Environmental Health in Israel | 2014

public buildings and stipulates the need for work permits for asbestos work and special licenses for asbestos workers under the auspices of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MoEP). Ministers at the 2010 Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health addressed the health problems linked to asbestos exposure. The European branch of the World Health Organization (WHO) committed to developing national programs for elimination of asbestos- related diseases tailored to European countries by 2015. Israel is collaborating with countries that are partners in this program. Exposure to Asbestos in Israel Exposure to asbestos occurs mainly in asbestos removal, demolition, maintenance work, and the handling of asbestos waste. Asbestos cement was widely used in Israel; the Eitanit (formerly Isasbest) asbestos factory in Nahariya was in operation from 1952–1997. It is estimated that about 100 million square meters of asbestos cement was used in Israel. An asbestos hazard persists in the western Galilee near the Eitanit factory because industrial waste accumulated at the factory was dumped or dispersed throughout the western Galilee to cover land or pave roads. In March 2011, the MoEP began to implement a five-year project budgeted at NIS 300 million to identify, remove, and dispose of asbestos waste in the western Galilee. Half of this sum was allocated by the MoEP and half was paid by the Eitanit asbestos factory. By the end of 2013, some 159 public and private sites were cleaned, and more than 55,000 cubic meters of asbestos waste were removed. Data on Health Effects of Asbestos in Israel In Israel, there are three asbestos-related disease registries: 1. A registry of work-related diseases is under the purview of the Ministry of Health (MoH), in collaboration with the Ministry of Economy (MoE). This database includes information on each case of disease linked to asbestos, with details on the injured person’s occupation, previous places of employment, demographic information, and details about the illness. The law requires all physicians, both from Health Maintenance Organizations and private medical services, to report work-related diseases via a structured information form. So far, reports have come primarily from occupational physicians and pulmonologists from a number of hospital-based lung institutes. The registry does not cover family members of asbestos workers. 2. The MoH database on causes for hospitalization allows for reasons for hospitalization relevant to asbestos exposure to be identified. The database includes demographics on the hospitalized patients. There is also information on repeated hospitalizations for the same reason. 3. The National Cancer Registry of the MoH contains information on types of cancer relevant to asbestos exposure, with demographic data that includes a history of residential addresses. This database does not contain data on places of employment. Environmental Health in Israel 2014  Chapter 9 - 64 -

RkJQdWJsaXNoZXIy NjcyMg==