poisoning the surrounding community, he disclosed.

He then advise Ghanaian parents not to expose their wards to lead which can have adverse impact on their health .

”It can damage the child’s brain and nervous system, lead to stunted growth, cause behavioral and learning challenges and hearing and speech-related issues” he said. He also advice all stakeholders including health professionals, media, clergy, amongest others to come together to educate Ghanaians especially children either in markets places, churches, schools, mosques and other public places.

Story by: Akwadaa Nyame(Silver FM)

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