• Wednesday, February 21, 2024
businessday logo


Ministry of Environment raise alarm on health, environmental impact of PCB in Nigeria


The Nigeria Polychorinated Biphenly (PCB) Management Project Federal Ministry of Environment has raised alarm on the health and Environmental impact of PCB in Nigeria.

In a one day workshop organised for journalists in Enugu by the Federal Ministry of Environment PCBs management project, described PCBs as an addictive to transformer oil which contains organic pollutantats.

According to one of the resource persons, Olisa Okoli general manager health, safety and Environment federal ministry of Environment, Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) are organic pollutants found mostly in transformers and capacitor oils, that are harmful to humans, plants and animals.

The aim of the project he said focus on how to prevent the release of PCBs from active and decommissioned electrical equipment in electricity generation, transmission and distribution, as well as from other private sectors (oil refineries, airports, textile mills, etc.) facilities and activities that have PCB stocks, so as to ensure their sound management and ultimate safe disposal.

One of the most important properties of PCBs is their excellent dielectric (electric insulating) strength that are low electrical conductivity; and high heat capacity which made PCBs ideal for use as cooling liquids in electrical equipment but over the time it was discovered that PCBs in the transformer oil has negative effect on human and animals leading to cancer.

He also said PCBs have been marketed under different trade names such as Aroclor, Kanechlor, Phenoclor, Clophen, Fenclor, Pyranol, Pyroclor, Sovol, and Hyvol among other.

He appealed to policy makers to make policies that will support eradication of transformers and transistors that contain such addictive and also ensure proper management of waste because of it’s negative effect to Human and Animals saying that the world has since banned the use of PCBs.

The other resource person Christian Ihenacho President and managing Director Oji Environmental Services  lamented that the  “Widespread use of PCBs has resulted in improper disposal methods, which are conducted without environmental considerations due to lack of awareness of hazardous nature of PCBs. Significant environmental contamination resulted from industrial and commercial formulations and use of PCBs. Two important routes of entry into the environment are during the process of manufacturing chemicals as byproduct and leakages from electrical equipment and other devices containing PCBs”.

“PCBs have been known to be non-biodegradable and persistent in the bodies and other organisms causing severe adverse effects on the human health, and other living organisms and plants, including the following; Certain cancers.  Birth defects and infant mortality Dermatological Diseases Dysfunctional immune and reproductive systems Greater susceptibility to disease and  Diminished intelligence, especially among children. In Nigeria today many people including children are exposed to sources highly toxic chemicals including PCBs, and increasingly cause damaging effects on human health in the form of diseases that one cannot easily explainable”.

PCBs he said, Creates very serious Environmental problem affecting the genes of human body, it also bring about stunted growth and defects mostly on children and on plants and fishes.

Another resource person Charles OjugbenaIn in a paper titled grassroot communicating the health and Environmental hazards.

Called for capacity building in disseminating information to the people at the grassroot on the effect of PCBs, mostly those within the areas where such industrial transformers are located.

In his own contribution Uyimadu John Paul the National Technical consultant Nigeria PCBs Management project, identifies locations where these transformers are found to be Ijora area of Lagos state, Lagos Lagoon, River Niger with high concentration at Ontsha.

He therefore warned against eating fish from these areas saying that Nigerian Inland water ways are highly polluted and the parts of Fish organs it settle are the gills, eyes, “if the organ is high in fish organs it can equally be higher in man organs. We are not manufactures, our problem is poor management of waste.

PCBs they said look like ground nut oil and that some people are alleged mixing it with ground nut oil and use it in frying becked beens (Akara) because the oil does not diminish when used and the Akara normally look appetising and advise that people should eat more of natural foods However the world bank in conjuction with federal government.