The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has sensitised vehicle sprayers and coffin makers on the health implications of the chemicals used in their occupation.
It also educated them on the appropriate equipment needed to protect them from contracting diseases related to their work and might be detrimental to their health.
The Agencysensitised the artisans during a visit to the Korle-Bu Coffin Makers Association and Awotwe Motors at Korle-Bu and Adabraka respectively.
During the visit, it was observed that the artisans did most of their work in the open space, thereby releasing harmful chemicals and particles into the atmosphere that was detrimental to their health and that of others.
The artisans admitted that they were prone to catarrh, chest pains, difficulty in breathing and other related illnesses associated with their work.
The Acting Director of Environmental Quality at the EPA, Emmanuel K.E. Appoh,said though their work was important, there were health implications due to the “sanding and spraying”associated with their work.
He explained that due tothe nature of their work, dust particles from the petroleum products, such as turpentine and thinner had some components that blocked the breathing pathway, once they were released into the atmosphere and inhaled.
“When this occurs it may in tend affect the trachea which may deny the body the proper amount of oxygen it needs for growth which could lead to cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer, pulmonary artery diseases which in the long term can reduce your life span,” he added.
Mr Appohindicated some of the materials used in their work contained lead which had negative implications to the body, adding that the intelligence of children are equally affected making it difficult for them to grasp whatever they were being taught in school.
Mr Appohsaid the EPA had also identified some the challenges the artisans encountered, especially with regards to where they work and have directed them to inform the Ablekuma South District Assembly concerning their challenges.
“After the assembly has addressed their concerns we will come in to give them permits and show them what to do so that their activities will be in compliance with our regulations,” he added.
The Secretary to the Korle-Bu Coffin Makers Association, Joseph Nii LanteyLampteysaid they were aware of the challenges their work posed to them and their clients.
“Our working environment is not favorable to us, we are struggling here and we are here because we do not have anywhere to work from since our ejection from the Korle-Bu Mortuary area,” he said.
He pleaded with the government to help them find a permanent place as well as a conducive working area in order to curb the hazardous effect of their work on themselves and the environment.
BY JEMIMA ESINAM KUATSINU