A toxicologist on Thursday refuted the statements of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that crushed dolomite, such as those used in the Manila Bay white sand project, could not cause health risks.
Dr. Rommy Quijano said in a virtual forum hosted by Oceana Philippines that DENR ignored scientific studies that show the potential health hazards caused by the crushed dolomite to justify the beautification project in Manila Bay.
“Yung sinasabi nila na walang potential health defects’ yan ay hindi totoo ‘yun. Tingin ko, dahil nga ginawa nila yan (Manila Bay project) na wala man lang consultation, dyina-justify na lang nila ang kanilang action,” he said.
“Hindi ko maintindihan bakit pati ang DOH ay nagsabi na ligtas naman daw ‘yan. Samantalang noong una, nagsabi ang DOH na, ‘yun nga, dahil sa respirable dust ay maaaring magkaroon ng respiratory disease,” he added.
DOH and DENR earlier said that the dolomite used in the white sand project in Manila Bay is 2 to 5 millimeters in size, 100 times bigger than dust, are not harmful to people.
However, Quijano said the crushed dolomites, even that big, would still have dust since they were mined.
“Huwag nilang sabihin na walang dust ‘yan dahil maski naman ang mga malalaking bato kung kunin mo yan sa lupa tiyak na meron maliliit na dust din na mabubuo diyan,” Quijano said.
“Maaaring malanghap ng mga tao hindi lamang ng manggagawa kundi pati ‘yung mga tao na maaaring lalapit diyan lalo na kung malakas ang hangin,” he said.
Crushed dolomite in Manila Bay bad for health – toxicologist
As a response, DENR Environment Management Bureau (EMB) Director Willian Cuñado told GMA News Online that dolomite rocks would only pose health risks during quarrying and processing.
“The health issue with the dolomite is not in the product anymore. It’s already in the process during quarrying and processing. For the product itself, there will be no more health issue,” Cuñado said.
“The dolomites that we are bringing in Manila Bay that is already the product with very very minimal…all the dust and particulates are already removed in the processing,” he added.
Meanwhile, toxicologist Quijano said the crushed dolomite in Manila Bay could release heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic, zinc, and cadmium. Such elements could cause diseases affecting the nervous and immune systems like lupus.
Cuñado quickly denied this: “The dolomite composition is calcium and magnesium…So if you look at heavy metal compositions, there is no heavy metal present on the dolomite. We have already checked that,” he told GMA News Online.