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UAE bans sale of asbestos thermal flasks


DUBAI – UAE authorities have asked retailers to remove thermal flasks containing asbestos from shelves as part of a new crackdown.

“The Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection sector in Dubai has set up a specialised team in co-operation with the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology to address traders and guide them to withdraw asbestos-containing thermal flasks,” said Mohammed Lootah, chief executive of the authority.

Lootah said that inspections and awareness visits will be conducted starting this month “to ensure the Dubai market is free of these products that affect the health and safety of consumers.”

In Ras Al Khaimah, authorities have launched a campaign to ban and seize all tea and coffee flasks containing asbestos. Earlier this year, the Department of Economic Development in Dubai also launched the same raid.

Products containing asbestos have been banned in the UK for years. Asbestos, which is used as an insulator in some thermal flasks, allow the product to retain heat but pose a risk if the flask breaks and releases cancer-causing fibers into the air that users could inhale.

Experts have urged consumers to purchase flasks with the safety seal of the Emirates Conformity Assessment System mark.

Thermal flasks have become increasingly popular in the UAE, with the cheapest sold at shops for Dh10. The drinking vessels often find their way in offices and gyms.

Health experts have been urging consumers to use risk-free alternatives instead.

“I am aware that certain water bottles, particularly cheap ones, have components that are harmful to your health. This is why I only drink water from glass bottles or stainless steel containers, particularly during my workouts,” said Aylin Noske, general manager of IntercityHotel Dubai Jaddaf Waterfront who also conducts weekly fitness training session with staff as part of her advocacy on healthy living.

“This is also the reason why at InterctyHotel Dubai Jaddaf Waterfront we only provide reusable glass bottles for our guests, which they can refill anytime at our eco-friendly water stations,” said Noske, who is also a fitness enthusiast and licensed physical therapist.

Dr. Galina Scerbacova of GMC Clinics Dubai said the safest container for water is glass. “Glass does not react with water and does not have harmful substances that may leach on to the water, even if the bottle is heated,” Scerbacova told ICA/Expat Media


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