Asbestos: Still a danger despite the ban

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Asbestos: Still a danger despite the ban

Although the production and use of asbestos has been banned in Germany since 1993, more than 1,000 people die every year from the effects of asbestos, according to the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Recently, the Bauen-Agrar-Umwelt trade union (IG BAU) spoke of a high health risk in the case of renovation work in Darmstadt if the asbestos risk was not sufficiently taken into account. In addition to the risk of renovations, it has now become known that asbestos was found in the Wunstorf-Luthe area in Lower Saxony on arable land used for food production near a former Fulgurit plant.

Why is asbestos hazardous to health? For a long time, asbestos was considered a miracle fiber in the construction industry. Due to its high resistance and stability, it has been used in the construction and shipping industries for decades. However, asbestos is extremely dangerous for health. When processing asbestos and materials containing asbestos, asbestos fibers are released, which settle in the alveoli and trigger asbestosis, a dust lung disease that often leads to lung cancer, even at low loads.

There can be several decades between the damage and the onset of the disease, so it can be assumed that most of the deaths in recent years from contact with asbestos occurred before the ban on the production and use of asbestos, which was introduced in 1993.

Asbestos remediation in Darmstadt As IG BAU reports, materials containing asbestos have been installed in many houses in Darmstadt, so that there is now an increased health risk during the remedial work. Asbestos can be found in both night storage heaters, floor coverings and cover plates. It is strongly advised to commission special companies to dispose of the materials. Breathing masks and protective clothing are an absolute must when dealing with the carcinogenic substances.

Concerning asbestos finds on arable land near Wunstorf-Luthe Near a former Fulgurit company in the Wunstorf-Luthe area in Lower Saxony, alarming asbestos finds were made on arable land. The environmental network - Office for Environmental Issues in Hamburg reports that the asbestos deposits around the former production site have been known for a long time, but the authorities did not see themselves as responsible for intervening. Mr. Priebs, Environment Director of the Hanover Region, stated that the authorities had no responsibility in this case, since the asbestos was found on private property. Despite the generally known dangers of asbestos, political interests and bureaucratic procedures seem to stand in the way of a solution that is acceptable to the population. The population is very worried, especially after it became known that no official measurements of soil, groundwater and air have yet been carried out and therefore there is no risk assessment from which the appropriate measures could then be derived, reports the environmental network. According to research by the NDR, the highly dangerous blue asbestos is said to have been found on the arable land. (ag)

Also read:
Nanoparticles: How does asbestos work?
Over 1,000 people died from asbestos diseases

Image: Jan Tornack /

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