Asbestos was banned in the Netherlands 22 years ago, but the clean up operation is still in full force with asbestos roofs across the Netherlands to be removed by 2024.
All exterior slate roofing and corrugated sheets are to be removed.
The government are helping to finance the cost of removal.
The Netherlands are one of 28 countries in the European Union to have banned asbestos.
It’s a well established fact that asbestos causes life threatening cancer including mesothelioma and respiratory diseases such as asbestosis.
The Netherlands reportedly have a very high death rate in relation to asbestos.
The deterioration of roofs and building fires led to the decision of removing asbestos from all roofs explains former Undersecretary for Infrastructure and Environment, Wilma Mansveld.
“We have to take this risk seriously and tackle it. I want to prevent people from being exposed to asbestos fibers. Recent fires in which asbestos particles ended up in residential areas underline the need for a ban.”
Other factors such as bad weather all add to the deterioration of roofs and the spreading of asbestos fibers into the atmosphere.
Any asbestos roof older than 30 years is a particular concern.
Air filtration business owner, lobbyist and member of the Committee for Asbestos Victims, De Vreede, says many Dutch people are completely unaware of the dangers lurking in the roofs of buildings, and although the use of asbestos and trading has been banned, there are still lots of buildings that contain the deadly material, so it’s still very much a problem that is going to take a long time to eradicate.
Mr Vreede says, “Some people think that because of the ban, that there is no danger. Those people are wrong.”
The Dutch government are subsidising the cost of removing the asbestos, but De Vreede claims the amount of money they’re contributing isn’t enough, as the true cost to business owners will be far more.
It is the owners of buildings that are ultimately responsible for the removal of asbestos from their roofs, and once the removal is complete they have to report that’s it’s been done to the authorities.
Any building owner that has an asbestos roof and doesn’t have it removed by the 2024 deadline will be fined by the authorities.
The majority of the affected roofs are located in agricultural sectors of the country, and the people affected include residents of ex housing corporation properties in poorer areas.
De Vreede says, “The corporations don’t want to renovate because of the cost, so they will sell to immigrants and poor people who simply don’t know any better.”
Cases of Mesothelioma are already high in the Netherlands, with the number of deaths being double the amount reported in Belgium, according to figures collected in 2010.
What’s even more concerning is that the death toll of almost 500 people is virtually the same number of deaths that were reported the same year across the whole of Spain, Denmark and Portugal!
The death toll in the Netherlands could be so high because of the country’s history with ship building.
Asbestos was commonly used to insulate the ships.
Another catalyst could be fires at farms and warehouses, meaning asbestos particles are released into the air and can spread for miles.
A lot of the younger generation do not know what asbestos is or are aware of it’s dangers.
This isn’t really their fault as the asbestos ban was introduced so many years ago.
Lawyer at the Committee for Asbestos Victims, Joyce Matthijssen, said, “They didn’t experience the time in which asbestos was actually banned consciously. Most people of this younger generation don’t even know how to identify asbestos.”
But it’s not just the young people that need to be made aware.
Lots of people don’t realise that asbestos could be lurking in their homes, schools and places of work.
Ms Matthijssen said, “Most people do not bother to find out. And when they do find out, in most cases, they are more concerned about the cost of removing asbestos than about asbestos hazards.”
Source of article:- https://www.asbestos.com/news/2016/09/12/netherlands-bans-asbestos-roofs/ by Matt Mauney
Duty holders and employers have a legal responsibility to manage asbestos in their building so as not to put employees at risk. Contact our Armco office for asbestos management and refurbishment/ demolition surveys on 0161 763 3727 or by visiting https://www.armco.org.uk/.
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Published Sep 20, 2016