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Insight

Asbestos in Plasters, Tile Adhesives and Fillers

by jens lammerschmidt Remediation expert
Dusty construction work in buildings built before 1995 represent a threat because of the potential existence of covered asbestos. Our expert Jens Lammerschmidt talks about new insights and advises you on how to deal with asbestos hazards.

The production and use of asbestos in Germany has been prohibited for over 20 years. The reason: medical doctors officially classified asbestos fibres as carcinogenic. Nevertheless, the former "miracle fibre" was installed in large quantities for many decades. As a result, the long-lasting asbestos products in many buildings are still found today. In the case of demolition or remediation, these asbestos-containing materials must be disassembled and disposed of properly.

The legislator has recognised the risks involved in handling asbestos and has regulated them in several ordinances. Since 2015, the focus has been on building chemical products in addition to the well-known asbestos products such as asbestos cement boards, asbestos cords and fabrics or light asbestos-containing boards. In contrast to the above-mentioned "classic" asbestos products, the construction chemical products often have asbestos contents of much less than 1%. However, new measurements and analytical methods have shown that such materials can also pose health risks.

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estimated remaining asbestos in Germany
asbestos containing products before asbestos ban
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asbestos ban in Germany

Among the building chemical products are in particular asbestos-containing fillers, plasters and tile adhesives, which are to be expected in many buildings built before 1995. Because these asbestos products are usually applied in thin layers and covered by another surface, the entire cross-section of the surface often has asbestos concentrations of less than 0.1%. However, if these components are repaired, converted or demolished, considerable asbestos fibre emissions can occur, for example, when sanding filled plasterboard walls or knocking off tiles. Health hazards to craftsmen and third parties, contamination of buildings and/or their surroundings and waste contamination with asbestos fibres cannot be ruled out.

Only case-by-case tailored comprehensive investigation concepts can indicate asbestos in plasters, tile adhesives and fillers.
jens lammerschmidt, Remediation Expert

Building owners who are planning to renovate or dismantle a building should always consult an expert. Because as the current owner of a property, it is difficult to find out where asbestos could be installed. But only those who know about asbestos can protect themselves from this still dangerous material. If asbestos is present in the building fabric, demolition, remediation and maintenance work may only be carried out by companies that have the necessary personnel and safety require­ments and have proof of expertise in accordance with the Technical Rules for Hazardous Substances 519.

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Jens Lammerschmidt Remediation Expert
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