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05.10.2005 Health

NORMS pose health risk to some communities - GAEC

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Accra, Oct. 5, GNA - With increases in the scrap business in the country, there is the fear that Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORMS) could be on the increase, thereby posing health risk to some communities, the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) warned on Wednesday.

Mr Joseph Gbadago, Department of Nuclear Engineering, National Nuclear Research Institute, GAEC, said the levels of NORMS in certain areas was on the increase and could, therefore, pose health risk including a rise in cancer cases.

Speaking at a day's national workshop on "Awareness of NORMS in the Environment" for stakeholders including the media, he said NORMS were redistributed in the environment through the melting of tins, metal scrap generation, demolition of plants and mining activities. NORMS are said to have been present in the environment since creation. They are, however, said to be present in elevated levels in some raw materials due to technological activities, thereby posing health risk to people who are exposed to the increased levels. Mr Gbadago said the scraps were likely to pose problems because some were being brought in from neighbouring countries without undergoing the due process of testing and registration. Professor Cyril Schandorf, former Director, Radiation Protection Institute of GAEC, who chaired the workshop, called for the identification of industries that distributed the NORMS to enable such industries to be educated on the materials that promoted such materials in the environment.