Asbestos Fallout from War in Middle East
The environmental repercussions of the war in Lebanon will persist for decades due to the liberation of asbestos fibers caused by bombing of the built environment. Articles on the contamination caused by bomb and missle attacks were published in the Jordan Times (August 21, 2006) and the Jerusalem Post (November 1, 2006). Journalists Arne Jernelov and Judy Siegel-Itzkovich agree that the destruction which took place in both Lebanon and Israel has elevated the region's cancer risk. In Lebanon:
the worst environmental effect on health is probably the one most directly associated with the destruction of the infrastructure, the release of asbestos. As in many parts of the world with hot climates, apartment and office buildings in Lebanon use asbestos for heat insulation.
Pieces of asbestos roofing, pipes and other reconstruction materials used by residents, disintegrated when the rockets exploded and constitute an ever-present health danger because the microscopic fibers will never disappear from the environment.1
As long as asbestos is used, damage of the built enrvironment caused by war, natural or man-made disasters will ensure that future generations suffer the ill effects of hazardous asbestos exposures.
November 17, 2006
1 Jernelov A. The Environmental Fall-out of the War in Lebanon. Jordan Times. August 21, 2006.
Siegel-Itzkovich J. Hizbollah Missiles Unleashed Asbestos Carcinogens in North. The Jerusalem Post. November 1, 2006