29 Jul 2009

Call for urgent action on asbestos risk in New Caledonia

1:46 pm on 29 July 2009

The French organisation looking after those exposed to asbestos has called for urgent action in New Caledonia, where naturally occurring asbestos has been posing a health risk.

The organisation, Andeva, says asbestos is everywhere, with children playing on soil

contaminated with it.

It urges French leaders hosting Friday's regional summit to pay urgent attention to the problem as part of the summit agenda focusses on environmental challenges.

Two years ago, a study recommended that immediate steps be taken in New Caledonia to

reduce the risk posed by asbestos.

Between 2002 and 2005, about 1,000 traditional Kanak houses were demolished after it was discovered that they were in part built out of material with a high content of asbestos.